There is no doubt that cloud computing has changed the traditional approach to IT infrastructure.
With many organisations under immense pressure to increase productivity while reducing costs, the migration of business platforms and applications to the cloud is clearly a winning choice.
South Africa’s cloud computing market is expected to grow to $249.6 million in 2016, with a continued focus on public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) spending according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).
Until now, local businesses had a choice between public cloud services with a lower Capex but less direct control and private cloud setups in which they had more secure and customisable services albeit with higher investment up front.
CIOs in South Africa faced a dilemma when choosing a cloud environment that not only meets existing needs but one that will future-proof IT investments as their business needs continue to evolve. This was a particularly challenging and expensive exercise locally as the country did not have its own cloud managed data centre.
Reduced complexity and the freedom to innovate
Learning from the early days of cloud, many have found that building a private cloud environment is a lot more difficult than just using a public one.
However, although this remains a popular model in sectors like banking where there are strict regulations on information integrity and CIOs prefer to have complete control of the infrastructure, we are noticing moves to public cloud even in this sector.
A public model liberates organisations from complex IT systems which require a high degree of cost, capability and management to run efficiently. Public cloud services also offer the benefit of on-demand scalability, flexibility, speed and computing power without the need for further infrastructure investments. It also offers heightened security and greater resource availability.
All clients have to do is rent what they need. Neither of these models is perfect for every scenario. Thankfully, they no longer have to be.
Today’s hybrid model, which combines the delivery of public and private cloud services is gaining popularity as it offers the dual benefits of both models with an added layer of security and control.
Seems simple enough, but the challenge in cloud’s early days was that it was nearly impossible for businesses to easily integrate both systems. If you built a private cloud environment for certain operations, integrating it with another company’s public cloud services or even another office’s private cloud, was next to impossible.
Five considerations in setting up a hybrid model
Choice with consistency – Choosing open technology allows an organisation to develop and deploy solutions with flexibility while protecting its IT investment for the future. This ensures that solutions deployed on the cloud will work seamlessly with future technologies.
Hybrid Integration – Enables an organisation to unlock the value of a cloud investment by extending enterprise apps and data to the cloud, allowing it to build and deploy applications on the cloud it has today and only change what needs to be changed to support future needs.
Industrialised hybrid cloud – By unlocking the potential of existing data to gain the most value, an industrialised hybrid cloud for businesses allows enterprises to gain visibility into potential problems while enabling access to hundreds of open-source technologies to power applications.
Developer productivity – Enterprises have to be able to react faster to marketplace opportunities to stay competitive. In the tech world, that means innovative applications need to be delivered quickly without comprising quality, security and compliance. A hybrid cloud should be able to provide a platform for doing that.
Accessible analytics with cognitive – Cloud-based analytics solutions with cognitive enables an enterprise to make smarter, faster decisions to address real-time business needs. Cognitive technology provides expertise and intelligence as it builds understanding and learning, like having a personal advisor for the business. Each element of the cloud should be a cognitive service, and if it is not, it is not delivering its full value.