Is Cloud Mainstream Yet?

At a recent conference Asher Baig, of GigaOm categorically stated that cloud is indeed now mainstream. I still think it is getting there for many use cases but that very soon the human change and adoption process will have accelerated and cloud consumption will be commonplace. Future of Cloud

It’s interesting to take a step back and look at the Internet. As Jeff Vance states, “Back in the mid-90s, the Internet was borderline useless for most people. There were no decent search engines, just aggregators that sorted popular sites into major categories like “sports” or “news,” and no decent mail clients, just so-so services from the likes of AOL and Prodigy.”

Cloud when first introduced was a bit like that as well. You had access to some hardware, but someone was handling it elsewhere. With some manual planning, some back and forth, you could actually get the resources you needed for a website launch (although this might have taken a few months). But that’s all changed – now you provision and de-provision, scale up and scale down all through one user interface whatever compute, storage or network resources you need – with a credit card.
Read more

Services as a Service

I was inspired to write on the topic of services as a platform after reading a blog from James Urquhart, “Enough PaaS vs. IaaS: The cloud is really about Services as a Platform.”

Number 3? Service as a ServiceOne of the key challenges with public cloud, as far as perception is concerned, is the multi-tenancy problem regarding security, reliability and data privacy.

Of course, the definition of multi-tenancy in a cloud platform itself is confusing.  Is something multi-tenant at the application, platform, or virtual infrastructure?  Multi-tenancy at the application, platform or virtual infrastructure has potential benefits and concerns depending on customer requirements. And depending on those specific requirements, it may be possible to run parts of the service using multi-tenant infrastructure at an application level (e.g. DNS, e-mail), but run other parts in a single tenant infrastructure (e.g. the database or web server).

Realistically no customer just wants IaaS with the intention of running all the services on top themselves.  They want one consistent platform (i.e. a collection of tools and services) through which they can consume services in a utility like manner.  This is something service providers just starting to roll out IaaS need to wise up to fairly quickly.

Read more

2014 Predictions for the Cloud Service Provider

As Business Cloud News perfectly summarized yesterday “With public cloud spending set to surpass $100bn this year according to IDC many are looking to 2014 as the year the cloud sector moves into a second phase of industrial development, unleashing a wave of innovation and consolidation in its path. And according to industry specialists, much of what happens next in the cloud sector will depend on the deepening integration of mobile, cloud, big data and traditional IT technologies.”

Crystal Ball Flexiant Predictions

Today, we are summarizing a few predictions we’ve seen across the industry, but also some of our thoughts for 2014 specific to the cloud service provider.

1. Service Providers Finally Wake Up to the Demand for Cloud

An IBM survey revealed that the cloud’s strategic importance to decision-makers, such as CEOs, CMOs, finance, HR and procurement executives, is poised to double from 34 percent to 72 percent – vaulting over their IT counterparts at 58 percent. As public cloud spending is set to increase, more hosters, service providers and telcos will waken to the need to enter the cloud services market quickly or get left behind. Demand for cloud services will accelerate in 2014 as enterprises and others start to move production workloads to the cloud at scale

Cloud service providers, therefore, need to create offerings that differentiate against AWS and Google to become sticky to the end customer. Read some of our thoughts on competing against AWS.

Read more

Gartner Predicts Public Cloud Growth in 2013

Gartner has released figures that support the continued growth in public cloud services. In the forecast overview, Gartner says:

Growth in public cloud services continues despite continuing global economic uncertainties. End-user spending on public cloud services is expected to grow 18.6% in 2012 to $110.3 billion and is expected to record a compound annual growth rate of 17.7% from 2011 through 2016.

The word that is particularly important in this growth prediction is PUBLIC. Enterprise organisations are moving away from CAPEX to OPEX models, relying on service providers to make this possible. If you are a service provider, you need to consider growth strategies to capture this market opportunity. The growth strategy should include a high degree of differentiation.

Read more

IaaS Compared to Hotels

I was recently reading a blog post SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, oh my! which discusses the differences between SaaS, PaaS, IaaS. Inspired by this I thought I would author a similar one breaking down IaaS a little more, as not all IaaS platforms are equal by any means, and different ones suit different use cases better.

So to do this, I’m going to compare IaaS to different grades of Hotels and other accommodations.

Luxury Hotel – Your Managed IaaS

At the top end in terms of cost, you have the Luxury Hotel, think Waldorf Astoria or the Ritz. Nothing is too much trouble for these hotel chains to arrange, and they will take care of everything for you. It comes with a considerable price tag though.

I think high end managed service providers are trying to achieve the same level of customer service, satisfaction and comfort, but unfortunately that also comes with a cost. The flip side of this of course is that if you want to do something simple and standard, it may still come at a disproportionate cost. For example in a hotel’s case, if all you want for breakfast is a slice of toast and a coffee, it will still end up costing you £/$20 plus! In a managed service provider’s case, a simple configuration change that a user could do themselves will still take time and money to achieve.

Read more