Are we heading towards the day when the term ‘the cloud’ will be superfluous?
You can go way back to 1969 to find the first mentions of the concept that eventually became the cloud; the virtual network where some parts of a company’s computing needs were siphoned off-site.
Yet it’s only in the past decade that ‘the cloud’ has come to encompass what it means today - software, infrastructure and platforms stored and accessed remotely, a virtual network that offers a scalable, cost-effective way to meet a business’s computing needs.
Let’s face it, ‘the cloud’ is not the best of terms. To the uninformed it poses more questions than it resolves; what is stored, where and how secure is it? To the industry pedant it’s a positive annoyance; there is no one ‘cloud’, there are many types, many forms and many incarnations of off-site, virtual, networked computing provision.
That all-encompassing term was simply devised to differentiate the range of services supplied by remote providers from the established on-premise approach of keeping all the compute functions in banks of servers and mainframes within the physical confines of a business.
To many, as-a-service offerings (ie – the cloud) have proven their credentials. Yet even though the concept is now far from being in its infancy, it still has its detractors. Security and privacy concerns are cited as the main reasons why some companies are reluctant to move their computing needs lock, stock and barrel to a cloud-based model. (Okay, latency is also an issue, but that’s technical rather than emotive and is being addressed). The evidence, though, does not support their anxieties with the vast majority (98%) of all respondents to a Cloud Industry Forum survey saying they have never, actually, experienced a breach of security when using a cloud service.
That could be because, with the major IT vendors coming up with increasingly sophisticated cloud security systems, cloud-based storage is, generally, secure. So it’s unsurprising that the mood is changing. According to the Cloud Industry Forum (http://bit.ly/1QZXPmZ), 63% of businesses surveyed say they expect all - not some, all - of their IT estate to be stored and accessed remotely. That same survey shows that 78% of organisations currently use cloud services and that will increase to 85% within the next two years.
Which is what prompted the opening question: Are we nearing the day when cloud becomes the norm; the accepted and expected with on-premise computing being the exception?
As Vince Dell’Anno, managing director of Accenture Analytics, says: “The private and public cloud have become part of the enterprise IT fabric.” (http://onforb.es/1TZy5Oc). “The enterprise is moving workloads to the public or private cloud methodically.”
According to Gartner, the overall cloud market will be worth $203.9bn by the end of this year (2016) and is set to grow by 16.5% by 2020 (http://bit.ly/20qkwIm). Public and private cloud storage will account for almost 60% of the total storage market by value in Western Europe by 2019, according to market research company IDC. (http://bit.ly/1QfFlSk)
Figures such as these prove there is no doubt the demand for off-site storage is soaring, with some estimating that the volume of data being collected will double in size every two years. This growth is being driven by a rapid rise in the use of mobile devices, social networks and connected ‘smart’ devices - the Internet of Things. It’s a growth rate that shows no signs of slowing.
Mobile: Statista says that in 2015, global mobile data traffic amounted to 3.7 exabytes per month. In 2020, mobile data traffic worldwide is expected to reach 30.6 exabytes per month. (http://bit.ly/1QeV56s)
Social: By 2020, globally there will be 6.1 billion smartphones (compared to 2.6 billion today accounting for 80% of all mobile data traffic), says TechCruch. (http://tcrn.ch/1cx9rRq).
IoT: These smart machines generate data independently of human involvement. Gartner forecasts that this year (2016) there will be 6.4 billion connected things in use worldwide, with 5.5 million new devices getting connected every day. By 2020 there will be 20.8 billion connected devices. (http://gtnr.it/1kJqJPO)
As demand grows for off-site storage, the providers - the datacentres - will be seeking innovative and cost effective ways to increase their storage capacity. The hardware manufacturers are rising to the challenge with technological advancements in servers, storage and networking but this rapidly growing demand has also spawned a whole new business model based on whitebox servers and storage.
As they de-couple the hardware, software and maintenance elements that form the usual offering from the leading branded server manufacturers, these bespoke whitebox servers provide a cost-effective, scalable and flexible way for big cloud-based data storage companies to increase their capacity.
With its range of products from 40 vendors, backed by its detailed market insight and knowledge honed over a quarter of a century, Hammer is well-placed to work with managed service providers to create the right combinations to meet specific datacentre needs.
Published Date: 10/02/2017
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