Cloud computing has achieved mainstream status across the UK, with the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) reporting recently that 69% of organisations have formally adopted at least one cloud-based service.
Here are four megatrends that will impact how businesses roll it out over the next decade.
1. Cloud computing as an innovative driver of the future
Cloud is essentially the new hardware. Big industry shifts have been driven by new computing platforms. The cloud is built on the same principles of hardware that businesses have always had: a server, storage or disk, and a network device.
>See also: How to build the best hybrid cloud for your business
What’s happening right now is the three core components are all being redefined and converged to act like one big machine. The main drivers behind this are efficiency (how hardware manufacturers are adapting to cloud computing, most notably with converged infrastructure stacks), scale (how you grow east-west or north-south without impacting the footprint by bringing everything into the box) and cost (software-defined gives more for less, the ability to do the same jobs without the need for traditionally expensive separate physical infrastructures).
A good example of this is VSANs for SMBs, who traditionally would purchase an enterprise SAN but now can pool local resource to offer a similar capability for a much lower cost. This is “software-defined”, which will consume all going forward, offering an even lower price point to integrators, service providers and vendors, who pass these cost savings onto customers.
The biggest driver of growth is mobility. Everyone expects to be connected to everything and anytime using a multiplicity of devices.
For businesses, mobility can be enabling and disabling at the same time. Employees like the flexibility of working from home, and still having an office presence through social interaction software. Some employees like the thought of using their own smart phones for email, interaction or even saving documents on them to work on at home – and there lays the problem.
Data is more freely available now than it’s ever been. At least 80% of businesses have no strategy for mobility or device management and at least 50% of businesses don’t even know what employees are taking off corporate file servers. It’s a big problem; one that vendors and service providers are trying to focus on.
3. Social networking entering the enterprise space
Social networking brings fast collaborative communications to enterprise and SMB landscape in real-time, whenever and wherever you want. Today’s school leavers enter the workplace armed with tools and ideas on how to use technology far beyond the comprehension of the older generation. IT is an intrinsic element in their lives and they are looking for ever-more instantaneous ways to communicate than email.
Social media is becoming more relevant in the workplace, be that instant messaging, collaborative workspaces, video and audio, or sharing the same document in the same word processor. For example, what Microsoft is currently doing with Yammer, which is aimed at businesses for social collaboration with a Facebook style interface. As we can see, social networking is new to corporate IT but it’s here to stay.
4. Analytics – big data
Analytics is so much more than big data; it is about using the collected data to greater effect. The issue is, the more data you store, the more space you need – and with all that data to crunch, you need more computer power.
>See also: How to prepare for the nexus of forces: mobile, cloud, social and data
Nearly 90% of data is classed as unstructured, which is a problem for analysts when they try to use the data. This is again where businesses look to the cloud, to give them the spin up resource when they need it, offering enough computational power to receive the data processed and the results displayed. Some of our biggest customers are looking at the cloud and scalable distributed computing to process data faster.
In summary, the emergence of the cloud will continue for the next decade but, rather than a revolution, it will become more of an evolution as vendors, businesses and consumers start to fully realise the power that’s in their hand.
Sourced from Mark Scaife, Phoenix IT