A colleague recently asked, “Is the hype around cloud computing dying off?” The question caught me off-guard, as every day of my week I come across new opportunities to position technology into multi-tenant, outsourced, provider-managed, virtualized, automated and self-service application infrastructure. Based on every current trend, no one could conclude that IT architects are trying to consume more server iron and get less out of their existing IT assets.
Nevertheless, cloud has not been adopted by the masses. Virtual and cloud infrastructure have become the platform of choice for many workload deployments. But the vast majority of organizations that could benefit from cloud value propositions haven’t adopted cloud computing as the go-to platform for application deployment. This is the situation today despite the thousands of virtual and hosted machines already running in the public cloud space. The graphic below represents current cloud adoption globally.
So what’s holding back mass market adoption of cloud solutions? Consider the cloud value propositions: Does server virtualization, which leads to more efficient use of server hardware and data center resources (power and cooling), actually lower our cost of IT as a percentage of business revenue? That’s been answered with a resounding yes – and proven by every early adopter using cloud solutions today. Does it make sense to shift the focus of my IT organization from IT systems, network and storage administration, to the task of providing useful analytics of my enterprise’s data, enabling the organization to capitalize on its core functions? Again, a resounding, “Yes.” For example, why have the tire company focus on being the world’s best IT company? Let the tire company make and sell the best and safest tires on the planet, and let the IT experts in the cloud operate the IT services in the most optimized, shared-resource infrastructure possible. But once again, what is preventing organizations from moving their IT to the cloud, and the market realizing mass market adoption of cloud technology?
Every year, most CIO surveys identify that their top concern about cloud is “Information Security.” Cloud Computing solutions continue to focus on secure, multi-tenant infrastructure, which implies a laundry list of criteria. But when IT departments consider their substantial existing investments in security tools, processes, compliance reporting, and general IT operations, they are not interested in re-inventing those wheels. Herein lies the roadblock that is preventing hundreds of thousands of server workloads from moving to the cloud. While many great cloud offerings have seen strong success and fast growth rates, the current adoption still is just the tip of the iceberg, with a much larger migration to the cloud yet to occur.
CSPs that continue to offer self-service portals that merely ask “how many OS’s do you want and of which flavor” are going to have a hard time capturing market share while increasing profitability. In fact, many are not going to survive on low profit margin virtual machines and their offering will become commoditized and un-differentiated from competition. CSPs need to take their offerings to the next level, adopting technologies that allow their customers to achieve continuous workload visibility within a multi-tenant cloud, while using their existing monitoring, analysis and security tools and processes. Offering solutions such as the Gigamon Visibility Fabric “as a Service” enables the CSP to extend tool visibility mandated by their customers. Taking steps in this direction will lead the CSP to realize higher profit margins through additional add-on services, and establish market differentiation in the eyes of both potential customers and the channel partners who represent their brand.
David has been responsible for the design of global, highly-available data center network and system infrastructure for many Fortune 5000 companies and cloud service providers in the Global Fortune 25. David is the Senior Director of Cloud Solutions at Gigamon, provider of intelligent Traffic Visibility solutions for enterprises, data centers and service providers around the globe. Gigamon’s technology empowers infrastructure architects, managers and operators with unmatched visibility into the traffic traversing both physical and virtual networks without affecting the performance or stability of the production environment.