Guest author Scott Geng is the CTO at cloud management software company Egenera.
It's no secret that the public cloud market has been growing like gangbusters. In fact, a recent Gartner study found spending on public cloud services is growing at more than 28% per year and private cloud spending is three times that of public cloud. That projects total cloud spending in 2016 to hit $240 billion.
Cloud computing (both public and private) will pave the way forward for how companies will deploy new IT services. Lower price points will help those organizations innovate faster, launch new services more quickly, be more responsive to market conditions and evolve their own business models.
Management And Specialization
The focus in the industry over the past few years has been on the core cloud management services of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. But to truly understand how cloud computing is evolving you have to dive deep below the surface. Two major developments are driving the evolution of cloud: Management and Specialization.
In the management space, innovations like self-service portals have given IT shops and end-users a much-preferred way to request and consume services.
Specialization, meanwhile, is a natural development of any market. A few of the specialized services that will contribute significantly to the adoption of cloud based products and services in 2013 include Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), Metal-as-a-Service (MaaS) and DisasterRecovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS).
DaaS: Portable Desktop Services
Desktop management is a fundamental service for IT organizations. It’s critical for keeping the employees of a company productive. But there have been long standing challenges with managing the traditional desktop. The investment in desktop hardware can be a significant capital expense, especially for large organizations and day-to-day management of these devices can be a huge time sink.
DaaS solutions are secure, cost-effective, easy-to-use and portable – you can get the same desktop on any device.
According to the 451 Research Group, “Interest in third-party DaaS is at a fever pitch.” IT consumerization, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiatives, increase in mobile workers, Windows 7 migrations and security/IP concerns are driving organizations to reevaluate their desktop strategy.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) was supposed to address many of these challenges, but it came with its own set of issues. While it has been promoted as a technology that can save businesses money, large upfront capital expenses and complexity have created barriers to virtual desktop adoption.
With DaaS, savings come from operational expense reductions from centralizing and reducing administration and hardware savings over time. DaaS delivers faster desktop deployment, enhanced security, less downtime and lower support costs - and can enable a truly mobile workforce.
MaaS: Bare Metal In The Cloud
MaaS - the dynamic provisioning and deployment of whole physical servers, as opposed to the provisioning of virtual machines - is a drastically underrated cloud service. MaaS services will finally open the floodgates to allow any application to be run in the cloud – any application with any service level. That means multi-tiered apps with a backend Oracle database, home grown, performance-intensive applications, low latency trading applications, etc.
It’s been hard for people to pay attention to MaaS, mostly because server virtualization has been “the shiny new toy” over the past few years and frankly MaaS is not an easy thing to provide. But that may change once IT administrators see the speed, scalability, agility and simplicity with which they can deploy and protect their underlying server infrastructure.
The statistics are clear – a large percentage of servers have been virtualized in the enterprise (40% - 50% now and heading to 60% - 70%). However, there are still a large number of applications that remain running on bare metal. That important (and underappreciated) fact means that MaaS could be a key ingredient to driving more widespread adoption of cloud technology.
DRaaS: Increased Demand For Disaster Recovery
Over the past few years, IT departments have had to live in a culture of cost reduction – it’s just been the way of life. That culture has resulted in aging equipment, overworked staff and lots of cut corners - a perfect recipe for higher failure rates. The fact is that hardware failure and human error are still the leading causes of unplanned outages - but devastating storms and other catastrophes are also forcing businesses to get serious about geographic disaster recovery planning. Some estimates put 2011 weather related disaster costs at almost $150 billion worldwide, up 25% from 2010. And that is just weather, and doesn't include the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Public Cloud Failures Drive Demand
Another strong driver for disaster recovery is public cloud outages. The public cloud companies are under intense scrutiny - every major outage is noticed and publicized. The statistics show that public cloud outages are on the rise year-over-year, and because so many businesses use these services, public-cloud service failures are felt very broadly – e.g. the Amazon outage that impacted Netflix.
One of the forces driving the next phase of cloud computing adoption is the delivery of specialized services like DaaS, MaaS and DRaaS. These services will help improve the service level of cloud resources, boost efficiency and automation and deepen the consumerization of IT resources. They will also give companies more confidence in placing business-critical applications into cloud infrastructures.
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