ICT innovation is reshaping virtually every aspect of life and work to create thriving, prosperous societies. For enterprises, big data analytics, mobility and the Internet of Things (IoT) are driving the next wave of digital business innovation, and cloud is the key enabler for this new era.
Organisations are no longer questioning whether they should use the cloud – they are well aware of the possibilities and are looking at how they can use it to achieve corporate goals. Most organisations move to the cloud to gain agility, flexibility and speed, but the cloud also plays an important role in reducing costs, with enterprises often achieving significant savings when running their services on cloud.
In fact, by reducing the complexity and costs associated with traditional IT approaches, the cloud is enabling enterprises to shift resources to strategic activities that create business innovation and value.
But as cloud choices are growing rapidly, critical decisions have to be made. Cloud requires careful planning and testing to ensure the deployment of high-performing solutions and services.
Hybrid Cloud Challenges
Enterprises can adopt cloud in two ways: private cloud and public cloud. A private cloud is a cloud platform built and owned by companies themselves, whereas a public cloud utilises cloud services rendered over a network that is open for public use.
A hybrid delivery model that combines traditional IT, private cloud and public cloud, is the most likely option as enterprises move to the cloud. A hybrid cloud offers maximum asset utilisation and cost-effectiveness, leverages IT security, and provides high IT availability and service flexibility.
However, most hybrid cloud solutions are isolated, homogeneous solutions. What’s more, public cloud within hybrid cloud is prone to security and network instability risks. Therefore, enterprises face challenges when deploying or migrating their service applications on a hybrid cloud.
The adoption of hybrid cloud has been slow in South Africa. Two of the major reasons are the concerns over the shortage of reliable infrastructure, such as energy which impacts communications, and sufficient high-speed fibre which are the foundations for using hybrid cloud. This, together with concerns of security and migration costs, causes companies to prefer using private cloud. However, with recent developments, these concerns are being addressed with more fibre being deployed, which will enable the practical use of hybrid clouds.
Demand for Cloud Service Brokerage
As enterprises move to the cloud, they are increasingly looking to cloud services brokerage (CSB), which provides third-party assistance to set up and run cloud services. The goal of CSB is to make the service more specific to a company, or to integrate or aggregate services in order to enhance their security, or to do anything which adds a significant layer of value (i.e. capabilities) to the original cloud services being offered. They offer at least one of three capabilities:
· Cloud Service Intermediation: An intermediation broker provides value-added services on top of existing cloud platforms, such as identity or access management capabilities.
· Aggregation: An aggregation broker provides the “glue” to bring together multiple services and ensure the interoperability and security of data between systems.
· Cloud Service Arbitrage: A cloud service arbitrage provides flexibility and “opportunistic choices” by offering multiple similar services to select from.
As IT moves from on-premise to the cloud, CSBs will play an increasingly important role in helping companies efficiently navigate and deploy cloud services, particularly for mission-critical applications, where the company cannot risk issues with deployment. In fact, the global CSB market will grow from $1.6 billion in 2013 to $10.5 billion by 2018, growing 46.2 percent per year, according to MarketsandMarkets.
However, internal CSBs are also emerging within IT departments to deliver cloud-based services and ensure third party compliance with enterprise security and governance policies. Moving forward, effective brokering will be essential for cloud-enabled enterprises.
One trend that is easing the job of cloud service brokers is the increasing standardisation of services and platforms on which enterprise applications are being developed and deployed.
Open Cloud Drives Enterprise Transformation
Both IT organisations and CSBs need an open cloud platform that enables them to rapidly build, deploy and manage cloud applications in a more agile, scalable manner to deliver the ultimate customer-focused innovation. An effective cloud platform that is able to seamlessly run computing, storage, and network resources from different vendors on the same data centre, can help the integration and optimisation of existing data centres and service platforms, and enhancing service system reliability and IT operating efficiency.
Creating a healthy cloud ecosystem across the Internet industry through open, integrated, and innovative technologies and strong partnerships, is the foundation of the new cloud era. Huawei adheres to the principles of openness, cooperation and win-win partnership, and is committed to working with industry alliance partners to provide organisations with innovative cloud solutions that accelerate their cloud journeys.
* Chen Kun, Vice President of Cloud Computing, IT Product Line, Huawei Technologies