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Data Centre

Private cloud has a serious image problem

‘AWS is to the era of cloud what Microsoft is to client/server’

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As domination goes, it’s hard to surpass Amazon Web Services (AWS). According to recent Gartner data, AWS now offers 10X the utilised cloud capacity of the next 14 IaaS and PaaS providers... combined.

For those paying attention, that’s double the dominance AWS established last year.

And while public cloud spending remains a rounding error in the broader scheme of total IT spending, it’s growing at a 29.1 per cent compound annual growth rate, threatening to up-end legacy IT vendors.

Which is just as it should be. Cloud spending is on a tear precisely because traditional vendors have failed to deliver the convenience that enterprise buyers increasingly demand.

This leaves us with AWS assuming the role that Microsoft played for years. In the words of Hewlett Packard’s cloud chief Marten Mickos : “AWS is to the era of cloud what Microsoft was (and is) to the era of client/server.”

According to Gartner, in 2014 the absolute growth of public cloud IaaS workloads exceeded the growth of on-premises workloads (of any type) for the first time. Including all forms of cloud (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS), IDC expects the cloud-computing market to more than double by 2018 to $127bn.

The primary driver of all that growth? Convenience.

As RedMonk analyst Stephen O’Grady posits: “Convenience trumps just about everything” when it comes to cloud adoption. With developers playing an increasingly important role in IT procurement decisions, appeasing them has become Job #1. Developer appeasement starts with open source and often ends with public cloud computing.

And it’s only going to get worse. Or better. Depending on where your company is investing.

Consider that IDC pegs data centre capacity growth at 750 per cent through 2019, much of it driven by increasing IoT applications. But guess what? Those data centre investments are being made by AWS, Microsoft, and Google, not your enterprise data centre.

As IDC notes: "The agility and scale required in IoT deployments will ensure that much of that data centre capacity ends up residing in service provider [cloud] data centres."

Or take other big data investments. AWS data science head Matt Wood told me in an interview that the experimentation required in data science fits poorly in the hard-wired world of traditional IT or even private cloud:

Those that go out and buy expensive infrastructure find that the problem scope and domain shift really quickly.

By the time they get around to answering the original question, the business has moved on. You need an environment that is flexible and allows you to quickly respond to changing big data requirements.

Your resource mix is continually evolving — if you buy infrastructure, it's almost immediately irrelevant to your business because it's frozen in time.

It's solving a problem you may not have or care about any more.

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