Clouds Mature for Business: Current Trends in Cloud Adoption

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As Cloud Computing matures as an engine of cost savings, improved agility, and enhanced security, options have grown beyond the “one-size-fits-all” offerings available to early users. Organizations can choose between a mix of on-premises or off-premises clouds, or implementing hybrid architectures that combine the best features of all these choices into a tailored solution that meets their own unique needs. When choosing cloud services, consider these factors:

Hyperconvergence is Collapsing Infrastructure, Labor, and Cost in the Data Center

The last several years have seen dramatic advances in “hyperconvergence”–the prepackaged consolidation of compute, memory, storage, networking, and virtualization within scalable building blocks. Hyperconvergence is collapsing the equipment stack and gutting the labor needed to integrate, configure, and operate the complex infrastructure of a world-class data center. In addition to savings in cost and labor, hyperconvergence make it possible to dramatically accelerate infrastructure standup and modernization, speeding delivery of savings and efficiencies to tenant end-users.

Data Center Modernization and On-Premises Clouds

Many customers are using this as an opportunity to modernize IT operations and offer internal cloud services to users, building new capabilities within facilities they already own and control. These on-premises, private clouds are an excellent way to bring innovation to users while still retaining full control of infrastructure and operations. Hyperconvergence’s simplicity and cost savings make the on-premises cloud even more achievable and cost effective than ever before.

On-Premises or Off-Premises: Tradeoffs in Control, Cost, and Business Agility

For customers with legacy IT infrastructures and compelling security requirements, on-premise private clouds are becoming the preferred approach to leverage the benefits of cloud. While this “do-it-yourself” approach allows customers to retain complete control over all aspects of their IT infrastructure, cloud service providers (CSPs) such as Microsoft, GDIT, and others offer commercial alternatives.

Security in the Cloud: Are my Data, Applications and Users Safe? 

The cost savings obtained by moving workloads off-premises to a commercial CSP can be significant, and CSPs offer additional advantages in scalability, geographic distribution, and pace of innovation that can be difficult for on-premise solutions to match. Leveraging these advantages requires organizations give up a level of control over their infrastructure; the key in making that tradeoff is ensuring the data, applications, and users are safe in the off-premises CSP’s environment.

For U.S. government applications, the Federal and DoD standards that CSPs must meet to certify the security of their clouds are strong and getting stronger. While the security certifications held by CSPs are already sufficient for protecting most commercial and government workloads and data, several vendors are expecting FedRAMP Impact Level 5 approval before the end of 2017. This means that organizations can rely upon the security of CSPs for protecting their data, applications, and users for everything except classified information.

Best of Both Worlds: Secure Hybrid Clouds

As the security and features offered by CSPs continue to grow, organizations should look to realize savings by migrating workloads to commercial infrastructures while still maintaining on-premises clouds for more sensitive (or classified) workloads. As a result, organizations are finding themselves with a requirement for managing a hybrid cloud environment comprised of both sensitive on-premises workloads and less sensitive off-premises workloads. Hybrid cloud solutions provide the best of both worlds: maximizing cost savings by leveraging CSP services, while still protecting highly sensitive information by retaining control over their most sensitive workloads and data within on-premises clouds. As CSPs continue to improve the security of their offerings and IT organizations gain additional experience–and trust–in their hosting, migrations of workloads to CSPs will accelerate.

Beyond Infrastructure: Application Rationalization, Migration, and Modernization

GDIT is helping organizations achieve additional savings by using the migration to the cloud as an opportunity to rationalize their applications architectures and remove redundancy in equipment, licenses, and duplicative services. GDIT has found that modernizing legacy applications to take advantage of native cloud services–such as containers, “serverless-compute” and shared micro-services–can deliver new capabilities while significantly reducing the amount of code that must be maintained. The end result is better business value for users and cost savings for the IT organization.

On-premise, off-premise, or hybrid–cloud infrastructure modernization is delivering transformational benefits to IT organizations today. The future of IT looks bright with a 100 percent chance of clouds!

David Gagliano
About David Gagliano
David Gagliano is the chief technology officer for the Global Solutions Division at General Dynamics Information Technology, based in Fairfax, Va.