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10 Questions about Cloud Computing
June 02, 2017 | By John Johnson @ Cisco
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We are pleased to share with you all an interesting article contributed by John Johnson who is Cloud & Platforms Business Development Manager @CiscoUKI passionate about solving complex customer challenges

 

 

John Johnson

Sales Business Development Manager - UKI Cloud Platforms

at Cisco

 

All Articles by John Johnson

 
     
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I've shared my perspectives on a variety of common cloud related questions and I'd be interested to hear your views. Please don't hesitate to get in touch.

 

Q1. What are the bigger issues facing Cloud Service Providers in the coming years?

 

Gartner have predicted that the total public cloud services market is projected to grow 18% in 2017 to total $246.8Bn and reach $383Bn by 2020 (Source: Gartner Feb 2017).

 

This is unprecedented growth and the price war amongst the public cloud providers is commoditising the cloud market, which one could argue is good for the consumer as it reduces prices. In order to compete, cloud providers need to offer value-added services (VAS) to maintain their margins and offer clear differentiation in the market either through niche services or vertical platforms.

 

A one-size cloud model does not fit all, so a multi-cloud approach is gaining momentum, which allows customers to adopt the right cloud securely for the right service, controlling the right workload with the right policies at the right time. Multi-cloud will minimise the risk of widespread data loss or downtime due to a localised cloud service outage. It can also avoid proprietary vendor lock-in by using different infrastructures to meet the diverse needs of customers. Therefore, cloud providers need to explore hybrid cloud models and cloud brokerage services to meet this demand and offer customers a choice. 

 

 As cloud adoption becomes mainstream across Enterprise there will be increasing demand to migrate legacy applications and compute-intensive workloads (such as Big data, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning). Public cloud providers will need to address the demands of these services or face customer dissatisfaction and the repatriation of workloads back on-premise or migration to other providers.

 

The emergence of 5G and the rise of IoT with intelligent devices, things and sensors communicating directly peer-to-peer with each other, is driving the growth of edge computing (fog computing). For example, driverless cars will generate nearly 1 Gigabyte of data every second (approx. 2 Petabytes per car per year - Source: Datafloq), which will need to be processed and pre-analysed at the edge with low latency.

 

There will always be the need for cloud computing to centrally aggregate data and draw insights that can feedback further intelligence to the edge. However, computation and analytical capabilities closer to the edge reduces the round-trip delay for processing and removes traffic over the wide area network.

 

Q2. How are businesses using Cloud Services to solve their business pains?

 

Businesses are adopting cloud computing to achieve various outcomes, which can be categoriesed as either strategic, tactical or operational. For example:

  • Strategic: Centralisation of infrastructure, location independent working, deliver better customer services.
  • Tactical: Improve agility, faster implementation of services and time to value, enhance security and on-demand capacity.
  • Operational: Reduce costs, flexible work practices, improve efficiency and shared services.

 Our customers are looking to Cisco and our partners for a complete cloud approach, regardless of where they are on the journey. They consume cloud services to deliver specific business outcomes and every organisation is at a different point of IT maturity with different compelling events fuelling their move to cloud. Each cloud adoption journey is different as it must suit a business' individual needs and support all types of workloads - new cloud applications, existing environments, and hybrid models.

 

The Enterprise cloud adoption approach generally falls into three categories and it is an evolution:

  • Private DC First - 90% On-prem Private Data Centre and 10% SaaS;
  • Cloud First – Hybrid IT with a mix of 33% SaaS, 33% IaaS and 33% On-prem;
  • Cloud All In – 67% IaaS and 33% SaaS.

In some cases, a large enterprise may choose an approach for the entire company, and all the lines of business (LoB) then follow the same strategy. However, in most cases, a single large enterprise may have all three approaches at the same time in different LoB’s.

 

Q3. Will Hybrid Cloud be the de facto standard for the Enterprise?

 

Well it depends on user needs and the scale of the organisation, as some smaller businesses may default to cloud native and “born in the cloud” whereas a large enterprise may adopt a cloud first policy with a mix of cloud approaches across different lines of business.

 

Organisations are generally operating hybrid IT with a mix of workloads on-prem and in clouds, so I would agree that hybrid cloud is the de facto standard. However, the aspiration for many is cloud native, so hybrid would be a state of transition over a 5-10 year period for those organisations.

 

Q4. Have businesses changed their approach to Cloud Services?

 

Yes. I believe they have, as digital transformation is driving a greater focus on time-to-value and customer systems of engagement, technology capabilities have evolved and barriers to adoption have been alleviated. 

 

Cloud adoption has matured and businesses are embracing the possibilities of cloud with more rigour around governance, empowering people with the digital skills and changing the culture.

 

The transition from “As-Is” to a target state operating model in the cloud is not big bang and the adoption matures in phases, each aligned to specific business priorities. Each phase of a journey will require increments in capability including people (skills), processes and technology (products/services). For example, as an organisation increases location independent working and consumes more public cloud services the demands on the network change. Consumers will need secure and optimal access to those services from any location, so this introduces more flexible and agile wide area networks e.g. Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) models and Secure Internet Gateways (Cisco Umbrella) to help secure users on- and off-premise and mitigate the risks of SaaS user account and data breaches (Cisco Cloudlock).

 

Q5. What role does Cloud play in Digital Transformation?

 

There is a great deal of hype about ‘digital transformation’ and the term is often used but rarely defined. So, I will defer to the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation (DBT) based in Switzerland, which is an IMD and Cisco Initiative. Their definition focuses on the needs of business leaders to drive performance improvements through investments in digital tools and technologies as follows:

 

 “Digital Business Transformation is

Organizational Change through the use of

Digital Technologies and Business Models to

Improve Performance” ( Source: IMD )


A group of technologies known as the ‘Third Platform’ underpins digital transformation and this includes Social Media, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and IoT. All of these elements are helping to transform organisations and giving rise to new technology-enabled business models.

 

The transformation all starts with the network as it’s about connecting people, processes and things together. Once connected, insights and intelligence can be drawn from those interactions to improve performance, which could be measured as increased revenues, improved efficiency, enhanced customer service and reduced costs.

 

Cloud facilitates rapid business change through scalable and dynamic IT resources, which offers organisations a competitive advantage. New products and services can be developed through ‘born in the cloud’ agile practices and brought to market quickly thus speeding up the time-to-value.

 

Organisations that pursue both Digital Transformation and Cloud strategies in tandem are realising significant benefits, but every organisation is at a different point of IT maturity and hybrid IT is the de facto standard. 

 

Therefore, cloud service providers need to offer a range of services to help customers optimise their adoption of cloud and become an agent of digital disruption. Organisations with optimised cloud strategies typically employ DevOps practices, microservices architectures, containers (i.e. Docker), multi-cloud sourcing with centralised orchestration (Cisco CloudCenter), security delivered from the cloud as a service (Cisco Umbrella, Cloudlock etc..), cloud-based IoT applications (Cisco Jasper), cloud governance policies, leverage AI and machine learning and connect app performance and customer experience to business outcomes (AppDynamics).

 

Q6. In terms of Cloud Computing, what do you think will be a bottleneck for the Digital Transformation process?

 

 An immediate issue that comes to mind is the digital skills gap within organisations and the lack of knowledge and expertise necessary to leverage social media, mobility, analytics, cloud and IoT technologies. Culture is another barrier to adoption, as both cloud and digital transformation will introduce change and new processes.

 

As organisations mature and look to optimise their cloud investments, new cloud native skills are needed e.g. DevOps, cloud security, managing distributed applications, multi-cloud sourcing.

 

In some cases, IT departments are bottlenecks and they need to become brokers of hybrid IT services including both cloud and on-prem (non-cloud). This will ensure that IT meets the digital transformation demands of the business whilst maintaining control and governance. Shadow IT continues to be a problem for many organisations, as there is a cloud gap between business needs and the capabilities of IT.

 

Given the complexity of digital services, it is imperative for the business to proactively monitor and optimise their applications, user experience and business performance. Using AppDynamics technology it is possible to connect application performance and customer experience to business outcomes. The AppDynamics platform provides a clear line of sight between IT and business performance.

 

Q7. How do you see the new Software Defined everything affecting the Cloud Service Industry?

 

Personally, I believe Software Defined technologies will help to overcome existing barriers and accelerate cloud adoption. For example, agility in the network is becoming a critical aspect of a company’s overall business strategy. After all, the network is the platform for digital business and current WAN technologies are struggling to combat sophisticated cyber-threats, or keep up with the requirements of today’s mobile workforce and their use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and new cloud applications. They need to securely connect to multiple public and private clouds, enable location independent working with ubiquitous guest and corporate WiFi and provide a consistent end-user experience at a lower cost.

 

These changes are shifting the emphasis away from fixed length private MPLS WAN contracts towards agile Software Defined WANs. The network strategy needs to adjust based on where the data and applications are hosted, thus WAN requirements are directly linked to an organisations cloud adoption journey.

 

Q8. Does IoT mean that Cloud Service Providers will have to address their capacity management?

 

By 2020, it is estimated that the number of connected devices is expected to grow exponentially to 50 billion. The main driver for this growth is not human population; rather, the fact that devices we use every day (e.g., refrigerators, cars, fans, lights) and operational technologies such as those found on the factory floor are becoming connected entities across the globe. This world of interconnected things - where the humans are interacting with the machines and machines are talking with other machines (M2M) — is here and it is here to stay.

 

IoT crosses various market segments and there are a myriad of ‘things’ with a range of security, data and connectivity requirements. For example, a multi-million pound mining drill may have thousands of sensors generating gigabytes of data every second, but an edge compute node processes and analyses the data and optimises drill operations whilst sending only a summary of insights to the cloud. In contrast, a domestic drill may only have one sensor managed directly from the cloud. In these two examples, we see different demands on the network and the use of edge computing (fog), so it is difficult to forecast the impact on central cloud service providers.  

 

Q9. How can Cloud Service Providers manage the Security of IoT?

 

The promise of IoT is astronomical – enabling companies across every industry to become a connected service business, but to achieve meaningful results, enterprises need to follow a clear checklist to ensure that all the components in their IoT infrastructure are secure. Sanjay Khatri from Cisco Jasper has prepared the following checklist and authored a blog series focused on IoT Security:

 

1. Take a holistic approach

 

Make sure you understand all the players in the complex ecosystem of IoT security. Look at everything from device manufacturers and network providers to connectivity management platforms and industry standards. It will help you plan and implement a more solid IoT strategy, one that ensures each area has the appropriate security for your specific business. For more details, check out part 1 in this series.

 

2. Evaluate security end-to-end

 

Track all the various layers in the IoT service to ensure strict identification, encryption and authentication protocols are in place to protect both your customers and your business. As an example, you’ll want to verify endpoint devices with cryptographically-generated digital signatures and ensure any user access to those devices is properly secured. Also safeguard data in transit with proper encryption and the use of secure private networks. And on the application level, make sure you have granular security controls such as role-based access so only the appropriate employees can access the parts of the application relevant to their work. Learn more in part 2, part 3, and part 4 of this series.

 

3. Choose the right connectivity

 

Make sure your choice of connectivity reflects the level of security you require. Cellular connectivity uses global standards such as ciphering keys and encryption algorithms on the SIM itself to securely transmit and receive data. Cellular also allows you to parse out device data into secure private networks to isolate it from other network traffic, like the Internet. For a deeper dive on network and data security, see part 3.

 

4. Utilize an IoT connectivity management platform

 

A connectivity management cloud platform such as Cisco Jasper Control Center helps ensure you can deliver secure, reliable IoT services at the lowest cost, anywhere in the world. To safeguard your business, the platform constantly monitors all connected devices, and you can establish rules-based security policies that automatically take corrective action if anomalous behavior is detected.

 

5. Comply with standards

 

Be prepared by understanding and implementing recommendations and requirements from national and international councils for protecting consumer personal and financial data as well as regulated data. Make sure data is transmitted, stored and used according to local privacy and data protection legislation.

 

Delivering secure IoT services takes an ecosystem. Understanding the IoT ecosystem can help businesses prepare for the complexities, and implement the appropriate security measures for their IoT use cases.

 

Q10. Do you think that Microservices Architecture will change how Data Centres deliver cloud services in the future?

 

Whilst organisations have adopted a ‘Cloud First’ strategy, many are looking towards cloud native or ‘born in the cloud’ applications assembled as microservices running in containers.

 

Microservices are developed using DevOps practices, so that new business logic and code changes can be deployed in an agile manner to add value to a business quickly. Unlike traditional monolithic applications, these microservices are not dependent on the underlying infrastructure, as availability should be designed into the application. However, we have seen recent examples where that has not happened and major service outages have occurred. 

 

Microservices are distributed across many systems and cloud service providers, so they are inherently complex. Analytics and automation will be necessary to monitor business performance and correlate issues back to specific application lines of code or supporting infrastructure (AppDynamics).  

API’s are important as they offer developers standard access to new capabilities, so cloud providers will need to expand their portfolio of platform services like AI, machine learning etc…

 

Besides transitions in technology, I honestly believe data protection regulations and policies around data sharing will have a big impact on the cloud services industry. Consumers will gain greater control over who has access to their data, how it is used and when it should expire. Data is of great value and thus I believe blockchain has a role to play to help secure users and things in the World of IoT. (Cisco and Blockchain).

 
     
henry 2019-03-12 20:43:24

A one-estimate cloud demonstrate does not fit all, so a multi-cloud approach is picking up energy, which enables clients to embrace the correct cloud safely for the correct administration, controlling the correct outstanding task at hand with the correct strategies at the opportune time. Multi-cloud will limit the danger of across the board information misfortune or downtime because of a confined cloud administration blackout. Cisco 500-215 Exam Dumps It can likewise maintain a strategic distance from exclusive merchant lock-in by utilizing distinctive foundations to meet the assorted needs of clients. Thusly, cloud suppliers need to investigate crossover cloud models and cloud business administrations to satisfy this need and offer clients a decision.

As cloud appropriation progresses toward becoming standard crosswise over Enterprise there will expand request to move heritage applications and process escalated remaining tasks at hand, (for example, Big information, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning). Open cloud suppliers should address the requests of these administrations or face client disappointment and the repatriation of remaining tasks at hand back on-reason or movement to different suppliers.

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