Cloud consolidation means different things to different people.
For example, Cisco acquired Metacloud to accelerate its build out of the world’s largest Intercloud. This Intercloud will be a consolidated network of clouds that, together with key partners, will address customer requirements for the globally distributed, highly secure cloud platform envisioned as necessary for the Internet of Everything.
Our take on cloud consolidation here is leveraging cloud services for IT and data center consolidation … moving to the cloud for consolidation rather than having applications sit on traditional hardware/servers in house.
Cloud integration and data center consolidation are top concerns for organizations large and small looking to reduce infrastructure and focus instead on delivering mission-critical IT services and innovation.
Many organizations today face a turbulent technology landscape that challenges their abilities to develop an enterprise architecture that allows them to harness, manage and deliver value in the midst of tremendous change. The continuing adoption of mobile devices, the corresponding growth of mobile data, the migration to higher-density compute platforms, and the massive growth of “big data” are exhausting the amount of available space, power and bandwidth within existing data center facilities. These trends are expected to continue and grow at an even faster pace over the next several years.
In its Global Cloud Index from last year, Peak 10’s technology partner Cisco called out these highlights of what’s ahead:
- Global data center traffic growth will increase threefold by 2017 – Cisco forecasts that global data center traffic will triple from 2.6 zettabytes in 2012 to 7.7 zettabytes annually in 2017, representing a 25 percent CAGR.
- Global cloud traffic will grow faster than overall global data center traffic – The transition to cloud services is driving global cloud traffic at a growth rate greater than global data center traffic. Global data center traffic will grow threefold (a 25 percent CAGR) from 2012 to 2017, while global cloud traffic will grow 4.5-fold (a 35 percent CAGR) over the same period.
- Global cloud traffic will account for more than two-thirds of total global data center traffic – Globally, cloud traffic will grow from 46 percent of total data center traffic (98 exabytes per month or 1.2 zettabytes annually) of total data center traffic in 2012 to 69 percent of total data center traffic (443 exabytes per month or 5.3 zettabytes annually) of total data center traffic by 2017.
- Workload transitions: From 2012 to 2017, data center workloads will grow 2.3-fold; cloud workloads will grow 3.7-fold – In 2012, 39 percent of workloads were processed in the cloud, with 61 percent being handled in a traditional data center.
The federal government was ahead of the cloud consolidation movement when in 2010 it initiated a “Cloud First” policy as part of its drive to shutter 1,200 federal data centers out of 3,133 by 2015. If a commercially available cloud provider was deemed not suitable for a particular workload, the fallback directive was to implement a private cloud. Its goals are universally understood among IT and business management:
- Increase utilization of IT assets
- Deliver new services more quickly, efficiently and within budget
- Improve services to the user communities (the American people)
Whether you have hundreds of data centers or just one that’s bulging at the seams, under-virtualized, with older technologies or unable to service your organization’s demands for business-driven IT services, cloud computing is a financially attractive and performance-enhancing option.
The implementation of a hybrid approach that straddles the line between local servers and the cloud is a common strategy for organizations that wish to achieve many of the efficient operational and rapid scalability benefits, while accommodating legacy or other applications not well suited for the cloud. It allows companies to take advantage of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) cloud paradigms for critical corporate applications and business processes. With the right provider(s), even compliance and security concerns can be addressed.
Advantages also include a much leaner, more agile IT organization that can ramp up new applications and technology in a fraction of the time it used to take – with no need for additional in-house expertise. Cost predictions are easier, and total cost of ownership (TCO) typically favors the cloud over on-premise data centers.