The CEO of Peak 10 customer, Red Hat, related to a reporter recently that his company is experiencing a growth spurt from an interesting source. More companies, he said, are putting production Linux workloads in the cloud, generating new licensing and maintenance revenues for Red Hat. He believes that these companies have completed their experimentation with cloud test and development environments using free open source tools. Now they are finally making the switch to the real thing.
It’s happening in cloud storage too. According to Forrester Research only 9 percent of hardware decision makers say storage technology budgets will increase by more than 10 percent this year. That’s curious given that data at enterprises has grown 45 percent over the last two years, with the average enterprise storage footprint increasing from 2,200 TB to 3,200 TB. Look for cloud storage to be used increasing to augment primary, secondary and archive storage tiers, according to the firm.
Similar anecdotal evidence we’ve seen seemingly backs up aggressive growth projections from the industry analyst community. Cloud computing is teetering on that line of going mainstream in terms of companies actually running more of true business applications and critical workloads in the cloud after having gotten a good feel for the cloud model by running simple, lower-level applications there. Our technology partner Cisco believes that this is the crossover year when more workloads will be processed in the cloud than in traditional data centers. By 2017, the balance will be approximately two-thirds in favor of the cloud.
Making the leap
These and many other intractable forces keep pushing computing and storage to the cloud. Still, fear, uncertainly and doubt hold many back and have others wondering if they have made the correct choices of services and suppliers. The unknown can be a scary place, especially when you’re thinking that your job and company’s future hang in the balance.
Upon close examination everything that constitutes the cloud is familiar. It is hardware, software and networks. It’s a data center in a protected structure connected to and with the Internet. It leans toward the more routine aspects of information and communications technology and management, scaled to enormous proportions and tended by experts. And it’s there for you to use as you wish.
The art form is in how the pieces are assembled, managed and maintained to deliver performance, availability and security for you. This is where the uncertainty often sets in.
Is the cloud preferable to doing it all yourself in your own data center? Consider that cloud systems are simple and homogeneous for the most part, without the complications and inefficiencies of legacy. This also makes security and procedural policy enforcement and efficacy more transparent. Cloud providers can grow and increase revenue only if the cloud and storage infrastructure is in place to accommodate it. Fully leveraging capacity is fundamental to their business models, which means operating at peak efficiency is as well.
Running your production workloads in the cloud should look and feel similar to running them in your own data center, only better. Automation tools and performance dashboards keep you connected to your infrastructure, applications and databases. Adding capacity and deploying new workloads happens faster than making the decision that you need them.
While that’s going on, you can now focus attention on improving your own business operations, customers’ experiences, competitive differentiation and revenue-generating potential. That’s the power of the cloud. Are you ready?