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Cloud predictions for 2014: Adopting the hybrid cloud
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Cloud predictions for 2014: Adopting the hybrid cloud 

The hybrid cloud will rule all others

We’ll continue to see adoption of the hybrid cloud in the new year. While 2013 was supposed to be the banner year of the hybrid cloud, we’ll see more businesses actually adopting the technology in the months to come. For businesses looking to nail down the right combination of cloud solutions, hybrid will be a popular option in 2014.

“I’d say the biggest trend we’re seeing is that the hybrid cloud environment is becoming the most popular environment for most businesses, as they transition into the cloud,”said Byers. “Due to the large number of security concerns that have faced data over the last 12 to 18 months, we’re seeing a shift to more private cloud computing and more of a real hybrid environment.”

Also in 2014, businesses will need to address the implications that come with the hybrid cloud. We’ll see more discussions aroundwhat technology to use, how to secure enterprise environments, and how CIOs can create a cloud environment that accommodates different devices and is still secure.

“I think we’re certainly seeing a sort of tension in the continuation of the consumerization of IT, where end users want to be able to use the device of their choice and to float between their devices,” said Gales. “Cloud computing gives you the capability to make that happen. But from an enterprise perspective, how you actually assemble that has to be very thoughtful in order to continue to maintain the levels of controls you need, particularly around security and privacy. Hybrid cloud computing is a way of making that capability available to users. They can use the devices they want to use, and float between.”

The cloud goes local

Another big trend in cloud computing that we’ll be seeing more of in 2014 is preference for alocal cloud. Companies increasingly want their cloud infrastructure to be located in Canada instead of the U.S.

“The cloud is supposed to be ambiguous and out in the ether, but in reality companies who are moving to the cloud are asking for their server and their data infrastructure to remain local,” said Byers. “They’re looking for cloud providers to actually have local environments. So when we’re in Alberta, companies are looking for a local cloud in Alberta, or when we’re in Ontario they want a local cloud in Ontario.”

The same holds true for data centres; businesses want their data centre provider to be local: “We’re seeing a lot of people saying we want our data to remain in Canada due to the recent items around the NSA,” explained Byers.“I think we’re going to see in-country data requests as it applies to cloud computing as well. We’re going to see a greater look at security in the cloud, people are going to be far more rigid about the security models and where their data resides.”

Data gets an encryption treatment

One of the main concerns with the cloud is an apparent lack of security. That will change in 2014, with more data being encrypted in the cloud. Cloud environments will require authentications and security measures similar to those in the credit card industry, to ensure that data is protected in the cloud.

“I would say very little data that sits in the cloud is encrypted today,” said Byers. “More and more data will become encrypted in the cloud through 2014. Managing access into cloud environments into cloud environments will become more rigid. You’ll start seeing all access in the cloud environments tie to standards that are kind of closer to the payment card industry with dual authentication and a number of other security and encryption concerns.”

Disaster service recovery in the cloud

We’re going to start seeing more technologies that allow companies to do disaster recovery right into the cloud.

“If they have a virtualized server environment in their office today, we’ll see deployments of technology where, with a click of the button, that server, in the event of a disaster, can be up and running in the cloud,” said Byers. “I’d say that’s becoming far more prevalent in cloud providers today. I’d say that’s the biggest one. The disaster recovery element or the disaster recovery benefits that the cloud can provide for in-house virtualized environments is phenomenal.”

And in many cases, it will introduce capabilities that companies could otherwise not afford or could not deploy in a timely manner. By doing disaster recovery in the cloud, enterprises can avoid a lot of cost.

“We’re seeing the rise of more granular services available in the cloud that enterprises can plug in to,” said Gales. “For enterprises, instead of having to standup their own disaster recovery site and manage a second site, they can basically take that service from a public cloud provider.”

Long-term look: cloud-based applications win out

In terms of long term trends, in the future most applications will be available in the cloud. 2014 will see more cloud-based application purchases.

“I would say all applications that people are buying today are certainly moving to the cloud,” said Byers.“We’re going to see a greater view on that, where probably a year ago 50 or 60 per cent of the applications out there were available in a cloud-based scenario – we’re going to see that increase to 70 or 80 per cent of the time, that application will be available in the cloud.”

“Over the course of the next five years, I think we’ll increasinglysee an abstraction of applications away from device dependency,” said Gales. “Increasingly, more capabilities in enterprise will be centred around provisioning applications and data around either private or public clouds – most commonly, a hybrid cloud situation – so that users can access their applications and data from any device.”

Also, internally, companies will see a migration from the traditional way of servicing IT to more of IT as a service (ITaaS) within an organization. Companies will be taking a more holistic view to how they can take advantage of cloud computing to meet their respective business needs.

“To what extent can we leverage these technologies to really drive agility and reduce costs without compromising security, privacy and regulatory requirements and without locking ourselves in to a new siloed paradigm,” said Gales.“My view is that as we look forward, we’re seeing many more CIOs take a much more holistic view to where can cloud computing fit in and how to embrace this full continuum, but in a way that doesn’t compromise those things that are very important.”

 

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