How multi-cloud businesses get the most out of their data and services
For today’s business, enterprises are increasingly choosing multi-cloud services. According to IDC, over 85 per cent of enterprises will commit to multi-cloud architectures encompassing a mix of public cloud services, private clouds, community clouds, and hosted clouds by 20181.
To get the most of data and services, Canadian enterprises will need to extend multiple data centres and computing clouds. This practice will speed up the current disintegration of IT, data and systems that are necessary to act as a single unified environment to yield their full potential.The fact is, regardless of the many benefits of public cloud computing, most enterprises are just not capable of moving all of their data into a public cloud – and for good reason. Data sets could be too large to move in bulk; switching costs for legacy systems might bring forth unsatisfying ROI, or simply because regulatory, privacy or security requirements prevent them from doing so. For the future of IT, the prevailing pattern will be the hybrid cloud.
Hybrid cloud provides the flexibility to put workloads and data where it makes the most sense. It consists of infusing traditional with multiple private and public clouds to give enterprises the agility and control they demand while still providing a complete view of what’s happening within their company.
Take online retailers. They strive to bring consumers a consistent buying experience while sustaining real-time inventory insights and quickly identifying market trends. With a multi-cloud environment, online retailers can merge data coming from all sides of the company – including sales and inventory applications – no matter where they reside. They can then integrate this data with information from other public cloud sources like third-party market tracking services, to gain a complete view of consumer buying behaviour, and how rapidly they can make the most of their existing inventory and prepare future purchases.
Undoubtedly, it will also become paramount that enterprises ask themselves whether their clouds are integrated in the most strategic way for their business. They need to determine how best to marry valuable data and their IT systems. In fact, as we continue to move towards a multi-cloud world, there will be more demands for a range of integrative approaches for data, applications, APIs and message-based integration to give businesses optimum access to data and systems wherever they reside. In fact, a recent IBM study, Growing up Hybrid: Accelerating digital transformation, states that two-thirds of organizations implementing hybrid cloud report they’re already gaining competitive advantage from their hybrid environments and are nearly three times as likely to use it to assemble data assets or monetize data.
It should come as no surprise that IT systems produce huge amounts of data; therefore, the challenge for businesses is more about how to uncover – and make sense of – relevant data sets that they collect. Overseeing data analytics is not always easy to do, especially when businesses have a vast amount of information that exists in various systems and services and across multiple clouds. This makes it more important for enterprises to manage their data in a hybrid cloud environment.
For example, it is imperative that banks keep customers’ sensitive financial information, like average deposit amounts and money transfer trends, in private clouds so they can best manage and control the data. But if a customer uses mobile banking to make transactions, he or she will be required to access data from a mobile app that may be served from a public cloud. This mix of private and cloud environments means banks would be better suited to blend their existing infrastructure within multiple cloud environments to create a hybrid cloud framework that gives them the speed and control they need to optimize their business.
As we move toward the world of managing data with multiple clouds, enterprises will also need to understand all of the underlying technology so they can work with numerous workloads on various cloud platforms.
Cognitive computing is emerging as the foundation for data and is quickly shifting the way enterprises manage information and their data systems. With cognitive computing, organizations can ingest and interpret huge amounts of data than ever before to help them better optimize operations. Cognitive systems help to improve business performance by allowing enterprises to understand the relationship and context between all components within a multi-cloud environment, while also enabling them to predict potential issues and provide the best alternatives to correct these problems.
As the voyage to the multiple clouds evolves, it is important to assist with the big challenges: maximize current investments, create a strategy around data and leverage advanced applications in the cloud like cognitive applications. By joining together and incorporating more systems, data, and cognitive capabilities within an open cloud platform, Canadian enterprises can make the most of their applications and in doing so, offer their clients the control they demand and remain globally competitive.
1. IDC: IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Cloud 2017 Predictions, doc no.US41863916, Nov 2016
Mark Noppe, is vice-president of the Cloud Business Unit of IBM Canada
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