The Impact of a Universal Cloud

The Impact of a Universal Cloud

The victory of the clouds is unstoppable - say at least a lot of experts. But in practice, "all-in-the-cloud" arrangements can create big problems for IT decision makers, such as security and management.

According to Bitkom Cloud Monitor 2018, two-thirds of German companies are already using cloud computing. Key benefits include scalability of faster IT services, cellular access to resources, and increased application availability and performance. At the same time, more than one in five respondents identified problems in meeting compliance and security requirements and in tailoring cloud solutions.

This shows that companies do not see the cloud as a universal solution for all challenges. Other studies confirm this finding. So the biggest hurdles to migrating IT operations to the cloud, according to a Forrester study, are:

  • Bad change management (75 percent)
  • Rigid corporate culture (71 percent)
  • Lack of coordination between IT and other departments (69 percent)
  • Missing strategies (58 percent)

Control, security and privacy

With respect to the current cloud infrastructure, the company is very concerned about security and privacy issues due to recent cyber attacks and GDPR (76 percent). 69 percent of respondents acknowledged their lack of control and experience in security and privacy in the cloud only during and after migration. Seventy-seven percent of companies find that their teams are not adequately trained, and 74 percent are hampered by a lack of internal expertise.

In addition, this year's RIA survey "Where does the data live?" At the application level it is found that IT decision makers do not plan to migrate everything to the cloud. From this it follows that they deal very closely with the technical and commercial advantages and disadvantages of the cloud, co-location and on-site data center.

There is still much left in the data center itself

In fact, it is not uncommon for companies to continue to operate their data centers. According to Crisp Research, there were around 30,000 small server rooms, 5,000 medium-sized data centers and 500 large data centers in Germany at the end of 2015. However, according to Gartner, 80 percent of all companies in 2025 no longer have their own data centers.

Gartner establishes this as a local, self-empowered data center, which is replaced by a public cloud application and co-location service. Moreover, more and more companies are likely to use hybrid IT infrastructure, and so it makes sense to place standalone infrastructure components, such as servers and storage, close to public clouds in shared locations.

This enables them to take advantage of the best of both worlds and even integrate them into large and comprehensive solutions. Because the public cloud and its own data center are not exclusive to each other, but can be combined in one shared location.

Optimal solution

Therefore, companies must consider each individual case where the workload is best. Data and applications that are regulated and audited are treated differently from standard applications. For example, CRM solutions and sensitive employee data must remain in their own data centers to meet data protection and security requirements.

Instead, for example, content management systems and product pages can be operated in the cloud to take advantage of cost benefits. Therefore digitization will lead to different treatment of products and services for customers. The optimal cloud strategy depends on the company's strategy.

The trend is towards hybrid IT. But then the question is: Should self-service IT and public cloud services be provided side by side or integrated? Distributed workloads require a comprehensive network display. This in turn led to rethinking in the IT team itself, as infrastructure, network and application boundaries fell.

Trends: IT Hybrids

Existing silos must be dissolved in succession and the IT department integrated. This is the only way to manage hybrid infrastructure transparently and efficiently.

In addition, the question arises of which public cloud is most suitable for which application. In fact, all offers each have advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, ideally, optimal service must be determined and used for each individual application. In addition to functionality and capacity, it is also important to consider where servers are and how they are protected to comply with relevant guidelines.

The right cloud can come from local vendors or global players. But multi-cloud in turn produces new management requirements. Because each vendor brings its own interface, companies need to implement a comprehensive system that can manage all the clouds in an integrated way. Only then can configuration and management efforts be kept within limits.

Ideal case

Ideally, individual applications that are used in companies are entirely independent of each other. Then you can also use separate IT partners for each cloud application. If data transfer between applications is not bandwidth-intensive or latency-critical, each application can be viewed individually. Then the company faces the fewest challenges in introducing multi-cloud.

But the reality is usually different. Because of the many dependencies and data exchanges between applications, companies have to analyze various criteria. This includes scalability, performance and latency, but also data sensitivity, robustness, and security.

If individual applications in the cloud are operated in the process chain, others in the data center, this can cause substantial performance losses in the whole process. Then, the organization must decide whether the public cloud should move geographically closer to its own data center to optimize latency and performance, or even run as a private cloud in its own data center. Or, conversely, should private applications be closer to public cloud and the topic of network connectivity should be reconsidered?

Shared locations for all cases

In all cases, co-location providers can provide support here, providing direct connections to various WANs and public cloud providers while providing equipment housing for their own IT operations. This gives companies all options from one source - their own data center, private cloud and public cloud. In addition, modern solutions such as "Cloud Connect" allow personal connections with many cloud providers through one physical connection.

Different scenarios for IT infrastructure

Different scenarios for IT infrastructure (Image: Interxion)

This enables companies to realize multi-cloud in a practical and simple way. Because connectivity can be adjusted directly, without having to make new physical connections or schedule a time for these conditions. This allows companies to implement various scenarios as (see also: Graph):

"Network": WAN gateway and IP hub

"Hybrid": Only important applications near public cloud

"Cloud first": Primary Cloud, the rest is in a shared location

This means that the use of cloud is not a good decision or not. Cloud is not an end in itself and is not a self-runner, which automatically resolves all problems. But modern, agile IT doesn't work with old conventional concepts.

That's why companies need IT strategies that combine the best on-premise and cloud solutions. Flexible co-location services are suitable for this purpose. Because they offer many different connectivity options to provide the optimal solution for each scenario.