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18 May 2021 — News

Easing the cloud journey: The importance of IaaS providers

Enterprises are looking for ways to manage cloud. Just 'moving to the cloud' isn’t as simple as it sounds. There are a myriad of cloud-based solutions and not all are built alike. As business dynamics change, IT organizations need to shift accordingly. Whereas a one size fits all approach may have worked in the past, that is not true today. IT organizations need access to a suite of varying solutions and strong, collaborative ecosystems.

 

The role of IaaS

Companies are looking for ways to provide leverage while divesting their infrastructure platforms. This is where cloud-based infrastructure as a service (IaaS) comes in. IaaS is a cloud-based service that provides shared infrastructure resources. Unlike traditional data center approaches where it could take days, weeks or months to setup servers, storage and network resources, IaaS resources can be brought online in a matter of seconds to minutes.

IaaS takes the place of enterprise data center resources in which to run applications. According to Flexera, nearly half of enterprise workloads and data are already in a public cloud. And that that number is expected to grow.

The beauty of IaaS is in the flexibility. It allows applications to scale up and down to consume resources as it needs. In a traditional model, IT organizations would have to build out for maximum consumption even if it was only used a short period during the year. This leads to inefficiency and unused resources. With IaaS, applications can scale up when needed and give back resources when they are not needed. This leads to efficiency and flexibility for enterprises.

 

Using multiple IaaS providers

One thing to understand about IaaS is that each cloud provider offers different combinations of services and with different approaches. Most enterprises will leverage multiple cloud providers. It is important not to leverage multiple cloud providers to avoid lock-in or to provide pricing arbitrage. Today, 92% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy.

Often an enterprise will select one provider as their primary provider. This is where they focus their institutional knowledge and buying leverage. The primary provider matches closest to their business requirements today and moving forward. Then, choose a secondary provider for specific functions that may be the provider’s expertise. Or a secondary provider may be used for compliance, in-country requirements, or latency reasons. Using multiple IaaS providers is called multi-cloud and is a common practice for enterprises.

 

Collaboration with telco providers

When applications are moved to the cloud, the network becomes more critical than ever. In the past, different application functions, and potentially users, were all located in a single building or physically near each other.

We already see a marked planned reduction in the number of corporate data centers. According to a recent study, 62% of organizations plan to reduce or eliminate their data centers in the next 24 months.

When cloud is employed, the cloud data center is often further away and requires solid connectivity. In addition, application architectures may dictate that parts of an application move to cloud, but other functions stay within a corporate data center.

The network becomes the connective tissue between application components, data and users. Adding to the complexity is when an application uses multiple cloud providers. The combination of network connectivity and multi-cloud is where telecommunication companies come in. Telecommunications companies become the critical infrastructure that connects the enterprise with the various public cloud providers.

Enterprises considering their cloud strategy and partner ecosystem need to take into account the relationships and collaboration between partners. This should be considered for their immediate requirements and how they will change over time. Lastly, consider how multi-cloud architecture will play out with a provider and how the ecosystem will support the requirements.

Author: Tim Crawford

Tim is an internationally renowned CIO thought leader in the areas of IT transformation, Cloud Computing and Data Analytics. He has a broad experience that takes a pragmatic approach to the section of business and technology. Tim has served as CIO and other senior IT leadership roles with global organizations and is also the host of the "CIO In The Know” Podcast.