The public cloud landscape
19 July 2016 | 0
With the cloud now firmly established as a mainstream technology, there is a strong argument that customers are entering a golden era of choice and value.
Competition in the cloud landscape has never been fiercer and public cloud providers are having to offer more in order to compete with each other. Value add-ons are common and even niche providers are vying to provide the kind of scale and elasticity previously only offered by the web-scale giants.
“It’s a good time to be building applications today, there’s no question about that,” said Ian Massingham, EMEA technical evangelist for Amazon Web Services (AWS). “As more competitors join the market, it further accelerates the benefits to the customer because they’ve got more choice, so now is a great time to be buying and using IT services, whether as an IT pro or as a developer. There are so many different options available that can reduce costs, improve availability and also boost the level of agility that you’ve got.”
“To be honest though, It’s always been a good time to be a customer for cloud services because much of what the cloud is replacing is very inefficient and very expensive,” he said.
With more public cloud vendors seeking to differentiate themselves in the market, the range of services on offer to Irish companies has never been larger. But it is still up to the customers themselves to make good buying decisions in order to get the most out of what’s on offer.
According to Vincent in’t Veld, strategy and marketing director for cloud for Interxion, the question of a golden age is best addressed by assessing the stage of maturity of each individual company.
“The answer to this depends on where a company is with regards to the maturity of its thinking about integrating public cloud into the total IT solution of the enterprise,” he said.
“Have enterprises already done their research? Do they understand their own application landscape? Have they done an analysis of what they want it to look like in the near or medium term future? It’s all dependent, in my opinion, on the maturity of insights an enterprise has.”
Certainly, argues in’t Veld, when the market is examined objectively there are many more capabilities on offer than before and the public cloud landscape is in a maturity phase where there is plenty of supply on offer.
Plan of adoption
“But adopting public cloud has to come with a plan and you can’t look at it only with a short term view. Many people ask the question ‘is there a subset of a workload I can put into a public cloud just to save costs or optimise performance?’ My main point is that there must be a proper plan behind adopting public cloud.”
Having more value added options such as extra services and products offered to customers must surely be a good thing? Providers do this to make themselves more attractive in a competitive environment, but isn’t the net beneficiary the end user?
“Yes, and no,” says in’t Veld. “I think the people who truly add value to the public cloud are maybe not the public cloud service providers themselves but rather the channels that lead to them, such as the system integrators and the managed service providers which are delivering integrated IT solutions which include an element of public cloud.”
“In the end, I believe that the value chain will still comprise middle man who already are the trusted IT suppliers, and migration agents for the enterprises to build hybrid solutions. For example, we are not a cloud service provider at Interxion, we provide data centre collocation services and interconnectivity services between people who collocate in our data centres.”
Performance and latency
From this perspective, Interxion is a carrier and cloud neutral data centre provider that competes on the basis of being able to offer low latency and high performance access to the main public cloud service providers from its data centres.
“We’re currently benefitting from two key trends; one is that cloud service providers have come to the realisation that in order to unlock the potential of enterprise IT in Europe you have to be local because of data sovereignty, performance and compliance reasons,” said in’t Veld.