Everything-as-a-Service: The future of cloud computing

While the benefits of cloud computing are clear, the future of cloud computing holds greater intrigue and mystery. 

Sajan Paul Nov 22nd 2018 A-A+
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Today any organization that is not turning to the cloud for a significant portion of its storage, network or compute functions is leaving itself at a disadvantage vis-à-vis its competitors.

Statista pegs the market value around the USD 140 billion mark right now and expects the size to rise by another USD 20 billion by 2020. It’s no surprise then, that cloud computing across multiple formats is steadily becoming ever more integral for tech giants and startups alike.

While the benefits of cloud computing are clear – every employee can access uniform functionalities and perform tasks from anywhere in the world – the future of cloud computing holds greater intrigue and mystery. Business strategies are sure to get further influenced by the manner in which the cloud computing industry evolves, and newer trends such as decentralized cloud and serverless cloud are also becoming more popular and gaining greater adoption.

“Any model that can minimize infrastructure costs is one that will receive massive adoption. That’s the reason why subscription-based pay-per-use models are becoming more prominent, and ‘as-a-service’ is what the future holds.”

Newly termed as ‘Function-as-a-Service’ (FaaS) such methods of cloud computing are changing the scenario completely. It is revamping a cloud architecture wherein resources sit idle until they are allocated to specific applications and functions. In the case of FaaS, cloud resources only get allocated when specific events occur, and until then, they are servicing other cloud functions and components.

This makes resource allocation more streamlined and eliminates the wastage of cloud resources. The Internet of Things (IoT) economy functions on such a model as sensors activate event-based functions when the need arises. Enterprises and cloud service providers are now altering their architecture to cater to this trend.

Everything to function ‘as-a-Service’
Hybrid IT solutions have long been making a splash and directing strategy for the industry and the cloud computing segment, but there are many who feel that it is a stopgap solution that enables enterprises to mix and match what they have. 

As the future still remains unclear, any model that can minimize infrastructure costs is one that will receive massive adoption. That’s the reason why subscription-based pay-per-use models are becoming more prominent, and ‘as-a-service’ is what the future holds.

Nicholas Carr, an acclaimed American writer on technology, business and culture, has insightfully said that IT systems are becoming a thing of the past, and they will soon start functioning as communal services – like electricity – and people will only pay for what they use.

Looking ahead, the cloud computing future can thus be classified as a unique on-demand space that combines the best-of-breed software from specialists. The offerings here include end-to-end services like encryption, authentication, segmentation and data management across fragmented devices spread across public, private and hybrid clouds. 

Such a multi-cloud space requires the modern enterprise to be agile and cohesive, and this is leading them to turn to platforms that can provide policy orchestration and analytics that can deliver consistent security, connectivity and operations.

With this in mind, cloud innovations that are capable of delivering agile on-demand services such as these are now emerging in the market. Different vendors are offering varying price points for specific levels of capabilities, and organizations are turning to them without being tied down to single vendors.

“The complex integration that is required to make all service providers function on the same wavelength and speak the same language is a driving force that is determining where the industry is headed. This is leading to major upheavals with regard to price points, SLAs, skills, contracts and more.”

Multi-cloud strategies are enabling them to reap the benefits of scale and low-downtime and enterprises can thus make the most of what different vendors are offering. A RightScale 2018 state of the cloud report stated that 81 percent of enterprises prefer a multi-cloud strategy, and already have a plan of action in place.

What the future holds for cloud computing

As enterprises build and evolve their cloud strategies, it is becoming more about the migration journey itself rather than the final architecture. 

Since the scope of operations and scale of data is constantly changing, there is no one size fits all approach that can simplify the cloud approach for every organization. Operations have become significantly simpler, but many enterprises still prefer private clouds due to the sensitive nature of their data workloads. 

However, most of the time, they are unable to derive maximum value of scalability without resorting to some kind of a pay-as-you-go dynamic model. Multi-cloud solutions hold the answer and provide a simplified journey.

While next-gen technologies like AI, neural integrations and quantum computing promise much change in the computing world, enterprises require a whole new level of innovations for compute, storage and network functionalities. Committing completely to multi-cloud strategies is easier said than done though and enterprises know that they need expertise and assistance from specialists.

The complex integration that is required to make all service providers function on the same wavelength and speak the same language is a driving force that is determining where the industry is headed. This is leading to major upheavals with regard to price points, SLAs, skills, contracts and more. The concerns here are real, but a synchronized industry-wide effort to maintain consistency and maximize IT investments makes the cloud computing industry an exciting industry to watch.

Sajan Paul is Director Sales & CTO India at Juniper Networks - an innovation leader in building secure Multiclouds at scale, with any cloud, any workload, and any deployment.

Disclaimer: This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the contributing authors and not of IDG Media and its editor(s).