Businesses must keep a close eye on the evolution of cloud based IT services to avoid wasting money and missing out on business opportunities as uncertainties remain over the cloud as a result of vendor hype, according to Gartner.
The analyst company outlined five trends that businesses should watch between now and 2015.
Gartner said that, while cloud computing has become a major technology trend over the last two years, it continues to evolve and change rapidly.
David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow said: "There is continuing confusion and misunderstanding as vendors increasingly hype 'cloud' as a marketing term. This level of impact, confusion, uncertainty and change make cloud computing one of Gartner's top 10 strategic technology trends to address."
Gartner has outlined five trends and that users should consider when planning:
- Formal decision frameworks facilitate cloud investment optimisation
“The cloud promises to deliver a range of benefits, including a shift from capital-intensive to operational cost models, lower overall cost, greater agility and reduced complexity. It can also be used to shift the focus of IT resources to higher-value-added activities for the business, or to support business innovation and, potentially, lower risks. However, these prospective benefits need to be examined carefully and mapped against a number of challenges, including security, lack of transparency, concerns about performance and availability, the potential for vendor lock-in, licensing constraints and integration needs. These issues create a complex environment in which to evaluate individual cloud offerings.”
- Hybrid cloud computing is an imperative
“Hybrid computing refers to the coordination and combination of external cloud computing services (public or private) and internal infrastructure or application services. Over time, hybrid cloud computing could lead to a unified model in which there is a single cloud made up of multiple cloud platforms (internal or external) that can be used, as needed, based on changing business requirements. Gartner recommends that organisations focus near-term efforts on application and data integration, linking fixed internal and external applications with a hybrid solution. Where public cloud application services or custom applications running on public cloud infrastructures are used, guidelines and standards should be established for how these elements will combine with internal systems to form a hybrid environment.”
- Cloud brokerage will facilitate cloud consumption
“As cloud computing adoption proliferates, so does the need for consumption assistance. A cloud services brokerage (CSB) is a service provider that plays an intermediary role in cloud computing. Interest in the CSB concept increased last year, and Gartner expects this trend to accelerate over the next three years as more individuals, whether they are in IT or a line-of-business unit, consume cloud services without involving IT.
“To address this challenge, IT departments should explore how they can position themselves as CSBs to the organisation by establishing a purchasing process that accommodates cloud adoption and encourages business units to come to the IT organisation for advice and support. The organisation CSB approach can be implemented by modifying existing processes and tools such as internal portals and service catalogs.”
- Cloud-centric design becomes a necessity
“Many organisations look first for opportunities to migrate existing workloads to a cloud system and/or an application infrastructure. This approach may provide benefits where the workload has a highly variable resource requirement, or where the application naturally lends itself to horizontal scalability. However, to fully exploit the potential of a cloud model, applications need to be designed with the unique characteristics, limitations and opportunities of a cloud model in mind. Gartner advises businesses to look beyond the migration of the organisation’s workloads to the creation of cloud-optimised applications that fully exploit the potential of the cloud to deliver global-class applications.”
- Cloud computing influences future data centre and operational models
“In public cloud computing, an organisation is acting as a consumer of services, with the cloud services provider handling the implementation details, including the data centre and related operational models. However, to the extent that the organisation continues to build its own data centres, they will be influenced by the implementation models used by cloud services providers. Gartner recommends that organisations apply the concepts of cloud computing to future data centre and infrastructure investments to increase agility and efficiency.”
Additional information is available in the Gartner report, Five Cloud Computing Trends That Will Affect Your Cloud Strategy Through 2015.