While the cloud market is very competitive, enterprises are making it clear that when it comes to cloud, one size does not fit all. They can’t build their businesses by just relying on infrastructure-as-a-serve (IaaS) and committing to one vendor.
These sentiments were echoed by Mary Meeker’s annual internet trends report, which found that companies are increasingly concerned about being locked-in with one cloud vendor. Citing data from Bain and Morgan Stanley, it was found that in 2015, 22 percent of organizations surveyed said they had concerns about using only one cloud vendor, compared with only seven percent in 2012.
This concern is well-warranted, and stems from an inherent misconception that IaaS equals cloud, while in reality it is only one part of a much larger picture. It’s important to recognize what is truly driving evolution and innovation – higher value services like cognitive solutions that are delivered via the cloud – and how that is shaping the journey many enterprises are taking to the cloud.
First, almost every enterprise today utilizes both public and private cloud solutions, thus the rise of hybrid. Unique business needs and skill sets, along with security, geography and regulatory considerations dictate a mixing and matching of cloud solutions. Flexibility is becoming paramount as enterprises look to leverage their existing infrastructure investments while better understanding what types of applications and workloads are best suited for the public cloud versus which ones should stay on-premises. Often times, the right answer is a mix of both.
Second, we are now entering a new phase of cloud as enterprises move beyond pure commodity rack space, to cloud platforms that deliver higher value services such as AI / cognitive, the Internet of Things, data analytics and blockchain. This phase is being driven not only by the need for these services, but also by the growing necessity for building industry specific cloud platforms.
These significant market shifts require an open approach to cloud development, and they necessitate platforms and services that are interoperable. The ability to link services and clouds together to work as one is only achieved with open cloud architectures and the embracing of communities such as: OpenStack, Docker, Node.js, Cloud Foundry, OpenWhisk and others. This approach is foundational to the IBM Cloud strategy.
Technologies developed with open governance continue to have a much bigger impact on innovation, are more successful, longer lasting and have less risk than those using a proprietary approach. Open cloud architectures are leading the way in this second phase of cloud as more and more enterprises embrace and implement the various services, strategies and platforms that best serve their unique business needs. Balance and flexibility will continue to be the key to getting the most out of any cloud-based technology.