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Cloud is a paradigm, not a place

Steven Yong, Business Group Lead, Cloud & Enterprise Group, Microsoft Malaysia | May 19, 2016
Microsoft Malaysia's Steven Yong writes on the accelerated shift in Malaysia from traditional computing to the cloud computing paradigm.

Steven Yong, Business Group Lead, Cloud & Enterprise Group, Microsoft Malaysia 

Photo - Steven Yong, Business Group Lead, Cloud & Enterprise Group, Microsoft Malaysia


This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Today's cloud computing pace is moving at an accelerated rate - we see a shift in traditional computing that gives businesses on-demand access to a variety of software and services while giving IT a shared pool of configurable computing resources at the platform, infrastructure and application layers. When done right, cloud computing helps businesses do more - tapping into the power of massive datacentres and IT services without having to build, manage or maintain them.

In Malaysia, deploying cloud-based ICT solutions has become the most important trend and is expected to reach about US$900 million by 2020. The cloud market in Malaysia is growing at a rapid pace, with the local government driving the development of a cloud computing ecosystem as a strategic initiative to promote MSC Malaysia while simultaneously equipping organisations with cloud capabilities to accelerate the nation's development into a fully innovative digital economy.

With the cloud driving different innovative trends constantly, the industry landscape is always evolving in response to this change, with businesses, government and countries trying to keep up, or get left behind.

Cloud Innovations that drive trends in 2016

In 2015, we saw several cloud trends address barriers to adoption, and at the same time respond to the unrelenting pace of innovation driven by the cloud. We see these innovations continuing in 2016, shaping the way organisations, sectors and industries reinvent their businesses and services.

1) Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) taking centre stage as organisations are increasingly turning to PaaS to create and deploy applications more quickly - taking the focus away from infrastructure plumbing and automating processes that ensure high availability and scalability.
2) Use of advanced data services will grow exponentially to handle the rapid expansion of data, ultimately making it easier for businesses and organisation to get insight out of information.
3) Hybrid cloud consistency becomes a reality between on-premises and public cloud environments, making it possible for deployment environments to be used in tandem together, rather than as disparate parts
4) Increasingly agile development models such as microservices - where complex applications are composed of small, independent components that work together to deliver an application's functionality - are fast emerging as a new approach for application infrastructure.
5) Security becomes a cloud enabler as cloud vendors continue to double down on security across all products and services and begin delivering more security-as-a-service capabilities.
6) Multi-cloud environments become easier to manage spanning across public cloud platforms and on-premises technologies, operating systems and hypervisors.

These cloud innovations have been driving the industry forward, but there is one particular cloud innovation that gives the most promise - hybrid cloud.

Hybrid cloud today is no longer just a "valid alternative" to moving to the cloud. It is now the differentiating factor for any business looking ahead at their long-term ability to outperform competitors - a view that is also shared by 91 percent of Malaysian businesses.

A successful hybrid cloud model gives organisations the ability to combine the strengths of both public and private cloud solutions providing inherent flexibilities that just isn't possible in either the public or private cloud alone. In particular, hybrid cloud networks allow workloads to be scaled by shifting from private to public cloud, and back again, all based on demand and need - a picture of agility when implemented properly. This kind of customization means that organisations can increase their efficiency while cutting costs, making the hybrid cloud model a very attractive proposition.

In fact, a global survey conducted by Avanade shows that more than 80 percent of Malaysian businesses believe that hybrid cloud should be one of the biggest focus for their companies. Gartner Inc similarly echoed this by highlighting that enterprises are shaping the cloud to fit their needs, and estimated that hybrid cloud adoption will near 50 percent by 2017.

Transforming business models with Cloud - How organisations can take advantage of hybrid Cloud

The agility of hybrid cloud means organisations are free to adopt a module that fits their needs; whether it's in the form of Hybrid Infrastructure or Hybrid Application Architecture & Services.

A great example of Hybrid Infrastructure in action is a company called RiskMetrics who delivers risk management services to the world's leading asset managers, banks and institutions to help them measure and model complex financial instruments. To meet increasing market demand, the company used hybrid cloud to provide on-demand computing capacity for its analytics applications to complement its on-premises capabilities with a flexible, reliable solution. As a result, the company can support bursts in computing activity over short periods of time, deliver enhanced services for more customers, and enjoy an increased business agility.

On the other hand, hybrid cloud allows application architects the flexibility to not only leverage public cloud application services but also decide what parts of an application are best suited to reside in the existing datacentre vs. in the public cloud. Financial services company Aviva for example, wanted to design an innovative pricing model that would lower insurance premiums for deserving customers.

To do this, Aviva needed to collect telematics data from moving vehicles but doing it on-premise was too costly and complex. Aviva's solution was to implement a hybrid cloud solution that uses smartphones to collect telematics data, which was stored on the cloud. The company could then integrate both on- and off-premise data, and then reward deserving customers accordingly.


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