3. Not all clouds are created equal, but adopting a multi-cloud approach is a good equalizer
In the early days of cloud, enterprises would work with one cloud provider for one application, but over time these providers started to innovate at varying paces and offer different features. This led users to look at how they could integrate multiple clouds into a system to best suit their needs, which has led to the adoption of multi-cloud platforms.
However, this interoperability requires orchestration to ensure users know where to divert and how to manage their traffic. Companies are looking for a central switching point that offers access to these clouds, while service providers would want to be part of an ecosystem where they can rapidly connect to enterprises and carriers. This makes orchestration across providers increasingly important, with hardware vendors responding by creating solutions that can interoperate between cloud providers.
Security platforms in the cloud and cloud security will be a focus for next year, along with how integrators can create a centralized billing system for multi-clouds. With providers offering a bundle of services and subscriptions to their customers, they will have to work out how to measure and bill for these. With services coming from a range of vendors, CIOs need to make sure their selected service providers are capable of handling accurate and timely billing data.
4. Innovative hybrid cloud architectures
Hyper-convergence gained considerable ground in 2015, as solutions continued to shrink and come together, and enterprises have continued to explore hybrid cloud architectures in 2016.
In the hardware market, hyper-convergence has led to smaller footprints and brought servers and storage together in one box along with additional new functions. Some enterprises are now looking at how to best integrate legacy infrastructure with public cloud providers, while others are exploring new equipment designed and optimized to work with cloud solutions.
We are seeing more CIOs of small and mid-size enterprises focusing on hyper-convergence, in particular 'cloud in a box' - integrated virtualization, storage and compute resources - that enable them to easily and nimbly migrate to the cloud.
As ever, the cloud market may be difficult to pin down sometimes, but it sure is exciting to be a part of.
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