Enterprises' initial entrance into the cloud is over and they witnessing the arrival of the Cloud 2.0. That's the word from Diane Greene, senior vice president for Google's cloud businesses.
The first phase of the cloud involved testing the waters, figuring out how companies could save time and in-house effort by having apps and services run in the cloud and using the cloud to store data. The top concerns were security and reliability.
Fast forward several years, and enterprises that have moved to the cloud have resolved most of their worries, figured out if they want a private, public or hybrid cloud, and chosen their vendors.
Now CIOs want to do more than store their data and run their apps in the cloud.
They want to use that crush of data to figure out business issues, such as why sales are going crazy in Europe or why certain laptops are selling in North America but not in Asia. Companies want to know what patterns are appearing in the data, and what the anomalies mean.
With the cloud and machine learning-based analytics tools, enterprises now are in a better position to get those answers.
"It's just a given now that you have a more cost-effective and reliable way of computing," Greene told Computerworld during Google I/O last week. "The 2.0 of the cloud is the data and understanding the data. Now that you're in the cloud, how do you take advantage of it so your business can operate at a whole new level."
Greene called the cloud the biggest technology revolution in her lifetime, and said machine learning is changing the way companies use the cloud and think about its potential.
"The revolution of the cloud is about the economics of scale," she added. "It's really about data. All of a sudden everybody can share the data… We've turned a corner in how we think. Machine learning generates incredible value to a company. It's the ability to get insights you weren't getting before. The cloud is enabling people to create a lot more value."
Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said he agrees with Greene that IT has entered the second generation of the cloud.
"Machine learning is vital to sifting through huge amounts of data and determining, on the fly, what it means," Moorhead said. "Cloud 2.0 cannot happen without machine learning to analyze the data. There is just too much data and traditional data sorting methods don't cut it."
One issue is that companies have a continually growing data store in the cloud.
In its on-premise set up, a company might have once had a huge data storage system but it was too expensive, time consuming and unwieldy to analyze the data in it. Whatever was there generally stayed there, doing no good for the company storing it.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.