Interoperability: Key to Fast Cloud Growth

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  • From Legacy to the Virtual Expanse
  • Speed as an Ultimate Priority
  • 2015 & Beyond

From Legacy to the Virtual Expanse

Earlier in the history of the Internet, companies created massive customized environments to store and access customer data, marketing copy, bookkeeping, best practices, and more. When these were developed, interoperability was not a concern.

Typically the software adopted by companies was about making life easier for the IT department (in the sense that they had control of those variables). User-friendliness wasn’t always prioritized, which led to people getting frustrated with IT.

That whole dynamic started to get upended about 10 years ago. That was when Web 2.0 apps started hitting browsers, followed by an explosion of mobile apps. These fundamentally user-focused applications were exactly what people wanted in business.

A short time following the rise of the app, cloud started making it possible for employees to access software immediately, which is how Shadow IT started to develop, explains Ron Miller of TechCrunch. “Instead of going to IT and asking for resources, a process that could take weeks,” he says, “users could sign onto a cloud service and provision software, servers, storage and even developer tools with a credit card.”

As these cloud systems started to mature, it became more and more clear that interoperability was needed, so developers specifically geared their work toward that end.

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Speed as an Ultimate Priority

In addition to the shifts toward mobile and cloud seen above, organizations also started to understand how critically important speed and agility were becoming to business. The old systems weren’t always fast enough and couldn’t be adapted as quickly as users wanted.

Cloud and mobile were able to meet that need better than anything else. They allowed developers to introduce complex capabilities within applications more quickly than was possible before.

It was no longer considered the smartest move to build excessively complex and rigid systems. Businesses started to realize they had to coordinate with one another in order to each be able to move forward.

Simultaneously, smart phones and tablets were becoming a lot more popular, notes Miller. “That meant that companies needed to provide apps for their employees to work beyond their cubicles wherever they happened to be,” he says. “Customers were also demanding better tools and easier ways to interact with a vendor.”

Customers were starting to make purchases based off of compatibility, so software and system designers had to become compatible if they wanted to remain relevant. It wasn’t considered appropriate anymore to create rigid environments that were completely partitioned from outside parties. Organizations had to learn to collaborate.

2015 & Beyond

In 2015, cloud continued to become a trusted standard, with General Electric even announcing that it was building nine out of every 10 new applications in the public cloud. More and more thought leaders believe that cloud is fast becoming the way computing will be done and that corporations will gradually get rid of their data centers.

One of those people is Fredric Paul of Network World, who comments that one of the biggest signs of the new dominance of cloud came when the large gaming enterprise Zynga pulled out of its plans to build a data center to move forward with the public cloud in May. “Basically, the company ripped and replaced a $100 million data center investment in favor of the cloud,” says Paul. “That’s pretty darn dramatic.”

A couple months later in July, IDC released data showing that one out of every three IT infrastructure dollars went toward cloud. The research company also noted that it expected cloud spending to rise, accounting for half of infrastructure budgets by 2019.

Last year HP did leave the public cloud market, but that’s probably because they were having difficulty competing. In November 2015, UK financial companies were assured by the Financial Conduct Authority that public cloud was a sound choice for finance.

Market forecasts are definitely positive. Even so, it’s possible that projections are grossly underestimating what’s going to happen, Paul argues. “It won’t be long—maybe not in 2016, but soon—before any computing project that doesn’t happen in the cloud will have to … [justify] what will be seen as an old-fashioned and inefficient approach.”

What is essentially happening is that companies are realizing computer systems fall into the same general category as electrical power. Do you really want to have to deal with your own power generation? Maybe the infrastructure should be external as well. More and more businesses are deciding that’s the direction they will take, and the speed with which that transition will occur could be blistering.

Throughout this process, interoperability will remain fundamental.

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