Cloud Computing is one of the major technology forces changing everything in the world of IT. And outside the IT world for that matter. Alongside Social Media, Exploitation of [Big] Data, the Internet of Things and Mobility it means every business is turning into a Digital Business, whether they like it or not.
However, as with any major technology transition, confusion prevails. Is Cloud equal to Amazon Web Services, like Hoover is to the vacuum cleaner? No. Is Cloud going to replace everything companies have bought in the last 10 years? No. Does Cloud mean you don't need to worry about legal, data privacy and compliance requirements? No. Does Cloud offer new options, more agile, flexible and efficient ways of running IT? Yes. Does it offer exiting new potential to make money and dramatically improve your business model? Absolutely.
I am increasingly hearing from organisations across EMEA that are building an ‘Enterprise Hybrid Cloud’ strategy. Why? Because all largish, Enterprise type organisations are going to need to work out how they combine many Cloud services to their best advantage. And the ideal model is going to be a hybrid of those services, where workloads and applications can be run in the most optimum location or cloud service at any given time. Various Public Clouds for application development and faster innovation. Bespoke services from regional or vertical service providers tailored to more specific requirements where needed. And Private Clouds for core production applications. Possibly connected to the public Cloud for global reach. New companies with new business models might be able to be born and exist in the cloud for a certain time, but when they get bigger, they will need to re-think. Some companies may even find their cloud supplier competing with them - I wonder what Dropbox are thinking after the announcement of Amazon Zoloco?
In order to achieve this, the focus must be on data management. All too often (even after you get past hype and Powerpoint) cloud computing discussions focus on compute power (relatively easy to move to the Cloud), networking (of course critical to connect to the Cloud), but not on the data those services are there to process. It's extremely hard to move large amounts of data. And governments and individuals get very concerned when you do. However, we are starting to see solutions that allow efficient and secure movement of data between clouds, to create true hybrid options.
NetApp is the only independent player of scale left in the storage market. Our strategy is to partner, to build the best and widest choice of Cloud solutions for our customers. And we happen to sell the world’s leading storage operating system (Data ONTAP) and data replication technology (SnapMirror). Given all this I would argue we are extremely well positioned to help you manage your data as you develop your hybrid cloud strategy. An example, to help our many thousands of joint customers, earlier this week NetApp and Microsoft announced NetApp Private Storage for Microsoft Azure. This solution combines the compute power of Microsoft Azure with NetApp's enterprise-class storage. For more details see Phil Brotherton’s post here. Initially, NPS for Microsoft Azure is available in North America through selected delivery partners, EMEA will be rolled out on a country by country basis over the next 6 months.
In summary, organisations that are ignoring Cloud will lose. Those that think that can move entirely to or exist only in the Public Cloud will lose. Those that take advantage of the best of both worlds will find many opportunities ahead. The Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is exactly that future. And Cloud Data Management is the key battleground.