Cloud computing continues to dominate and shape the IT industry. The rise of cloud could be compared to the industrial revolution on steroids and it is estimated by Gartner that by 2016 the majority of IT expenditure will be on cloud computing.
As the number of companies providing cloud services continues to increase exponentially and large scale cloud providers (hyperscalers) such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google amongst others continually evolve the services they offer, the market will become ever more complex and diverse.
Back in the day, prior to the emergence of virtualisation and cloud services, IT project-lead times would be measured in weeks and months but in the mobile cloud era this is now being measured in hours or even minutes. This change in pace coupled with often bureaucratic in-house processes has left many central IT departments on the back foot - unable to deliver services aligned with business expectations.
As a consequence, businesses are increasingly looking to bypass central IT and procure services directly from cloud service providers. This practice has resulted in the proliferation of ‘shadow IT’ departments that operate without the approval or knowledge of central IT. In an era of information security, governance and budgetary constraints, is it any wonder that one of the main concerns for a Chief Infrastructure Officer today is the loss of control due to this practice?
As cloud services are becoming increasingly complex for consumers, and central IT departments are struggling to keep pace, coupled with the desire for the CIO to take back control, we are now seeing the emergence of the Cloud Integrator.
If a business is looking to setup a new application, it may look to AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Compute Engine to host the service. But it is recognised that the diversity and complexity of cloud plus individual provider specialisms will result in businesses consuming services from multiple providers to achieve the best fit.
The problem with using multiple cloud providers is it introduces a massive overhead to the business. Who within the business, for instance, will keep track of provider capabilities? How do you manage cloud integration, centralised billing and service level agreements etc?
This is where the Cloud Integrator comes into play, acting as the middle-man that provides the glue between the various cloud providers and the customer, removing the management headache of achieving a single set of outcomes from a diverse supplier base, further allowing businesses to tap into cloud services as and when they become available.
To solve this integration need, Cisco and its partners are building an interconnected cloud of clouds – the Intercloud. It will enable businesses and service providers to build hybrid-ready private clouds and enable cloud buyers to combine public and private clouds through an Intercloud suite of solutions. The Intercloud will enable support of any workload and any hypervisor, and interoperability with any cloud—including our own Cisco Powered Adapt Habitat. A new Intercloud Fabric will enable workload portability between public clouds, private clouds. And Cisco ACI will use application profiles to dynamically provision networking, application services, and security enabling application policy and security to be maintained across private cloud and public clouds.
The world of many clouds is beginning to be more interconnected and the role of IT will continue to be at the centre-point of making cloud a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes.
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