Remember life before the cloud? Not so easy, is it?
In just ten short years, cloud computing has transformed from an insiders-only concept into an inescapable fixture of modern life. Thanks to the rise of on-demand data – everything from Netflix streams on tablets to enterprise Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions – the cloud has been forced to evolve rapidly.
The Cloud, And Where It’s Headed
Have you ever watched a cloud form in a clear, blue sky? Although clouds seem to form out of thin air, there’s actually an intricate interplay of water droplets, air and ice crystals at work. Similarly, the computing concept of “The Cloud” is the result of decades of efforts to bring centralized computing to the masses. It's all a bit of organized chaos, so to speak. In fact, the cloud has its roots in the 1950s, when computer scientist John McCarthy came up with the idea of time-sharing, which allowed businesses to share computing power at a time when it was prohibitively expensive.
Now, in 2017, cloud computing is inescapable.
From the Internet’s early days as a tool for the Department of Defense to the rise of the personal computer in the ‘80s to America Online in the ‘90s and today’s prevalence of Pokemon Go and Fitbit devices, the cloud has served a (sometimes) vital purpose through the years. According to RightScale’s 2017 user survey, 41 percent of enterprise workloads are in the public cloud, with 38 percent in the private cloud, so it’s safe to say that cloud computing is not only the wave of the future, but also of the present.
RightScale’s study also showed that enterprise cloud users are running applications on an average of 1.8 public clouds each and 2.3 private clouds each, meaning experimentation will likely continue at a steady pace over the next few years.
Here's a look at three other key cloud trends that will impact the way you deliver data securely to your customers now and in the future.
Demand Goes 'Mega'
Demand for more data, delivered quickly and securely, is on the rise. Data Center Dynamics reports that worldwide data center construction is growing at a steady clip of 9.3 percent each year, with no signs of slowing. This demand means we've already topped the 1-zettabyte mark globally, and will exceed 2 zettabytes by 2019.
Combined with a "race to the bottom" approach to unlimited free cloud storage for individual consumers, mega, or hyperscale data centers are quickly popping up in place of standard server farms. Easy for the Amazons of the world, but a little tougher for small businesses, which rely on affordable solutions to make existing servers more efficient as customer demand rises.
Someone Call Security
As more critical information migrates to the cloud, the potential for abuse is high. The vulnerability of cloud services as back doors for malicious threats will remain a pressing issue for the foreseeable future. With the right tools and constant vigilance, however, you can reduce - if not entirely eliminate - many cyber security risks. Proper planning, staff training and regular risk assessment will go a long way toward preventing disaster - and that goes for both the malicious and unintended varieties.
While data center energy usage has remained relatively stable since 2010, it still takes a massive amount of power to fuel the cloud services we crave. Turns out there is an environmental price to pay for all those Tweets, Instagram pics and YouTube videos. Data centers are on target to have a load of 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020, meaning they’ll burn as much energy as 50 coal powered plants.
This has prompted a shift away from brown energy sources such as coal, oil and natural gas and toward more environmentally-friendly energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal. Expect this trend to continue as we move into the 2020s and beyond.
No doubt, it’ll be interesting to watch the cloud expand. As it does, keep your focus on environmental best practices, cyber security and scalability.
Want to learn more about how we can help you cope with the ever-shifting sands of the data center landscape? Contact Instor today to get started.