With Cisco forecasting a 20% annual growth rate for cloud computing adoption through 2016, and Gartner predicting 80% adoption by 2022, those who don’t yet have their heads in the cloud might be wondering who these adopters are and if cloud computing is right for you.
Early adopters of cloud computing are the federal government and large chain retail companies with some pharmaceutical, high-tech and scientific entities adopting a hybrid approach whereby they use cloud computing for non-critical applications such as prescription fulfilment and email.
Many of these early adopters, especially the federal government, have several data centers spread out across the country. They are outsourcing with cloud computing as a means to consolidate without enormous capital expense (CAPEX), moving more of their budget to operating expense (OPEX). This is something to consider if you too are looking to consolidate multiple sites via OPEX rather than CAPEX.
Lagging cloud computing adopters include financial institutions, higher education and healthcare facilities—likely because they need to transmit and store vast volumes of highly secure data, and they often have the resources in place to own and operate their own data centers.
Electronic trading and stock market entities also do not typically adopt cloud computing as it does not support the sub-microsecond latency required for real-time transactions. State and local government is yet another lagging adopter, which could be due primarily to lack of funds and bureaucracy.
Cloud providers today are promising fast ready-to-go deployment, higher speeds, hosting and management services, and a pay-as-you go opportunity. Their models are typically standard and modular in nature, taking more of a less complex “cookie cutter” approach with preconfigured cabinets. Cloud providers focus on total hardware at the holistic level, taking power consumption, density, computing power and redundancy into consideration. They also deploy comprehensive monitoring, which renders these environments highly efficient. As such, the cloud computing environment is driving the latest trends in data center design.
While the holistic approach allows the cloud provider to be more agile and to scale quickly in response to business growth, it offers little in terms of customization and control or the customer. It’s important to note that cloud providers often have specific requirements that differ from the standard enterprise data center operator. Cloud providers typically have the mentality that “good enough is good enough,” deploying low cost cable plants with minimum standards compliance and low cost servers such as multi-node and skinless servers designed with fewer components.
One key point to remember is that cloud computing is driven by service level agreements (SLAs), with rigid terms based on what the cloud provider can actually provide, rather than on what the customer might desire. SLAs are not always user friendly—they can be difficult to decipher and compare. It is important for potential customers to do their homework and thoroughly examine all the terms and conditions to ensure that their required objectives for any application to be supported by the cloud are included in the SLA.
Let Belden be your trusted advisor as you consider whether cloud computing is right for you and which applications might be better suited for the cloud. Schedule a call with one of our data center experts today!
Mike Salvador is a 28-year industry veteran, living the challenge of operating efficient data centers, optimizing the performance of network devices and delivering highly available, highly agile, low-risk data centers. Mike served as Belden’s technical solutions manager from 2012 to 2015.