Companies both large and small have begun to move towards adopting cloud computing. In fact, most companies have already developed their initial cloud strategies and have begun to use external cloud services to run their infrastructure, application or platform projects. What’s more, many have begun to move towards a private cloud, specifically reserved for internal IT infrastructural requirements.
Nevertheless, we must bear in mind that initial private cloud models had their own shortcomings. They could not run all the IT services that their clients wished to run and some of these services lacked the kind of robust technology that was required to meet the demands. Consequently, many users are moving towards newer and better cloud platforms that are either completely private or sometimes, hybrid too.
The lessons learned from those initial days of cloud computing and policy-making has helped to usher in the next generation cloud. In this article, let us take a look at some of the valuable lessons that were learned from first generation cloud experience.
1. Focus on consumers
Many cloud vendors have often resorted to measures that only appeal to the novices or those who are not very familiar with the cloud. This includes a focus given to hypervisors, scripting engines or infrastructure. While all these are important to provide a good cloud computing experience to clients, it is important to focus on client needs in the first place.
An example would be a smartphone that comes with a number of features without taking into account what the user really wants. In the context of cloud clients, vendors need to focus on the different services that the IT client provides and the way they wish to make use of the cloud platform. Ultimately, this will help in increasing cloud usage.
2. Complete self-service
It was often the practice to support front-end requests from knowledgeable admins. Other IT users were often missed using cloud either intentionally or unintentionally. The next generation cloud platforms must ensure that they offer complete self-service to clients. This not only empowers IT clients but also makes sure that everything is fully automated, without the confusion that resulted from offering front-end just for a niche group.
3. Extensive customizations
Cloud vendors must begin to learn from previous mistakes, which also included hand-me-downs. With practically very little possibility to customize cloud services, many IT clients started to veer towards traditional methods of computing, which ironically offered more customization. The lesson to be learned from this is to offer advanced cloud services that can be thoroughly customized depending on the IT clients’ requirements.
While the above three points state the lessons that cloud vendors must learn from first generation cloud policies, let us take a look at what we can expect from the next generation cloud.
• A high degree of service flexibility - The fact that newer cloud platforms will offer more customizations also mean that there is going to be a two-way flexibility for both the vendors and the clients. Vendors can suggest how a cloud platform can be customized based on their IT clients’ requirements and the clients can make such requests for customizations themselves too. Moreover, making the right technology choice will future-proof today’s cloud decisions.
• Cloud that can support multiple constituencies - The next generation cloud will need to support multi-tenancy. It will also need to do this from top-to bottom and thus, users can be segregated successfully from workloads and infrastructure as and when changes take place.
• Platforms will not be attached to a single infrastructure - We must bear in mind that the refresh cycle is usually short for servers while for networks, it is always longer. The next generation cloud platforms will be neutral and allow any internal infrastructure to be supported. Thus, it allows clients to be untethered as much as possible.
• An intelligent platform capable of offering advanced services - Cloud platforms should be smart enough to deploy workloads to the appropriate place. Platforms also must be intelligent enough to optimize themselves as time grows. What this really means is a platform must be fully automated and it should be able to make deployment decision and offer advanced IT services.
• Integrate existing enterprise management technology - The next generation cloud will be able to integrate with existing enterprise management technology and processes. This way, cloud will become a more inherent part of IT and it will just continue to work in the background.
What we really must notice from the lessons that one can learn from first generation cloud platforms and the consequential next generation cloud is that there will be a focus on automation. The next generation cloud will deliver value to businesses by way of automating everything from request to configuration and even deployment.