However they got there, large numbers of businesses are operating hybrid cloud infrastructure for their data and applications
Analysts at Gartner, for example, estimate three-quarters of medium-sized or large companies have already adopted a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy.
For some organisations, the word “strategy” is a little flattering. The reality is that location of workloads is often a matter of reaction to previous events, budget constraints, legacy technology and concerns about data sovereignty and security. And a touch of conservatism too.
Fundamentally, though, organisations want the flexibility, cost control, agility and innovation of the cloud. Gartner estimates 95% of workloads will be on cloud-native platforms by 2025, compared with 30% last year (2021). But many also want the reassurance of having data and workloads on-premises or in a private cloud where they can keep their eye on them.
Yet whether or not it is a well-defined strategy, this hybrid cloud infrastructure should give an organisation the ability to choose the location that best suits its applications and business priorities, making it more efficient, dynamic and free of vendor lock-in.
Difficulties managing complex cloud deployments and requirements
As hybrid cloud grows, however, it becomes difficult to manage without the right approach and the right tools. The costs start racking up. It is easy for companies to lose sight of where data and workloads are and the charges for which they are liable for data egress, for example.
It is understandable that organisations already running into problems managing their hybrid infrastructure also worry their challenges will multiply if they implement artificial intelligence-driven applications requiring edge computing.
Edge is about overcoming the disadvantages of location, moving data and workloads closer to where businesses want to use them. It provides high-bandwidth, low latency access to data and is based on a network of regional edge data centres and the rollout of 5G. These combine to remove the connectivity speed problems associated with being away from the major cloud vendors’ hubs. In the UK that brings major advantages for any business outside the M25.
Gaining visibility across hybrid cloud and edge environments
To overcome the management and optimisation challenges, when organisations have hybrid deployments and are preparing for the future of devolved computing power, dedicated edge platforms now provide their own next-generation tools. These act as a “single pane of glass” across hybrid and edge infrastructure, enabling businesses to optimise cost and performance of assets in any environment.
The benefits are significant. Businesses obtain a consistent, all-round view of their deployments and the details of their cost, enabling them to shift and adapt workloads for maximum operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Each application and edge instance are visible, as is real-time usage of cloud resources. Analytical capabilities deliver insights that constantly improve efficiency.
One often-overlooked aspect of cloud spending, for example, comprises the substantial data egress fees businesses incur when they pull data back out of the cloud. Traditional direct connectivity can be costly due to long-term contracts and static bandwidth fees based on maximum throughput. This is the kind of cost a next-generation cloud management platform enables a business to control more effectively.
New edge capabilities
With a single pane of glass, companies gain complete control of hybrid and edge infrastructure on a day-to-day basis, resolving the inevitable challenges more quickly. This gives them the flexibility in resource use and high levels of organisational agility. They can spin workloads up and down in relation to demand, avoiding the dangers of costly over-provisioning without risk of being under-resourced for surges in demand or new opportunities. And of course, it means they can implement the new high-powered, transformational technologies in artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced automation made possible by edge computing.
As the mass migration to the cloud continues, all businesses want to ensure they make best use of potentially expensive resources to achieve their digital transformation goals. Businesses that already grasp the immense opportunities of edge computing have no reason to fear that implementing new technologies will add to any difficulties in hybrid cloud management and optimisation.
Reassurance comes from the new generation of cloud management platforms that provide detailed, wide-horizon visibility, responsive controls and a high degree of customisation. It means every organisation with complex cloud architecture can run close to its configured performance limit without the going into the red zone. Despite the challenges, there are no longer grounds for businesses with hybrid cloud architectures to worry that edge computing is currently beyond them. This is no longer the case. The transformational advantages of edge computing are definitely within reach of every business.
About the Author
Simon Michie is CTO at Pulsant. Pulsant are the UK’s hybrid cloud specialists, providing secure, scalable and resilient cloud, colocation and networking services to help organisations reach their digital goals. Pulsant connects organisations to a secure, scalable IT infrastructure and the UK’s digital edge through a national network of data centres and cloud platforms to navigate continuous digital disruption and accelerate growth. The business provides a comprehensive portfolio of services deployed in standardised or hybrid models whilst ensuring the security, compliance and resilience of business-critical applications.
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