Where should your business data and processes “live?”
In the cloud? If so, then where in the cloud? Through cloud services such as Amazon Web Services? Google Cloud? Microsoft Azure? Or should you turn to Cloudways brands such as DigitalOcean, Linode, or Vultr?
Or, maybe you should side with the number of businesses that primarily keep data on-premises, using static web technology to minimize exposure and optimize speed.
Then again, perhaps a mix of technologies – including tailored microservices – will help you achieve your objectives.
Read on as we discuss expert predictions on the future of cloud services, what your options are, and how to make the right tech choices for your business
Predictions on the Future of Cloud Services
Writer Nick Hastreiter interviewed a number of tech leaders recently for a piece on cloud services. These leaders, from disruptive startups to big-brand heavyweights, shared their vision on what to expect … and they don’t all agree with where things are heading:
- Michael Corrado of Hewlett Packard Enterprise thinks cloud computing will likely morph into a hybrid solution, combining cloud-based software and on-premises hardware. Such a solution would balance the scalability and flexibility of the cloud with the security of a private data center.
- Jeff Fisher of Kemptechnologies agrees, calling the future of cloud computing, “undeniably hybrid.” He predicts organizations will leverage multiple cloud platforms, both private and large-scale public (like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure), helping them avoid locking into a single provider. But, that will introduce additional complexity, as IT staff need to become comfortable operating in more than one cloud platform environment.
- On the other hand, SwiftType founder Mike Riley thinks by 2030, businesses will be operating mostly from the cloud, enjoying the productivity and efficiency that that platform provides. By then, he said, a major concern will relate to access. “We’re already seeing fragmentation of content and data and it’s posing problems related to organization, search, discovery, and most importantly, collaboration.” Riley predicts that monolithic application suites will be used less and less.
- David Hartley of UHY LLP takes things even further, predicting that “traditional data centers and the traditional model of delivering IT services will become extinct.” The days of building your own data center, owning your own equipment and installing or updating hardware will leave fade away rapidly, Hartley said. As software-, infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service providers assume a larger role, Hartley says, there will be more space for independent firms to be hired to test processes and controls, develop service organization control analyses, and report financial and IT services and processes to user organizations.
Overcoming the Cloud’s Limits
And what is Mobomo’s take on this?
We think organizations will take a critical approach, picking and choosing what works right for them. And in some cases, what’s “right” may not always be cloud-based.
Simply put, the cloud isn’t great for everything. You don’t want to use it for active directory or credential management, for example. Latency precludes putting that large of an asset in the cloud unless you’re a large-scale, widely based company. For about 95 percent of use cases, having an active directory or authentication onsite would make more sense than relying on cloud services, and in general, is more cost-effective.
The Resurgence of Static Pages
Another, perhaps surprising trend emerging is the return to static websites, or web pages with fixed content. Unlike dynamic websites, static sites don’t require programming or database design.
Two main drivers are behind this resurgence:
1. Page Speed
Some organizations are eschewing programmatic web pages because programming can slow or disrupt a user experience. The challenge, then, is to create static pages and host them out of an object data store such as Amazon S3. A flat file stored in S3 can serve a lot faster than if Drupal has to reach into a database, gather information, and render it into a page before the user can access it.
One way to fend off hackers is to give them nothing to hack. If there’s no CMS or programming to compromise, you can’t be compromised. But using improperly secured S3, of course, introduces its own security concerns, primarily exposure to data leaks. But if you have S3 properly secured, then there’s no way that a hacker can compromise your systems via your site.
Cloud services like S3 are easy to use, inexpensive, and provide static hosting without having to configure anything. You don’t have to figure out how to put your data centers in storage partitions onto the web. S3 handles it for you.
The Role of Microservices
While microservices architecture is not exclusively relevant to cloud computing, according to IBM there are a few important reasons they so frequently are discussed together.
First and foremost are the utilization and cost benefits associated with deploying and scaling components individually.
True, these benefits are still present to some extent with on-premises infrastructure. But combining small, independently scalable components with on-demand, pay-per-use infrastructure enables much larger cost optimizations.
Another key advantage of microservices is that each individual component can adopt the stack best suited to its specific job. Cloud services are a boon here, as they can minimize the management challenges with stack proliferation.
Additionally, microservices can improve security. The more you separate out microservices, the more security layers you can wrap around each one. When individual services are able to run only when needed, you can better protect the system as a whole and possibly save money, too.
When it comes to cloud services in 2020, the theme is “right fit.” Organizations should look at the many different options available to them and pick and choose from these options to create customized systems that work best for their needs and their resources.
If you’re not sure what the right fit is, expert consultants (like the ones here at Mobomo) can help you assess the best options for your organization.
Contact us today to learn more.