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Cloud Resurgence – A Pandemic Thunderbolt

Most IT users have heard about Cloud. Ironically, this cloud is not the one that sails in the azure blue sky. It is a pool of computers, network and storage that users access remotely on-demand .And pay-as-I-use basis!

A Cloudy Evolution

Take a look at the history of IT over the last 3 decades and you discover a pattern. the industry have a disruptor every 5-6 years. Be it the early days of client-server architecture. Or the shift to Data Centers. Or the post Y2K trigger of Outsourcing – from applications to business processes to remote infrastructure Those who were early providers bagged multi-year contracts.

Outsourcing impacted the bottom line and gave the board reasons to cheer. It soon became the messiah of shiny annual reports globally. Few nations, including India grabbed a large share of the pie !

Business then started thinking differently- from traditional cost saving models to more of an agile profitable growth – improving topline with a healthy bottom ! CEOs started talking about value creation by bringing the customer at the core. UI/UX/CX were coined. The seeds of the next wave of digital were sown. AI, ML, Analytics, RPA , Blockchain became queued on the information highway. And they all rode on the prowess of Cloud Computing!

Cloud adoption had been making its round since a decade, but the last few years saw it take vast wings ! I remember 2018, Diane Green, ex-CEO of Google, mentioning that only 10-15% of the workloads were in the public cloud, indicating the massive opportunity that lay ahead.

As per a pre-pandemic forecast from Gartner, the worldwide public cloud services market will grow by 17% in 2020 to be $260bn market, and will reach $350bn by 2023. That’s massive!

Meanwhile, the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic fueled the ignition to an insane pace of cloud adoption.

Organizations, who already adopted cloud , felt the need to add capacity, while frantically moving quite a few services on the cloud. Facebook reported recording surges beyond what it experienced on previous New Years’ Eves. Netflix doubled their subscription base. It’s clear that the Internet - and its surrounding ecosystem - has become more valuable than ever before.

To top it up, most nations have adopted remote working for employees. This too surged an unprecedented cloud demand.

The pandemic accelerated the appreciation for digital transformation. It became an essential choice for all businesses and organizations. This shift owes a lot to the attributes of the cloud - agility, scalable, security and business continuity – a perfect symphony for mitigating the crisis.

Laggards have stepped up the urgency to accelerate adoption and moving a fair share of their workloads off the premise.

Sunshine in the Cloud?

However, migrating to cloud is not an easy task, especially for medium to large enterprises who already have their production business running in legacy Data Centers. Too many questions to answer before the move is approved.

An important aspect is aligning business objectives with cloud adoption. What are few common business objectives?

  • Improve customer experience through innovative solutions.

  • Enabling business continuity

  • Reducing TCO

  • Faster ROI

  • Savings on Capex

  • Expanding revenue opportunities

  • Ability to access real time information

  • Greater business agility

  • Flexibility of reacting to changing market conditions

  • Gaining competitive edge

  • Achieving Security at scale

What appeals most to the C-Suite and especially the CFO?

Shift capex to opex. Do more with less.

A significant advantage of cloud adoption is future proofing the IT Infrastructure. With cloud, hardware does not wear out every 3 years. Applications can be migrated seamlessly. Scale can be adapted on the fly - increase the size when demand peaks, decrease it when demand sinks! Greater business agility – deploy resources rapidly – across compute, access and storage. And a one click global roll-out! The services on the virtual private network makes easy worldwide presence at the touch of a button. And to top it, protecting business-critical data, detecting and preventing different types of security threats.

There is one more important point to consider, especially in the future road map. It is not only about Infrastructure flexibility (IaaS). The managed services available in cloud is gaining lot of attentions, more around PaaS and SaaS. Let cloud provider manage majority of the IT, and enterprises focus on the business usage , Function as a service is a classic example.

The Cloud will Sail

While the end of the pandemic remains elusive, businesses and individuals are finding workaround amidst the regulatory lockdowns and social distancing norms, thanks to technology. It has prevented the world from coming to a complete standstill. While the cloud may have been a frivolous expense for many companies a decade or two ago, it turns out to be an investment with high ROI.

Those organisations who are still mulling over the idea needs to expedite action. The logical start point could be setting up the BCP/DR site on the cloud that can be regularly tested as part of the routine drills.

The virtual and ubiquitous nature of cloud computing that scared so many companies during the past, turns out to be a game-changing move to cloud.

Ironically, an invisible virus brings about a visible magic

The author, Rudra Mukherjee,is an AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Certified professional.

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