In 2016, for the first time, enterprises spent more on cloud services, including IaaS and PaaS, than cloud infrastructure hardware and software, according to the findings from Synergy Research Group. As aggregate cloud service markets continue to grow 3x more quickly than cloud infrastructure, it is clear that as-a-Service offerings have lifted major barriers to cloud adoption and IT has moved full speed into the cloud era.
And, this is for good reason: running multiple apps across multiple platforms while answering questions of scalability, cost, security and interoperability is new territory for legacy enterprise IT departments, especially at the unprecedented scale of current data. But, by turning to IaaS and PaaS solutions, CIOs and their teams can install, deploy, manage and maintain their presence in the cloud with minimal manpower and training.
To understand all of this better, I spoke with Canonical's Mark Baker, the company's OpenStack product manager.
VMblog: This report from Synergy Research Group states that enterprises spent more on cloud services, including IaaS and PaaS, than cloud infrastructure hardware and software. Why is that do you think?
Mark Baker: There is a continuing trend to move towards IaaS and PaaS providers for several reasons:
- Managing Capex - IaaS and PaaS providers operate on consumption based models where users pay only for the services they use.
- Speed of application delivery: with public cloud and PaaS, organizations can launch new services globally in minutes. Building the on premises cloud infrastructure itself takes a minimum of 3 months. Once the on premises cloud is in place, launching a new service can then be achieved in minutes.
- Organizations have yet to determine the right strategy for IaaS and PaaS on premise solutions as the market is fast evolving and offers many alternatives - OpenStack, Kubernetes, VMware, AzureStack, Docker DCOS, and Mesophere are just a few of the leading examples. Whilst figuring all the options out and how they can work together, trying services on public IaaS/PaaS to start to develop a devops mindset.
VMblog: How are as-a-service offerings aiding the transition of enterprise IT systems to the cloud?
Baker: They help organizations understand where their own real business lies and what they should focus valuable technical resources on. Quickly they determine that it is not their ability to provide commodity infrastructure services to their own lines of business and that outsourcing this has advantages. They also help risk averse organizations get a level of comfort with using infrastructure provided by third parties. 15 years ago very few organizations would consider trusting an outside entity with their valuable email communications - that had to be managed internally with Exchange servers or Lotus Notes etc. Now pretty much everyone accepts that Google and Microsoft can operate these services more reliably and economically with greater functionality than an in-house team. Public IaaS and PaaS offer similar benefits in mindset changes.
VMblog: How can CIO's use solutions like PaaS and IaaS to manage and maintain their presence in the cloud with minimal manpower and training?
Baker: Key to the move towards IaaS and PaaS is the adoption of automation technologies - as you cannot physically touch the server, you must use software tools that perform the operations remotely. Software tools can be automated and clouds are very much geared around using these automated tools to deploy and manage services. Tooling and automation helps address the manpower issues - more applications can be managed per administrator. Training is different - new tools and concepts require administrators to acquire new skills. In such a fast moving environment, regular training classes are being replaced by community participation - meetups, sharing of best practices, webinars, podcasts and conferences all help administrators learn the new way of operating with the cloud.
VMblog: Can we expect a continued growth in spending on cloud services, or are we likely to see the trend plateau?
Baker: Cloud spending will continue to grow. Organizations will continue to collect more data and use analytics to process that data to give them competitive advantage. New technologies such as IoT will generate more data and application services which traditional infrastructure will be unable to service without huge capital expenditure.
VMblog: What are some of the pitfalls CIOs need to be wary of when assessing cloud services?
Baker: Base cloud infrastructure services are commodity and interchangeable between the primary cloud providers, however, cloud providers also offer specialized services that can be harder for their users to move away from. Enterprises and end users need to be wary of building applications that are dependent on these specialized services as they may find themselves locked into a provider with a cost associated with switching to an alternate provider.
VMblog: Finally, what as-a-service offerings does Canonical have?
Baker: Canonical offers BootStack, a fully managed on premises OpenStack based IaaS solution. This is managed to an agreed SLA for a charge per server per day. Canonical also offers Ubuntu OpenStack, the most popular OpenStack distribution that is used by many of the large OpenStack users such as Deutsche Telekom, Bloomberg and Sky. Finally, Canonical recently launch the Canonical Distribution of Kubernetes, a fully supported distribution of Kubernetes that is extremely close to upstream Kubernetes.
Once again, thank you to Mark Baker, Canonical's OpenStack product manager, for taking time to speak with VMblog.com.