Five Cloud Computing Trends That Will Affect Your Cloud Strategy Through 2015

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1 G Five Cloud Computing Trends That Will Affect Your Cloud Strategy Through 2015 Published: 10 February 2012 Analyst(s): David W. Cearley, David Mitchell Smith In this Impact Assessment, we focus specifically on a number of subtrends that will be accelerating, shifting or reaching a tipping point over the next three years. Continual monitoring of cloud computing trends, with regular updates to the enterprise's cloud strategy, is essential to avoid costly mistakes or miss market opportunities. Impacts Formal decision frameworks facilitate cloud investment optimization. Hybrid cloud computing is an imperative. Cloud brokerage will facilitate cloud consumption. Cloud-centric design becomes a necessity. Cloud computing influences future data center and operational models. Recommendations Develop a model to identify the legal, compliance and corporate sensitivity with regard to your data (e.g., data classification scheme). For particular workload/data combinations, map the anticipated benefits against the associated risks for public cloud services. Establish security, management and governance models to coordinate the use of internal and external services. Position IT as an internal cloud services broker providing advice, guidance and intermediary service for the consumption of cloud services. Evaluate third-party cloud services brokers that can facilitate the consumption of cloud services.

2 Look beyond the migration of enterprise workloads to the creation of cloud-optimized applications that fully exploit the potential of the cloud to deliver global-class applications. Apply the concepts of cloud computing to future data center and infrastructure investments to increase agility and efficiency. Analysis Cloud computing is a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-related capabilities are provided "as a service" to customers using Internet technologies. The concept of cloud computing builds on general outsourcing and hosting models in which a third party operates an IT environment on behalf of a customer, but the cloud is characterized by a number of key attributes that differentiate it from what is delivered by traditional external service providers. Cloud computing services are service-based, elastically scalable, use shared resources, can be metered by use and use Internet technologies. Moreover, cloud computing is not simply about an external party providing some sort of service. It also represents a style of computing that is applied to the creation, deployment, access and management of internal infrastructure and services. Cloud computing is a major technology trend that has permeated the market over the last two years. It sets the stage for a new approach to IT that enables individuals and businesses to choose how they'll acquire or deliver IT services, with reduced emphasis on the constraints of traditional software and hardware licensing models. Cloud computing has a significant potential impact on every aspect of IT and how users access applications, information and business services. Although the potential is significant, the breadth and depth of the impact and the level of adoption over time is uncertain. The trend and related technologies continue to evolve and change rapidly, and there is continuing confusion and misunderstanding as vendors increasingly hype "cloud" as a marketing term. This level of impact, confusion, uncertainty and change make cloud computing one of Gartner's top 10 strategic technology trends to address. This research highlights a number of evolving areas of potential impact that users must factor into their planning processes. Page 2 of 9 Gartner, Inc. G

3 Figure 1. Impacts and Top Recommendations for Five Cloud Computing Trends That Will Affect Cloud Strategy Impacts Formal decision frameworks facilitate cloud investment optimization. Top Recommendations Develop a model to identify the legal, compliance and corporate sensitivity regarding your data (e.g., data classification scheme). For particular workload/data combinations, map the anticipated benefits against the associated risks for public cloud services. For any given project, consider the timing of the anticipated impact, and focus attention on projects with a near-term impact on the business versus those with a longer-term indirect impact. Hybrid cloud computing is an imperative. Cloud brokerage will facilitate cloud consumption. Establish security, management and governance models to coordinate the use of internal and external services. Focus near-term efforts on application and data integration, linking fixed internal and external applications with a hybrid solution. Approach sophisticated integrated solutions, cloudbursting and dynamic execution cautiously, because these are the least-mature and most problematic hybrid approaches. Position IT as an internal cloud services broker providing advice, guidance and intermediary service for the consumption of cloud services. Evaluate third-party cloud services brokers that can facilitate the consumption of cloud services. Train IT staff in relationship management to better enable them to manage cloud provider relationships and contracts. Source: Gartner (February 2012) Impact: Formal Decision Frameworks Facilitate Cloud Investment Optimization Cloud computing services exist along a spectrum of capabilities ranging from system and application infrastructure services through application and information services to high-level business services. There are also security, provisioning, management, governance and brokerage services to facilitate the use of other cloud services. Cloud computing is generally thought of as a model in which an external service provider delivers IT capabilities as a service to individuals or businesses (aka the public cloud). However, the cloud style also can be applied internally to influence how an enterprise builds its own infrastructure and applications to deliver private cloud services. The cloud promises to deliver a range of benefits, including a shift from capital-intensive to operational cost models, lower overall cost, greater agility and reduced complexity. It can also be used to shift the focus of IT resources to higher value-added activities for the business, or to support business innovation and, potentially, lower risks. However, these prospective benefits need to be examined carefully and mapped against a number of challenges, including security, lack of transparency, concerns about performance and availability, the potential for vendor lock-in, Gartner, Inc. G Page 3 of 9

4 licensing constraints and integration needs. In addition, a careful analysis shows that, over time, cloud computing will not always save money. These issues create a complex environment in which to evaluate individual cloud offerings. This complexity is further increased by the fact that the requirements and constraints of particular workloads and the datasets associated with them have a significant impact on the potential benefits and risks of various cloud models. Companies will increasingly codify and formalize frameworks to evaluate particular cloud services options based on the characteristics of specific workloads and the security and compliance needs of the associated datasets. Recommendations: Develop a model to identify legal, compliance and corporate sensitivity with regard to your data (e.g., data classification scheme). For particular workload/data combinations, map the anticipated benefits against the associated risks for public cloud services. Focus public cloud initiatives where the benefits are high and the risks are low or manageable. Where benefits are high but risks are also high or unknown, evaluate private cloud approaches. For any given project, consider the timing of the anticipated impact, and focus attention on projects with a near-term impact on the business versus those with a longer-term indirect impact. Work with the business units by responding to requests to evaluate particular cloud services, and by helping them identify opportunities to safely leverage the potential of cloud computing. Impact: Hybrid Cloud Computing Is an Imperative Hybrid computing refers to the coordination and combination of external cloud computing services (public or private) and internal infrastructure or application services (private cloud or traditional delivery, including outsourced models). However, hybrid computing does not refer to using internal systems and external cloud-based services in a disconnected or loosely connected fashion. Hybrid computing implies significant integration or coordination between the internal and external environments at the data, process, management or security layers. Most large companies will use some form of hybrid computing. Over time, hybrid cloud computing could lead to a unified model in which there is a single "cloud" made up of multiple cloud platforms (internal or external) that can be used, as needed, based on changing business requirements. Cloudbursting would allow an application to automatically reach out to external cloud services when additional resources are needed. However, the full promise of this unified cloud may not be realistic, and in any case will take many years to mature. In the meantime, less ambitious hybrid cloud approaches still allow for cost optimization, flexible application deployment options and a coordinated use of internal and external resources. Early adopters are using mashups and joint security and management approaches. Some are building simple integrated solutions and experimenting with cloudbursting. Page 4 of 9 Gartner, Inc. G

5 Recommendations: Establish security, management and governance models to coordinate the use of internal and external services. Focus near-term efforts on application and data integration, linking fixed internal and external applications with a hybrid solution. Where public cloud application services or custom applications running on public cloud infrastructures are used, establish guidelines and standards for how these elements will combine with internal systems to form a hybrid environment. Approach sophisticated integrated solutions, cloudbursting and dynamic execution cautiously, because these are the least mature and most problematic hybrid approaches. Test the viability of cloudbursting for selected applications where horizontal scalability through the cloning of application instances is feasible. Create guidelines/policies on the appropriate use of the different hybrid cloud models. For hybrid application deployments, establish an application performance management architecture primarily around the dimensions of end-user experience monitoring and analytics. Impact: Cloud Brokerage Will Facilitate Cloud Consumption As cloud computing adoption proliferates, so does the need for consumption assistance. A cloud services brokerage (CSB) is a service provider that plays an intermediary role in cloud computing. A CSB is primarily made up of three roles aggregator, integrator and customizer. These roles are adopted by IT services providers, B2B providers and new cloud specialists. During 2011, IT users, and providers, interest in the CSB concept increased, and the market saw an expansion of CSB offerings and more adoption of CSB services. Over the next three years, we expect this trend to accelerate, with an expanded set of providers and offerings. Deploying cloud services will involve substantial integration work, and many CSBs will deliver integration services and employ business process management suites (BPMSs) to address this complexity. Steady investments by IT distributors and communication service providers (CSPs) for cloud aggregation brokerage offerings will help small or midsize businesses (SMBs) acquire, leverage and maximize investments involving multiple cloud services. Individuals, whether they are in IT or a line-of-business unit, can easily consume cloud services without involving IT. While seen as a boon by many users, this approach poses challenges in coordinating purchases, managing the provider relationship, ensuring that consumption of the services does not pose undue risk, integrating disparate services and more. Business units increasingly purchase software as a service (SaaS) solutions and force IT departments to react after the fact. To address this challenge, IT departments should explore how they can position themselves as CSBs to the enterprise by establishing a purchasing process that accommodates cloud adoption and encourages business units to come to the IT organization for advice and support. This will enable IT to track the services that business users are acquiring and bring a Gartner, Inc. G Page 5 of 9

6 degree of governance to the process. However, IT must walk a fine line. If this process is used simply to erect a barrier to accessing cloud services, individuals will once again bypass IT. The enterprise CSB approach can be implemented by modifying existing processes and tools such as internal portals and service catalogs. In addition, vendors of operations management and portal software, as well as external CSB providers, will offer tools to facilitate the process. Recommendations: Position IT as an internal CSB providing advice, guidance and intermediary service for the consumption of cloud services. Evaluate third-party CSBs that can facilitate the consumption of cloud services. Train IT staff in relationship management to better enable them to manage cloud provider relationships and contracts. Cloud services consumers should determine the strategic focus of a CSB provider among the three different CSB roles when seeking help with cloud projects. Align their focus with your greatest need aggregation, integration or customization. Brokerage customers should plan contingencies (e.g., internal brokerage and direct negotiation with cloud providers), as the CSB model is relatively immature, and the CSB provider landscape will continue to evolve during the next five years as CSB adoption proliferates. Impact: Cloud-Centric Design Becomes a Necessity Many organizations look first for opportunities to migrate existing enterprise workloads to a cloud system and/or an application infrastructure. This approach may provide benefits where the workload has a highly variable resource requirement, or where the application naturally lends itself to horizontal scalability. However, to fully exploit the potential of a cloud model, applications need to be designed with the unique characteristics, limitations and opportunities of a cloud model in mind. The architectural and design principles for cloud-optimized applications include: Applications optimized for dynamic resource use versus predictable resource use Failure-aware applications designed for resiliency, rather than assuming a resilient infrastructure A modular, asynchronous and stateless architecture that takes into account latency across internal and external services Parallel execution to increase performance and remove bottlenecks Dynamic execution supporting reconfiguration based on runtime data Use of content delivery networks, data replication and caching, and other new approaches to data management optimized for the cloud Recommendations: Look beyond the migration of enterprise workloads to the creation of cloud-optimized applications that fully exploit the potential of the cloud to deliver global-class applications. Page 6 of 9 Gartner, Inc. G

7 Rather than rely on the underlying infrastructure to provide high availability, cloud-optimized applications must build resiliency into the application, or build on cloud platform services that provide this resiliency. Expect a significant investment in new application architectures and application design best practices. Develop skills to deal with additional data models beyond relational databases in the cloud (e.g., key value object stores, document stores and content delivery networks [CDNs]). Impact: Cloud Computing Influences Future Data Center and Operational Models In public cloud computing, an enterprise is acting as a consumer of services, with the cloud services provider handling the implementation details, including the data center and related operational models. However, to the extent that the enterprise continues to build its own data centers, they will be influenced by the implementation models used by cloud services providers. Through 2014, IT organizations will spend more money on private cloud computing investments than on offerings from public cloud providers. Over time, IT can leverage public and private cloud services in hybrid models. However, not all applications of cloud computing concepts or enabling technologies will result in a full private cloud that delivers all the attributes of cloud computing and easily interoperates with public cloud services. Recommendations: Apply the concepts of cloud computing to future data center and infrastructure investments to increase agility and efficiency. Get IT out of the rationing business and into the enabling business with a cloud computing business model, transparently pricing out infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and letting the business justify consumption based on business needs. Do not let scope creep prevent you from project success; achieve ROI, and implement continuous optimization over time. Learn from the best-practice experiences of large public cloud services providers, and explore the concept of DevOps, which brings service development and operations together in a closer partnership. Plan to customize and integrate your cloud management platform to succeed in your environment. Recommended Reading Some documents may not be available as part of your current Gartner subscription. "Evaluating the Benefits of Private Cloud Computing" Gartner, Inc. G Page 7 of 9

8 "Predicts 2012: Cloud Computing Is Becoming a Reality" "Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2011" "Market Insight: Customers Need Hybrid Cloud Compute Infrastructure as a Service" "Application Performance Monitoring Is the First Step to Manage the Hybrid Cloud Application Portfolio" "How to Determine When to Use a Cloud Services Brokerage" "Predicts 2012: Cloud Services Brokerage Will Bring New Benefits and Planning Challenges" "Emerging Services Analysis: Communications Service Providers as Cloud Services Brokers" "Who's Who in Cloud Services Brokerage" "Creating Cloud Solutions: A Decision Framework, 2011" "Case Study: DevOps Used at National Instruments" "DevOpsSec: Creating the Agile Triangle" "The 10 Fundamentals of Building a Private Cloud Service" This is part of a set of related research. See the following for an overview: The Top 10 Technology Trends for 2012 Page 8 of 9 Gartner, Inc. G

9 Regional Headquarters Corporate Headquarters 56 Top Gallant Road Stamford, CT USA European Headquarters Tamesis The Glanty Egham Surrey, TW20 9AW UNITED KINGDOM Japan Headquarters Gartner Japan Ltd. Atago Green Hills MORI Tower 5F Atago, Minato-ku Tokyo JAPAN Latin America Headquarters Gartner do Brazil Av. das Nações Unidas, andar World Trade Center São Paulo SP BRAZIL Asia/Pacific Headquarters Gartner Australasia Pty. Ltd. Level 9, 141 Walker Street North Sydney New South Wales 2060 AUSTRALIA Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner s prior written permission. The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information and shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in such information. This publication consists of the opinions of Gartner s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Although Gartner research may include a discussion of related legal issues, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner is a public company, and its shareholders may include firms and funds that have financial interests in entities covered in Gartner research. Gartner s Board of Directors may include senior managers of these firms or funds. Gartner research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from these firms, funds or their managers. For further information on the independence and integrity of Gartner research, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity on its website, ombudsman/omb_guide2.jsp. Gartner, Inc. G Page 9 of 9

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