Efficiency matters in business today perhaps now more than ever before. Technology has changed the way we do business and what our expectations for efficiency are. In many ways, businesses are dependent upon the best technologies and at least a small IT staff is the norm, something that would have seemed over the top just 30 or even 20 years ago. Those companies that are not yet using cloud storage have a lot of important reasons to begin considering why they should.
Yet, as popular as the cloud storage option is for consumers, businesses need specialized enterprise cloud solutions in many cases. While there are lots of cloud storage services to choose from out there now, picking the right one is what matters. This platform as a service (known as PaaS in some circles) option has a lot of benefits, but there are also pitfalls you need to be aware of, things to think about carefully before you decide on the best service to meet your company’s needs.
Private vs Public Cloud Storage Options
Right now, cloud storage is extremely popular and there are a lot of companies engaged in selling it. Most in business will understand that hype and over-exaggeration come with the territory when it comes to selling. Unfortunately, not all companies do their due diligence before they decide on a cloud service and that means there are those out there who are complaining that the company they decided to go with over-sold them on what their cloud services could do. You can avoid this, though, by thinking more realistically about your options and letting your IT team do a thorough evaluation of available cloud storage options.
The next 5 years will be about private cloud solutions. This is the assertion made by Sinclair Schuller in a recent article on Venture Beat. The landscape of public PaaS might work for smaller independent developers, but enterprises have professional developers with different needs since what they code is built to run inside of enterprise data centers.
The fact is, custom application workloads running inside enterprise datacenters are not easy targets for moving to public PaaS. They are mired in regulatory and security concerns, have capabilities hard-coded for their enterprise environments, and require physical proximity to massive datasets.
Private PaaS solutions then can be a stronger alternative for enterprises that need the benefits, but are not looking for the hassles that adopting a PaaS would require. In other words, hybrid cloud solutions will let them use both private and public options more seamlessly to make sure they are deriving the utility they need from these solutions. That’s not as common in terms of an approach enterprises think about, but in the coming years it is going to become a more popular choice.
Cloud Architecture Challenges to Consider
One of the core challenges to consider is that PaaS is changing in a big way. Developers are going to have different options and will be able to do more than merely deploy their apps more easily. Sure, today’s PaaS can help with making workflows smoother, but there are a lot of considerations that should be made when it comes to considering what you want in the future. Schuller tells us the older way of handling the cloud differs from what’s to come:
While valuable, this is a tactical view of the cloud. Cloud has driven a fundamental change in how applications are written and architected – so much so that we now refer to “cloud applications” as a category.
Cloud applications are definitely a big deal. They are often mobile, have more than one ‘tenant’ and are distributed. Unfortunately, they are also very tough to put together since their architecture patterns are exceptionally complicated for developers to build. With cloud architected platforms, developers still get very little help building applications and that’s a problem. However, the good news for enterprises is that it is a problem which appears to be waning. Instead, cloud architecture enabling solutions are coming our way as Schuller explains it:
Developers can build next generation application architectures – like multi-tenant architectures that salesforce.com put on the map – with little to no effort or skillset change. These “cloud architecture enabling platforms” will define a new gold standard in PaaS, killing off any technologies whose “vision” is to deploy applications.
So When deciding on a vendor, be sure you are examining their vision and how they plan to support what your company is looking to do. It’s going to make a real difference, especially in the coming years.
It’s Going to Come Down to Speed and Costs
As most things do, cloud solutions are going to be implemented or skipped over due to their costs in most cases. Vendors are going to have to take this seriously and it’s a huge issue on the horizon. Your company is going to want to think about costs, too, along with what the services you decide you need are going to do for you. Speed is another big factor and how fast solutions in the cloud can be deployed is likely to become a major issue in the near future. Companies that are not as fast will most likely need to charge less. Schuller elaborates, saying:
This is a direct reflection of a near sighted view of the market, and if vendors don’t focus on moving PaaS from deployment to next generation application development, they’ll find themselves in an unfortunate business model.
Application development and cloud supportive architecture are going to become key selling points. If you’re still holding out on choosing a vendor or you want to switch to a better one, be sure you are looking closely at how they handle those issues. Yes, costs do matter and so does speed, but it’s the whole picture that you need to make the most informed decision possible.
Most Enterprises Will Indeed Be Using Cloud Solutions
Companies are going to need cloud solutions, there is just no way around it. Each week, we see more and more ways that cloud solutions are offering a higher level of efficiency, better security and the ability to help bring operating costs down. So the question can’t be if a company will or won’t use the cloud, but how will they use it? In the coming years, that’s going to become the real issue and it is definitely one we want to consider strongly for any company we’re involved with.
From cloud storage to cloud applications development, there is a lot the cloud can do now. How do you plan to use it in your own enterprise? Or if you are already, how have cloud solutions helped your business meet its goals in a more efficient or effective way? We always love hearing stories from the front lines so be sure to share yours. If you have questions, we encourage you to ask those, too. Leave a comment below, either way, and we will respond as quickly as we’re able to.