Cloud - Evolving from Product to Service

Let’s face it; there is a lot of stuff out there on cloud. So much so we are on the verge of tuning out what might just appear to be “Cloud Hype?”

 

I hope not. If you cut through the noise then cloud technology is already beginning to transform the way our customers think, not only about service delivery, but more importantly, how they deliver it. Whilst positioning cloud as “mainstream” would be on overstatement, it has clearly moved rapidly beyond the “early adopter” stage.   

 

In my last post I asked, what percentage of applications are now hosted in the cloud, according to our World Quality report? Well the answer is almost a quarter (22%) and this is expected to rise even further to 32% by 2015. Clearly cloud is here to stay and I hope by providing a few examples of some of the exciting cloud projects I have been lucky enough to work on, this post will get you excited about the cloud all over again.

 

Those getting value from the cloud today

 

The customers I speak to agree cloud has provided the ability to rapidly create systems which are increasingly more flexible and agile. In the past, rolling out new functionality required expensive handcrafted or outsourced software; this had a long turnaround time and gave internal IT teams little control over the process.

 

Cloud has created a service driven business model which enables enterprise to pick and choose functionality and create bespoke environments. At HP we see IT becoming a ‘Cloud Service Broker’, giving users a catalogue of available resources from multiple service providers, which can be rolled out instantly and customised to fit any platform our customers require.

 

Now processes such as authentication, required by the majority of today’s apps, no longer means multiple registration forms. Instead third party sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, can offer cloud-based authentication services which are fast, secure, and allow business to capture valuable user data.

 

Custom cloud Environments

 

HP has been involved in some truly revolutionary uses of cloud. This includes our work with a large Danish Pharmaceutical developer, where we turned its valuable Intellectual Property and services into a ‘Pharmaceutical Grade’ cloud. We worked together to create an environment to deal with the complex requirements of a highly regulated industry; this required every character in every document to be traceable and all historic document versions.

 

Now, not only can the business offer employees a flexible, collaborative environment, but the cloud has also created a new revenue stream – a cloud environment which can be sold to competitors and other organisations in the industry. Expect to see similar cloud environments created for similarly regulated markets – such as Finance and Legal.  

 

Predictions for the Future

 

So what does all this mean for you?

 

I have spoken with more than 50 customers in the past five months and two thirds of those discussions were about cloud. It seems most of you are suffering from the same issues: juggling multiple cloud providers, employees buying cloud services, and extra storage costs.

 

What struck me was that in all cases none of you had heard about our Cloud Service Automation (CSA) product. While I try to steer clear of direct product promotion on here, it seemed foolish not to mention a solution which has been designed to deal with exactly these types of issues, and benefits from the lessons learned from several major cloud projects.

 

It gives you the power to operate as a cloud broker, with the ability to switch between various public and private clouds, across any operating system or hardware, including the resources available on OpenStack. This ensures customers have access to all the information they need to make the best cloud decisions. We have also spent time developing best practice ways of implementing services, ensuring you can quickly and easily implement a new service, as part of our Cloud Maps Solution.

 

Many of you say cloud has offered a new alternative to on-premise hardware; increasing numbers of you look to take advantage of the ability to add additional layers of functionality, which can then be repackaged for your own customers.

 

The future I envisage for cloud is one where our customers use it to manage the ‘full stack’ of services rather than having to pull from multiple vendors. This is why we provide our customers with an exhaustive catalogue of services and systems, allowing them to select what works best for their organisations, and add the relevant functionality on top.

 

As I mentioned, cloud is increasingly becoming a service and I predict that basic cloud services will become a daily traded commodity as companies and individuals vie to get the cheapest deals. In fact, we had this in mind during the development of CSA so if, cloud does become a traded commodity, it can give you a full read on market prices.

 

For those of you who are more comfortable with on-premise systems, then cloud can still offer rapidly available testing environments and a way to cope with unexpectedly high demand – meaning there really is no excuse for you not to benefit from it.

 

In my next post I will be talking about some of our exciting announcements from this year’s Discover. In the meantime, why not ask any questions you have about cloud in the section below?

 

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Follow Rafa on Twitter @RafaelBrugnini

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About the Author
Rafael Brugnini (Rafa) serves as VP of EMEA & APJ for HP Software. Joining in 1996 and has more than 20 years of knowledge and experience l...
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