Jason Bloomberg put it about as accurately and succinctly as it might be stated:
"The common theme: cloud has matured. It’s on every enterprise IT roadmap. The challenges now are more tactical: how cloud can support devops and big data initiatives. How to manage and secure cloud environments, especially hybrid ones. How to migrate enterprise workloads to the cloud."
Cloud has matured. Basic, but profoundly important for understanding where knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, and actions regarding data security and storage were just a few years ago in comparison to today. No longer an ambitious and innovative step, securing sensitive and invaluable data in the cloud has become the standard. After years of debate and non-consensus on the topic, we can now say that failure to maintain a tactical and informed cloud strategy will indeed prove to be seriously disadvantageous in an increasingly competitive, time and cost sensitive, and threat-dense data environment.
Around 90% of businesses have integrated cloud as part of their IT roadmap to some extent by this point; but this cloud flourishing, if you will, has come subsequently upon the hybridization and innovation of basic cloud storage offerings that once existed, expanding the range of applicability to deal with an increasingly diverse array of technologies and problems which needed to be solved. Thus, the concept of cloud has bloomed into a mixture of hardware and cloud hosting mechanisms supported by the software resources that enable this marriage. However, there are inherent reasons why hybridization and the "mix" of potential arrangements which all carry the "cloud" label have become so prevalent.
As initial concerns regarding integrity of data in the cloud have diminished due to both research and knowledge dissemination, adoption has become less novel and more customary. A recent study tells us that 94% of SMBs identified security benefits after moving operations onto the cloud. And most studies will demonstrate similarly positive security stories, adding evidence that security is no longer the biggest hang-up when we talk cloud.
Aside from security, the benefits have been reiterated over and over. Agility, scalability, cost, and speed make cloud operations highly attractive. In a recent survey, up to 70% of companies reported reinvesting money saved from transferring to cloud back into existing operations.
A few years ago this was a contentious topic. Now consumers have identified and largely accepted the tangible benefits of cloud. Still, we see adoption rates much higher in smaller organizations with levels of apprehension regarding cloud email hosting and other types of cloud service adoption rising in more sizable organizations. Logical, yes; particularly with the visibility and publicity surrounding many recent compromises of data in large organizations. However, the question that we might now ask in our current stage of cloud evolution must be forward looking. The question is no longer “is cloud appropriate or beneficial for my organization’s needs?” Instead, we now suggest inquiries into the technicalities of cloud and its supporting elements. How do we extract the greatest value out of what exists to enhance big data and dev-ops potential? How do we secure and manage data and infrastructure efficiently? And how do we migrate workloads safely and effectively?
Frankly, migrating operations and applications entirely to the cloud can be asking a bit much for many organizations, particularly larger organizations with more dense data management requirements. IT departments have steadily increased their willingness to defer to third-party data centers and hosting platforms in the name of cost and convenience. Nevertheless, most organizations are still justifiably apprehensive about a full-fleged migration to the cloud, as the dependence on a third-party is understandably unnerving, especially where highly sensitive data is concerned. But when we really have a look at the essence of the transformation that has taken place in storage over the past 15 years, and more rapidly in recent years, it is astonishing that most firms can no longer afford to house all required services and hardware on-prem. Therefore, it seems that the rational middle ground, the pragmatic happy medium, is a marriage of on prem and in house solutions. This is a sincerely cost-centric solution, but it also makes sense in a few other ways. Diversifying the hosting of your enterprise applications employs the age old idea of not putting all of your eggs in one basket, literally. Tailoring infrastructure to your needs is the catch, as one-size-fits-all alternatives are not realistic in a dynamic enterprise landscape. The best of both worlds can indeed be accessed through hybridization. Ability to leverage the cost-effective public cloud while simultaneously maintaining your most sensitive enterprise data private adds a level of agility that businesses have not seen before.
The evolution of cloud computing and storage have posed new questions that require a different angle. As it stands, the current stage of this phenomenon must be viewed through a different lens than the conventional approach. One thing is for certain, the hybridization of your storage strategy is valuable in its emphasis on context and its ability thus far to adapt and serve your specific needs and objectives.