Always-On in 2018 – The True Power of Multiple Clouds

Author: Raymond Goh, Head of Systems Engineering, Asia and Japan

2018 is here, and with it greater expectations, fresh challenges and bigger deliverables to meet.

As the everyday enterprise slowly but surely becomes known for the digital services that it provides, any downtime – no matter how short – is no longer an option. 100% availability is essential in keeping customers happy in this Always-On digital world. Data will become a prime asset for the enterprise, and its explosive growth over the next few years will only cement its importance.

There is universal recognition in the benefits of adopting cloud strategies – no matter your preference for hybrid, private, or public. With the popularity of the cloud accelerating dramatically, more applications will be built specifically for the platform, making cloud more scalable and leading to the rise in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Here are some other trends that we think will shape the coming year:

  1. Multi-cloud environments will become the norm

The impending shift of assets to the cloud is no longer an “if” – rather a “when” and “how”. No single cloud platform is perfect for every workload, but cloud’s biggest advantage is its ability to allow you to scale and customise exactly what your enterprise needs. And as demand grows, the tools and platforms will continue to mature and drive to more seamless integration across clouds.

  1. Cloud Replication Gets Thunderstruck

One thing that’s clear from the many natural disasters that happened in 2017 is that a single data center design is insufficient. But running active-active configurations across multiple data centers is simply too costly, so we foresee that 2018 will see an exponential growth of replication to the cloud for the purposes of failover.

  1. Bi-directional Cloud Workload Migration

2018 will see significant one-way migration towards cloud in one specific area – Software as a Service. The simplicity of SaaS services such as corporate email systems, collaboration, HR, CRM, and payroll will lead to a one-way cloud migration.

  1. Cloud-native applications will surge

As cloud matures, the cost, scale and efficiency benefits of cloud-native applications are now too compelling to ignore, and it’s only a matter of time before the technological advances propel these applications into the mainstream.

  1. Cloud scale database services

Hyper-scale, highly distributed, and mission-critical applications will soon become reality, and further increase the demand for infusing data and analytics into every application delivered in the cloud. Compelling characteristics such as low-latency, scale out and geo-distribution will provide the type of horsepower IOT and numerous other global scale applications require. 

  1. Data Ownership and Privacy Rights Will Gain Board Visibility

The pending enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and customer privacy concerns will raise the visibility and focus on data ownership. Enterprises will not only be turning to any availability solution, but to one that is safe and secure.

  1. Increasing Focus on Data Enablement

Data protection and data security have been a core focus of every IT organization for the past several decades in an attempt to maintain 24.7.365 availability. In 2018, we will see increasing focus on how this same data content can be turned into a business enablement asset. Simply put, investigations into data use for development operations, patch testing, analysis of data sets through machine learning and other emerging techniques.

  1. Artificial Intelligence

While we aren’t quite at the level of HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey”, technologies like Alexa, Cortana and Siri are already showing the impact that AI can bring to our everyday life. For businesses, machine learning capabilities powered by petabytes of data and insanely fast compute resources will impact consumer experiences, biotech research, financial modeling and myriad other applications. Key to this is letting AI take over the mundane tasks so that existing specialist human teams can focus on other factors critical for business growth and development. It’s only a matter of time before AI-enabled through cloud platforms will begin permeating across enterprises, industries and applications.

So what does this all mean for enterprises in the next 12 months – if a cyclone or storm, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack or other major breach and a catastrophic regional power failure all strike at once? Customers and users the world over won’t care what issues strike – they expect the information and ability to transact to be there when they want it, and it's frighteningly easy for them to simply change their vendor and move to the competitor.

Availability isn't a choice, it’s a base requirement and the time for it is now.

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