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Mission-critical applications on the hybrid cloud: the road ahead

With the rise in the usage and popularity of the cloud, the companies are moving beyond their past inhibitions and contemplating putting mission-critical applications on the cloud platform

By- Samson Davld , Senior Vice President and Global Head for Cloud and Infrastructure Services, Infosys

As cloud gains momentum globally, we are witnessing a greater number of organizations adopting cloud services across variousbusiness applications. The adoption is no longer limited to non-mission critical applications. According to a Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper commissioned by Infosys, ‘Simplify and Innovate the Way You Consume Cloud’, 77% of companies surveyed are already using or planning to use mission-critical applications on the cloud within the next two years. This would include a combination of Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). This is a stark difference from the world a few yearsago where cloud computing was used predominantly for workloads such as testing and development, human resource applications, and to satisfy seasonal spikes in demand for resources.

A large part of this change has been attributed to the fact that cost saving is no longer the primary driver for leveraging cloud. The paper shows that as cloud adoption matures, 77% of enterprises surveyed consider agility to be the key driver. Agility includes responsiveness, resource utilization, collaboration, and innovation. Cloud computing services have become an equally strategic serious business choice for enterprises as prioritizing the development of new and innovative ways to increase their top-line growth.

ASSESSING CLOUD MATURITY AND CHALLENGES
With most large companies having begun their journey to the cloud, the speed of implementation varies drastically. Most of the mainstream cloud users have moved beyond the exploration phase of cloud adoption and are familiar with the technology opportunities today. The one thing that is common to any enterprise, irrespective of where they are in their journey, is that they understand that instead of implementing individual cloud initiatives on a project-by-project basis, they should prioritize developing a comprehensive cloud strategy for their IT infrastructure. That being said, the fact remains that 83% of the enterprises surveyed are still struggling to bring together all their cloud services—be it IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, public and private clouds, and traditional IT.

Companies worldwide are facing challenges on their journey to cloud maturity owing to lack of self-service capabilities and insufficient transparency. These user experience-related issues, coupled with the classic concerns around security and regulatory compliance, need to be addressed as a high priority. The lack of transparency and self-service has a severe impact on the operational performance of the cloud and its adoption. Companies clearly see that providing self-service access to cloud resources makes consumption easier and improves the user experience.

Operational simplicity is another area of concern for enterprises when it comes to moving mission-critical apps to the cloud. Operational simplicity includes a single interface for provisioning and managing systems and applications with unified enterprise integration services; consolidated metering and billing; and automated governance, risk, and compliance. For their cloud ecosystem, early adopters are looking at the ability to detect, alert, and resolve
problems themselves. They are also looking at basic features that offer essential convenience, such as singlesign-on. The more sophisticated enterprises demand modern dashboards, context-aware and persona-based self-service, smart cloud broker capabilities and more.

MAXIMIZING HYBRID CLOUD EFFECTIVENESS
Large enterprises also need to develop a framework for their hybrid cloud environment that brings together the complex legal regulations, industry compliances, and technical constructs within which they operate. One of the major reasons that hinders the adoption of the hybridcloud environment is the fact that enterprises are still not
sure on how to manage and govern a hybrid cloud environment.
A lot of these challenges are not going away any time soon. So what is the solution? Enterprises need to work with trusted partners that act as cloud ecosystem integrators. These partners will help integrate and automate the orchestration of apps and data in a hybrid cloud environment. Large companies should focus on cloud integrators
that can help them effectively manage change, scale rapidly, and federate public cloud offerings with corporate service catalogs or IT management. The other expectations from cloud partners include the ability to seamlessly integrate with various product and solution providers for different tasks and processes and offer a holistic view of the cloud resource usage across the whole ecosystem in order to optimize its use.

To summarize, companies looking to truly maximize the value of their hybrid cloud investments need to innovate and continuously improve the user experience based on the secure orchestration of applications and data between the private cloud, public cloud, and on-premises IT investments.

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