Last month I was fortunate enough to travel to sunny San Diego, California, home of many of the world’s most esteemed technology vendors, for a major cloud summit. It was a privilege to represent Highlander, one of only three UK partners in attendance, and gain some incredible insights into the future of cloud and the strategies and practices already taking effect in the US, which could very soon be making their presence felt back here in the UK.
Although labelled as a cloud event, I was pleasantly surprised to discover more than I expected, with discussion topics extending beyond the currently perceived concept of cloud to future prospects in areas such as AI and IoT.
Here’s my 3 top takeaways from the event:
The concept of cloud is a not a new one, and many businesses have already adopted some form of cloud-based solution, whether that be as public cloud storage with Azure and AWS, or application suites such as Microsoft’s Office 365. Whereas previously cloud may have been siloed as a separate offering, the choice facing customers has changed.
The successful utilisation of IT has become a major focus, with significant buy-in from decision makers outside of IT teams expecting a greater level of return from their investments. The decision is no longer simply whether to migrate to the cloud or not, but to identify what type of cloud offering they want to migrate to, seeking a more complete package that provides greater visibility, a deeper understanding of consumption and better assessment against expected outcomes.
Despite overwhelming acceptance of the important role cloud will play in the future of IT, an outright cloud strategy is only seen as suitable for a specific demographic of customers, and as such, implementation of an effective hybrid strategy is crucial. While not a new concept by any means, the phenomenon of hybrid cloud is very mature stateside, and it was impressive to see just how agile organisations are becoming by putting the strategy into practice.
Customers are looking to better integrate public cloud services with their existing on-premises infrastructure to benefit from the flexibility and commercial advantages it brings. They’re no longer content with merely adopting a solution to adequately burst to the cloud as required, but one which provides a more in-depth understanding of their environment, utilising advanced metering software, the influx of data captured by IoT-ready devices at the edge, and the smart predictions made possible by advancements in AI to make informed decisions and achieve greater value.
It’s clear that for vendors to meet evolving customer requirements, they must seek to work with each other, and there is already a significant move to increase the level of collaboration and multi-vendor integration across public, private and hybrid cloud strategies. It was interesting to hear from VMware, for example, who discussed a new range of products which integrate with AWS, as part of their plans to better facilitate a hybrid cloud offering.
Other major vendors are also planning to build additional capabilities around their existing cloud solutions, looking to implement integrations with alternative on-premises hardware platforms, virtualised management tools and metering software, whether that be through collaboration with each other, or the consumption of innovative start-up technology providers.
I was left with a very clear overriding message: change is coming in the cloud space, and there are exciting developments on the horizon which will not only deliver incredible new capabilities but create an overwhelming amount of choice for businesses.
As such, the role of your IT partner has never been more important, acting as a valuable source of industry knowledge and expertise plus offering the advice necessary to navigate the best path for you. Highlander is continuing to push the boundaries, broadening our horizons with cutting-edge cloud know-how, best-in-class tools and methodologies, and developing partner relationships to deliver greater value for our customers.
To learn more about our cloud services, and to investigate the options available to you, get in touch with a member of the team.