At the recent AWS re:Invent conference, Amazon Web Services (AWS) made it clear that, like other public cloud service providers, it is intent on moving as much data from on-premise IT environments into the public cloud as possible.
AWS is trying to speed up this migration by establishing alliances with IT services firms such as Accenture and unveiling of its physical Snowball appliance, which IT organizations can deploy inside their own data centers to move as much as 50TB of data in and out of the AWS cloud.
Naturally, the two primary issues driving that singular focus are the need to continue to reduce overall costs by managing IT at ever higher levels of scale, and the desire to provide greater value via Big Data analytics applications.
Working against that effort, however, are the multiple petabytes of data that currently reside on premise, most of which isn't likely to be going anywhere anytime soon due to regulatory compliance issues and application performance concerns.
The end result is the emergence of multiple centers of data gravity that IT services providers will need to carefully navigate in the months and years ahead.
Navigating the growing data galaxy
All the major public cloud providers have signaled their intention to provide Big Data analytics using advanced technologies such as machine learning algorithms to provide more insight into all the metadata they collect. Each new application that gets hosted on a public cloud generates more data and attracts other applications to the same cloud. After all, the best way to avoid all the network latency issues associated with integrating applications across a hybrid cloud is to host as many applications as possible in the same cloud platform.
Over time, what emerges is a massive ecosystem of applications running on AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Cloud, and IBM SoftLayer, which in turn are then surrounded by smaller ecosystems made up of clouds managed by either providers of hosting services or internal IT organizations. The major challenge and opportunity for IT services providers will be not only managing the bi-directional transfer of data between all the constellations that make up this emerging data galaxy, but also securing and protecting all that data.
Larger enterprises, for example, are going to want direct connections between clouds, while smaller organizations will be concerned about securely transferring data across slower public Internet connections. In either case, demand for networking and security expertise will be at a premium, and a deep understanding of data management will become one of the most prized cloud computing skills.
For that reason, most IT services providers are pretty optimistic about their future these days. Regardless of how IT evolves in the age of the cloud, there’s clearly going to be more data spinning around the cloud computing galaxy than any one IT organization could ever realistically hope to manage on their own.