The public cloud has greatly advanced IT by allowing teams to interact with their data and write new applications in a cloud-native way. The cloud simplifies the application development process, provides services on demand and allows you to pay as you go. There has been phenomenal growth in public cloud use and all estimates show that it is likely to keep growing in the near future.
Nevertheless, most IT computing still takes place outside of the public cloud, simply because there has been no effective way to consume cloud-native services outside of data centers (or “regions”) operated by the hyperscale cloud providers. This location constraint negatively affects cloud computing in three main ways: Performance (latency, throughput), data sovereignty (residency, regulations) and commercial considerations (legacy architecture, pricing).
As a result, to realize the cloud’s fullest potential, many enterprises are turning to a recent innovation in cloud computing: Distributed clouds that are untethered to specific locations or regions.
How does this work? Through APIs, the distributed cloud connects to any IT stack in any location and provides cloud functionality as if running on a hyperscale cloud. However, instead of running in a dedicated location, it runs on existing infrastructure on top of any IaaS, virtualized environment or bare-metal machines. It is agnostic to the stack’s underlying physics and doesn’t require any installation or capex. It runs workloads in any environment: Commercial data center, on-premises facility, edge microcenter or even in a multi-facility hybrid environment.
How the Cloud is Transforming Enterprise and SMBs
Modern application development lives and breathes cloud computing. It’s been the enabler for much of the recent progress with modern applications—such as those dedicated to IoT, smart cities and personal health, for example—and will continue to be the infrastructure on which enterprises and small businesses develop new innovations. But as more and more businesses employ a cloud-first approach using cloud-native architectures and technologies, “IT budget” has become synonymous with “cloud budget.” And this is often a very expensive proposition.
Therefore, the next step for many businesses is to manage cloud computing costs while supporting legacy and cloud-native applications as well as cloud migration. Their computing strategy may be simultaneously on-premises, bare metal and hybrid across multiple continents. And so they need a cloud with architectural latitude to match their needs as well as their budget.
This flexibility is provided by the customizable distributed cloud. By facilitating interoperability with existing infrastructure, it enables enterprises to deploy and infinitely scale applications anywhere they need. The more openness they have in terms of where they run applications, the more freedom they have to optimize their budget.
Who is Driving Cloud Computing Innovation?
Amazon, Microsoft and Google have gone from being the innovators in cloud computing to being the incumbents. Innovation in the cloud is coming from startups as well as legacy IT companies. Here are a few examples:
- Kyndryl has emerged as one of the system integrators of choice when the Fortune 500 look to innovate and modernize their IT and application infrastructures. Kyndryl has been engaged by large companies to solve many of the challenges that cloud computing has created. One of the innovations they have championed is the distributed cloud.
- NetApp has spent over $2 billion on more than a dozen acquisitions to build their cloud portfolio. Their focus has been on creating a portfolio that gives enterprises the ability to bridge their various compute and storage infrastructures to the cloud. As opposed to assuming that their customers will have greenfield implementations on cloud infrastructure, NetApp has built a portfolio that allows them to meet their clients where they currently are in terms of architecture and to shift from there into more cloud-native capabilities.
- Zenlayer has built cloud infrastructure in diverse geographies, giving them global reach that even the hyperscalers can’t rival. Zenlayer claims to provide cloud infrastructure that is so globally distributed that they are within 25 milliseconds of latency from 85% of the world’s internet population. This focus on physical infrastructure locations that enable global performance is an important innovation for many modern applications.
Emerging Cloud Computing Innovations
The distributed cloud, which integrates programmatically into any existing local infrastructure, is an innovation that drives businesses forward by providing them with a cloud that can be customized for specific locality requirements. Without requiring any installation, its cloud-native building blocks leverage existing servers to run application workloads in any environment—private, public, on-premises and hybrid.
As a result, application owners are able to build an optimized cloud computing strategy, taking advantage of existing and available infrastructure in the location—or multiple locations—of their choosing.