Top five cloud services predictions 2018
Karl Roe, Vice President, Services & Cloud Solutions at Nuvias, takes a look at what’s in store for organisations using the cloud in 2018...
The Rise of AI
2018 will see Artificial Intelligence (AI) drive a transformational change among organisations and impact on cloud use.
ICT isn’t getting any simpler, and businesses are being forced to move faster as their customers’ requirements become more demanding. This is driving innovation in areas like AI, but automation of past processes won’t be enough to keep up with the “need for speed” in business agility.
We will see lots more AI projects and initiatives in 2018; it will be the cornerstone of change in automation of ICT. Proactive, automated, non-human decisions are now a necessity. Are the robots coming? Yes, they are – but we still need to develop the Intellectual Property (IP) to drive them.
IP Will Be Key
With emerging technologies like AI becoming more prominent in 2018, organisations are demanding bespoke software and solutions that solve their specific business problems.
As a result, companies are increasingly working with cloud service providers to gain a competitive advantage – this includes using public cloud providers to power their IP-centric solutions. Investment in infrastructure development is diminishing, replaced by a need for specific business-driven solutions that require unique software to bring these solutions to life.
From Partnering to Strategic Alliances
IP is the key, but many end users don’t have the time, resources or in-house skills to create their own unique solution that gives them the business advantage they require.
As such, they are forging long term business relationships with technology service providers who understand their need for change, and develop specific IP or software which utilises public cloud services, embraces AI, and most importantly which solves a business or specific customer problem.
Public cloud providers also need these strategic partner alliances to ensure there is a shorter time to value in moving workloads to the cloud, and providing solutions that move beyond IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) to fully utilising PaaS (Platform- as-a-Service).
PaaS as the Basis for Digital Transformation
We are starting to see the SaaS (Software- as-a-Service) players now extending into PaaS in response to customer demand.
Customers that are using a SaaS kingpin like CRM want to extend that platform into other use cases and requirements. It’s been a long time coming but as the world moves to a cloud-first strategy, the complexity in integrated public clouds is driving companies to explore PaaS.
Secure Cloud Services & Cyber Security get Board Visibility
Cloud services have been a safe bet in the Boardroom in recent years, but now the question is, are they truly secure? Decisions to utilise cloud services have been a relatively easy Boardroom decision, due to their known cost and agility. But with more and more high-profile data breaches, questions are now being asked around cloud security at a Board level within businesses.
The damaging nature of cyber-attacks is now clearly in the line of sight of Board members. GDPR will also raise more questions at this level, making cyber security in the cloud a Board level priority.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”