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The Third Wave of Cloud Evolution

Disruptive Innovation. Big Data. IoT. SDN. Technology buzzwords paving new ground as businesses and lifestyles continue to change in ways unimagined.

Catalyzing the Data Center Boom

Disruptive Innovation. Big Data. IoT. SDN. Technology buzzwords paving new ground as businesses and lifestyles continue to change in ways unimagined. Telecom Services Providers and Data Center Operators must now engage in a faster race to keep up with the ever-changing phenomenon of digital transformation to keep the wheels of commerce turning around the world. In general, the industry must redefine how and where to focus in order to maximize leverage and business benefits, and empower enterprises globally in this Digital World, which delivers innovative surprises every day.

Entering a New Era

No longer regarded as hype, the Cloud Revolution has facilitated massive consumer and business shifts into our Web. Back in 2003, user-generated content overwhelmed existing filters. In 2011, social data began to overwhelm social filters as solutions began targeting information to users based on personal relevance. Today, Cloud users are innovatively using Machine-to-Machine (M2M) to drive superior customer experiences and revenue opportunities.

Digital transformation is spurring a macro-platform where innovation is becoming more rapid and breathtaking. Across the globe, we have nearly ubiquitous high-speed wireless access in developed countries; global technology innovation at unprecedented levels; and every indication that technology and finance companies will lead the way into capitalizing on disruptive innovation in the coming years.

“It is widely apparent and clear that the Cloud is leading us into the ‘Third Wave’ of evolution. While the First Wave is about Constrained Data, the Second Wave is all about Data Explosion and Chaos. [And now], the Third Wave, which is about Mass Data Intelligence and the Cloud,” said Mary Meeker, Head of Digital Growth Funds at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Observations on the Impact of the New Era

As Meeker’s assumptions make their impact on the continuing Cloud Revolution, three key trends are surfacing as infrastructure players rush to realign and win in the ever-transforming digital marketplace.

For starters, in this era of “Mass Data Intelligence and the Cloud,” technology and financial companies are far surpassing traditional industry sectors as the biggest users of Cloud applications, infrastructure and new technologies. The facts are validated as the two sectors show 80% dominance in 2017’s Top 10 global businesses by market capitalization charts. Enhanced solutions for these sectors must be addressed.

Another key trend, evidenced by the influx of requirements (especially in the Emerging Markets Corridor), points to distribution-focused compute centers being the wave of the future with Cloud centers replacing traditional Data Centers in the next decade. Yet, there is a very limited supply of Data Centers and few companies operating on scale in India or in its neighboring countries where the highest growth is expected. This gap opens new opportunities for Cloud orchestrators and data center operators.

Finally, ubiquity of low-cost networks providing high-speed access for both terrestrial and wireless connections has created an explosive growth, non-human intervention requirements. A 2017 Forbes survey shows that “M2M connections will grow from 5 billion at the beginning of this year to 27 billion by 2024, with China taking a 21% share and the US taking 20%”.

“We see increased Cloud growth in the infrastructure compute services space as adoption becomes increasingly mainstream,” said Sid Nag, Research Director at Gartner. “This has been predicted for a while, and the momentum continues to sustain in 2017 eventually plateauing through 2020 as the market further matures. Additional demand from the migration of infrastructure to the Cloud, as well as increased demand from compute intensive workloads, both in enterprise and startup space, is driving this growth.”

The CIO’s Challenge in This New World

So what does all this mean for the CIO of an enterprise in a more traditional market sector and what will they need to do to continue to thrive?

In today’s world, the CIO’s job is becoming ever more complex  with digital transformation driving massive change. Cloud uptake is making enterprises think differently, leading to the introduction of a dynamic array of new “real time” applications for use by both internal resources and customers alike. In turn this is leading to large-scale transformation of enterprise networks which, more and more, consist of disparate network technologies and services including widespread use of the Internet as a transport mechanism.

And all the time, as users are becoming more distributed, IT resources become increasingly centralized.

“Cloud is making CIOs think differently about whom they are developing applications for. Where previously most applications were developed for internal use, increasingly the same application needs to be available to customers too…and served from within multiple global Cloud data centers,” said David Guest, Chief Technology Officer of Specsavers. “We’re no longer in control of where people are accessing our systems from. And with the same Cloud-hosted application being used by both customers and internal users, reliable connectivity into the Cloud data centers for internal users is critical for them to stay ahead of our customers. CIOs need to be thinking in terms of hybrid-network connectivity. This includes how individual sites connect to the WAN as well as Cloud data centers through private connectivity services like CLOUD X Fusion,” Guest added.

“Following on from this, for the enterprise that fully embraces and becomes dependent upon the Cloud, connectivity is key; the network becomes everything. The most important thing for us now is access to resources. It’s therefore really, really important that our network is redundant, resilient and highly available, and that is a constant theme of the conversations we have with our network provider.”

By leveraging next generation 100G+ Software-Defined Networks and Software-Defined WANs, and overlaying smart orchestration of a global “multi-Cloud” environment, the migration of applications into and out of Clouds will be simplified. IT departments worldwide will see new options on a variety of services and geographical coverage that may on first impression be daunting and confusing; almost unachievable, but once mastered, will present almost unimaginable levels of flexibility at low cost.

Thinking About the Years Ahead...

As Telecom Services Providers and Data Center Operators scramble to keep up with the everchanging phenomenon of digital transformation, those who will lead in the Cloud infrastructure space must be strategic in managing geometric growth in storage, along with the bifurcation it will cause in infrastructure.

With India and the emerging markets dominating GDP and Internet growth in the next decade, global CIOs must tackle new challenges from every direction. Especially in regions where growth is evident, yet infrastructure remains cumbersome.

In a nutshell, says Bill Barney, CEO RCOM and Chairman & CEO, GCX, “Whoever masters the combination of Cloud orchestration, fiber ubiquity and low-cost global access to competing computing resources will be the technology infrastructure company of the next decade.”