House of Clouds

Public cloud services: What really matters

What really matters, which services are the right ones for companies and why the multi-cloud is so in demand.

The optimal strategy for public cloud services at companies – an interview with René Büst, cloud computing expert and analyst at Crisp Research.

Public cloud services are riding at the peak of the already successful cloud computing wave. According to Cloud Monitor, a regular survey conducted by Bitkom and KPMG, market interest has increased significantly once again. More than one in four companies (26 percent) reported that they already use public cloud services. The corresponding figure a year ago was just 16 percent, meaning an increase of ten percentage points. In addition, nearly one in five companies has specific plans to use public cloud services, or is at least considering doing so. In 2014, the corresponding figure was eight percent.

Public cloud services: not a catch-all by far

Companies should not be misled by these figures, however, because not all public clouds are alike. They include nearly unprotected collaboration platforms, such as those in Asia, just like public cloud services that are subject to German data protection and privacy laws and are hosted at a high-security data center on German soil.
The Association of the Internet Industry (eco) and consulting firm Arthur D. Little had similar findings in their joint study of German Internet business. Although they predict that public cloud services will grow by up to 40 percent per year through 2019 and even call them "turbo segments", they also predict related demand for IT integration services, on-site service, legal certainty and improved privacy protection – and the legal aspects, in particular, will spur European and German companies in the market for public cloud services.

What really matters for public cloud services

It goes without saying that public cloud services have to be especially diverse for German companies. Specifically, they have to have high performance coupled with maximum security. They have to allow fast, simple scaling, as well as seamless integration in existing architectures. And ultimately, they have to harmonize perfectly with the other cloud structures at a company, as expert René Büst from analyst firm Crisp Research knows (see interview „Public cloud services: in search of the white knight“).
This is why experts like Büst believe that companies will continue to favor combined environments. "Hybrid and multi-cloud strategies are near the top of the agenda for IT decision-makers. They understand that a modern, cloud-based IT world shouldn't just be drawn in black and white. Diversity is needed to purchase services and innovations from a larger number of cloud providers. Private clouds quickly meet their limits here and don't offer the benefits of a public cloud," says René Büst.
Conclusion: public cloud services have earned their place in organizations. But they have to allow seamless integration in the overall IT, instead of being granted special status. If they achieve this, nothing will stop their victorious march onwards.

Public cloud services: in search of the white knight. Interview with René Büst, analyst at Crisp Research.

René Büst, Crisp Research Analyst

Mr. Büst, public, private, hybrid: when does which cloud offering become relevant for a company?

There's no catch-all answer here. We are now seeing an increasing number of companies that are intensely engaging with the public cloud, following an "all in" approach. This means, they do not manage a local IT infrastructure or internal data centers anymore, instead they are migrating everything to public cloud infrastructures or platforms, or purchasing what they need under a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model. However, these companies are still a minority.

…and that means?

At the moment, most companies prefer to use private cloud environments. It's a logical consequence of the legacy solutions that companies still maintain in their IT. However, we believe that in the future, a majority of German companies will move to hybrid or multi-cloud architectures, enabling them to cover all the facets they need for their digital transformation.

And how can companies coordinate these different solutions in combination?

By using cloud management solutions that have interfaces to the most commonplace public cloud offers, as well as to private cloud solutions. They provide powerful tools for managing workloads in different environments and shifting virtual machines, data and applications around. Another option for seamless management is iPaaS: integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) provides cloud-based integration solutions. In the pre-cloud era, such solutions were also called "middleware". They provide support for the interaction between different cloud services.

What do companies have to watch out for principally when using these cloud services?

They should not underestimate the lack of understanding of the public cloud, nor the challenges associated with setting up and operating multi-cloud environments. The benefits gained from using multi-cloud infrastructures, platforms and services often come at a heavy price: namely, the costs that result from the complexity, integration, management and necessary operations. Multi-cloud management and a general lack of cloud experience are currently the key challenges many companies are facing.

What is the solution?

Managed public cloud providers (MPCPs) are positioning themselves as "white knights" or "friends in need". They develop and operate the systems, applications and virtual environments for their customers – in both the public cloud infrastructures and multi-cloud environments – in a managed cloud service model.

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