What is Enterprise Cloud?
Enterprise cloud is a computing model where businesses can access virtualized IT resources from a public or private cloud services provider on a pay-per-use basis. These resources can include servers, processing power (CPU cores), data storage, virtualization capabilities, and networking infrastructure. Enterprise cloud computing creates new opportunities for businesses to reduce costs while enhancing business resiliency, flexibility, and network security.
As organizations undergo digital transformation, they need flexible and scalable access to three types of computing resources: processing power, computer memory, and data storage. In the past, these organizations would bear the cost of implementing and maintaining their own networks and data centers. Now, enterprises can access these resources at a low cost by partnering with public and private enterprise cloud service providers.
Enterprise cloud service providers deliver computing resources to their customers through the Internet. They may also provide software cloud management systems or managed services to help their customers maximize the benefits of enterprise cloud.
Why are Enterprises Moving to the Cloud?
Enterprise cloud technology as we recognize it today is less than 15 years old. It dates back to the March 2006 launch of Amazon Web Services (AWS), the first enterprise cloud storage service. Since the launch of AWS, enterprise cloud technology has seen rapid and widespread adoption. A 2019 survey of 786 technical professionals across a range of organizations estimated adoption rates of 91% for public cloud solutions and 72% for private cloud solutions.
Why have these organizations moved so quickly to adopt enterprise cloud?
There are several driving factors:
1. Cost savings – a typical enterprise cloud solution leverages pay-as-you-go pricing, so businesses only pay for the resources they use. In addition, businesses that move to the Cloud can avoid many or all of the up-front costs of developing similar capabilities in-house. There’s no need to lease a data center, no servers to buy and no physical computing infrastructure that needs to be maintained. As a result, IT expenses for enterprise cloud adopters are often lower, easier to calculate and easier to predict.
2. Security – enterprise organizations are frequently targeted by cybercriminals wishing to steal or expose data. Data breaches are extremely costly to remedy and can negatively impact your reputation and customer relationships. With enterprise cloud, organizations can access security tools like system-wide identity/access management and cloud security monitoring. They can easily implement network-wide identity and access controls. Cloud service providers also play a role in supporting data security in public and private deployments.
3. Disaster Recovery/Business Resiliency – Without a solid Disaster Recovery solution, business resiliency is at risk in the face of a service outage, natural disaster, or cyberattack. Lost revenue, degradation of customer trust, and even bankruptcy are possible outcomes.
Consider what happened to Delta Air Lines: On August 8th, 2016, the airline company experienced a power outage at its operations center in Atlanta. Delta’s disaster recovery protocols failed and core travel booking systems were offline for more than five hours. As a result, Delta was forced to cancel 1,500 flights, delay another 1,800, and issue thousands of refunds and travel vouchers for customers. The total price tag for the 5-hour power outage was in excess of $150 million.
Faction’s Hybrid-Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (HDRaaS™) is our own trademarked solution for enterprise disaster recovery that’s powerful, cheap and fully managed. We provide non-disruptive recovery testing, reliable back-up data storage, and we manage the disaster declaration and failover process. Companies like Delta Air Lines can use disaster recovery services to recover more quickly from service outages and avoid revenue disruption.
4. Flexibility & Innovation – Enterprise cloud computing offers businesses the flexibility to dynamically scale their resource consumption up or down as needed. This minimizes the amount of upfront capital cost associated with launching a new product or testing a new service and removes barriers to innovation.
What are the Different Types of Enterprise Cloud Architecture?
Most organizations have already adopted some form of enterprise cloud solution and many more are following suit. As these organizations move applications and services to the Cloud, they must choose an enterprise cloud architecture that meets their needs. There are four common models for enterprise cloud, each with its own advantages and use cases.
A private cloud architecture is one where all hardware and software resources are used by one organization. Some organizations choose to develop their own private cloud infrastructures in-house. Others choose to partner with a managed service provider who hosts and secures the private cloud hardware and networking infrastructure.
Public cloud services are offered by cloud service providers over the Internet and are available to anyone who wishes to subscribe. A few of the top public cloud service providers today include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, VMware Cloud on AWS, and Google Cloud. These companies control large data centers with sizable pools of virtualized computing resources.
The main difference between private and public cloud is whether available computing resources can be leveraged by different organizations. If the Cloud has restricted access to all resources to one organization, it’s a private cloud. If the Cloud is open to the public, it’s a public cloud.
Public cloud providers leverage a distributed infrastructure, where the compute, storage, and networking are deployed separately. This modular approach provides a lot more flexibility to build exactly what your business workloads require.
VMware Cloud on AWS is unique in that it runs on AWS, but uses a hyper-converged infrastructure to minimize complexity when provisioning resources to customers. A hyper-converged infrastructure includes virtualized computing and networking, along with software-defined storage that run on enterprise-grade servers.
Hyper-converged IT infrastructures abstract infrastructure operations away from the physical hardware level and converge them into discrete building blocks at the hypervisor level. Each virtual machine is allocated a defined amount of compute and storage.
As an enterprise deploys more virtual machines in a hyper-converged infrastructure, the number of active processing cores and the quantity of storage scale together. This leads to resource waste in cases where a business needs to deploy more virtual machines to scale its data storage capacity but doesn’t need more processing power, or needs to scale its processing power without a corresponding need for more storage.
To address this issue, enterprise cloud adopters can deploy a tool like Faction Cloud Control Volumes, a cloud-attached storage solution that integrates with VMware Cloud on AWS. Cloud-attached storage gives enterprise cloud users more flexibility to accomplish workloads without deploying excessive amounts of costly compute nodes.
Enterprise organizations are increasingly deploying hybrid cloud architectures to meet their computing needs. A hybrid cloud environment includes a mix of private cloud and public cloud services. Hybrid cloud deployments use cloud orchestration tools to enable communication and data transfer between these services.
With hybrid cloud architecture, enterprise cloud adopters get the benefits of both public and private cloud architectures. Public cloud providers supply low-cost infrastructure that makes it easy to scale operations when extra capacity is needed while private cloud infrastructure can be used to secure the organization’s most sensitive data.
Consider the example of a healthcare research company operating in the United States. From time to time, the company requires high volumes of processing power to conduct genome sequencing, imaging analytics or other research activities. The company is also covered by the HIPAA regulations, so there is a need to maintain security and privacy with respect to patient data. Such a company would benefit from a hybrid cloud architecture that allows it to quickly scale up compute resources with public cloud while maintaining sensitive data on private cloud servers.
A multi-cloud architecture combines services from more than one cloud provider or vendor. These can include private clouds built on VMware or public clouds like AWS, Azure and Google.
There are several reasons why Faction recommends that businesses make the switch to multi-cloud.
One reason is efficiency. Businesses can use a cloud-attached storage solution as a single data source for all of its public cloud operations. This practice reduces public cloud resource consumption, resulting in decreased costs, and creates a single source of truth for all data.
Another factor is flexibility: for each workload you deploy into the Cloud, you’ll be able to choose the most suitable cloud service provider in terms of features, security, cost and performance.
A third benefit of multi-cloud architectures is risk mitigation: if one public cloud provider experiences an outage, the company can transfer its workloads to a different provider with minimal downtime. A multi-cloud architecture also helps prevent vendor lock-in and improves your negotiating position when you arrange volume pricing with your public cloud vendors.
A recent survey published by the IBM Institute for Business Value found that 85% of organizations in October 2018 were already operating in multi-cloud environments. The same research revealed that 98% of the 1,016 executives surveyed were intending to deploy multi-cloud solutions in their businesses by 2021. It’s clear that multi-cloud deployments are the next major trend in enterprise cloud computing.
So, are you ready to transform your business with enterprise cloud?
Let us help you get started.