DSC_0884100+ Telecom Council members and guests gathered yesterday (attendee list here) to discuss Cloudy with a Chance of Hybrid. Since Cloud is such a well-established phenomenon, we sought  to focus on the leading edge of Cloud and to share ideas around where cloud was going. Thanks to Summit Mittal from Deutsche Telekom, Mark Stuchfield from JT Global, Paul NcNamara from Ericsson, Beau Beck from ItsOn, and David Wright from VMWare for leading the discussions. Here are some highlights.

Hybrid solutions

The rush to export IT functions to the cloud was only partially successful. Many large companies were concerned about loss of control or security risks, so sought to keep some of their data in house. Today, it seems the most sensible approach is Hybrid Cloud, where the less sensitive data is pushed to the cloud to take advantage of: scalability, agility, open collaboration, peak loads, SaaS offerings, BUT the sensitive data remains in-house on-prem. This allows the promise of the cloud to be tapped, while avoiding the biggest risks.

Cost Factors

Startups were eager adopters of the cloud, for example leveraging Amazon Web Services to launch their companies where previously it would have required huge up-front CapEx in equipment and infrastructure. The beauty of the Cloud was the “pay as you go, only for what you use” business model, which fits perfectly with cash-strapped startups. But once these businesses succeeded and scaled up, they rapidly found that Cloud, on a piecemeal basis, can be quite expensive. These companies have learned that there are two ways to lower costs after scaling-up. 1) Shift some predictable server loads back on-prem where total costs are actually lower, or 2) Secure long –term contracts with Cloud providers. Also of note, it turns out that contracted Cloud pricing is much lower than ad hoc, as vendors want to be able to plan their loads and utilizations, and offer better pricing for predictable B2B customers.

IaaS, PaaS, Saas, XaaS

The industry started as IaaS, where datacenter space, rackspace, or bare metal servers were available to rent. It progressed to PaaS, where the servers were equipped with OS software, backup, redundancy, power, cooling, VMs, and other basic horizontal server needs. After that, the industry went to SaaS, where application layers were also part of the Cloud service. The progression has steadily been of higher level functions to the datacenter, or Cloud. But what is next? Our Council meeting found that the X as a Service space was clearly in the crosshairs, as an innovative set of functions gets moved to the Cloud. Some ideas included Robot aaS, IoT aaS,  Virtual Assistant aaS, Containers and more.

The Startups

As always, our meeting wrapped up with a great set of rapid fire presenters- listed here. We got to hear some great ideas and see demos on hypercloud, virtual datacenters, end-to-end cloud software stacks, orchestration, network visibility, UCC, benchmarking, hypervisors, and open networking. Members can download the presentations from the library.

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