As IT leaders consider their cloud architecture requirements for the next three years, they will need to consider emerging issues such as the shift to decentralised cloud and the rise of sovereign cloud.
And they will need to keep a watchful eye on some familiar considerations as well – cybersecurity and skills and capabilities.
That’s the view of Michael Warrilow, VP analyst for Gartner.
“One of the challenges with the adoption of cloud infrastructure that’s going to be addressed more so over the next year a bit 2025 and beyond is this idea of a decentralised cloud. Now that comes in multiple forms.”
He says the newest is what is being called distributed cloud.
“Distributed cloud is a decentralised approach to extend public cloud computing.”
CIOs are very interested in distributed cloud he said. “If you can’t go to the public cloud, how do you bring the public cloud to you? All of the key cloud infrastructure vendors are investing in a distributed cloud. You’ll hear products such as Microsoft’s Azure stack, Amazon Web Services Outposts, and IBM’s Cloud Satellite.
“Everyone is investing to make public cloud services available closer to their customers’ data centre and on-premises environments.”
He said there are a number of key benefits to a distributed cloud that help overcome obstacles for greater public cloud adoption.
“Some of them are technical. And in a country like Australia, you can’t go past latency. It’s a big country. And if you’re on the West Coast right now, latency is a big factor.”
“We’re such a big country, and the concentration on the east coast means that’s where the public clouds [are based].”
Warrilow believes that for remote environments, the increasing availability of low Earth orbit technologies will be a game changer.
“[This] in terms of a better balance between the metropolitan areas and the bush look for the distributed cloud.”
Despite the promise of distributed cloud, he says there is a big challenge.
“The uptake so far has been low.”
Part of the problem is the variability in the maturity, and the extent of the offerings, he said.
“Oracle’s offering is full-featured. It’s on par with a public cloud. But for a lot of the other offerings, it’s only providing a subset of the full public cloud computing stack today.”
The future of distributed cloud is not guaranteed, he suggested.
“Despite the appeal of distributed cloud the jury is still out on how widely it’s going to be adopted. It’s clear that there is a desire for this, but there’s little very little adoption to date.”
He believes that may change in the next three years.
“We are going to see more and more clients start to evaluate distributed cloud, but we don’t expect to see widespread adoption by 2025.”
One of the barriers to uptake is that organisations are still extracting sufficient value from centralised cloud, and the access to innovation and agility that it provides.
“Distributed cloud is going to need to find its value propositions in use cases that are not related to that public cloud innovation. Computer vision is a great example of where distributed cloud and edge computing will have a big role to play.”
Likewise, he suggests more industrial, business-specific, and industry-specific requirements like occupational health and safety, and preventative maintenance could drive uptake.
“And even just compute in these really remote locations. The future of cloud in 2025 is going to see more of this functionality to solve particular use cases both in the centralised model and also in this decentralised distributed cloud model,” he said.
“So [it has] the ability to provide compute resources closer to a remote hospital or a remote mining site is going to help solve very specific requirements in each of these different types of organisations.”
Skills and capabilities
There are some other, more familiar issues that CIOs will need to navigate when it comes to their could architecture outlook, access to skills is chief among them.
“Now that is particularly acute when it comes to cloud computing. Getting roles and resources that can particularly cover multi-cloud infrastructure is one of the major pressure points. Many organisations are turning to IT services companies to address this lack of skills and the difficulty of keep finding and maintaining internal skills.
“Growth among system integrators and cloud-managed service providers is one way that organisations will attempt to close this gap,” he ended.