Top 10 Enterprise Cloud Projects of 2014
This year promises to be a compelling one for enterprises moving into the cloud. Cloud is a mainstream business practice, with enterprises signing on to outside providers’ cloud services, as well as initiating their own internal cloud efforts.
We’ve culled a wide range of IT market research sources to identify and prioritize the top 10 enterprise cloud initiatives underway in 2014:
1) Moving toward hybrid cloud: Many enterprises are adopting both external cloud services, and are seeking to better integrate on-premises data and functionality with these new services. There are many ways this is happening – through external clouds offloading peak workloads from on-premises systems, cloud applications being supported within a dedicated third-party environment, or data remaining resident within enterprise walls.
2) Introducing more automation and self service: There will be greater impetus to build and provide systems that offer end-users the ability to pick and choose their own levels of services – just as they would with consumer IT environments. Expect to see a greater push to deliver an “’IT vending machine’ experience to end users will require IT departments to become service brokers to their own organizations,” states a report from 451 Research.
3) Deploying APIs: It’s the dawn of the “API economy,” and APIs are gaining in popularity as enterprise interfaces, either for gaining access to application functions, or for exposing internal enterprises services to customers and partners. Either way, both approaches require a cohesive cloud strategy to enable access.
4) Supporting mobile apps. As the “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend sweeps enterprises, end-users seek to do their jobs and run their organizations from their mobile devices. Enabling mobile access to back-end enterprise applications – via cloud interfaces – will make this a reality, and will be a key emphasis for cloud proponents in the year ahead.
5) Enabling big data analytics and big data storage: One of the most tangible functions of cloud computing is its seemingly unlimited amount of space to store and manage the large and varied volumes of data. “Cloud storage — external or internal — is high on IT managers’ 2014 to-do lists,” notes TechTarget’s Rich Castagna, who recently conducted a survey on data storage priorities. Storing data in the cloud also provides for an effective disaster recovery strategy.
6) Supporting line-of-business initiatives: Increasingly, cloud is becoming the preference of line-of-business managers and users. For example, cloud services have become popular among marketing departments. “CMOs really like the public cloud,” observes Eric Knorr, editor of InfoWorld. Many cloud projects may be initiated outside the IT department, but still require IT support and guidance. Plus, all too often, IT is simply too busy to get involved with systems of engagement. But IT departments will still need to get involved with the process to assure standards and security protocols are being met – and that end-users are getting all the productivity they can gain from their services.
7) Beefing up data privacy and security. Companies are increasingly concerned about the security of their cloud-based data – from both malicious hacker and government snooping. In addition, there will be more efforts to lock-down data managed and stored within private clouds from inside threats – which is probably a greater threat than outside hackers.
8) Supporting distributed teams and online collaboration. Organizations are increasingly becoming virtualized, with work and decision-making accomplished by teams spread across regions and nations. For example, developers need to be able to access the same sets of tools and versions of work, regardless of time zones. Cloud deployments will continue to focus on enabling collaborative, distributed work. “Web-based document sharing solutions have been around for more than 10 years, yet these tools are being replaced by seamless collaboration platforms that move teams out of their inbox and into the collaboration platform,” writes Andrew Maka in TechRepublic.
9) Paying more attention to the Internet of things. Increasingly, cloud deployments will need to support the ability to collect and process data from sensors and embedded systems. Communicating with devices and other applications is becoming more common than interfacing with human end-users.
10) Assembling software-defined data centers. Cloud platforms and virtualization form the foundation of the emerging software-defined data center, designed to enable management and administration of critical components such as storage, processors and networks.
By Joe McKendrick
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