Cloud Deployments to Become Application-centric in 2014

By Colby Dyess | January 24, 2014

Much of the cloud industry's focus has been on the scalable infrastructure that the technology provides. While this feature is a key component of any cloud, it is not the only reason that 2014 is likely to be another good year for cloud computing. TechTarget recently highlighted comments from several cloud industry observers, noting in particular that organizations will likely look more toward cloud-hosted applications.

Cloud consultant David Linthicum told the news source that organizations will make significant investments in developing new apps entirely within the cloud and in migrating legacy programs into new environments.

"[B]oth the PaaS and IaaS spaces will continue to expand to support this focus on cloud-based applications, as well as processes and tools to support this migration," Linthicum said. "In most instances, these applications will operate within multi-cloud environments, which will be a mix of private clouds and public cloud providers."

Linthicum highlighted AWS hybrid cloud deployment in particular, noting that Amazon will likely keep its lead in the public domain. Additionally, the rise of hybrid approaches will necessitate more robust management software and interoperability between cloud technologies. While cost and complexity have been prominent barriers to multi-cloud strategies in the past, the increasing maturity of performance and usage monitoring solutions means that businesses will be able to better control expenses while still giving developers the tools they need to more efficiently build cloud applications.

Benefits of Cloud Business Apps

As cloud resources become more readily available at every level of an organization, IT professionals face some pressure to align technology strategies with business outcomes. The prevalence of shadow IT, in which business users access their own technological tools without prior IT approval, serves as a good example. In some cases, organizations responded by deploying their own clouds that deliver the functionality users need. However, the shadow IT trend may also be a sign that business and IT leaders must work together to create technology strategies that work for all stakeholders.

It may be tempting to hold on to traditional fears like the loss of control element that sometimes accompanies a public cloud adoption. However, it is important to also consider the potential benefits of shifting even mission-critical assets to the cloud: Better agility, scalability and the potential to lower IT costs. Sandra Kurtzig, CEO of a cloud ERP provider, recently argued that the majority of business applications belong in the cloud. She also highlighted several key benefits that programs designed specifically for these environments offer, which include:

  • Always up-to-date software
  • Faster time-to-deployment
  • Easier to build custom applications

Maximize Cloud Scalability Benefits with Eucalyptus

In addition to better managing cloud resources, organizations must also consider the IT security ramifications of large scale cloud migrations. One of the core challenges for cloud-based applications is ensuring that the deployment can meet performance needs.

As organizations move more of their mission-critical programs to the cloud, the demand for performance will rise. While it is true that scalability is a key value proposition of any cloud, it is important to read the fine print to ensure that unexpected costs are minimized and that the company does not pay more than it should. For example, scalability was a core need for AppDynamics when it deployed Eucalyptus hybrid cloud solution.

The Eucalyptus hybrid cloud deployment allowed AppDynamics' to scale its load generation test resources without reconfiguring the system, meaning that costs remain low while the cloud ecosystem could meet rapidly shifting IT resource needs. In addition, leveraging Eucalyptus enabled AppDynamics to benefit from a suite of familiar tools that were designed for AWS. This meant little business disruption, since developers already knew how to best utilize AWS cloud service and image management features.

Eucalyptus provides tighter control over development and testing environments because it allows organizations to keep these assets on-premises. While being more affordable, it does not sacrifice the scalability offered by AWS. API compatibility means that organizations can develop their applications within a Eucalyptus cloud environment and seamlessly move them to production on AWS to leverage its seemingly infinite resources.

"The Eucalyptus on-premise infrastructure as a service solution provides the most capable and mature cloud platform in the market today," said Thomas Morse, director of IT and SaaS Operations at AppDynamics. "We plan to scale our cloud and continue to migrate more applications to the Eucalyptus infrastructure moving forward."

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