Wanted: cloud orchestrator

Let’s face it: multi-cloud is already a reality for many of us. Nearly every modern company combines one or more SaaS-offerings with its own private virtual storage facilities,  as well as a few in the public sphere. However, what needs to change is how these clouds can be made to work together rather than as silos.

Software and applications are playing an ever bigger role in differentiating one company from another. By building applications that focus on providing customers with a better experience, organizations can take the lead in their market. More and more, these applications are becoming externally hosted. By using a platform like Cloud Foundry, developers can quickly build new apps and make them scale as their business grows. At the same time, enterprises have also invested in other internet-based platforms, and are for instance running their Customer Relationship Management packages as Software-as-a-Service, or else they have enlisted in a Data-Lake-as-a-Service offering from an external provider.

The central element of a multi-cloud strategy is the distributed nature of data. What information sits in what repository? How is it protected? And how can we ensure that we are always using the most recent and accurate data? This becomes all the more important with the European GDPR regulation coming into force in May of next year. Every piece of research published on GDPR shows that companies still do not seem to understand the implications within.

The trend for fragmentation in the cloud will only continue. As recent research from Information Services Group shows, the value of as-a-service sourcing contracts has reached an all-time high in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. According to these findings, as-a-Service contracts have grown by no less than 48% year after year. This proves that companies are outsourcing smaller parts of their IT to external parties, rather than turning over larger chunks of IT operations.

Getting it together

Of course, all of this offers substantial opportunities for Service Providers and Telcos. There is virtually no limit to the number of offerings they can propose to their customers, not only for point cloud service solutions (be it in terms of Data-Lake, Security, Backup, etc.), but also for an overarching provision offering. This can be done by providing cloud architecture solutions, for instance, or by setting up a data governance structure that takes care of managing and securing data housed in different internet-based repositories.  Orchestration is key in a multi-cloud environment.

Some telecom companies such as Vodafone and Swisscom are already positioning themselves as both a broker and a gateway to the cloud. They are offering multi-cloud and orchestration services to companies large and small, partnering with companies such as VMware for anything that concerns virtualization. I believe this is the right strategy for Telcos. After all, they have an advantage here, as they both own and manage the pipe.

Service providers and telcos are a company’s best bet that their data are treated securely and are stored and managed locally, not in some far-off datacentre where a CIO has no control. Local vendors and telcos hold an important advantage over  global “ubercloud” providers. We speak of “the cloud” as not a place, but a consumption model. Yet location of data remains of the highest importance for the end-customer, especially when a company has a distributed data strategy and with GDPR looming. In this respect, a sovereign multi-environment set-up is preferable.

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