Adoption of the cloud is at an all time high
Cloud Technology and services have been a hot topic within tech and for consumers for several years. We have seen the rise of several cloud powered services such as YouTube, Google Drive, OneDrive, Netflix, Amazon Shopping, Amazon Prime, Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and many more. In addition, the COVID-19 Pandemic has led to an increased rate in the adoption and use of Cloud Technology and Services for Consumers – both personally and on an enterprise level.
We are all seeing the realisation of the benefits of Cloud Technology, the flexibility and scalability allows us all to have access to our favourite apps, productivity tools and to connect with our family and colleagues. We are all leveraging the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, we do not have to manage the hardware, operating system, code, or functionality for any of the applications that we enjoy. What was once seen as the cutting edge in Cloud Technology is now quite commonplace.
What is next for cloud technology?
With SaaS now a widely adopted cloud application deployment model, it is widely believed that the next will stem from serverless computing. Serverless computing is another method of providing back-end (database, networking, compute, analytics, scaling etc) services on an on-demand basis. It allows developers and other users to focus on writing and deploying code without worrying about the underlying infrastructure – this is managed by the cloud service provider. The benefit to the consumer is that serverless is event driven so they only pay for the computation required to run their code and only whilst it is running.
A subset of serverless computing is the Function as a Service cloud deployment model. Other subsets are serverless databases and storage (scale with demand), event streaming, messaging and API gateways. All of these subsets allow developers to execute small pieces of code on the network edge. Serverless computing will lower costs, simplify scalability, simplify backend code and lead to a quicker turnaround from idea to deployment. Different to Platform as a Service PaaS, as with PaaS, developers have to pay for, configure and manage the operating system and middleware for their applications. Code in any language or framework .
As pointed out at the start of this article, the adoption of cloud technology and services are at an all-time high. Due to this rate of adoption and the resultant scaling out by Cloud Service Providers, there is more of a strain on the underlying infrastructure (storage, compute, networking and management) than ever. Infrastructure and management of infrastructure will have to innovate to keep pace. Hyperconverged infrastructure is an attempt to do so. It is made up of four tightly integrated software components:
- Storage virtualisation
- Compute virtualisation
- Networking virtualisation
- Advanced management capabilities
These components rely on software defined infrastructure – virtualisation software (hypervisor) abstracts and pools underlying hardware resources then allocates them to applications as and when they are required. These applications may be deployed within more traditional models like on a Virtual machine within Infrastructure as a Service, newer models like Containers or even event driven, serverless applications. The configuration of the components will be based on the configuration and policies assigned to the applications. Hyperconverged Infrastructure can be used to build a private cloud solution, within public cloud solutions or for a hybrid cloud solution. Hyperconverged infrastructure gives the user the ability to manage their resources from a unified interface. The dynamic allocation of infrastructure supports modern workloads architecture (functions), increases the efficiency of deployed components, eliminates over provisioning which reduces data centre complexities and footprints which will lead to lower costs and less energy used .
Cloud technology will continue to evolve
As more of our services move into the cloud, service providers will continue to invest in research and development to improve the serverless model to make it easier for consumers to utilise the capabilities of the cloud. We will also see innovation within the infrastructure space as hardware capabilities will have to improve to provide the edge, serverless, connected, machine learning capabilities that service providers want to leverage within the cloud. Finally, I think we will see an increase in the use of machine learning and deep learning techniques to scale efficiently, manage networks, improve security, monitoring and architecture. I think these techniques will also drive sustainability efforts as we look towards establishing ‘Green Cloud’.
- IBM Cloud Education, “Serverless Computing,” IBM Cloud Education, 2021.
- vmware, “What Is Hyperconverged Infrastructure?,” vmware, [Online]. Available: https://www.vmware.com/products/hyper-converged-infrastructure.html. [Accessed 25 June 2021].