How the IoT and mobility has made cloud more than a ‘nice to have’
In its Worldwide Cloud IT Infrastructure Hardware Spending Forecast, 2016–2020, IDC forecast that the spending on cloud IT infrastructure would grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6 percent and reach $54.6 billion by 2019. As the move to the cloud becomes inexorable for organisations, they are faced with the important task of properly managing this significant architectural change.
Perhaps the most critical facet of digital transformation management is security. Storing data on someone else’s server has proven to be a hindrance for many organisations and industries. Storing vacation photos on Facebook is one thing. Storing personal, medical or financial records or transactions on a public domain is a completely different animal. As we know, any organisation that manages, stores or transmits this type of data must comply with government and association compliance directives that specify how to handle the security of customers’ data.
The impact of SaaS
The IoT and mobility have made the cloud much more than a nice-to-have tool. Today it is a critical factor for any business trying to compete in digital transformation. To understand the increasing need for online/cloud tools, it’s important to understand the underlying software that makes digital transformation what it has become today.
Software delivery began with this model: an organisation would buy a number of enterprise application seat licenses and install a client on each machine in the company. These licenses often came bundled with hefty support contracts, increasing the cost of the product.
The internet changed all that. With its widespread availability, software as a service (SaaS) replaced that outdated model. SaaS made it possible for software developers to move their products to an online environment where businesses and consumers could download software from the cloud. As this new delivery method grew in popularity, it provided the means to effectively move the software away from the customer site to the developer site where it could be managed, updated, distributed and controlled by the application creators as needed.
SaaS enabled developers to release software more quickly and efficiently, add features and updates as needed and deliver cyber security patches on the fly. The cloud provided the mechanism by which an entire industry could change its distribution model. It also paved the road for a major change in how software organisations developed their product, whereby they could move away from the traditional, time-consuming and painful waterfall development cycle to the agile approach.
As a result of SaaS’s success, platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) have taken off as well. Core systems that underpin an organisation’s combined SaaS footprint and online presence can today be outsourced to firms that specialise in a given technology or protocol. Efficiencies are gained by spreading the cost out across many different customers.
As for security, the service, platform or technology providers mitigate risk via powerful SLAs. These SLA agreements serve to hold the vendor true to their word that their product or service will always be available and operate within a certain window of expected performance. The cost benefits are significant, and they are increased when more physical or logical capacity is ordered, as the costs are incremental based on usage instead of the capital expenditure associated with traditional scaling tactics.
Mobility and software delivery attained new heights due to these “as a service” offerings by lowering costs and improving efficiency, they also created a host of new challenges, due in large part to the aged internet infrastructure.
Undergirding the modern internet
As the internet advances, many of the infrastructure elements that have undergirded it cannot keep pace. One of the key elements of this vast global infrastructure is the Domain Name System (DNS), developed early on in the internet’s history so that people could get to the website they needed without memorising the string of numbers that made up its IP address. DNS has become the gateway to almost every application and website on the internet.
Old-school DNS models just don’t fit the bill anymore. Next-generation solutions are available today that allow businesses to enact traffic management in ways that were previously impossible, including:
- Dealing with traffic spikes—planned or unplanned—by using scalable infrastructure.
- Devising business rules thatuse filters with weights, priorities and even stickiness to meet your applications’ needs.
- Geofencing that ensures compliance with jurisdictional restrictions. So then, users in the EU are only serviced by EU data centres, for instance, while ASN fencing ensures all users on China Telecom are served by Chinacache.
- Automatically adjusting the flow of traffic to network endpoints, in real time, based on telemetry coming from endpoints or applications. This can help prevent overloading a data centre without taking it offline entirely and seamlessly route users to the next nearest datacenter with excess capacity.
- Monitoring endpoints from the end user’s perspective, with the ability to send requests coming from each network to the endpoint that will service them best.
In addition, redundancy has come into the spotlight lately as organisations recognise that DNS can represent a single point of failure if there is no backup. It’s becoming more common for enterprises to deploy redundant DNS to mitigate this risk of major downtime. Managed DNS is also on the rise, in which customers benefit from a provider’s globally anycasted DNS networks to achieve maximum reliability and fast performance.
The new infrastructure
Digital transformation brings organisations to the decision point of whether to continue supporting what they have or to replace it. The capital and operational expenses needed to replace hardware and software can exceed the costs of replacing systems with a cloud solution.
Along with that decision in the cloud migration journey is the option to take advantage of modern software solutions that help remove routing issues and keep traffic flowing. Redundant DNS is one of them, distributing an organisation’s resources so that systems stay up to date, can be scaled horizontally and enjoy greater uptime. Focusing on infrastructure enables companies functionalities that make the internet work for them, not the other way around.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their IoT use-cases? Attend the IoT Tech Expo World Series events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.
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