Where technology develops on a consistent basis, it can be difficult to pinpoint what the commercial workloads of the future should – or will – look like.  Nonetheless, IT giant Cisco is a more credible source than most on the subject.  Their research could not have produced a much more categorical answer: the business world is heading for a cloud-centric next decade.  They have predicted that a huge 92% of workloads will be processed by cloud data centres in 2020.  That leaves a dismal 8% being handled on traditional onsite servers.  It is an astonishing transition in business IT, one that has taken place over a relatively short period of time.

Yet this appraisal prompts the question: why, and how, is this occurring?

The Consumer Drive

Many of the roots of the cloud’s popularity stem from consumer experience and subsequent usage in business scenarios.  The use of cloud in consumer situations is projected to rocket between now and 2020.

In 2015, Cisco noted that consumer cloud storage traffic per user was 513 MB per month, on average.  That will zoom up to 1.7 GB per month in 2020 – more than triple the amount that users enjoy today.  This is driven partly by video streaming workloads, which will account for 34% of overall consumer workloads (up from 29% today).  Social networking will constitute 24% (up from 20%).  Furthermore, 59% of Internet consumers will be using personal cloud storage – up from 47%, thus denoting an extra billion users.

Why are everyday users attracted to these systems?  They favour their reliability, efficiency and ease of use.  They enjoy having the information they need at their fingertips wherever they go, through any device.  It is for those reasons that this technology could make a swift segue into professional circumstances.  They were simply better than antiquated methods of the past.

What Do Businesses Technically Prefer?

As a phrase, “the cloud” is a broad brush.  Within that overarching concept, there are a number of different options for the ambitious business.

There is, for example, the contrast between public and private cloud – with future business favouring the public, according to Cisco.  The public cloud offers “multi-tenancy”, a feature which allows businesses to share access to cutting-edge, cloud-based applications with other companies.  In doing so, they also share the cost.  Private cloud offers a far less flexible and cost-effective platform, but conceivably a more secure one.  In 2015, private was still enjoying a narrow 51% majority of cloud users, but the wind is against it.  Cisco’s forecast is that public cloud will account for 68% of cloud workloads in 2020.  The flexibility that it offers, coupled with a wider common understanding of cloud security, is winning the race.

Moreover, Software-as-a-Service is projected to have a consistent popular rise at the expense of its rivals.  This is a service that integrates most easily with a business’ existing IT infrastructure.  Applications can be run directly using an interface on the user’s web browser, without any lengthy installations or downloads.  It offers flexible access, reliability and licence to easily experiment with new applications.  Most notably, it places the onus for maintaining the system on the cloud provider.  By contrast, rivals such as IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) are comparatively self-serviced options, not relying on developers to produce applications.  That may allow for more flexible functionality on the platform. However, Cisco’s indication is that businesses are preferring the efficiency of SaaS.

Our Thoughts

We are unsurprised at the survey’s findings, since we believe future office strategy depends on agile working and technical integration.  As the modern world economy develops, travel becomes increasingly integral to how we work and grow.  This is why centralising data in the cloud, thereby making it accessible from anywhere, is so important.  Furthermore, the lower costs and minimal downtime associated with cloud computing make it a valuable platform for any enterprise.

We are also particularly interested in Cisco’s projected progress for the Internet of Things, a cloud-based network integrating all connected devices.  This will account for almost a quarter of cloud-based workloads in 2020.  IoT is a hugely exciting prospect because it allows employees to use their personal devices to remotely, and securely, operate just about any system in a building – from screens to electronic locks to the heating and lighting.  This is a huge step towards building the workplace of the future, ably embodied by Deloitte’s Edge building in Amsterdam.  We would also suggest that all these trends will result in spiking demand for scalable connectivity solutions, to accommodate the influx of new devices.

Our belief is that “cloud” will in due course become a redundant term.  This is because it will constitute standard IT for all businesses, while onsite solutions approach near-extinction.  The advantages described above add up to a huge competitive business opportunity, comparable with the conception of the PC itself.  In terms of efficiency, cost, flexibility and ease of use, it is the optimum IT platform.  All of these are borne out in Cisco’s figures.  The cloud is best, and businesses know it.

 

 

Viastak work to support businesses looking to leverage technology, in order to streamline the way they operate.  We believe in creating flexible, dynamic enterprises that are equipped to deal with the demands of the modern global economy.  To find out more, please get in touch.