Think the race to the cloud has finished? What we’ve experienced is just the warm-up act for the next phase of cloud migration and this is the one that really matters.

An October 2020 report from Canalys estimates the Cloud Infrastructure market grew by 33% to $36.5b in Q3 partly driven by the coronavirus pandemic. What this indicates is the cloud arms race is about to get serious. Vendors are now adjusting their focus from cloud migration projects known as “lift and shift” to “cloud optimization” as they attempt to lure new customers away from rivals. Competition is stronger than ever.

Most organizations have already made the shift from bricks and mortar data centres to the cloud and seen some pretty significant cost savings in the process. That was the easy part but further savings are available if you have the necessary skills to find them.

Organizations with the best cloud strategies will undoubtedly emerge as winners and with a significant competitive advantage. However, most organisations are ill equipped to unlock the next level due to a lack of understanding, vendor lock-in or availability of skilled resources to implement the optimal strategy. Arguably, the IT skills shortage is the most likely reason why future cloud strategies will fail.

Many organizations have already pinned their colors to a cloud infrastructure mast but it’s not too late to make a change if the business case stacks up, however, this is the area where I suspect many organisations need expert independent help especially with so many cloud services to choose from and so many implementation partners vying for business pushing “preferred” solutions. You have to find the solution that’s right for you and this doesn’t start with cloud technology.

According to Canalsys, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has taken an early lead in the vendor race and holds a dominant position with a 32% worldwide market share. Falling further behind is Microsoft Azure with a 19% share, however both are now losing ground to Google Cloud with a modest 7% share but according to my sources are making a big push in 2021 and are actively recruiting a network of UK channel partners to spearhead the challenge.

Alibaba Cloud’s market share is driven almost entirely by the Chinese and Asian markets where it is dominant and I can’t see this changing any time soon.

Interestingly a significant 37% of the cloud infrastructure market share is held by “other” vendors and this is an area where I can see the significant future growth and a viable alternative to the big three.

The rise of Open Infrastructure solutions such as Cloud Technology (OpenStack), Container Technology (Kubernetes, OKD, OpenShift, Rancher), Storage Technology (Ceph) and Network Technology (Cumulus, NFV, VPP, MANO) provides a good half-way house between traditional bricks and mortar data centres and the established Cloud providers. I can see that companies like offer a credible “Open Cloud” alternative for those wanting (or needing) significantly more control over the data they hold and how that data is processed.

With ever stricter data processing and data transfer regulations (especially in the EU) the Open Cloud alternative seems to offer many benefits for those who need it:

  • Reduced costs
  • Increased scalability (when compared with on-prem data centres)
  • Improved security
  • Greater control over data transfer
  • Ever growing open source software and support ecosystem
  • Avoids vendor lock in

As the Cloud Infrastructure market grows and fragments, I predict this will rapidly drive costs down and further commoditize the market starting an aggressive cloud price war. This will open the door to specialist vendors who focus on privacy and security like Fairbanks.

So back to my early question and where to start. Organizations will need to build and maintain software and infrastructure services that can be adapted and migrated, quickly and easily. Get the architecture right and monitor / manage efficiently and you’ll be able to realise significant cost saving irrespective of your chosen infrastructure technology. This approach isn’t easy and done properly starts way back in the development of the code to better optimise the use of cloud services. Your cloud strategy needs to include a robust DevOps strategy otherwise it will never fly.

The question you should be asking yourself is “Does my technology team have the necessary DevOps skills to maximise my future cloud investment?”.



Written by: Dave Worsell / Vice President, Sales

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