In 2017, businesses expect more from a cloud platform than they did in 2015. Organizations outsource critical functionality like infrastructure management to streamline operations and lower costs, but the cloud platforms of old—what I think of as “basic clouds”—don’t go far enough.
When the cloud first appeared it was a huge leap forward, enabling businesses to think about and manage essential infrastructure in new ways. It was easier to scale, easier to build redundant networks, and it freed businesses from having to buy and manage servers and networking equipment.
The cloud was a revelation that had a profound effect throughout enterprise organizations, touching everything from development methodologies to product life-cycles.
The cloud still brings those benefits in 2017, but they’re no longer a novelty. Cloud platforms have become the norm, an everyday part of how most businesses manage infrastructure. It’s no longer enough to say: “look at how awesome it is to spin up servers on a whim”. It’s 2017, we’re harder to impress.
Enterprise organizations are looking for something more.
Basic cloud platforms expect businesses to handle redundancy. They provide the infrastructure, what businesses do with it is up to them. I’ve heard many stories in which businesses, expecting their cloud vendor to handle redundancy, have lost data and experienced downtime because they haven’t accounted for failure. A node goes down, and their service goes with it.
Outsourcing infrastructure is a huge win for businesses, but an even bigger benefit is being able to depend on their infrastructure vendor to take care of redundancy, high-availability, failover, and backups.
In short, cloud users want cloud vendors to help them make the most of cloud platforms. The cloud vendors who will flourish in 2017 are those who provide a baseline of management services so users can focus on what matters to them: building and deploying applications and services.
That means helping them handle redundancy and scaling, but it also means providing them with guidance and advice about how best to leverage the capabilities of the cloud platform to meet their specific needs.
That might be through support and consulting services, or it might be by putting cloud users in touch with vetted partners who already have deep experience with a particular set of business needs using cloud infrastructure.
When a business outsources a vital area of its operational capabilities, it expects to be able to rely on a trusted partner who will do much of the heavy lifting. That’s what separates a full-service cloud platform like Steadfast’s from the “basic cloud” providers of old, which provide everything a business needs from a technology standpoint, but almost nothing to empower them to use that technology to its fullest potential.