No single company is the best at everything, and that’s why most CIOs choose to source their tools from different technology providers. It just makes sense—you want to get the most bang for your budgeted buck, even if that means hiring different service providers. And even though many companies may offer an array of business tools, your business is unique and your selections have been made for a reason. This is precisely why the cloud is a powerhouse for CIOs.
Sure, SaaS may be the most popular dinner conversation around cloud because it is the most common use case for cloud, but for businesses it is about business results. Often, this means multiple tools, multiple clouds and sometimes multiple giant headaches for CIOs—but it doesn’t have to be that way.
CIOs can create environments in which the gamut of business tools to which they subscribe all truly work together, maximizing efficiency, providing workload flexibility and reducing costs. How? If you haven’t ever considered Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS) options, you’re going to want to—and here’s why.
The Next Steps in the Maturation of Cloud Computing
So many businesses use cloud computing these days that we might as well stop calling it cloud computing and start calling it—well, just computing. In fact, Verizon’s State of the Market: Enterprise 2016 report revealed that 87 percent of enterprise companies now use cloud for at least one workload that’s considered mission-critical. Next year, that number is expected to reach 98 percent.
That said, cloud as we know it is beginning to mature, and the old ways of doing things are going to evolve into quicker, better, and more cost-effective means to the same end. Case in point? IaaS and PaaS models.
IaaS, as IBM explained here, is “the capability provided to the consumer to provision processing, storage, networks and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications.” The kicker, though? In IaaS setups, that ‘consumer’ IBM mentions—i.e., your business—does not manage the infrastructure of the cloud but does have control over much of its function. Think of it a little like renting the hardware.
IaaS is the lowest-risk third of the IaaS, PaaS, SaaS concept trio that make up most of the enterprise cloud talk these days. As an added benefit, IaaS systems generally have minimal upfront cost but deliver optimal networking, storage and computing functions in a timely manner—an especially enticing feature for startups or existing companies wanting to take on new projects without all the risk.
Running applications in the cloud requires many in-depth configurations that happen at platform level for each instance of a virtual server. So, you can imagine that running multiple applications comes with a lot of legwork. The concept of PaaS says that rather than having to build all of these technologies (and rebuild as scaling occurs), the process is automatic. Not only that, but it’s also flexible—you can add and remove architecture and capacity as needed. All components are automatically updated on a system-wide level, freeing up company time and resources.
PaaS consists of three main parts:
- “The stack”—the internal layers that feed your application (libraries, frameworks, etc.)
- Employment machinery—initiates virtual servers and supplies them with your application codes and stack instances
- User experience (UX) tools—maintains efficient screen ordering, organizational logic and overall ease of use
Many enterprise companies adopt a “cloud first” attitude when it comes to new software—which is smart, especially considering all the advantages the different cloud models (especially hybrid) can bring to the table. Unfortunately, too much cloud with too little direction or cohesion can spell bad news for your business.
PaaS and IaaS solutions create environments for developers to easily develop custom applications and flexible, hybrid infrastructure, allowing for a harmonious marriage of both public and private infrastructure. In turn, CIOs have the opportunity to foster happier, more productive users in their organizations while spending less on software solutions.
Has your company invested in PaaS or IaaS? Have you experienced difficulty managing all your applications from various companies in various clouds in-house, or have you chosen to outsource this task? From a cloud management viewpoint, what has worked for your business and what hasn’t? Every business model is different, after all, and it is always eye opening to hear different perspectives and experiences.
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Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.