The cloud comes down to earth

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The cloud is no longer some distant, separate place. Yes, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google maintain unimaginably vast expanses of servers in cloud data centers around the world – as do thousands of SaaS providers. But those clouds and the services they deliver have become so entwined with customers’ on-prem operations, they’re now vital components of almost every enterprise IT estate.

This intermingling takes many forms. For starters, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google now enable you to snap off a piece of their platforms in the form of racks of managed servers that live in your data center, preloaded with the same software that powers public clouds. Some of these on-prem cloud outposts can offer access to the gamut of services hosted by the cloud mothership.

The enterprise data center is also veering toward the virtualized, containerized, ultra-scalable cloud model. For example, Dell, HPE, and Lenovo now offer on-prem clouds in the form of cloud infrastructure software running on pay-per-use hardware, overprovisioned to give you the headroom to increase capacity on the fly.

Meanwhile, the big three cloud players are starting to tackle edge computing, offering mini-cloud solutions that quash cloud latency by delivering compute power and services physically close to far-flung transportation hubs, medical facilities, manufacturing plants, and so on.

“Hybrid cloud” is the umbrella term for the endless combinations of on-prem and public clouds. In this Tech Spotlight, we dig into the complexities of hybrid cloud computing, with an emphasis on solving the challenges that arise from managing these intricate matrices of services and infrastructure. Along the way, we highlight “irresistible” cloud services that make the big public clouds so attractive in the first place.

The cloud has become the modern model of computing – agile, scalable, rife with API-accessible services that can be strung together into powerful, purpose-built applications. It’s not in the sky anymore. It’s at the foundation.

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The cloud comes down to earth