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Cloud computing is now a fact of life for many businesses. While it's only a few years since the technology was still viewed as a new, disruptive innovation aimed at early-adopters, it's now a standard part of the IT environment in almost every organisation.
But when we talk about cloud, what do we mean? One of the challenges of the technology is that any two organisations may have very different ideas about what constitutes cloud, and this can affect how they view the benefits.
For some companies, cloud might refer to an off-the-shelf public service, while for others, it means a more customised private or on-premises solution. Each of these has their own pros and cons, which may not necessarily overlap.
At the base level, there are a few generic benefits that are common across all cloud deployments. For example, the pay-as-you-go model offered by all types of cloud deployment helps cut costs, while boosting flexibility and scalability as companies are not locked into rigid contracts.
But beyond this, solutions such as public, private and on-premises cloud each offer their own benefits. For companies that go down the public cloudroute, for example, key factors in this technology's favour include reliability and flexibility of services, and greater geographical choice. These organisations can also benefit from the economies of scale by tapping into the resources of some of the world's largest technology companies, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
On the other hand, private cloud deployments can give organisations much closer control over their cloud deployment, as it enables them to build a solution designed exactly for them. What's more, because resources are not shared, businesses can rest assured they have a very strong level of privacy and security.
Private on-premises cloud solutions also offer high levels of privacy, though at the cost of higher deployment expenses. However, these services can deliver advantages such as low latency, which can be a vital consideration for business where real-time communications are essential.
But what if a company has need of several of these benefits? What can be done to get the best out of each type of cloud solution while minimising the drawbacks?
One option is hybrid cloud combining public and private clouds and often portrayed as the 'best of both worlds'. Currently, it is multi-clouds that are quickly becoming the norm. Especially in large organisations, it is very common to mix multiple cloud services from different cloud providers in a single architecture, for instance using several providers for infrastructure (IaaS) and software (SaaS) solutions. The reasons and ways of combining services are many.
Obviously, managing clouds from separate vendors that each have their own requirements and management practices, becomes quite complex. We can clearly see a need rising on the customer side to take back control of the whole cloud environment.
On the service provider side, on the other hand, there are things happening fast at the moment. Companies in the front-line of cloud services, such as Tieto, are investing in harmonising the general functions of their various cloud solutions, including features like monitoring, reporting, billing, vendor management, supply chain management and so on. The goal is to offer customers all the cloud benefits from the most appropriate technologies in a flexible way. And let customers enjoy the feeling of control and visibility.
Tieto has just launched a solution to help organisations navigate in a multi-cloud environment. The solution, Tieto OneCloud, enables customers to combine all their cloud services, including public and private clouds, into one centrally managed platform.