2015 Will Be The Year Of The Federated Cloud
The original promise of the cloud was that it would offer powerful infrastructure suitable to any computing task to anyone with the means to pay — and that users would need to pay far less than under traditional infrastructure procurement and deployment models.
For the most part, cloud vendors have fulfilled that promise. Startups and established businesses now have easy access to more powerful infrastructure more easily than could have been dreamed of a decade ago, and that’s been a powerful economic benefit. Businesses that could never have existed in the early years of the dot com era are now flourishing in the cloud. Entrepreneurs are able to bring more ideas to fruition and they’re freer to experiment because failure doesn’t mean what it used to.
Federated Clouds Offer Multi-Vendor Choice
But the cloud market is not perfect, and there are both barriers to entry and barriers to leveraging the cloud for maximal benefit. Individual vendors cannot be all things to all people, which is why 2015 will be year in which cloud users turn in mass to federated cloud and multi-cloud solutions, when cloud marketplaces and cloud integration layers become the dominant tool for building infrastructure deployments.
Even the biggest cloud vendors, as they struggle for market dominance, cannot provide for the needs of every user. They will build a presence where it is profitable for them to do so, which leaves many businesses out in the cold.
Federation Creates A More Inclusive Cloud Marketplace
Of course, the cloud is supposed to be global, but geographic distance and latency are still a serious issue, as is the global patchwork of regulatory frameworks. There are dozens of smaller data center providers and cloud vendors all over the world who can provide services for those with requirements that fall outside the service areas of cloud giants — that is, services for those not located in major American, Western European, and Asia Pacific cities. Marketplaces that bring together the smaller and larger cloud vendors in one interface help to cut through the inevitable complexity of building a multi-cloud platform.
It’s precisely because business is global that we need global cloud marketplaces. It’s complex enough to build cloud systems out of local vendor offerings, requiring complex network interfaces and cooperation from vendors, but that complexity is multiplied when having to buy services from vendors in several different nations.
And even for those with needs that are met by centrally located facilities, no single cloud vendor can provide everything they might need — particularly if they have specialized requirements like HPC or media transcoding.
A federated cloud that includes both general and specialized infrastructure and services, based in facilities that are strategically located, and that can be shaped to meet the specific needs of a businesses is the way forward, which is why 2015 will be the year of the federated cloud.