Virtustream Blog

The Cloud in 2018 and Beyond: A Conversation with Virtustream President and CTO Kevin Reid

in Business, Security, Cloud, Technology

By all indications, 2018 is shaping up to be a watershed year for the cloud. With cloud partnerships on the rise, as well as rapid advances being made in edge computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and many other key cloud technologies, we are currently witnessing the beginning of a new multi-cloud, enterprise-friendly era.

Using Forrester’s 2018 cloud computing predictions as a guide, Virtustream President and CTO, Kevin Reid recently sat down with guest Lauren Nelson, principle cloud infrastructure and operations analyst at Forrester to discuss the latest developments in cloud technology, enterprise adoption, and what the future has in store. To watch their full conversation via video, click here.

Key takeaways include:

Buyer IQ is Higher than Ever

When Virtustream launched in 2009, the total market for cloud technology and services was a mere $60 billion. Today, it is closer to $260 billion -- and by 2020, it’s expected to exceed $400 billion. That’s an astounding 500% increase in just over ten years.

As the data suggests, buyer awareness for cloud services is higher than ever. Reid calls this “buyer IQ,” and he has seen it significantly improve over the past three years, especially when it comes to overcoming misconceptions about security and the barriers to entry for the cloud.

“Six or seven years ago, we were pushing the market and saying, ‘Here’s what we think you need,” said Reid. “Now we’re at a point where we can sit back and say, ‘Okay, clients, tell us what you need.’”

Nelson pointed out that just two or three years ago, “we were talking about the basics of cloud economics and trying to wrap our heads around those concepts.” She went onto provide an interesting lens on the evolution of cloud by recounting popular metaphors used to describe cloud in years past, such as cloud providers being “hotels” for data.

Private Cloud Has New Life 

In July 2017, Microsoft announced the launch of the Azure Stack, a hybrid cloud platform that would allow organizations to run the Azure public cloud in their own datacenter. This announcement was monumental: It meant that for the first time enterprises could have the experience and functionality of a major public cloud provider – but on-premises, and without having to jump through hoops to meet the strict security and compliance regulations of their industries in the public cloud.

According to Reid, this type of product was inevitable. For years, Virtustream had known about the growing demand for public cloud experiences delivered on-premises, he commented. However, as Reid goes on to note, there is still a disadvantage to this solution: users are forced to run an incredibly complicated infrastructure to make it work -- and do it all on their own. Having spoken with countless customers over the years, Reid isn’t worried about the competition -- he knows what customers want.

Cloud Native on Mission Critical is Just Beginning

Although cloud native applications are now being run on enterprise-class clouds, Reid believes we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible in enterprise cloud environments. In his view, enterprises are now realizing that cloud native is really just a mindset about how to approach building applications -- not a means to an end.

Enterprises are starting to focus on developing cloud native applications that aren’t just built for high user bases, but instead also take into account traditional enterprise needs, such as having a stateless infrastructure that can upgrade applications in one swoop.

Companies have “shifted their own development strategies,” he says, and as a result, “there are more and more apps you can develop and run locally that don’t require a tremendous amount of compute.” Companies are “recognizing that if they actually developed some of those apps in cloud-native style,” their lives would be a lot easier.

Nelson added that many companies are now beginning to build their enterprise architectures with one simple question in mind: “How do I look at this as a platform that is going to make my life easier when it comes time to upgrade?”

The Rise of Industry-Specific Clouds

For Reid, the cloud will continue to grow on two separate planes: one following the current trajectory (i,e., business functions cutting across multiple clouds), while the other embraces vertical-specific clouds.

As he explains, customers in highly-regulated industries are prone to audits and other demands of oversight where it is absolutely crucial to stay on top of their data and follow all regulations. “If I’m a healthcare company, there are certain things at the end of the day that I need to attest to,” says Reid. “It’s not good enough for me to say my main electronic health records system or my EMR system is running on a HIPAA-compliant cloud. I’m going to have to collect all of these control points and produce artifacts.”

Therefore, the key for customers in highly-regulated verticals, says Reid, will be finding a cloud that excels in security and compliance, not just rapid growth. This means having an infrastructure in which “whenever they need to do an audit on-demand or prove compliance on-demand, they can actually do that.”

The Future is Multi-Cloud and Hybrid

As enterprises continue down the path of digital transformation, Reid believes that the cloud’s future will be both multi-cloud and hybrid. This is by necessity, rather than choice. After all, there is no “one-size-fits-all” cloud solution, and companies must work with the original systems of records they have in place, as well as the compliance regulations specific to their industries.

Every company’s approach to the cloud may vary, but the end goal always remains the same: a digital transformation that works uniquely for them.

View the video of Reid and Nelson’s interview and receive a complimentary copy of Forrester’s report, “Predictions 2018: Cloud Computing Accelerates Enterprise Transformation Everywhere.”


Source: Predictions 2018: Cloud Computing Accelerates Enterprise Transformation Everywhere, Forrester Research, Inc, Nov 7, 2017