Hybrid and multi: soon just typical ways of tapping into the cloud

With hybrid solutions, says one expert, workloads will automatically move to the most optimized and cost-effective environment, based on performance needs, security and end-user demand, among other things.

Jeff Rowe | Apr 02, 2018 12:00 am

Even as health IT managers work to determine whether and how to move their IT systems to the clouds, it helps to remain abreast of the cloud is likely to evolve over the next several years.

In a recent article at ComputerWeekly, Susan Bowen, vice president and general manager at managed service provider Cogeco Peer 1, does a good job of synopsizing where the cloud came from, meaning what the early days were like when cloud or cloud-like scenarios were in development, and where, in her view, things are likely heading over the next five years.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the role defense agencies tend to play in the development of IT, points to the late 1960’s as a time when a man named J.C.R. Licklider, who headed up the Information Processing Techniques Office at the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), “envisioned a global network that connected governments, institutions, corporations and individuals” as part of “a future in which programs and data could be accessed from anywhere.”

Sound familiar?

While, as often happens, this vision went through a number of developmental iterations, it moved steadily onward until it’s reached a point where enterprises across healthcare and other sections are “looking at the cloud on an application by application basis, considering what works best as well as assessing performance benchmarks, network requirements, their appetite for risk and whether cloud suppliers are their competitors or not.”

So where are we headed?

For starters, Bowen notes, “nearly every major enterprise has virtualized its server estate, which is a big driver for cloud adoption. At the same time the cloud business model has evolved into three categories, each with varying entry costs and advantages: infrastructure-as-a-service, software-as-a-service, and platform-as-a-service.”

There are pros and cons to each of these categories, which Bowen briefly discusses, but in Bowen’s eyes “the scene is now set for the future of cloud, with a focus on hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. In five years’ time, terminology like hybrid-IT, multi cloud and managed services, will a thing of the past. It will be a given, and there won’t just be one cloud solution, or one data solution, it will be about how clouds connect and about maximizing how networks are used.”