Why the public cloud is more than just dev and test

By: Brian Gracely


If we think about the things that almost everyone does each and every day, the public cloud is an integral part of our lives. We search for the answers to questions. We shop for goods and services. We check the weather and our bank balances. We read our email, follow directions on a map, and interact with friends and family. Each of those “services” is delivered via the public cloud, and each of those services maintains information that is incredibly important to somebody (bank balances, home address, credit card numbers, physical location, lists of friends and family members, etc.).

For many companies, the misperception was that for business usage the public cloud was primarily being used by Shadow IT teams for development and testing, but not production applications.

While the public cloud, in all forms (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS), is still smaller in spending than on-premises IT (hardware, software, services), it is continuing to grow and deliver a rich set of services that forward-looking IT organizations are using to transform their business. Public cloud services are rapidly innovating to deliver new capabilities for mobile devices, analytics and cognitive computing (often called “machine learning or artificial intelligence”) as well as emerging Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The biggest trends emerging in the public cloud include:

Back-office applications moving to SaaS. SaaS is the largest segment of the public cloud market. Not only are unicorn companies such as Slack and Workday growing quickly, but legacy vendors such as Microsoft (e.g. Office 365) and Oracle are rapidly migrating their existing installed based over to SaaS versions of their core applications. Analyst firm Gartner is projecting that by 2020, many popular software applications will only be offered in cloud-only delivery models.

Mobile application developer – the storefront of the future. According to recent reports, people spent 117% more time on their smartphones than the previous year. For businesses, mobile interaction creates a completely new interaction model with their customers. The interactions are data rich and are not bound by physical store locations. Public cloud providers are creating “Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service” offerings to simplify how developers can build, test and deploy new mobile applications.

Machine Learning will impact every industry. While Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) might scare people into thinking that the robots will eventually take over the world, the scientists working in this domain have debunked most of those fears. But the existing ML / AI capabilities today can have significant impact on improving business insight and the overall experience for any customer. Some examples include:

As more businesses undergo a “digital transformation”, building new applications to interact with partners, customers and their specific market, they will continue to leverage the scale and innovation of the public clouds in new and innovative ways. The public cloud gives them access to global data center resources, advanced technology, and flexible pricing models that will continue to let them experiment with new ideas.

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About The Author

Brian Gracely

Founder of Cloudcast Media and co-host of The Cloudcast, Lead Cloud Analyst for Wikibon

Brian Gracely is the founder of Cloudcast Media and co-host of The Cloudcast @thecloudcastnet) podcast. He has been recognized a Top 100 Cloud Influencer by several publications. He has previously held leadership positions at Cisco, NetApp, EMC, and Virtustream. He holds BA / MBA from Wake Forest University.