Over the past two decades or so, the concept of Cloud computing has evolved dramatically, as new data centre and networking technologies came to the fore, and new types of ‘cloud’ emerged.
While the cloud’s roots may be traced back to computing from decades past, the tipping point is often considered to be the introduction of SalesForce.com in 1999 – pioneering the concept of hosting enterprise applications online, and making them accessible via a website.
A few years later, we started building large centres to host data and processing capabilities for a multitude of enterprise applications (via platforms such as Amazon Web Services). Then, about 10 years ago, cloud entered the ‘everyman’ lexicon, hosting the new wave of smartphone applications, and powering new online business services (such as Google’s suite of enterprise services).
The data centres got bigger – often housed in desolate expanses in places like Utah and Nevada in the US. To cater for all business needs, public clouds, private clouds, and then hybrid clouds evolved. They became richer and more powerful in their capabilities, and in more recent years started integrating advanced artificial intelligence (AI) features to make sense of all the data and help guide business decisions.
The cloud advanced from simply a ‘place to host software’, to the nerve-centre of the enterprise that fuelled new insights, new understanding, and breakthrough innovations that truly changed the world.
Those companies that saw the potential of the cloud in their industry – the likes of Netflix (broadcasting), Tesla (automotive), Amazon (retail) and AirBNB (hospitality) – were able to entirely re-shape their markets and net incredible returns.
The next era
So, what is the next chapter in the story? How can the next evolution of the cloud be defined?
Anton Jacobsz, MD of African value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited, notes that his team has selected HyperGrid as one of its key vendor partnerships, due to HyperGrid’s strong vision for the next era of cloud computing.
“HyperGrid is passionate about the concept of enterprise cloud-as-a-service – which we feel reflects the growing maturity of the cloud, incorporating all the lessons from the past 20 years, and all the advances in the technology and the enabling ecosystems,” he says.
“Enterprise cloud-as-a-service – or ECAAS – is the culmination of years of effort. It truly addresses all business needs, nullifies all potential concerns, and allows the organisation to imagine a world without limits.”
Pulling it all together
“HyperGrid’s main focus today is to simplify IT by providing a highly secure public cloud experience everywhere, for any application on any cloud or any infrastructure.” explains Doug Rich, VP of EMEA at HyperGrid. “ And through ECAAS, we can provide all the benefits of a public cloud, but on premises.
“ECAAS can essentially be summed up by saying that CIOs get all the control of a private cloud environment, but with the efficiency, limitless scalability, and rapid ecosystem development of the public cloud,” he adds.
Rich refers to a recent blog written by Jennifer Gill, VP, Content Marketing at HyperGrid, which highlights the following key characteristics of ECAAS:
· Full control: Compute, networking, storage, applications and other services are all located within your own data centre – alleviating any concerns about data privacy, governance or sovereignty.
· Automated management: Though all intelligence is held within your own data centre, the in-house IT team is able to hand-over full responsibility to their partners (freeing the CIO’s team to focus on strategic partnerships with business stakeholders, new innovations, and new revenue-generating opportunities).
· True consumption-based pricing: Unlike leasing or subscription pricing, with ECAAS you’re billed only for the resources and applications that you use.
· Orchestration across multiple clouds: Whether you have data and services located in one environment, or spread across 10 different cloud platforms, everything is effectively managed and reported on in a consolidated fashion.
· On-demand resources delivered with simplicity: As your needs evolve, you can instantly add and remove new services, applications or computing resources as needed. With simplified end-user interfaces, gaining access to new infrastructure is as simple as clicking a few buttons.
The cloud has certainly matured. Along the way, we’ve made a few mis-steps and taken some wrong turns… and for many large enterprises, their cloud landscape has become complex, fractured and expensive (Gartner research shows that large organisations are managing on average 4.6 different cloud platforms).
But, Jacobsz explains that with ECAAS, this complexity can be abstracted: “The cloud can finally start delivering on its grand promises. We have come a long way in the past two decades, and with ECAAS, we’ll position ourselves to take the next step.”
Networks Unlimited is a value-added distributor, offering the latest solutions within the converged technology, data centre, networking, and security landscapes. The company distributes various products, including Arbor Networks, Attivo Networks, Fortinet, F5, HyperGrid, Mellanox, NETSCOUT, ProLabs, PhishMe, Rackmount, RSA, Rubrik, SevOne, Silver Peak, Thales, Tintri and Uplogix. The product portfolio provides solutions from the edge to the data centre, and addresses key areas such as cloud networking and integration, WAN optimisation, application performance management, application delivery networking, Wi-Fi-, mobile- and networking security, load balancing, data centre in-a-box, and storage for virtual machines.
Since its formation in 1994, Networks Unlimited has continually adapted to today’s progressively competitive and evolving marketplace, and has reaped the benefits by being a leading value-added distributor (VAD) within the Sub-Saharan Africa market.