As businesses embrace cloud deployments, questions about cloud computing’s staying power now have a clear answer: Cloud is definitely here to stay, and the number of workloads moving to cloud infrastructures is going to increase at a faster pace than we’ve seen in the past. Whether we are talking about public, private or hybrid clouds, there’s no question cloud will play a starring role in future IT investments.
By 2018, at least half of IT spending will be cloud-based, according to a prediction by IDC FutureScape. By 2020, IDC says 60% of all IT infrastructure and 60% to 70% of all software, services and technology spending will be cloud-based. IDG Research, meanwhile, predicted in March 2015 the number of on premise workloads would fall to 39% from 81% in the next 12 months. Most of that movement would be to the public cloud, where workloads would increase to 41% from 34%. IDG Research based its forecast on a poll of 130 executives and managers.
The expected rise in cloud investment denotes a shift in corporate attitudes toward cloud. While in the past, midmarket and large companies limited their cloud investments to functions such as webmail or development projects, now they are migrating business-critical applications to the cloud and keeping them there once they go live.
The main reason for this shift is businesses want to ride the digital transformation wave to boost agility and cost-effectiveness. Digital transformation entails adopting technologies such as mobility, virtualization and data analytics to refine operational processes and accelerate go-to-market strategies. This helps organizations better navigate evolving market dynamics, improve customer service and gain a competitive edge.
Having experienced good results, many businesses now have the confidence to move data-intensive applications and workflows to cloud infrastructures. But as they do so, businesses expect cloud-based resources to perform as if they remained inside the company’s network. That means no frustrating delays or service interruptions that affect productivity and efficiency.
That’s no easy task, considering the corporate list of bandwidth-intensive systems such as video, data analytics and disaster recovery solutions keeps growing. Employees and customers expect the same level of performance from cloud assets they got from connecting to the network. And that’s not all: They want to be able to connect anywhere and anytime as mobile computing becomes mainstream.
The question then becomes how to connect to the cloud without giving up performance or taking on added security risks. Using public Internet connections made sense when businesses had limited cloud goals – mobile app development, DevOps stand-up meetings and short-term projects.
However, when we’re talking about moving production and mission-critical systems to the cloud, the CIO has to contend with a number of significant challenges:
In many cases, a public Internet connection just won’t do. Even if a public connection is scalable and secure, corporate decision makers worry about privacy regulation compliance and questions of data control. The answer, therefore, is to use a private Ethernet connection. Ethernet has become the go-to technology for seamless integration of off-premises resources with an application delivery chain. It allows businesses to create private network connections between select cloud services and the network.
Recognizing the need for secure private connections, Amazon and Microsoft created private peering connection points at locations throughout the country where co-located customers can link directly to AWS (Amazon Web Services) and Microsoft Azure, bypassing the Internet.
For companies without a co-location setup, Comcast Business now makes it possible to connect directly without the Internet through its extensive fiber network and 450 data centers around the country. Comcast Business offers this capability through Ethernet Private Line (EPL), Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL), and Ethernet Network Services (ENS):
- EPL – Private point-to-point connectivity between two sites for bandwidth-intensive applications
- EVPL – Private Point-to-multipoint application
- ENS – Multipoint-to-multipoint connectivity for businesses with high-bandwidth requirements and multiple locations
Direct connectivity extends the private network to public, private or hybrid cloud solutions. The connectivity includes physical and virtual cross-connect options. Today, Comcast supports Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, with other cloud providers to be added in the future.
Addressing Customer Concerns
When prospecting for dedicated cloud connectivity opportunities, here are some questions to ask a customer:
- Has the customer started using the cloud or is planning to in the near future?
- Is the customer running business-critical applications in the cloud? Or are they looking to move those applications into a cloud infrastructure?
- Are there challenges with performance such as latency or scalability?
- Are security concerns discouraging a move to the cloud?
- Does the customer need dedicated bandwidth for big data projects?
- Is the customer looking to implement virtual servers or cloud storage?
This is a sample of questions that can help identify customer need and find a fit for Comcast Business private connectivity. Here is a list of benefits you can share with customers about private connectivity:
- FAST, RELIABLE CONNECTIONS
Direct connections to the cloud are faster, more reliable and have lower latencies than public Internet connections.
Bypassing the public Internet lowers security risks.
- LOWER COSTS
A pay-as-you-go pricing model is easier on the company’s coffers.
- HYBRID APPLICATIONS
Reliable, high-throughput connections let you build applications spanning on-premises infrastructure and the cloud without giving up performance.
- DATACENTER EXTENSION
Leverage public cloud scalability to add compute and storage capacity without compromising on security.
- SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT (SLA)
Get the peace of mind of a network SLA by leveraging private cloud connectivity.
Once customers understand these benefits, any hesitation regarding cloud is sure to lessen. Rather than asking whether the cloud is here to stay, they’ll want to know, “How quickly can I jump on?”
About the Author
Albert Krivopisk is the Director of Partner Sales Development at Comcast Business. Comcast is one of the nation's leading providers of communications, entertainment and cable products and services. Built for business, Comcast Business offers Internet, Ethernet, Voice, TV and WiFi for small businesses to large enterprises, delivered over a diverse, private network – the leading alternative to traditional telecommunications carriers.