7 Trends in the Cloud: What We're Seeing in the Data & Analytics Space

Cloud computing is becoming the norm. People are no longer asking why they should transition to the cloud. Instead, we hear customers asking for insights on what’s working and what they should be thinking about.

Here’s what we’re seeing in the data and analytics space as companies, big and small, take their analytics to the cloud.

1. IT Champions the Cloud

When the cloud first emerged years ago, IT was considered its natural enemy. That’s because IT organizations traditionally run boxes of servers. But today’s IT organizations are strategic. And as cloud has evolved, IT has come to champion the cloud for a number of reasons.

IT has come to understand that it’s easier to get around-the-clock security through a reputable cloud vendor. These vendors can dedicate more time and resources to managing cloud security than any single enterprise. When there’s a security outbreak, for example, a cloud vendor can direct a whole team to immediately test and apply patches.

CEOs now expect their IT departments to become agenda setters that drive digital innovation. Given this pressure, IT organizations want to free themselves from configuration work. Since cloud frees IT from having to manage a server farm, IT now sees cloud as an opportunity.

2. Cloud Analytics Means All Analytics

The focus of cloud analytics used to be on cloud data exclusively. But data lives everywhere; it’s impractical to think all data is in the cloud. That’s why it’s important for cloud analytics solutions to accommodate all kinds of data scenarios, be it on-premise data, cloud data, or a hybrid approach that includes both.

The hybrid scenario has proven especially popular. Most companies have at least one cloud-based business applications like Salesforce, but they also have teams ingesting data in Excel or SQL Server databases. So a cloud-analytics solution must be able to combine these data sources without requiring that they be moved. Today’s users have come to expect this level of integration.

3. Virtual Private Cloud Is the New ‘In-House’ Cloud

These days, cloud infrastructure is often more secure than an on-premise solution. Virtual private cloud allows organizations to carve out a fully-protected ecosystem within a public cloud structure. As a result, for many users, their cloud architecture has conceptually become “in-house.”

The term “in-house” no longer refers only to on-premise servers, but rather to any data storage that belongs to an organization, inside or outside its firewall. That’s because for users, virtual private cloud has conceptually become the same as on-premise solutions; the term “in-house” has essentially come to mean “mine.” So whether it’s data integration, security protocols, or authentication measures, the whole line between on-premise and the cloud is getting blurred.

4. Platform Prices Keep Dropping Like Rain from the Sky

We’ve been watching cloud platform prices drop for the past few years. There are three things driving this trend. First, these cloud providers’ large scale fuels efficiency. Second, at play is Moore’s law, which says the number of transistors doubles each year, boosting efficiency. And third, there’s fierce competition in this nascent market.

Cloud vendors are competing on price, which means the real winners are the consumers. Google dropped its prices by 30 percent for virtual machines in May. Amazon dropped its prices more than 40 times in the past year. And Microsoft announced it will match Amazon’s pricing.

But in addition to prices, consumers should also look at the added value each vendor provides and make sure they’re on board with their cloud vendor’s vision. Otherwise, they may end up far from their own vision in this fast-moving market.

5. A Thousand Cloud Formations Will Emerge & Break Up

We’re seeing an explosion of cloud services. There’s not a single technology market that isn’t being disrupted by cloud in some way. That means we’re seeing a ton of innovation come online.

But not all cloud services will last long-term, and that’s natural, especially in such a fast-growing market. Part of IT’s role is to help organizations navigate through these choices, advising when to adopt a service and when to leave it. Companies who stay nimble can gain competitive advantage. They can enable scenarios that were simply not possible even just a few years ago.

6. Identity Floats. SAML & SSO Become the Norm

It used to be that employee identity mainly lived in Active Directory. But as more data and infrastructure moves to the cloud, so will identity.

Single sign-on across applications will be a critical component for organizations transitioning to the cloud. First, it allows employees to access multiple applications with a single credential entered once. Second, it protects user passwords, which doesn’t get passed to the application. Third, it streamlines credential management for IT.

Organizations who have yet to move to SAML support should still seek out solutions that support it. That way, they’ll be prepared when they do decide to adopt the authentication process.

7. Cloud Data Environments Turn the Data Fortress into a Bazaar

Organizations used to think data belonged in a locked-down fortress of a data warehouse. But that’s no longer true in this age of data democracy and self-service analytics.

These days, data doesn’t land in a single place. And adding cloud to the formula allows choice. Users no longer have to find their way to the data fortress. They can pick and choose from offerings in a cloud bazaar.

IT departments can reimagine all the places where their data can live, and set up pipelines for business users. And the low price and fast deployment of cloud enables organizations to affordably try different solutions and configurations. The cost of failure is incredibly low, and the potential for successes is limitless.

For a more in-depth discussion on these seven trends, watch our webinar and scroll through the slides below.

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