Cloud Computing

Interview: Innovation and scalability in the public cloud

In this interview with Cloud Era Institute, I discuss the growing trend of companies opting into the public cloud to leverage scalable infrastructure and global outreach. I also share how vendor lock-in contributes to innovation. I provide an important distinction between data privacy and data security, and explain why the public cloud is a shared responsibility.

What trends are you seeing in the public cloud right now?

The first trend is that the public cloud is growing because enterprises need innovation and global scalability. Previously enterprises talked about building private cloud environments, but soon realized the financial impact of building a massive, scalable infrastructure. Last year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) released over seven hundred new services and functionalities, something that would not be possible for a private cloud or a web hosting company. Amazon and Microsoft Azure are investing heavily in innovations at the infrastructure level, in data center operating, and new services.

Another big trend we are seeing are containers like Docker, which has gained momentum because of the importance of portability. With Docker, you can move workloads to different cloud providers. You can capitulate your application and its dependencies in a container, then move everything from one system to another.

A third trend is microservices such as Azure machine learning or AWS Short Notification Service. You can use the microservice approach to create your own powerful application.

Netflix is an on-demand video streaming platform with massive scalability and a highly available application on top of AWS, created based on microservice architecture. Their application is always running because when one microservice has a problem, the others remain unaffected. It is a single application running on top of AWS and connected via a public API.

CIOs and developers typically don’t like vendor lock-in, but I believe it helps with innovation. If you are using an iPhone, then you are totally locked in the Apple environment, and you love it. Apple is able to innovate because they have a closed ecosystem. It’s the same with AWS and Azure, since they also have service lock-in. This is how companies are able to innovate.

What has been the biggest challenge for businesses in the public cloud?

For Germany, Europe, and the U.S., it is data privacy and security. It is important to separate data privacy and data security. Data privacy is about legality issues and ensuring that you are fulfilling the law. Data security means that data is stored securely so nobody can access it without authorization.

Germany thinks its data centers are more secure than the U.S., which is not true. Data centers in Germany, the U.S., or Australia have the same physical security. When it comes to data security, it is no big deal to store data in the U.S.

Another big issue is a lack of cloud knowledge. The cloud has been around more than ten years, yet there is still a global lag. Many people do not understand how to create cloud applications that can be used on cloud platforms; from the design, to the architecture, microservices, and containers.

Public clouds are shared-security environments. There is a lack of knowledge about this as well. A public cloud provider is only responsible for the physical infrastructure and ensuring that the virtual infrastructure can be deployed.

Everything on top of the virtual infrastructure belongs to the customer. In the public cloud, the customer has to create their own virtual infrastructure, for example on top of AWS, and then has to run systems and applications on top of it. To fire up a virtual machine is not cloud. The application and virtual infrastructure must also be scalable.

What have observed about marketing as it relates to the cloud?

It is not only a cloud issue; it is that many companies do not focus on content marketing. It is better to market your products with good content, not just advertisements. Unique content is just as important as having an expert voice contributing to it. It is better to let the people write who are experts, not the marketing people.

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The interview with Cloud Era Institute has been published under “Global technology expert, Rene Buest, on innovation and scalability in the public cloud“.

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.