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Enabling transformation with the intelligent cloud

February 1, 2017

Mandar Kulkarni   

Director of the Cloud and Datacenter Program

Enterprise cloud migration has reached the tipping point. The pace of cloud adoption continues to accelerate and has become a mainstream IT trend. So, at this tipping point, the true success and value of the cloud will be defined by the innovation which takes it from just being an enabling technology to a transformational business platform.

A new cycle of innovation is happening right now. Applications that were architected for personal computing are evolving to leverage the cloud and most of the new application are developed on a ‘Cloud First’ basis. Because they are running in the cloud, a vast quantity of data about how they are used and by whom is fuelling a second wave of innovation based on that data.

At Microsoft, we call this new wave of innovation ‘The Intelligent Cloud’. It’s a recognition that there is more to the cloud revolution than the underlying infrastructure. Standardised software components, open source, containerisation and massively scalable applications are breaking down the barriers between what enterprises can visualise and what can be turned in to reality. New business innovations can be brought to market in a fraction of the time and at vastly lower costs than only a decade ago.

The cycles of innovation don’t just push upwards either. As new innovations drive changes in user behaviour at the top of the stack, it places new demands on the underlying components further down. Compute power must become more efficient, storage more responsive and networking more adaptive.

There is often a heavy focus on innovative web start-ups leveraging these new possibilities, as well as a recognition that established enterprises cannot transition to this new world overnight. Microsoft is helping enterprises deal with the challenges posed by their legacy investments in applications and infrastructure by ensuring that on-premises implementations replicate the functionality of the Azure platform. We have built a scalable hybrid cloud platform which goes beyond infrastructure layer and offers hybrid environment for identity, data platform, development environment and a complete enterprise application stack. A true hybrid platform which allows enterprise applications to seamlessly scale from on premise legacy environment to Azure.

Similarly, the recognition of this challenge also brought about the launch of the Tata Communications’ cloud enablement platform, IZO. Enterprise applications running in the cloud place completely different demands on the network. This means that enterprises have to be able to operate public and private networking seamlessly while retaining the advantages of both.

Although approximately 95% of enterprises have some form of public cloud implementation, the future for most is a hybrid environment. Some applications will be rapidly transitioned to the cloud, while others will take time, and others will remain in-house indefinitely.

This changing balance of implementation models also brings about changes in the economics of each. The economics to maintain your own in-house data centre estate when a large proportion of your applications have moved elsewhere changes dramatically. If you are operating an in-house virtualised environment it’s difficult to determine excess capacity and virtual machine sprawl while preserving the agility to scale up for new business opportunities.

Once you make the decision to migrate, there is work to move your workloads between public and private clouds. To alleviate some of these challenges, our partner Tata Communications has added IZO Private Cloud to the IZO platform. It provides an intermediary step between in-house and public cloud, helping enterprises begin their cloud journey through hybrid cloud.

As the world transitions from infrastructure to innovation in the cloud, Microsoft and Tata Communications both envision a world where enterprises will have the freedom to make business choices with confidence and turn their own visions into reality.

How will businesses change as cloud becomes more intelligent? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.