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Spend any amount of time looking at a cloud and you’ll notice something. It isn’t long before the structure changes. At its core it’s the same, but the shapeshifting is constant.
The same can be said of cloud computing.
“Concepts like cloud – essentially ‘other people’s computers’ – meaning we don’t have to own the physical hardware ourselves and pay all of the associated costs with upgrading, maintaining, and securing it – don’t die,” explains author and futurist, Bernard Marr. “But that doesn’t mean that newer and potentially even more revolutionary ideas don’t come along to take the limelight!”
Use this primer to familiarize yourself with two next-generation cloud computing technologies that are coming into focus.
A Current Cloud Computing + Digital Transformation Snapshot
For the last decade, cloud computing has become the basis of digital business as we know it. Without the cloud, there’d be no data storage, internet streaming, or support for many of the apps we’ve grown reliant on.
No wonder more than half of enterprise IT spending in key market segments will shift to the cloud by 2025. Gartner even predicts it will soon overtake spending on traditional IT altogether.
With this investment, many organizations have gained cloud service providers that double as innovation partners. Cloud computing is an essential component of any transformation plan, providing the integrations and accessibility needed for an agile, highly connected digital environment.
Cloud technologies lay the groundwork for all variety of as-a-service functions, manual task automations, as well as advanced security and scalability strategies needed to run a modern business.
But What’s Next? Introducing Sky Computing
Think of sky computing as the stratosphere. This multi-cloud entity exists “above” a cloud network, allowing organizations to select from numerous cloud services operated by different providers and curate them to suit their needs.
The ultimate goal would be to shift cloud computing to “a utility market that will allow cloud computing to become as connected and easy to use as the Internet.” Proponents like UC Berkeley’s Sky Computing Lab, envision it having several components, including:
- Intercloud brokers that mediate connections between service providers and users
- User identity verification for increased cloud security
- Cross-cloud data exchanges and troubleshooting
- International data sovereignty capabilities that support a global workforce
Also Around the Corner: Edge Computing
In some ways, edge computing is the inverse of cloud computing, which works by collecting and processing data across great distances. Edge computing, on the other hand, relies on proximity to bring data processing as close to the source as possible (typically a user or device).
Said another way, the idea is to: “Place computing resources closer to the user or the device, at the “edge” of the network, rather than in a hyperscale cloud data center that might be many miles away in the “core” of the network. The edge approach emphasizes reducing latency and providing more processing of data close to the source.”
Edge computing has the potential to turn several long awaited applications that require real-time performance into a reality, such as:
- Self-driving cars
- Remote and robotic surgeries
- Smart grids and cities
- Health care devices that predict illness
- Advanced video surveillance
Modern businesses have a front row seat for the changing cloud computing options. Keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other. Plenty of workloads will span multiple providers and computing types – all working together within the broader IT ecosystem. Just don’t spend too long sitting and watching the clouds, or you might get left behind.