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Distributed Cloud: The Future of Cloud Computing


Businesses today are bombarded with an overabundance of options when it comes to choosing the right cloud computing architecture that fits their needs.

With the availability of multiple options such as hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, and the infamous distributed cloud all trying to garner the attention of businesses across industries and each one competent over the other, making the final choice and stepping into kickstarting your cloud journey can come across as quite a task. Especially given the background effort in terms of research, time investment can be quite complex and leads to considerable delay in leveraging the power of cloud computing pushing you further back in the race with your competitors.

Amidst such crucial times, when in order to ensure a business’s sustainable growth devising a solid cloud strategy is a mandate and distributed cloud offers lucrative advantages being the primary reason for adoption massively in recent times. Starting right from reducing latency to delivering content at lightning speed to aid the process of spontaneous deployment. Most importantly the fact is that it’s a one-time investment and a very cost-effective means to implement and reap benefits for the coming days. Interestingly, it has gained attention after being mentioned by the top analyst firm, Gartner as one of the top ten strategic technology trends of 2020. It defines the distributed cloud as “the first cloud model that incorporates the physical location of cloud-delivered services as part of its definition.”

By providing the option of public cloud infrastructure in multiple locations unlike the traditional idea of cloud which never associated the delivery of its services with any particular location, this model extends productivity. It is remarkable the above feature can be enabled while retaining regular functionality across all operations from a single control panel, enabling the businesses to deploy applications in dynamic environments that are conducive to the working of the circumstances faced by the IT department. So the unique combination of cloud offered operational advantages while also leveraging the added competitive advantage of complying with regulations and maintaining utmost security.

This is possible as distributed cloud computing incorporates and integrates the public cloud, which has the ability to support customers from different bases across multiple regions, and at the same time simultaneously fetches hybrid solutions to disseminate services via required physical locations.

Why distributed cloud?

With distributed cloud the underlying big difference is with respect to the fact that the management duty for all the involved services is handed over solely to the public cloud provider, making a huge shift away from the otherwise well-known virtually centralized public cloud framework. This minute difference houses the potential to give birth to an entirely new age of cloud computing.

How is the distributed cloud trying to solve key problems?

Distributed cloud utilizes the creation of planned locations, which Gartner Research refers to as ‘substations’, that can be used simultaneously by a set of organizations and through this brings an organization’s access to cloud substantially closer to the customer than previously known public cloud data centers and their capacity. Distributed cloud, therefore, has a competitive edge amidst its competitors for being a viable solution to the long list of concerns of public cloud users i.e. latency issues, which do not allow to utilize the other key advantages associated with the cloud such as versatility, transformation, and support. The above-mentioned reason clearly defines why distributed cloud determines the future of cloud computing due to its ability to offer the convenience of service from any point of the globe to the closest point of use for the consumer.

What are the key factors leading to the expansion of distributed cloud?

With the changing times as the regulatory measures are developing and associated fines have the possibility to take a financial toll on your business and bring it crashing down, adhering to the new regulation especially with respect to data storage and processing has turned into a matter of importance and a major segment of business operations. Amidst such a scenario the wide range of locations offered by distributed clouds make it easier for businesses to adhere to compliance that mandate storage of data within a certain jurisdiction or boundary seamless and hasslefree. The major boost in the number of areas to which cloud services can be expanded to or can be effectively consumed is another reason that has boosted the expansion of this innovation and led to furthering of interest in adopting the distributed cloud approach.

As per the research conducted by Ensono, a well-known hybrid IT services provider, many IT professionals are of the opinion that distributed cloud is the answer to several pressing issues currently faced by organizations. Almost half (49%) of survey respondents were of the view that distributed cloud is an effective way to solve network related issues and outages, amongst them 42% state it could avert latency problems and 36% of the total subjects said that it can lead to an increase in location availability where cloud services can be easily hosted.

Similarly, in recent times, business enterprises are increasingly undertaking edge computing as a part of distributed cloud systems in terms of systems and processes. In addition to convenience, firms using distributed and edge services benefit by leveraging resilient and disaster-averse systems wherever they are located.

Distributed cloud is still emerging and it won’t be a few years until its impact will be felt in a meaningful way. Analysts at Gartner predict that by 2024 most cloud service platforms will provide some distributed cloud services that execute at the point of need, indicating the relatively slow, but steady, growth of this cloud model.

Path ahead

Distributed cloud is currently in a nascent stage and has a long way to go. But we are sure of one thing that it is will continue to evolve at a rapid pace in the coming times and will be one of the technologies garnering dependence for survival in the future due to their capacity for the purpose and design of substations and the services it proposes to customize and meet the distinct business needs and service requirements of individual locations.

But while we head towards embracing distributed clouds, we still have to get the answers for many more questions which will bring clarity to the future where businesses go-ahead to have their own cloud substations, which will be held responsible by the public cloud provider in entirety. Beyond this, it’s possible that businesses may join their hands together to buy cloud substations and open them up beyond their organization for utilization by other organizations ranging in relatively close proximity. So, watch out for the space and brace yourself to jump into the bandwagon before it’s too late.

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Gunasundaram Gnanamuthu

Head - IT, NLG

Enabling business growth by leading and driving enterprise-wide digital transformation through digital strategy, enterprise architecture, customer experience design and operational excellence in technology solutions and service delivery.
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