Hybrid cloud could be half a decade from mainstream success

Widespread migration to the hybrid cloud computing model is between two and five years from occurring in earnest, according to a new report from Gartner which found that only 15 per cent of organisations have made the leap so far.

For several years there have been arguments about the merits of the hybrid approach to cloud implementation, with advocates claiming that it can offer the best of both public and private cloud setups, but analysts now believe that interest is on the wane and it may be some time before momentum is gathered again.

Gartner’s report is specifically aimed at tackling the state of the hype surrounding particular parts of the enterprise IT market, with the hybrid cloud currently generating disillusionment amongst certain organisations as a result of implementations of the technology failing to live up to expectations.

Hybrid cloud services are not the only type of IT undergoing a lull in user interest, with Gartner analysts also citing things issues such as augmented reality, autonomous cars and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as being in the same boat at the moment.

This says more about the cycle of hyperbole that persists in the IT market by dint of certain services being heralded as the next big thing that will change the world, only to end up having a less transformative impact than initially predicted.

Cloud computing as a whole remains hugely influential, but it seems that the rise of hybrid adoption has been quelled.

The fact that Gartner’s experts believe that it will eventually resume rapid growth and become a true mainstream technology shows that there are many merits to the hybrid cloud. It is merely necessary for businesses to see through the hype and get to the core of what makes services like this advantageous.

Spanish government to scrutinise cloud computing in education

Spain has become the first European country to officially dedicate government resources to examining how cloud computing is being used in schools and universities, assessing the risks to privacy that may be posed by harnessing IaaS and SaaS in these types of educational institutions.

According to Computer Weekly, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) has taken action as a result of stats showing that millions of pupils across schools in Spain are already making use of the cloud, with the majority of these platforms harnessing public or hybrid setups.

Schools are also choosing to host management solutions in the cloud, meaning that significant amounts of personal information relating to staff and students is now housed on remote servers, rather than handled in-house.

An AEPD spokesperson said that this data includes not only educational histories and addresses of students, but also medical information received by the school.

Furthermore students and teachers are increasingly turning to the cloud as a platform for collaboration, facilitating a range of features within the learning environment which would not be available when using traditional IT solutions.

The AEPD identifies the main issue facing the cloud’s use in education as being the disconnect between the level of technical expertise that schools possess and the amount of responsibility for security which cloud providers are willing to take.

Ultimately it is argued that this responsibility for keeping private data safe needs to be shared between educational institutions and the cloud providers on which their IT infrastructures are increasingly reliant.

Spain may be spearheading the movement to start investigating the state of cloud adoption in the education sector, but it will likely be followed by other European nations as increased cloud use penetrates various public bodies where private data is kept.

Scotland pushes for cloud adoption in public sector

The Scottish government is striving to increase the number of public sector organisations that have migrated IT services to the cloud with a new £20 million investment scheme, according to The Herald.

Politicians are keen for local councils, educational institutes and healthcare boards to embrace the cloud, although there has been some concern expressed in the media about the extent to which this type of service will be secure.

The £20 million will be spent over the next four years in order to make cloud computing solutions more widely available within the Scottish public sector. And the government is also promoting the cost-saving benefits of cloud adoption compared with older on-site IT solutions.

Admissions about the security concerns have been forthcoming, with many people concerned over the issue of private data being stored at overseas data centres where it would fall within the jurisdiction of other national governments, even if it pertains purely to residents of Scotland.

Of course such concerns are common when mass cloud migration is suggested by businesses or public bodies, but this has not stopped the rapid rate of adoption in the UK and further afield.

The cost cutting made possible as a result of cloud computing is already being felt within certain Scottish bodies, with Dundee University set to cut half a million pounds just by embracing the cloud to host its email service.

Security is not the only problem being pinpointed by cloud sceptics, with some also claiming that the need for persistent internet connectivity to access data is a serious weakness that should not be ignored.

The cloud is not the only type of IT in which the Scottish government is investing heavily at the moment, with updates to the nation’s broadband infrastructure helping to make cloud adoption more viable.

GE devotes IoT management to new cloud infrastructure

Electronics giant, GE, has revealed that it will be developing a new cloud platform in-house, so that it has access to an infrastructure which will be capable of supporting the rise of the IoT (Internet of Things) for commercial applications.

It is not just consumer devices which are increasingly well connected; a range of industrial equipment on the market at the moment is capable of providing feedback and analytical data through a network connection, which is why GE is turning to the cloud to take charge of this emerging trend.

The cloud will be harnessed to collect the data generated by various smart machines that are linked to the IoT. At this point, it will become possible to carry out analytical activities which will ultimately make organisations capable of operating with greater efficiency, according to the International Business Times.

GE chief exec, Jeffry Immelt, praised the cloud’s ability to catalyse innovation in consumer electronics – a feature that his firm is hoping to transpose to the commercial market for its industrial customers.

He gave a number of examples of industries in which IoT devices, connected to a central cloud platform, could be beneficial, including areas as diverse as healthcare and oil.

There are, of course, concerns about the security of the IoT, since if every piece of equipment is connected to the internet and there is a cloud platform managing everything, the potential for exploitation is significant.

This is a problem that the companies responsible for providing cloud services will need to address and GE is, no doubt, aware of the uphill struggle it may face to convince potential clients that its platforms are safe. Of course, there are security risks in any form of IT, so arguing that the cloud is inherently insecure is not sensible.

Cloud migration will save MoD £1 billion

Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, has revealed that the MoD’s switch to a cloud-based IT infrastructure will allow the department to save £1 billion over the next 10 years, according to Yahoo News.

The migration is set to occur later this year and the MoD will be gaining access to a number of new cloud-based services over the coming 12 months, ranging from VoIP and video calling to mobility features and more besides.

The MoD is spending almost £1.5 billion to make the transition to the cloud, which is clearly a significant investment. But the fact that this will nearly pay for itself within a decade, shows just how important the adoption of cutting edge IT services can be from the point of view of cost savings.

The fact that the MoD is going to use the cloud is sure to be good publicity for the industry as a whole, since it shows that an organisations which is responsible for ensuring the safety of the nation, is confident in the security features that are available via remotely hosted solutions.

In order to migrate mission-critical apps and services to the cloud, the MoD is also making investments to improve the connectivity infrastructure which is available to employees within the ministry. Since cloud services are reliant on a fast, reliable network connection being available, this certainly makes sense.

Fallon said that the upgrade to the MoD’s IT capabilities was not just about saving money, but also about making sure that it is equipped to deal with the various threats which will face the UK in the next few years.

Cyber crime is a real concern, with digital attacks being launched by terrorist groups and other nations on a regular basis. So the power of the cloud will be used to shield the UK from the most significant assaults.