Why Some Countries, And Many Companies, Need A Cloud Of Their Own
Most people still associate public cloud infrastructure with clusters of massive buildings crammed with computing, storage, and networking equipment. These massive data centers, which were previously mostly concentrated in a few dozen developed countries, have served as the epicenter of cloud services worldwide.
However, in today’s world, businesses and governments prefer services delivered faster and from shorter distances, creating a demand for smaller but still powerful cloud infrastructure blocks. To meet these modern demands in 2022, the cloud must be much more widely distributed. It must be available in smaller chunks and in a wider range of areas, while retaining all of its qualities and strengths.
In general, cloud computing is following in the footsteps of previous generations of computing. Computers used to be room-sized, but they were eventually replaced by powerful desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Data Sovereignty Demand
Demand for distributed cloud is generated not only by businesses, but also by government entities that require secure cloud infrastructure but may not have a public cloud region within their borders. Some national governments are increasingly requiring their data, as well as that of their citizens, to remain subject to their laws and regulations. Furthermore, many countries require that their information be stored and managed in-country.
Such rules put cloud providers in a bind. The United Nations has 193 member states, many of which, particularly in Africa, South America, and Asia, do not host any public cloud regions. What can these countries do to ensure that data sovereignty and residency rules are followed? They can use public cloud services that are appropriate for their needs.
Massive cloud data centers strategically located all over the world accomplish incredible things, but distance matters. The greater the distance between the cloud region and the user, the greater the latency in operations. It is critical to eliminate such lags by bringing computing power closer to the person who consumes it.
However, truly distributed cloud services address more than just speed. Companies in regulated industries, such as healthcare, finance, and transportation, must maintain control over certain critical operations. That means those businesses must
either continue to run workloads “as is” on outdated technology or bring elastic cloud services into their facilities.
The Importance of Equivalence
Entities that want to run some workloads in-house and others in a third-party public cloud region must ensure that the same services are available in both instances. This symmetry allows workloads to “burst” out to the public cloud as needed. If there is no parity between public cloud and private cloud implementations, such workload balancing will be impossible. Therefore, using a public cloud that only allows a subset of its services to be run on-premises is inefficient and will lead to problems down the road.
A decade ago, Gartner distinguished analyst Lydia Leong predicted that public cloud infrastructure would be much more distributed over time to meet these demands. For many customers, the ideal scenario is to have full public cloud functionality available from the location of their choice, whether that is a hyperscale cloud region, their own data center, or a server room on premises.
And, indeed, this is what is happening in the second decade of cloud computing