When Netflix announced it would shut down its last datacentre, the ripple effect was profound. The on demand provider of television and films announced they’d soon be 100% cloud based, relying on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host all of its services in its public cloud.

So have traditional datacentres become dinosaurs, with inevitable demise on the horizon and a migration to 100% cloud the future for all business? With everything that’s needed to build a hybrid cloud so readily available, will large enterprises do a Netflix, and go 100% cloud?

Not Quite

Netflix may be working with AWS to go 100% cloud, but the reality of the situation is that its sizeable IT infrastructure is not going entirely cloud. Netflix will optimise its backup up procedures by doing its own independent backups, using its own storage boxes. In fact the streamlining of its services happens via a variety of non-cloud enabled software and hardware, so all told, the move to AWS is probably more like 90%.

People get excited about a move to the cloud, but the reality of optimising any given IT infrastructure is that there are usually any number of destinations, target environments and technologies. These include private cloud, public cloud, datacentres (old and new), insourced, outsourced, application rationalisation, transformation or even decommission.

What does 100% Cloud Really Mean Anyway?

Netflix may be making headlines by saying it is shutting down its datacentres, but the datacentre itself is not going anywhere. Going 100% cloud just means that applications are running on hardware stored in someone else’s datacentre, which in this case happens to belong to Amazon.

And while it’s likely we’ll see some other enterprises jump on the 100% cloud bandwagon, what is much more likely is that many will go down the hybrid cloud route. Equinix adds to the hybrid cloud argument. Equinix will be working with AquaComms to create yet another high capacity connection between New York and London, enabling it to offer direct connectivity to leading cloud service providers such as AWS, Google’s Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure via its Equinix Cloud Exchange. Large enterprises are sure to take them up on the offer to harness better network performance, though it’s unlikely they’ll all go 100% cloud. Most likely, these companies will build hybrid clouds that keep manage some resource internally.

Application Placement

What is important is to ensure that the service that the cloud (or other infrastructure type) is providing matches the requirement of the applications that are being moved there. There have been many instances of companies moving applications to the cloud without fully understanding the consequences of doing so. Applications may have specific requirements in terms of latency, security, geography, and physical proximity to other applications that not all cloud services can provide. Before any final decision on placement can occur it is critical to carry out a detailed profiling exercise to understand what services applications need in their target environment. Xceed Group’s migration services, utilising the mX platform, not only gain an intimate knowledge of customers’ application requirements, but also their importance to the business and their ease of migration. As well as identifying the target environment most suitable for each application, this also identifies early migration candidates, areas of duplication, and opportunities for rationalisation during the migration programme.

Surprise

Those who invest in a hybrid cloud strategy are early adopters, according Gartner. In the analyst house’s latest Hype Cycle report into emerging technologies, hybrid cloud adoption currently stands at less than 10%. Apparently setup and operational efficiency are what’s standing in the way of the hybrid cloud route, with Gartner estimating that the hybrid computing model is still two to five years away from being considered mainstream.

Whether it is a hybrid or seemingly 100% cloud, there is some value to be gained by learning a few lessons from the early adopters. However, on balance the efficiency gains and agility improvements available could well mean watching your competition gain an advantage while you stand back and wait.

If you want to discuss your cloud options, get in touch and we would be delighted to help.