Cloud computing is the answer to many an enterprise prayer as the struggle to keep up with the demands of knowledge workers becomes more intense. As Big Data, mobility and other forces pile data onto existing infrastructure, it’s good to know that additional resources are available at scale and can be activated in relatively short order.
As to integrating those resources, and the software stacks they empower, however, that is another matter.
New research from Dynamic Markets, commissioned by Oracle, shows that many organizations are dealing with increasingly fragmented application architectures in the cloud. As business units and even individual users provision resources to suit their own needs, enterprises are left with disjointed, even contradictory, application environments – ultimately sabotaging the very agility and data optimization that the cloud was supposed to provide. The best hope, according to Oracle at least, is to empower the same kind of unified software stacks that have driven business productivity so far, thus ensuring that resources are distributed company-wide rather than restricted to new cloud-based silos.
Oracle is not the only software firm presenting this new unified view of the cloud. Arch-rival SAP recently launched the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud Service, a hosted platform to run the company’s HANA in-memory analytics stack. In this way, the enterprise gains an instant framework on which to run numerous analytics and transactional applications utilizing bare metal resources at SAP’s own data centers. The service takes care of mundane matters like node management and disaster recovery while providing the enterprise with the same level of functionality of on-premises HANA deployments.
Ultimately, SAP is looking to utilize the cloud for an entire portfolio of integrated applications and middleware aimed at various vertical markets. The overarching HANA Cloud Platform will feature integrated versions of leading business applications such as SAP Cloud for Financials and SAP Cloud for Travel in order to simplify the provisioning and deployment process for organizations that need to expand rapidly without the time and expense of provisioning additional data infrastructure to handle the extra workload.
The rise of these integrated cloud platforms is essentially the only response the leading software development can make to the threat that cloud services pose to the once-comfortable software-licensing model, according to The Register’s Gavin Clarke. As upstarts like Salesforce and NetSuite gain stronger footholds in the enterprise with numerous ERP and CRM offerings, the goliaths of the software world need to build their own cloud presences, and fast. And the best way to do that is to provide not just random software instances for those in need, but integrated portfolios that can be distributed across large, diverse infrastructures and repurposed to meet a variety of requirements.
All infrastructure, whether in the cloud or the on-premises data center, is basically a prop to support advanced application sets. No matter how easy it is to provision or how cost-effective it is to maintain, the cloud’s value is diminished if it doesn’t provide a solid foundation for improved application and data performance.
The fundamentals of establishing and managing cloud environments are largely in place. All that is left is to ensure it can meet the operational needs of an increasingly complex and fast-paced data universe.