Is distributed cloud computing the future of cloud computing?


Is distributed cloud computing the future of cloud computing?

State of Cloud: Trends & Predictions

A blog post by Pankaj Mittal, chief architect, Deloitte Consulting India Pvt Ltd; Prathyusha Dhulipala, cloud architect, Deloitte Consulting India Pvt Ltd; Ujval S, edge cloud architect, Deloitte Consulting India Pvt Ltd; Ashakiran Vemulapalli, senior architect, Deloitte Consulting India Pvt Ltd.

Cloud strategy: Agility, complexity, and business-aligned

Until recently, cloud storage and computing were often managed centrally by cloud hyperscalers in their respective regions/data centers or client-managed private clouds. The cloud infrastructure ecosystem is now moving toward hybrid clouds—a combination of public and private clouds dictated by associated needs and benefits—creating newfound demands of low-cost storage, location-specific services, high-end security, data monetization, and customer experience with regional context. Conjoined with these are novel complexities surrounding adoption, governance, security, customer centricity, and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) that have emerged, propelling enterprises to gear up for new ways of working with the cloud. The curve of natural progression has accelerated the need for a new approach to cloud computing, seeking a fix to interconnect data and applications served from different geological locations.

Embracing distributed cloud computing

Cloud technology thought leaders have been quick to respond with distributed cloud computing. It is a public cloud service that does computing and storage on various networks (on-premises, in other cloud providers’ data centers, or in third-party data centers or co-location centers) but manages everything from a single control plane. In simpler terms, the distributed cloud enables a geographically distributed, centrally managed distribution of public cloud services optimized for performance, compliance, and edge computing. Architects are innovating solutions to reduce data latency by bringing compute resources near to the point of transaction or interaction in compliance with local data residency regulations.

Real-world use case with distributed cloud computing

To take an example from health care services, the massive amount of data being produced by IoT edge devices such as wearable sensors, blood glucose monitors, and health care apps may be valuable, but it’s also creating a challenge for health care providers tasked with managing it and keeping it secure. Much of this data is unstructured and poorly defined, flooding into cloud infrastructures that are often not prepared to run the powerful analytics programs needed to organize it in ways that can be easily used. By the time data generated by IoT edge devices is fed back into a central server to be properly analyzed and sorted, it may be too late to respond to sudden changes in a person’s condition.

Distributed cloud computing applications have the potential to solve this data problem. By retaining much of the critical processing tasks on the devices located on the edge of the network, health care IT architectures can still gain the benefit of gathering health-related data while also getting the rapid, real-time analytics that can predict and respond to health emergencies. IoT medical devices can analyze a person’s current condition and send alerts the moment anomalies are detected, allowing for rapid response times that may well save their life. In the meantime, IoT health care networks can continue to feed non-critical data gathered over time to be sorted and processed by powerful machine-learning algorithms hosted in cloud-computing data centers that maintain the highest standards in regulatory compliance.

Is distributed cloud computing the way forward for all enterprises?

Some of the most common challenges that can prompt enterprises to consider distributed cloud computing are:

  • Bandwidth constraints
  • Network congestion and failure issues
  • Compliance issues with regional data storage policies
  • Higher latency/delays in applications
  • Scalability issues due to high computational processing
  • Security attacks and/or data breaches

Adapting to distributed cloud computing might be the most appropriate strategy for those organizations facing one or more of these challenges. Some of the core capabilities of distributed cloud computing include:

  • Increased compliance: Ensures that distributed cloud follow regulatory requirements and that data must be persisted in a specific customer location
  • Less latency: Delivers faster and more responsive services by locating key processing tasks closer to end users
  • Consistent control: Controls plane that allows users to administer the cloud architecture from public to private cloud, which extends consistently across multiple networks and environments
  • Easy and intuitive scalability: Provides scope to add more machines as needed, increasing the availability of locations where cloud services can be hosted or consumed (compute zones)
  • Reduced network failures: Ensures that a system crash on one server does not affect other servers; application and its underlying component and data reside in local network or hyperlocal network, allowing them to operate intermittently untethered
  • Autonomy and security: Establishes computing closer to the end user, enhancing security and adding greater agility
  • Enhanced performance: Provides higher performance and better cost, unlike centralized computer network systems, due to location advantage of the services placed near the end users
  • Resolve sync issues: Allows faster resolution of sync issues without any dependencies; made possible by entrusting responsibility to the public cloud provider
  • Hyperlocal smart recommendations: Provides advanced solutions for consumers and sponsors to make personalized and targeted customer campaigns and recommendations for cross-selling or up-selling of their products and services

The bottom line

Distributed cloud computing is the future for enterprises focusing on data in motion—edge devices, such as sensors; IoT-oriented applications for connected customers; and connected vehicles. With technological advances in cloud storage, and compute and expansion of cloud availability across regions and geographies, enterprises should strategically invest in taking advantage of modern distributed cloud architecture.

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