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By VARINDIA    2018-02-09

The Cloud WAR – who will win it?

Storing data and applications remotely rather than on one’s own premises can cut IT costs dramatically and speed up operations. Business leaders are looking to optimise and grow their businesses, and cloud can give them the scope of reducing costs and providing better customer experience. Smart businesses are asking what’s driving the rush to the cloud by keeping customized applications in the cloud.


India is emerging as the battleground for global e-commerce Internet conglomerates. While Amazon’s boss Jeff Bezos had committed over $5 billion for its Indian arm, biggies like Alibaba, Tencent and SoftBank are excited about their Indian story. Large Internet groups from the US and China are thereby competing for taking a bigger share of the market.


Despite the rise of public cloud platforms offered by the likes of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, it is a fact that only 10% (or may be less) of the world's data is currently stored in the cloud.


How to choose a good cloud provider?


It all depends on what you want it to do. Certain cloud providers specialise in specific functions -


1. Amazon Web Services provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals, companies and governments, on a paid subscription basis with a free-tier option available for 12 months.


2. Azure is a comprehensive set of cloud services that developers and IT professionals use to build, deploy and manage applications through its global network of datacenters. Integrated tools, DevOps and a marketplace support the customer in efficiently building anything from simple mobile apps to internet-scale.


3. Google Cloud Platform not only allows customers access to one of the largest networks in the world, but also ensures them less downtime by utilizing live migrations of virtual machines. The biggest advantage when it comes to cloud computing is its experience as the world's leading search engine.


4. IBM Cloud Focus allows customers to choose where and how he wants it. IBM Cloud has been built to help solve problems and advance opportunities in a world flush with data. Whether it’s data the customer possesses, data outside the firewall, or data that’s coming, the IBM Cloud helps protect it, move it, integrate it and unlock intelligence from it - giving the customer what it takes to prevail in a competitive market.


5. Alibaba Cloud provides a suite of cloud computing services that covers elastic computing, object storage, relational database, big data analysis, and artificial intelligence in fifteen geographical regions around the globe.


6. Salesforce for sales and customer data; Workday for finance and human resources.


Alibaba Cloud ranks as the third largest public cloud service providers globally and is the leading cloud provider in the China market. It is ranked as China’s largest public cloud service provider and the third largest worldwide. Alibaba Cloud will soon enter India, to take on Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Alibaba’s Mumbai datacenter can support regional cloud needs for the next 3-5 years. It will help Alibaba tap small and medium enterprises that are increasingly moving towards utilising new age services. The company, through its e-commerce arm, already works with thousands of small and medium-sized businesses, providing the group an opportunity to further monetise them.


When it comes to revenue growth in the arena of public cloud business, Chinese giant Alibaba is giving a solid competition to all big three U.S. cloud companies-Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, in worldwide cloud revenue by more than doubling it last year.


Amazon Web Services dominates the public cloud market with a 47.1% market share. In its most recent earnings statement for Q4 of 2017, AWS reported revenues of US$ 5.11 Billion, but Amazon lost cloud market share to Microsoft in the fourth quarter.


Growing security concerns, overall confidence is high…


It is fact that when businesses are connected to a cloud communications platform, they get access to the latest communication applications and developments, like customizable business workflows and business continuity is made easy. A million dollar question is how the big cloud providers could protect our data from the cyber-attacks? Who can give 100% security to our data? If there is any compromise in the data protection, will they sign any SLA (Service level agreement) to give the penalty?


Security concerns may be the largest barrier to cloud adoption, but generally speaking, IT professionals view public cloud providers as being secure. A majority of respondents (62.9%) say that public cloud is as secured or more secured than their own datacenter.


This increasing confidence in cloud security could be one reason why enterprises have rapidly moved these applications out of the datacenter to the public cloud. It may also be due to the fact that 3rd party security solutions such as CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker) has overcome the security gap between what an enterprise can achieve in their on-premises IT infrastructure and what they get from a cloud service provider.


Going ahead…


All major corporate including Google has spent $30 billion in infrastructure investments over the last three years to build its datacenter presence around the world. Diane Greene, CEO, Google's cloud businesses, says, “We crossed a billion a quarter in 2017 and according to publicly available numbers, we are the fastest growing cloud.”


Alibaba has been placing its bets on several start-ups ranging from verticals such as entertainment, food ordering, grocery and logistics among others. Alibaba along with its payment affiliate Alipay had invested about $425 million in e-grocer BigBasket and foodtech major Zomato. Recently, it also invested $35 million in Xpressbees, a Pune based company into logistics.


Going forward, Alibaba is planning to launch an over-the-top (OTT) video service (less than 20 minutes) in India in collaboration with its Indian portfolio Paytm and its media and its own entertainment unit UCWeb. Besides Alibaba, Softbank had invested about $6 billion in companies competing against Amazon. It has also invested $2.6 billion in Flipkart, with all these investments expected to play a pivotal role in determining the future of Internet business in India.


The introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which takes effect from May 25, 2018 to protect personal data online and has been designed to unify data privacy requirements across the European Union (EU) is a new development in the area of global business. Under this regulation, companies could be fined heavily if they fail to provide adequate IT security to protect personal data.


So let’s wait and watch of how it will impact businesses.