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Cloud in 2019—The Year of Choice not Compromise for UAE Enterprises

By: James Petter, VP EMEA, Pure Storage

It’s hard to believe we’re now 15 years into “cloud” ― it’s been great to see adoption levels increase in the UAE over the past year or so, in line with a marked shift and a real maturity in how organisations are thinking about their cloud strategies. In fact, according to IDC, spending on public cloud in the UAE is expected to almost quadruple, from approximately $119.6 in 2017 to $411.4 in 2022.

But as a consequence, today, regional enterprises may feel like they have to compromise in order to bridge the divide between on-premise and public cloud. It’s a divide that is now set against the backdrop of the increasing imperative for enterprise application mobility, driven by the likes of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and data analytics.

While each approach carries its own benefits, what organisations really need is flexibility and choice when it comes to infrastructure. This choice should be based on business objectives, not constrained by what the technology can do or where it lives. Flexibility is key here — business objectives change all the time, and organisations need the freedom to adjust and adapt where necessary. Workloads and applications should live where it makes the most sense for them to live.

Overcoming Barriers to Hybrid Cloud
The obvious solution is a hybrid approach. Most CIOs have now moved beyond simple “all on-prem” or “all cloud” strategies, to realise that both are powerful tools in delivering on their IT strategies. They are opting instead for “hybrid cloud” with a real commitment to using both. This however is easier said than done, and poses many challenges itself.

Firstly, most enterprise applications run on-premise, and migrating them to the cloud can be tricky. By that same token, most web scale applications are built in the cloud and so migrating them on-premise can be equally difficult. Today’s organisations cannot afford disruption or downtime, making seamless and agile movement across different clouds a business necessity. In addition, on-premise and cloud storage have different features and APIs, rendering development of applications that run seamlessly across both nearly impossible.

Modern Requirements
If these barriers were not enough to cause regional enterprises a headache, there’s the added complexity that faces all modern organisations—data. Data is now considered the “new currency” for businesses, but keeping this data in check and using it to its full advantage is no easy feat. To put this in to context, according to IDC, the volume of data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) alone will be as much in 2025 as the amount of ALL data created in 2020. That’s a tremendous amount of data, which will dictate the needs of a business’s infrastructure. Once this data dictates a different set of requirements, enterprises will need to have the ability to quickly and seamlessly move an application born in the cloud to an on-premise environment (or vice-versa).

No longer a case of either-or… AND is now possible
At present, many local businesses are being forced to compromise, as opposed to having the ability and agility to design an infrastructure that works for them. Fortunately, the tide is changing, and we are entering into the era of AND, not OR. As storage providers, we want customers to have the flexibility to maximize benefits of multi cloud, and now we can offer that bridge by unifying the cloud. Simply put, businesses no longer need to compromise — modern data solutions enable UAE enterprises to deliver on their cloud vision in three unique ways.

Build: Organisations will be able to build private clouds on-premise or in hosted environments to deliver storage-as-a-service with the performance, availability and ease of use that every business needs and deserves.

Run: Businesses will have the ability to run applications in on-prem or hosted environments, yet also run them seamlessly in the public cloud. Having a single storage platform will deliver consistent storage services, resiliency and APIs ― meaning applications can be built once and then run anywhere in the hybrid cloud model.

Protect: A new model for data protection— and this is a crucial point. The traditional disk and tape-based data protection model is failing to keep up with the demands of the cloud era. Data sizes are growing, customers expect global availability, and having PBs of backup data stuck in a vault is no longer acceptable. The combination of flash and cloud allows customers to re-invent data protection, enabling both fast local recovery from flash and low-cost long-term retention and data re-use in the cloud.

Data is the lifeblood of any organisation and there needs to be flexibility for businesses to maximize value from this data. The era of the cloud divide is coming to an end, ushering in the age of choice where public and on-premise worlds can now co-exist, bridged seamlessly with a common storage layer, so applications and data are free to move easily between owned and rented clouds. 

The ultimate result for UAE enterprises? They can take advantage of the agility and flexibility of a hybrid environment to develop applications faster and have the freedom to ensure applications no longer have to be linked to any one type of infrastructure. This in turn allows them to create a data centric architecture that’s right for the business, and one that puts enterprises on the right path for future success.

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