The Cost of Distributed Intelligence

By: Mattias Fridstrom

As we know it today, the internet has been largely about connecting people to information, people to people and people to business. Almost anything consumers might want is just a click away. But for businesses, the gains have been much less dramatic. That is changing. Monetization strategies range as widely as the options available, and for all the successes, there are even more failures. While many of the advancements have been extraordinary—even unthinkable a short time ago—too often we’re still left asking, “to what end?”

Beyond a doubt, the most notable trend we see in the market today is the move toward the cloud. This shift is seen in every part of the industry—and for several reasons. First, the amount of data each company generates, accesses or stores is increasing at an unprecedented pace. This shift calls for data storage in a place where capacity is affordable. The days when companies stored data in the basement are gone. Mega data centers are being built in locations where the conditions are optimal, including access to vast cheap and green power combined with a good, cold climate and an experienced data center workforce. As some data will inevitably be classified as very secret, there will always be a need to store some data on your own premises or in some other more secret way. Hence, the trend toward a hybrid cloud environment is the most significant trend in the cloud landscape. Partly private and partly public clouds should work for most companies.

The second trend driving this cloud shift is the improvement in computing performance and server capacity. Cloud service providers can purchase the latest capacity platforms and compute power in large quantities to keep abreast of the market trends and offer optimal server performance and at a much lower cost per compute power. Enterprises would have a hard time matching this in their own basements.

The third main driver is the most obvious: cost. Enterprises can replace some staff with an outsourced environment where you no longer need to have people on call to fix and repair issues, freeing up human resources to focus on the core business activities as the rest is managed somewhere in the cloud. For many companies, operating costs associated with such moves have seen a growing number of enterprises— including telecom operators—migrate their business to public storage providers.

It should also be noted that this cloud trend is not only for the storage of your data. More and more functionality that companies use is being outsourced towards the cloud. While traditional PCs are still dominant within companies as the primary working tool, the trend is clearly heading to an “on-screen” solution where the core compute power is stored in the cloud and data is accessed remotely through an interface that could be something as simple as a laptop, tablet, or mobile device. It is this trend that will put an even higher demand on operator networks as companies will become completely dependent on cloud networks for specific functionality to drive their operations from web-based services to clients.


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