Can Companies Finally Scale in Peace on the Cloud?

Maxim Melamedov, CEO and Co-Founder of Zesty, discusses the evolution of the container ecosystem and the rise of serverless infrastructure.

The cloud has led to a computing revolution – from storage to computing power to security to innovation to business continuity, there are numerous reasons to implement the cloud into everyday business practices. One key reason is scaling – the cloud can provide all the resources needed for business growth.

But managing these resources is a time-intensive process involving complex pricing models, and simply throwing funds at every cloud management challenge that arises can quickly turn the cloud into a budgetary thunderhead. Companies can’t operate if they spend half their budget on the cloud and half their manpower managing it.

A recent study by a16z revealed that the cloud is a much trickier tool to justify once it’s time to scale – a whopping $500 billion (£383 billion) of market value is lost to cloud infrastructure utilization across public software companies. While cloud use has proven beneficial in a business’ early stages, these mounting losses have led business leaders to ask: is the cloud a worthwhile investment at scale?

For my money? Yes. Because several new trends in the cloud landscape point to a future where cloud scalability only stands to improve. Here are a few things you need to know:

Innovation in the Cloud Ecosystem

The rise of FinOps as part of organizations’ operations is helping to balance budgetary and computing needs. The increased communication and collaboration between departments that accompany strategic FinOps practices are essential when it comes to cloud cost management. But most companies can’t (or just don’t want to) build entire teams to work on cloud financial operations and infrastructure optimization.

That’s where third-party platforms have strung a lifeline.

Many cloud-reliant companies are choosing to outsource cloud and IT management to allow their engineers to work on building and bettering their own offerings.

Record turnout at the recent 2021 AWS re:Invent conference showcased just how much businesses are willing to invest to handle this cloud-scalability dilemma. Gartner reports that global IT spending will reach $4 trillion (£3 trillion) this year, with the cloud-managed services market alone projected to reach $139.4 billion (£106.8 billion) by 2026. With so much growth in IT management expenditure, companies are seeking cloud-native tools that empower DevOps teams to be more agile and productive.

Yet that is easier said than done, and it is completely understandable why executives and the teams under them have such difficulty harnessing new tools to balance stability, performance and spending. The increasingly dynamic nature of the cloud and the mass of cloud innovation solutions on the market means companies may not even know where to start, but they need to, as finding the right technologies to leverage can make or break a business.

The Evolution of the Container Ecosystem

Anyone who has worked with the cloud is familiar with containers. Though once synonymous with Docker software, the cloud container space is now dominated by Kubernetes that allow DevOps teams to manage all their container resources from a centralized control plane.

This multi-management functionality is paramount for businesses trying to scale their cloud operations. Recent reports from the Linux Foundation show that 75% of enterprises have made the transition to cloud-based containerized environments by using Kubernetes in some form.

Adaptability in the cloud is crucial, and since cloud environments are dynamic by nature, DevOps teams must be able to depend on the many necessary computing components.

Since the rise of Kubernetes, other more flexible container management options such as ContainerD are making their way into the space, making cloud adaptability even more seamless than before. Tools like ContainerD can be integrated with both Docker and Kubernetes using non-OS specific functionality, making modern cloud environments more adaptable and scalable than they were previously.

The Rise of Serverless Infrastructure

While serverless cloud infrastructure has been possible for some time now, adoption of serverless models has accelerated in the past few years. But serverless computing – cloud architecture where code execution is managed entirely by an external provider – is revolutionary for cloud engineers, and as more cloud leaders embrace it, scalability may become easier in turn. Because serverless platforms allow the cloud provider to run applications as a service rather than requiring an engineer to manage infrastructure, engineers can shift their focus elsewhere and increase productivity.

This offers companies a great deal of flexibility and autonomy throughout the process of business development and scaling. According to recent research, of the more than $1 trillion (£766 billion) of innovation provided by the cloud industry, McKinsey notes that approximately 75% of the value comes from companies developing new products and features rather than from cloud management spending. By offloading IT tasks to serverless cloud providers, DevOps can see a rise in productivity, efficiency, and creativity. Businesses that can focus their money and their manpower on scaling rather than scrambling to maintain an unstable status quo will reap the rewards.

That being said, it comes at a price, both in terms of time and money. Organizations must be prepared for the challenges surrounding platform expansion on serverless, which can in fact drive DevOps to spend a significant amount of money and manpower preparing to shift to a new platform.

Cloud 2022

Many of today’s businesses trying to build and create new and innovative products are being held back in part by infrastructure management. But the new generation of cloud innovations will ultimately allow companies to focus less on infrastructure and more on their core missions – quality, innovation, and beyond. For industries of all kinds, 2022 just might be the year the cloud takes us to new heights.

By Maxim Melamedov, CEO and Co-Founder of Zesty.

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