The 2nd Generation Cloud

Andrew Froehlich, Network Engineer & IT Consultant | 5/6/2014 | 13 comments

Andrew Froehlich
Not all clouds are equal. That's a pretty obvious statement that we can all agree on. Cloud service providers offer differing levels of services, redundancy, and customer service -- all at widely varying prices.

But now that the industry is beginning to mature, we're starting to see distinct differences between cloud architectures that were designed and built during the initial boom, and those that are rolling out this year. The clouds are so different in fact, that one could even label them with the distinction of "second-generation." Let's take a look at a few of the unique characteristics that second-generation clouds exhibit.

Seamless integration
If you've ever had to support both a private and a cloud infrastructure in a hybrid environment, you'll likely know that the integration and therefore, support of a cloud is very different from one that's privately managed. Usually, clouds have to be manually configured to closely mimic the private datacenter so that platforms, applications, and data perform similarly from an end-user perspective. The time it takes to mirror a private datacenter infrastructure structure should be seen as time wasted. To elevate this problem, new tools and cloud architectures have and are being developed that literally allow for the automated extension of a private datacenter architecture into a third-party infrastructure.

Mobility between clouds
First-generation cloud providers were trailblazers and therefore had no best-practice guidelines to follow when architecting their cloud infrastructure. One cloud could be drastically different from the next. So when your company decides to move to a new provider, the migration process becomes painful as customizations and policies that have been configured on your providers proprietary cloud design can't simply be copied over to your new cloud home. Contrast that with next generation clouds that operates on open-source platforms like OpenStack. These architectures are built on best-practices and freely available plans that allow for a universal cloud infrastructure that is interchangeable with others that follow the same designs. This eliminated the dreaded cloud provider lock-in that so many companies fear.

Cloud that solve specific problems
The first-generation of enterprise cloud service providers designed their clouds to appeal to the masses. Because of this, clouds had to be designed to support a wide array of applications and platforms. While this was a sound plan early on in the cloud adoption phase, new cloud providers are seeking to solve specific niche problems for enterprise customer. For example, here's a cloud that solves the more modern-day problem of managing BYOD without an upfront Mobile Device Management (MDM) infrastructure capital expense.

Early adopters of cloud computing have long enjoyed first-generation benefits such as infrastructure elasticity, scalability, and lowered cost. But even if you're a bit behind in the cloud migration process, take comfort in knowing that you'll be able to find a second-generation cloud that incorporates all the benefits of the first generation -- along with a plethora of new features that add incredible value.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
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singlemud   The 2nd Generation Cloud   5/30/2014 10:06:29 AM
Re: Integration
Even with the second generation cloud, it is still not a easy task to move around
kstaron   The 2nd Generation Cloud   5/16/2014 12:20:35 PM
to the 2nd generation and beyond
It looks like this second generation of cloud service is getting easier, cheaper and better at managing the specific needs of th clients. Now all that's left is finding the redundancy you want for the price your company will pay. What would you like to see happen for the next generation of the cloud?
MDMConsult   The 2nd Generation Cloud   5/12/2014 5:11:06 AM
Re: third generation cloud services
The 2014 Enterprise Cloud Adoption Survey summary report debunks hyped-up perceptions with facts such as: More than 75 percent of enterprises believe the IT role is critical for the cloud services ecosystem. It's no longer a question of whether cloud is the right strategy, but rather how you will leverage the cloud's abundance of resources to outpace your competition. It's no longer a question of whether cloud is the right strategy, but rather how to leverage the cloud's abundance of resources to outpace competition.
nasimson   The 2nd Generation Cloud   5/9/2014 9:14:09 AM
Re: Integration
@Anand: > With second generation cloud, there are high > chances of security or data breach. Why do you say that second generation is more prone to security? As I see cloud services getting mature, security should just get better.
nasimson   The 2nd Generation Cloud   5/9/2014 8:59:00 AM
third generation cloud services
@Andrew: Your blog has got me thinking what third generation cloud services would look like. What would these offer in terms of security. What incremental benefits would these bring over second generation cloud services. What would be the source of business. I bet industry leaders like Google, Amazon and Dell would be pondering on these questions.
Anand   The 2nd Generation Cloud   5/8/2014 4:55:58 AM
Re: Integration
Interesting article it is. It s absolutely true, that clouds are different on how they perform different purpose.  I still prefer the first generation cloud when it comes to its security posture, I think it is easy to manage first generation cloud security that second generation cloud security, and this is why it is most suitable for workplaces in that there is no external interference. With second generation cloud, there are high chances of security or data breach.
Andrew Froehlich   The 2nd Generation Cloud   5/7/2014 11:15:15 AM
Re: Integration
Great question Hospice_Houngbo -- In reality, 1st and second-gen clouds probably won't play nicely in terms of migration. But, once you do migrate to a next-gen cloud platform, future moves will be far less painless.
User Ranking: Blogger
SaneIT   The 2nd Generation Cloud   5/7/2014 7:04:47 AM
Re: Integration
Being transparent is going to be key for cloud based services in the future.  The IT groups will know who is providing the service but for customers and employees those services need to be transparent.  That is one of the bigger issues I see with taking services out of the datacenter.  When an employee is using a service like say Dropbox and their account is compromised who do they call?  If they call the Dropbox support team will you ever know there was a problem?  
Zaius   The 2nd Generation Cloud   5/6/2014 11:57:59 PM
Re: Integration
I also have the same questions just as HH. I was not thinking about the 'second generation' so fast. In fact, the cloud has not been around for very long time. These days generations tend to revolve a bit faser than expected.
Hospice_Houngbo   The 2nd Generation Cloud   5/6/2014 11:30:01 PM
Re: Integration
Does "seamless integration" imply that while switching an existing application from the first-generation cloud to the next generation cloud, the migration of data is an easy process? Is it done manually or automatically?
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