4 min read
The term "cloud" no longer sufficiently describes what is needed to cover a satisfying cloud-based ecosystem. The "super cloud" expands the terminology and possibilities to create an environment where cloud applications and services can thrive. Is this the future?
Super cloud vs. multi cloud
Hardly any company or organization is leveraging only one single cloud platform or solution which resulted in the existence of the "multi-cloud" - oftentimes a combination of different cloud-based solutions that are - ideally - connected to centralize processes and data.
However, in reality, most multi-cloud environments that are not based on the same platform, create challenges in centralizing data, workflows, and functionalities for an easier work and development environment. It's difficult to map all existing cloud (and on-premise) solutions but how do you navigate them?
The super cloud (also sometimes referred to as the "meta cloud") can be seen as the "territory" of your map that holds all solutions and abstracts the technology to create one high, cohesive layer to work with.
Moreover, the super cloud can connect on-premise, public and private cloud environments and solutions (aka multi-clouds) in a way that you don't have to worry about the technological complexity but can simply reap the cloud values.
The meta layer of your cloud environment
Back to overview
Admittedly, the concept of the super or meta cloud still is in its early days. Many experts and tech companies are still in the process of defining the exact functionalities, possibilities and limits. Even though there are super cloud solutions on the market as we speak, most of them are still in "kindergarten" and need some time to reach their full potential.
It's therefore advised to take a long hard look at your (multi-) clouds and work out if you actually do need a super cloud to manage your cloud ecosystem with a meta layer or if you're - at least for now - fine with your multi-cloud setup.
Enabling IT development
Back to overview
In his analysis on siliconangle.com, Dave Vellante wrote in May 2022 that
"we've found many examples within the technology ecosystem of technology companies working on so-called supercloud in various forms. They include some examples that actually do not try to hide cloud primitives but rather are focused on creating a consistent experience for developers across the DevSecOps tool chain, while preserving access to low-level cloud services."
Vellante also quotes Raghu Raghuram, chief executive of VMware Inc., who explains that the goal of this "abstract" layer is not to hide something or turn it incomprehensible. In fact,
"what we are trying to do is to provide a consistent developer experience regardless of where you want to build your application. So that you can use the cloud provider services if that's what you want to use."
The super cloud basically creates a territory where you can build on any cloud but still have consistency how you work with different solutions and platforms. Chuck Whitten from Dell Technologies Inc. mentions in the same article that the data warehouse provider Snowflake is working on a supercloud which the company calls "Snowgrid".
As Benoit Dageville, co-founder and president of products at Snowflake explains in an interview with siliconangle.com:
"An Azure region can talk to AWS or GCP region. When you land in Snowflake, you land in one region, but you can grow from there. It's one single instantiation which covers many cloud regions and many cloud providers."
Back to overview
Flexibility is at the core of the super cloud. Since the beginning of cloud services - and to be quite honest - software services in general, companies worried about the so-called "vendor lock-in". Vendor lock-in exists if a company is forced to stay with a vendor because any migration would be too costly, complex, disrupt business operations or even create security risks.
The longer a company stays with a vendor and the more data and processes are integrated in the solution, the higher the investment for any migration will be - whether it's time, resources or budget.
However, within a super cloud environment, experts see the opportunity to move even large amounts of data easily from one cloud and even from cloud to on-premise platforms without much trouble.
The first step: A thorough inventory & a clear strategy
Back to overview
Since many super clouds are still being developed, companies now have the opportunity to take their time and assess their own requirements, business cases and needs, so they can safely decide if a super cloud is worth the time and invest short-, mid- or long-term.
- Create an outlook on your strategy, including growth plans, global expansions, merges, etc.
- Define how cloud governance should function, identify financial models, responsibilities and roles
- Set up SLA and KPI for all services, developments, and processes
- Identify the current and planned solutions which are required for your business (this is where you can think of innovative ways to shape your multi clouds)
Create an inventory of your:
- current and planned solutions
- IT resources (internal & external)
- market expansion plans
- business goals
- know-how and expertise
- external partners
There is a great opportunity in mixing technologies and providers but a thorough planning is necessary to reshape your infrastructure.
At DIGITALL, we offer strategic, technical, and industry know-how to support you in the evaluation and implementation of innovative digital solutions. Additionally, we provide managed services and technology services to fill any skill gaps and keep your business innovative and flexible.