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Why are tech giants moving into the cloud?

Oct 10, 2017

It would seem like an unusual choice for a giant to move into a cloud...

The enormous brute from Jack and the Beanstalk surely would have been oddly placed in something as insubstantial and turbulent as a cloud. But the cloud in that story was sturdy enough to hold an entire stone castle, and probably serves as a better illustration of digital cloud services than the regular, run-of-the-mill clouds of reality. Tech specialists are right to be wary of being sold the latest round of mythical magic beans, fad new concepts that don’t last for the long haul, but cloud computing is definitely the real deal.

These days it’s impossible to talk about major innovations in the tech sector without, at some point, coming across the subject of cloud-based data hosting services; but the name ‘cloud’ may be something of a misnomer. Taken literally, a cloud is the opposite of the kind of place you might want to keep data. In reality, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the cloud is increasingly the most secure, most reliable and simplest option for managing a business. One of the largest barrier to uptake, in many cases, is simply a healthy hesitancy to adopt new technology that may prove destined for the same fate as other ill-fated technology that came before it. Nobody wants to bet on a losing horse. A great example of this is in the developers and business that invested in the failed video formats like BetaMax or HDDVD – which were pushed out of the marketplace by VHS and BluRay respectively, for reasons largely beyond their major proponents’ control.

And yet those now antiquated video distribution formats, VHS and BluRay, that once elbowed out their alternatives, were still themselves locked to their place in time and part of a chain of obsolescence that has effectively come to its end. It seemed natural that people would want better quality than VHS, so DVD replaced it, BluRay replaced DVD and now the entire model of physical distribution has been replaced by cloud-based distribution in the form of video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. The cloud didn’t replace the players, it replaced the entire game. Now the competition for video distribution takes place in a cloud-based arena. New companies have moved into the video distribution space to challenge the marketplace position of Netflix, while at the same time software developers have also been working on developing better video streaming technology, not to replace cloud-based services, but to enhance them.

It’s here that the clouds malleability and openness is part of its strength. It’s not a monolithic static product, emerging in the same space as other similar technology offerings and living or dying on its ability to compete. Rather, it’s a concept being adopted and developed by some of the biggest companies in the world. The reliability and simplicity of cloud hosted systems has proven highly alluring to companies wanting to create more flexible and agile software offerings.

In New Zealand, many of our leading software start-ups are being built, from the ground-up, as cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. Major NZ software companies like Xero and their smaller counterparts, like Timely and Vend, have been taking the business sector by storm simply by creating cloud-based software platforms that are intuitive enough for people to pick up mostly on their own. Far from a fad, the cloud is the logical choice for any technology company keeping an eye on the future. It’s no coincidence that many of the world’s largest and most well-known technology companies–including AmazonGoogleMicrosoft, and IBM–have also stepped into the cloud development sphere through the creation of their own cloud hosting services.

A recent survey conducted by CommVault suggested that “81% of IT leaders were either extremely concerned or very concerned about missing out on cloud advancements”. It should be no surprise then that, in the 2016 HIMSS Analytics Cloud Survey, 84% of the 50 healthcare IT executives surveyed now use cloud-based systems in some capacity. There’s an urgency to stay current, not to go the way of the VHS, and staying on top of the cloud is essential to ensuring access to the fastest developing digital landscape the world has ever seen.

Rhapsody's cloud-hosted offering, Rhapsody as a Service, leverages the power of cloud computing to ensure that users are ready for the exponential growth of big data.

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