Options in the cloud are overwhelming. I’m not just talking about your standard on-premises, off-premises or hybrid cloud options. I’m talking about once you get to the cloud and start to look at all the existing and upcoming services that cloud vendors provide for your consideration.
I mean, it’s the cloud. It was created to be customizable, scalable and flexible. But with that flexibility comes a level of complexity that can be hard to understand and prioritize.
You might be tempted to look at the many services offered by cloud providers – data storage, APIs, governance and more – and to see them all as critically important. But they’re not. In the cloud, not all services are equal.
Cloud providers offer services to optimize and ensure a frictionless experience in the cloud, but there’s also a downside: These services vary across cloud providers. For example, BigQuery optimization is great for Google but has no value for Amazon or Microsoft. Similarly, RedShift integration doesn’t add value to Google or Microsoft. Some call this lock-in. We prefer to think of it as optimizing your partnerships in the cloud.
Where does the cloud fit in the new analytics ecosystem?
Adopting a cloud-first strategy means taking a fresh look at how you provide data and analytics services throughout your organization. It means you can reduce reliance on on-premises data centers and the associated maintenance costs. It also means that you can use cloud resources as you need them, scaling up and down as business cycles change.
A trusted partner in the cloud
How can you start to understand your options in the cloud, know what you really need and identify what you can put off until later? Start by asking your software vendors. After all, many of us are partnering with cloud providers, and we have insights into what their priorities are and how our products will work with different services.
Part of our job as software vendors is to understand what’s changing in the cloud and why, which gives us an opportunity to share what we learn with our joint customers. You should take advantage of that. Especially if you’re working with multiple cloud vendors and need to understand how they work together, you’ll find it beneficial to have a partner in that endeavor.
For example, Google and Amazon both use the S3 API for storage, but the standards between the two vendors are different. Even though the API has the same name, the way the cloud provider stores and accesses data may be different. Unless you’re partnered with someone else who works with both vendors, it would be easy to overlook that.
Software providers can be an honest broker between the cloud providers on the kinds of technology we need to see them adopt and prioritize for all of our customers. So if there’s a feature that multiple customers want, we can advocate for you.
As we partner more and more with all the major cloud providers, we can share road maps and strategy for upcoming releases and help you prioritize critical integration points. What we learn from this process can also help you achieve strategic alignment with your cloud providers.
For example, a customer was interested in an authorization service from one of the cloud providers, but we had inside information that the service would retire soon and be replaced. We were able to help create a more long-term plan for what the customer wanted to accomplish.
If your software vendors aren’t supporting a particular API or integration point in the cloud, often there’s a reason. If you ask, we can explain what we know about that feature and can usually offer a better alternative.
As we partner more and more with all the major cloud providers, we can share road maps and strategy for upcoming releases and help you prioritize critical integration points. Tom Fisher Senior Vice President of Business Development SAS
Where are your opportunities in the cloud?
What’s interesting to me, as an independent observer, is that I see a lot of innovation coming out of Google since they don’t have legacy services in the cloud. Amazon, who has been in the cloud market longer, has more than 2,300 cloud services today. Google probably has a third of those. Because Google isn’t maintaining as many legacy services, it can innovate faster on future ideas. Microsoft has the most significant growth in the market, and we’re experiencing its focus on broader cloud provider services.
But what services are you interested in? And why? Maybe you just need S3 storage as an API. Or maybe you’re interested in hot, cold or medium storage mechanisms. Or do you require all of your data in the cloud to reside with the models that run the data? Do you have applications running on Amazon and Microsoft Azure? Do you want Hadoop to comingle that data? Maybe you have to pull data out of Amazon and merge that with Microsoft data so your models have a single view of the data.
We’ve worked with customers on these – and many other – cloud strategies. Because we’re working with the cloud vendors to build our software for the cloud, we’re able to have conversations with them on your behalf. And sometimes, because we’ve invested in integration with cloud providers, we’re able to get the latest and greatest innovations.
It’s an exciting role for us to play in the cloud, and we’re eager to move there with you. So don’t be afraid to ask our advice – we might all learn something together.
About the Author
Tom Fisher supports business development activities at SAS, helping the company manage an active set of alliance partners. Previously, he was the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at MapR Technologies, focusing on customer engagements and the company’s overall product strategy. Fisher joined MapR from Oracle where he was a Senior Executive in Engineering and Operations. Previously, he was Oracle’s Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Global Commercial Cloud Services for over five years. Prior to joining Oracle, Fisher served as CIO and Vice President of Cloud Computing at SuccessFactors, now SAP, responsible for global cloud operations and emerging product engineering.
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