The Development of Cloud Technology and its Future Use
by By Ray Bricknell, Head of Technical Services at Capital Support
Friday, July 06, 2012
Cloud Technology can be argued to be the merger and rebranding of a number of predecessor concepts enabled by technological developments in the IT industry. These include:-Outsourcing, Managed Services Provision, ASP, Virtualisation, Centralisation, DC Co-location, Standardisation, ITIL and Best Practice, Web Technologies, Server Based Computing, Fibre Optics, IAAS and SAAS to name but a few.
The concept of Cloud Computing embodies all of these contributing commercial and technical models, but it also goes a little further - primarily because it focuses on the interoperability and remote delivery of IT systems which are owned and operated by different parties, located in different geographies, and provided on different commercial bases.
Capital Support is the dominant provider of Cloud Computing services in the London hedge fund and private equity niche. More than just being a Cloud infrastructure provider, our focus on and high level of affinity with this sector gives us cause to consider “What will the next developments in Cloud mean to us, to our service offerings and to our clients?”
The arguments in favour of a move to the Cloud for both new entries and seasoned fund managers have already been espoused– and the momentum in this discussion between CTO and CEO has changed over the past few years from “Why should we move to the Cloud?” to “Why haven’t we moved to the Cloud?”
The Opex v. Capex cost model, scalability and flexibility, service availability, business continuity, risk mitigation, data protection and overall IT service quality benefits have been widely discussed.
An ever increasing level of focus on the IT implications of regulatory compliance and investor due diligence has already driven our focus to be providing enterprise quality IT on a personalised basis. Cloud Computing is already the predominant force for architectural change operating in this space and these drivers will continue to have (as they have for several years already) an increasing impact on business strategy, process improvement and product development by cloud providers for some time.
But, where does “The Cloud” go from here?
Well, for the customers of niche cloud providers the cloud is going to become more customised and “value added”. While some cloud providers will continue to focus on offering robust but generic infrastructure services to a diverse client base, others (like Capital Support) will embrace the affinity with their niche client base and focus on providing better and more specialised solutions for them. Their focus will be on converting the knowledge gleaned from servicing the specific demands from clients to bridge the gap and provide added value to a specialised client base.
Looking ahead, service providers are now investing in developing their Cloud and related support services to provide better understanding and support for their client’s specific needs. This involves integrating their private Cloud offerings with other providers’ public and private Cloud environments, and engineering “Hybrid Cloud” solutions to enable clients to blend their various service acquisition models. These firms are also consolidating to provide higher value solutions with specialist software, infrastructure and market data vendors like Tradar, Advent Geneva, Sophis, Framework, Bloomberg and Digiterre for the hedge fund and private equity industries.