When Talking About Clouds, Does Size Matter?

Jonathan Seelig
Cloud ComputingEdge Computing
15 May 2022

Virtualization. Containerization. Orchestration. The way applications are built has undergone a dramatic transition in just a few short years. It’s now all about rapid assembly and integration, and DevOps engineers are leading the way.  

It goes without saying that the cloud has been the enabler of this progress and will continue to be the infrastructure on which businesses develop new and innovative applications. “There is no business strategy without a cloud strategy” said Gartner in a recent symposium: By 2025, over 85% of businesses will embrace a cloud-first approach and will not be able to fully execute on their digital strategies without the use of cloud-native architectures and technologies.   

As workloads are moving to the cloud, however, businesses are realizing that there is a clear need in the market for a flexible cloud that can be rapidly adapted to specific needs. No single cloud architecture offers consistently great application performance for all users. There are many reasons why it is improbable that all of the new applications being developed in the world are going to run from within a couple of dozen locations operated by a few hyper-scale cloud providers:

For some application owners, it’s about where the data resides. For others, it’s about governance and regulations. And for applications with strict response time requirements — such as mobile banking, smart automation, and robotic manufacturing — it’s the latency and throughput which cannot be effectively supported by a large public cloud if it is located many miles away.  

One Size Does Not Fit All

After over ten years in which cloud computing has been synonymous with large public clouds, businesses are discovering that one size does not fit all. Their computing environment may be a blend of server types: on-premises, bare-metal, co-located, and distributed across multiple continents. They need a cloud provider that offers flexibility to customize a cloud for their end users and their business needs.

To address this demand, a new type of cloud has emerged: the Unified Distributed Cloud (UDC), in which workloads can run in thousands of locations anywhere on Earth. The UDC has legacy data center and on-premises capacity as a foundation for modern cloud-native services, such as managed Kubernetes and object storage. 

Until now, such services were only available from the large public cloud providers. This is no longer true. On the Unified Distributed Cloud, developers can use modern APIs to programmatically enable business-critical applications to run on physical resources anywhere they need them to be. 

The Best of Two Worlds

Whether the need is proximity, maintenance of commercial preferences, or avoidance of data constraints, the UDC seamlessly integrates with existing infrastructure. It’s the best of two worlds: the agility and ease-of-use of the public cloud together with the high performance, high throughput, flexibility, and full data control of localized infrastructure.  

A UDC is designed to be interoperable with any private, hybrid, or multi-cloud architecture. As a result, enterprises can create an optimized cloud computing strategy, taking advantage of existing and available infrastructure in the location — or multiple locations — of their choosing.  And because it sits on existing infrastructure, it doesn’t require any additional capital expenditure.

As an alternative to the traditional cloud model, the UDC is changing the way people think about the public cloud.  While the large public cloud benefits from economies of scale, a UDC takes advantage of the economies of locality and distribution and thus has the flexibility to handle emerging location-dependent apps, such as the new wave of Internet of Things applications. 

Any business that wants to innovate and grow in the era of digital transformation requires the speed and agility that the cloud offers. The Unified Distributed Cloud’s flexibility helps them customize a cloud strategy that is right for them. 


Author:
Linkedin Jonathan Seelig, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman | Ridge
Co-founder of Akamai (NASDAQ: AKAM), the first-ever CDN. Former Managing Director at Globespan Capital Partners, Chairman of the board at Zipcar, and EIR at Polaris Partners. Board Member of over a dozen companies and investor in dozens more. Stanford undergrad and MIT Sloan dropout.