What is Distributed Cloud? SCC’s Definitive Guide

What is Distributed Cloud?

  Never before has the on-demand availability of your data and applications to your workforce been so critically important. According to SysGroup, this is the number one reason that companies migrate to the cloud. With the move towards more remote working from 2021 and beyond, the cloud has become an even more integral part of business. Cloud computing is key to enabling availability, and enterprises all over the world are adopting a cloud-first strategy. IDG’s 2020 Cloud Computing Survey has found that the proportion of companies operating fully or mainly in the cloud will have jumped from 38% to 59% in just 18 months. Despite this significant shift, existing cloud solutions may not encompass the scope or flexibility needed to support seamless day-to-day operations in this new world of work. This is where distributed cloud can make a real difference.  

Distributed Cloud: the basics

In a nutshell, distributed cloud takes all the benefits of a public cloud computing solution and takes it to the next level. It does this by providing the ability to run a public cloud infrastructure in a variety of locations: on-premise, on the servers of your cloud provider, on the servers of other cloud providers, in co-location centres and even at the edge of your network. At a more practical level, it means that the usual centralised cloud network is extended across a variety of smaller cloud environments, which are all interconnected. This means that specific applications and data can be hosted closer geographically, to where it’s most needed. In turn, this reduces latency for the most common use cases, while still being fully accessible across the cloud network. All of this is managed through a single control plane, meaning that however many locations are connected, the whole distributed cloud infrastructure can be managed in the same way as a ‘normal’ public cloud. It also means that security, updates, management and governance of the cloud remains centralised and can still be overseen by a single cloud provider.  

What are the advantages of Distributed Cloud?

As with all good cloud computing solutions, the benefits of distributed cloud can quickly spread far and wide into all areas of your business:

  • Centralised control: with everything managed from a single control plane, it’s relatively straightforward to run applications where they’re needed, when they’re needed, with excellent line of sight and easily controlled management, network-wide.
  • Cost-effective agility: with a variety of locations at your disposal, scaling up simply needs an expansion to edge or infrastructure locations that are already there, and needs no physical buildout. This makes the scaling process much quicker, cheaper, and easier to implement as it can be done with existing IT personnel and tools.
  • More thorough compliance: having different options as to where data resides makes it much easier to stay compliant with certain data protection regulations. For example, if sensitive customer information has to remain within that customer’s country, the data can reside and be processed within that country, but remain accessible to the wider network.
  • Faster data access: the reduced latency that comes with hosting data geographically closer to the users that need it most can make a major difference to user experience. This is especially the case for delivering data that will place a greater strain on the network, such as streaming video content or video conferencing – with demand for the latter growing exponentially since the pandemic began.
  • Wider scope for innovation: for some use cases, low latency is more than just an advantage – it’s a necessity. Innovations driven by AI or the Internet of Things (IoT), such as automated machines or smart building technology, need their data close by, so that their real-time operations can be supported.

When combined these benefits will deliver major improvements in performance due to the removal of latency issues. At the same time, distributed cloud will mitigate the risk of global network-related outages and inefficiencies in how different cloud instances are administered. Distributed cloud represents the next generation of cloud computing, building on edge computing and multi-cloud.  

Adoption of Distributed Cloud

Organisations are flocking to distributed cloud in search of a cloud computing solution fit for the fast-evolving demands of the post-pandemic world. This explains why, according to Industry Arc, the global market for distributed cloud is expected to reach $3.9billion by 2025. As a result, businesses who don’t embrace the potential of distributed cloud may quickly find themselves at a disadvantage compared to their competitors. Distributed cloud is a golden opportunity to significantly enhance your cloud computing functionality, and now is the time to pursue it. Learn more about how distributed cloud can benefit your business, and explore how SCC can help you reach your distributed cloud goals, here.

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