• United States
Eric Knorr
Contributing writer

The cloud comes down to earth

Jan 10, 20222 mins
Cloud ArchitectureCloud ComputingCloud Management

An ever-expanding universe of cloud platforms, services, and applications have become fundamental to business and IT operations.

spot nww primary main hybridcloud 2400x1600 1
Credit: Metamorworks / Shutterstock

The cloud is no longer some distant, separate place. Yes, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google maintain unimaginably vast expanses of servers in cloud data centers around the world – as do thousands of SaaS providers. But those clouds and the services they deliver have become so entwined with customers’ on-prem operations, they’re now vital components of almost every enterprise IT estate.

This intermingling takes many forms. For starters, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google now enable you to snap off a piece of their platforms in the form of racks of managed servers that live in your data center, preloaded with the same software that powers public clouds. Some of these on-prem cloud outposts can offer access to the gamut of services hosted by the cloud mothership.

The enterprise data center is also veering toward the virtualized, containerized, ultra-scalable cloud model. For example, Dell, HPE, and Lenovo now offer on-prem clouds in the form of cloud infrastructure software running on pay-per-use hardware, overprovisioned to give you the headroom to increase capacity on the fly.

Meanwhile, the big three cloud players are starting to tackle edge computing, offering mini-cloud solutions that quash cloud latency by delivering compute power and services physically close to far-flung transportation hubs, medical facilities, manufacturing plants, and so on.

“Hybrid cloud” is the umbrella term for the endless combinations of on-prem and public clouds. In this Tech Spotlight, we dig into the complexities of hybrid cloud computing, with an emphasis on solving the challenges that arise from managing these intricate matrices of services and infrastructure. Along the way, we highlight “irresistible” cloud services that make the big public clouds so attractive in the first place.

The cloud has become the modern model of computing – agile, scalable, rife with API-accessible services that can be strung together into powerful, purpose-built applications. It’s not in the sky anymore. It’s at the foundation. 

Eric Knorr
Contributing writer

Eric Knorr is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist. Previously he was the Editor in Chief of Foundry’s enterprise websites: CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, and Network World. A technology journalist since the start of the PC era, he has developed content to serve the needs of IT professionals since the turn of the 21st century. He is the former Editor of PC World magazine, the creator of the best-selling The PC Bible, a founding editor of CNET, and the author of hundreds of articles to inform and support IT leaders and those who build, evaluate, and sustain technology for business. Eric has received Neal, ASBPE, and Computer Press Awards for journalistic excellence. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a BA in English.

More from this author