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Rise of the industry-specific cloud
Kathy Gibson reports from Huawei Cloud Congress in Shanghai – As cloud computing becomes more pervasive, industry-specific clouds will start up that cater to the specific needs of vertical markets.
In fact, the industry cloud market is set to accelerate in the next years, and could become a $1-trillion market in the not to distant future, says Lida Yan, president of the enterprise group at Huawei Technologies.
“In the last 10 years the internet has fundamentally reshaped the business landscape, particularly in the services market,” Yan says. “But I think the real revolution has yet to come, and we will see it in the next 10 years.”
Recently, three of the world’s major economies – US, Germany and China – released their national strategies, all of them focusing around the future of industry.
“The core concept of them all is that ICT will drive core upgrades in the new industrial revolution,” says Yan. “Data will become one production factor; and the most important asset for a company.”
Behind this new industrial revolution there are three major drivers, he says.
They are the internet of Things (IoT) which will enable massive connections and massive data collection; cloud technology, which turns that data in resources; and big data, which generates value from all those resources.
“This is a new industrial revolution driven by digital transformation,” Yan says. “IT in the future will no longer be a support or office system, but part of the production system, and part of the business process. In other words, the enterprise is IT.
“In the future more companies will no longer invest in their own data centres, but rent data centre facilities or IaaS or Saas,” he adds. “We are also seeing another trends; when some big companies have redundant IT resources they provide these to other companies, so IT is about a sharing economy.”
Underlining all of these trends is cloud infrastructure, the foundation that allows digital transformation, Yan says.
Public cloud has been growing rapidly and offers some obvious advantages, he adds. These include fast deployment, agility and lower cost.
However, it also have some limitations in that it offers standard services that battle to cater with the differences in industry verticals.
“Another element to look at is the security,” Yan says. “A lot of companies are still concerned about public cloud security, so we see companies trying to establish private clouds.”
Industry-specific clouds are going to become more popular, Yan believes, whether they are set up by companies that rent out redundant resources; or third party suppliers setting up clouds for a specific market vertical.
The benefits of the clouds are numerous: they are in a good position to accommodate the specific needs of that industry; they let all companies realise the benefits of an Internet-based business; it allows companies to connect silos to enable data sharing and connection and thus improve efficiency and ease communication; when members of the same industries come together, they could aggregate upstream companies which can drive synergies and collaboration across the value chain; and newer companies can leverage the industry cloud to achieve late mover advantage.
The architecture of the industry cloud includes software as a service (SaaS) that is able to satisfy industry specific needs. It includes platform as a service (PaaS) that is also industry-specific, and an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) layer that is also not as standardised as other cloud services.
To succeed with an industry cloud, Yan says, a solid and robust platform is needed that can leverage resources at the IaaS layer.
Application developers need to have deep industry expertise, he adds. Meanwhile, the layered architecture must ensure seamless integration of products and solutions across technology layers; and on-demand filed services are crucial.
Industry best practice will ensure the industry cloud offers a rapidly-adaptable application platform, on-demand onsite services and seamless integration of products and solutions.
Huawei wishes to provide effective industry clouds, says Yan, and holds an open attitude to collaboration to provide solutions to customers.