Distributed Cloud

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What is Distributed Cloud Computing?

Location has never been relevant to cloud computing — that’s how it came to be known as cloud computing. However, with distributed cloud, location becomes an essential attribute of the service.

Distributed cloud allows you to run a public cloud infrastructure in multiple, different locations. So, you can not only take advantage of your cloud provider’s infrastructure but also access cloud infrastructure on-prem, in other cloud providers’ data centers, or in third-party data centers. In addition, you can manage these elements from one control panel.

Most importantly, it lays the foundation for edge computing, allowing you to run servers and applications closer to where data originates. That said, don’t confuse distributed cloud with edge computing. Although all instances of distributed cloud present an example of edge computing, not all cases of edge computing represent distributed cloud.

By creating a centrally managed distribution of public cloud services, your business no longer suffers from the operational and management consistencies associated with a hybrid or multi-cloud environment. As a result, you can deploy and run applications in a mix of cloud locations that best meet your performance as well as regulatory compliance demands.

The driving force behind distributed cloud computing tackles the real-time, data-hungry processing requirements relating to the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), telecommunications, and more.

Source: Stefanini Group

What’s the Difference Between Cloud and Distributed Cloud?

Traditional cloud computing delivers IT resources and services on-demand, including servers, storage, and databases. A cloud provider offers these services over the public internet or private network connection. Cloud services fall into four categories:

  1. Public Cloud
  2. Private Cloud
  3. Hybrid Cloud
  4. Multi-Cloud

Distributed cloud computing, on the other hand, eliminates public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud categories. Instead, it presents the user organization as a single cloud platform comprising multiple components potentially incorporating each cloud category mentioned.  These varied elements are managed as one by the primary cloud provider and consumed as one by the user.

How Distributed Cloud Works

In a nutshell, it extends your provider’s centralized cloud with satellite cloud instances or substations to use Gartner’s terminology, distributed geographically. As a result, you get the benefit of deploying the cloud wherever you need it most. So, cloud computing takes place on-premises in your data center or off-prem with one or more public cloud data centers. These centers may or may not belong to your provider.

The upside is that you access and manage everything from a single panel – both your centralized cloud service and all satellite locations. Equally important, with operations residing closer to where they’re needed, your performance improves substantially by eliminating latency issues.

By 2024, most cloud service platforms will provide at least some distributed cloud services that will execute at the point of need.


Challenges Associated with Distributed Cloud Services

We’ve yet to hit a perfect world where distributed cloud is concerned. However, it will likely migrate in phases to make locations more transparent. Current challenges include:

  • The number of public cloud capabilities available on the distributed cloud substation
  • Moving additional computing to the edge stresses existing broadband connections requiring upgrades to meet demand
  • The requirement for custom solutions relating to substations
  • Revenue models for sharing substations across multiple companies
  • Requirements for 24/7 connectivity versus variable connectivity
  • Deployment costs relating to distributed cloud satellites versus a single system
  • Increase maintenance and security demands along with data replication across multiple locations
  • Redesigning business continuity and backup plans to retain data in specific geographies

Despite these challenges, today’s major cloud providers (CSPs) like AWS, Google’s Anthos, and Microsoft’s Azure Stack, offer extensions of their cloud services that sit at your edge. These services synchronize the cloud with on-prem deployments. They enable synchronization via APIs, standard workload deployment processes, and centralized management tools.

How Will It Benefit Your Business?

As mentioned, distributed cloud reduces latency. It also retains the cloud’s technical, financial, and operational benefits while enabling improved performance, redundancy, security, and regulatory. Specifically, you’ll capture these advantages:

  1. Improved compliance with regulatory requirements for data to be housed in a specific location, for example, the EU’s GDPR
  2. Reduced risk of network failure as your cloud services reside in local substations
  3. Expansion of your compute zones owing to the availability and number of locations hosting and consuming cloud services
  4. Greater visibility and management over hybrid, multi-cloud environments due to the single console
  5. Better cost controls and scalability by eliminating costly physical buildouts required for a dedicated data center or new data center locations in different geographies
  6. Faster content delivery through the deployment of a content delivery network (CDN) on a substation
  7. Greater access to real-time associated with IoT, AI, and machine learning
  8. Repetition and dependability through geo-replication of system
  9. Immediate failovers via remote replicas that instantly reset in the event of failure
  10. Reduction in wide-area traffic

Imagine being able to retain information within an explicit region. Or determine specific performance requirements for latency and throughput. Distributed cloud brings these capabilities to life.

The Next Evolution in Cloud Computing

Distributed cloud ushers in a new era for cloud computing. You get the on-demand scaling associated with cloud computing and storage coupled with location-specific services for improved performance. Moreover, it promises to fix what the hybrid cloud breaks.

If you’re looking to expand your cloud services, get in touch. We can show you how to deploy the cloud effectively to increase your operational efficiencies. In addition, we offer an array of IT services dedicated to small and medium-sized businesses throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.

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