Getting to the bottom of cloud

Loose definitions unhelpful to buyers of cloud services

Legacy application providers occasionally ride on a broad definition of cloud, so they can answer ‘yes’ when questioned about their capabilities, when in fact their applications haven’t been architected for that style of delivery.

Answering in the affirmative to the question ‘cloud’ shouldn’t end the conversation for potential consumers of cloud services, because there are vast and important differences when comparing cloud-native software with application delivery formats deemed as cloud – such as ‘cloud’ hosted applications and software available from a so-called cloud-ready platform.

Legacy software vendors often adopt shades of cloud computing to make their applications more scalable and available. However, their offerings come up short when compared to applications native to the cloud.

Cloud-native applications, such as Virsae Service Management, are conceived from the ground-up to specifically leverage the cloud. They typically embrace DevOps and Agile methodology to drive application development and a continuous flow of incremental improvements to customers and end-users. That time you last logged in to an application and were struck by a new feature or improved function – that’s the work of DevOps.

The secret sauce is the loose coupling of supporting services, known as microservices – a group of related but independent functions that simplify application development. This containerized approach ensures subcomponents of software applications are developed separately and optimized independently, providing the opportunity to rapidly incorporate user feedback for continuous improvement, new developments, and upgrades at the speed customers and end-users consume their services.

Each function is an integrated element of a single software application but can be independently improved and managed to its own timeline, paving the way for continuous uninterrupted service enhancements.

Like many legacy vendors operating in the wider IT market, the established old guard of unified communications and contact center management players is eager to make their enterprise applications available from the cloud. But leveraging the true potential of cloud to deliver customers an experience that is continuously modernized, truly scalable, and free of interference from upgrades and patching, requires a foundation based on cloud-native architecture.

Cloud Litmus Test

Ask the following questions to test vendor claims about cloud:

  • Can I consume services ‘as-I-go’, with no fixed-term strings attached?
  • Will my services be continuously improved?
  • Will I receive regular release notes to ensure I get the best from service improvements?
  • Can I consume improvements without upgrades or patches on my end?
  • Can I provide feedback and suggested improvements quickly and easily?
  • Will my suggested improvements be treated seriously and make it into production in the near future?
  • Can I use anonymized global data to benchmark my organization against others?

Quite simply, unless the vendor answers a resounding ‘yes’ to these questions, you’re not going to get the full benefits of cloud.

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