Blog post

Cloud in the Age of COVID-19

By David M. Smith | April 03, 2020 | 2 Comments

The coronavirus pandemic is having huge impacts on society and IT. One of the most significant impacts has been in driving remote work. While this has impacts on workplace, HR, real estate and other aspects, within IT, it has the immediate impact of requiring enablement of work at home scenarios en masse. Enter cloud to the rescue! But that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Cloud and disruptions

Cloud has long been a disruptive force, and having disrupted almost all IT-related markets, now serves as an underpinning of most current and future disruptions. These disruptions cause fundamental changes. Before cloud, the default for new applications was your data center – that default is now ‘cloud first’.

Now coronavirus is potentially the mother of all disruptions. What will the world look like when it is over? There will be much thinking and speculating on these topics. But we can start to ask questions like:

• What will be long term fundamental change vs. a temporary pattern? What will be the secondary effects?
• Will home working become the norm, or will there be a rush back to working more socially
• Will contracts and commitments change?
• Will there be vendor consolidations?
• Will there be a “run on the clouds” – and if it does happen, what will be the response? Market driven? Regulatory response?
• What about Distributed cloud – can enterprises sell capacity back to cloud (like solar power)?
• What changes stick, accelerate – What does the landscape look like afterwards?

Cloud as access method accelerating

We had already been observing that cloud demand has been driven by many things, including the ease of accessing cloud services vs. on premises capabilities. This is likely to continue and to drive even more demand for public cloud services. Those services range from Cloud Office (including collaboration and email) to raw infrastructure.

This trend began with ‘external facing’ applications but has clearly moved way beyond that.

Can public cloud handle the demand?

The increased demand is likely to put pressure on all infrastructure to handle the increased demand. The ability of public cloud providers to provide services to meet the demand will be tested. As the demand increases, the bottlenecks will be exposed. However, on premises bottlenecks (e.g., VPNs) will also be tested and will likely be even more challenged to meet the demand.

“The Internet will break” has long been a conventional fear that has simply has not transpired. Similar claims and concerns about cloud have long been touted as well. The cloud and the Internet have thus far handled the increased demand very well. While there are glitches (and always are), the main demand increase has likely already occurred. While there certainly can be more demand, the result is likely to be the same. Cloud will be more resilient and a better match for today and the times ahead.

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  • Franbourg says:

    Thank you David for this blog. A “other” question can be asked. Due to the Covid19, the national border are closed. How this reality could impact our leaders for the years coming in term of business and the IT system that need to support business? After Covid19, will it be business as usual, or not, and what will be the role of the cloud?

  • Thank you David and Alain for sharing your thoughts.
    On my side, I am also wondering about the future role of open source organizations in this disruption.

    Many of them are taking part on cloud native architectural patterns and may propose alternative government-neutral solutions that would make sense in a post-Covid19 world (with caveats on potential influence of governmental and / or commercial ones).