Cloud Opens the Door to a New Distributed Computing Paradigm



Distributed cloud

It’s not just the fashion industry where what’s old can suddenly be new. With increasing demand for real-time data and analytics workloads running at the edge, the pendulum is shifting back to a distributed computing model, this time reimagined for a hybrid, multicloud landscape.

The ability to capture edge data in near real time and catalyze it into immediate business action is revitalizing enterprise interest in allocating compute capacity closer to where work and digital interactions need to happen. Nearly 75% of enterprise-generated data is expected to be created and processed outside of the traditional data center or cloud by 2025, according to Gartner.

The number of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices and endpoints is exploding as cameras, industrial equipment, point-of-sale systems, and medical devices produce an enormous amount of data that can be used to improve products, service offerings, and customer experience. Consider manufacturers that parlay edge data collected on the factory floor into insights that prevent machine failures or costly safety or hazard incidents. Cities can leverage data analytics capabilities powered by on-the-ground local edge resources to improve traffic flows or track flooding during natural disasters for better emergency response planning.

In addition, a distributed cloud model can drive new revenue engines by delivering compute resources locally to faciliatate the implementation of new and innovative smart technologies. Retail stores can now offer augmented-reality-enabled smart fitting rooms; grocery stores can deploy intelligent digital signage to update promotions more effectively; clinics can power translation terminals to better serve patients; and banks can update their branches with smart-branch technologies such as interactive teller machines, videoconferencing, and self-service kiosks. These operational and innovation use cases are why John McArthur, senior director analyst at Gartner, states, “It’s imperative that enterprises prioritize a distributed cloud-based solution as the default and future-proof edge solutions.”

Although the concept of distributed computing isn’t exactly new, it has been reimagined and repowered for the new era of cloud computing. Most organizations leverage multiple public clouds to meet different compliance and performance needs while also maintaining edge locations and on-premises data centers. According to Flexera, 92% of enterprises have a multicloud strategy and 80% have a hybrid cloud strategy. Many were prevented from fully capitalizing on distributed compute capabilities due to network limitations and the lack of integration between multiple clouds and data management resources. There was little visibility across different silos, not to mention a high level of complexity for managing data and orchestrating workflows across distributed assets.

Introducing Next-Level Distributed Cloud

Enter distributed cloud architecture, which powers a disparate environment through single-pane-of-glass management, ensuring that federated resources can be seamlessly monitored and managed with cloud-native tooling, treating all locations as cloud regions. Operations, updates, governance, and security are easily facilitated across the multicloud environment. Organizations can create a purpose-built environment, tapping best-of-breed technologies for data management, analytics, and business intelligence as well as having flexibility and choice to enlist another public cloud provider that might have superior costing or availability for disaster recovery, backup, and business resilience services.

“Organizations gain the benefits of a multicloud operating model without its complexity,” says Kevin Powell, Global Executive of Product Management and Strategy at Kyndryl. “The distributed cloud model offers customers superior flexibility by expanding their choice of technologies, vendors, and deloyment types.”

To prepare for distributed cloud, experts advise IT leaders to take the following steps:

  • Develop a strategic plan. Customers should tap professional consulting services to ensure that they proactively create an environment designed for best-in-class performance and costing.
  • Perform a formal assessment. With the help of a qualified professional services team, the technology leadership team should go through a formal review and assessment of their IT landscape to ensure that the right pillars — both technology and organizational — are in place. This process helps identify and fill in potential gaps such as establishing a cloud center of excellence, fielding teams with the required skills and knowledge of cloud security best practices, and formalizing a viable business plan.
  • Create a proof of concept. Always start small, with targeted initiatives and business use cases. Build, test, and fine-tune before scaling the solution into production.

Kevin Powell is Global Executive of Product Management and Strategy at Kyndryl. For more on how Kyndryl can help on the distributed cloud journey, submit an online request.