Challenges and Opportunities in Cloud Hosting

ABSTRACT

The goal of the paper is to identify key challenges and the most promising opportunities for small to medium sized server hosting providers in an era of rapid commoditization driven by AWS.

The rapid adoption of cloud infrastructure has brought about a revolution in the way companies manage their IT. Everything from how they access third party applications to how they develop their own internal software is rapidly changing. More and more applications and internal workloads are moving from internal data centers to third party public and private cloud providers.

Every company is a “Tech Company”. Every company is forced to become a technology company in order to modernize their offerings to their customers, increase efficiency and survive. The amount of compute and datasets are ever increasing and the need for compute infrastructure continues to grow.

Applications and software continue to grow in complexity. The days of simple LAMP stacks and “monolithic” applications are gone. Applications now have workloads that require multiple types of databases, worker queues and storage types. “Name a technology we don’t use” is a common cry among CTOs.

Infrastructure utilization is crucial. The movement of workloads to cloud environments has been driven by the need for increased flexibility while lowering infrastructure costs. However, utilization still needs to be managed effectively. Now that every team within a company has the ability to spin up servers, the ability to manage utilization is difficult. The average CPU utilization on AWS has been less than 10%, historically.

Cloud ops is harder than ever. Microservice architectures, containers and dynamic scheduling are seen as the answer to more efficiently “binpack” applications onto servers in order to increase utilization. However, this creates new challenges for operations. The difficulty of running these complex systems in the cloud is compounded by a lack of ops talent, which is not traditionally taught in schools.

Kubernetes may give legacy hosting companies a chance to “leapfrog to mobile”.

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