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The future of Cloud

I think we’ve become a little blind-sided by terminology lately.  Talk about adopting a Cloud strategy - and it conjures up a vision of a ‘Cloud platform’ somehow managing all of your data and infrastructure. 

In reality, the cloud simply provides additional capacity to run workloads and give elastic-level scale to your capacity. Management is something else though, and it seems that the teams at Microsoft are starting to recognise this too, if the announcements at Ignite 19 were anything to go by. 

We covered Azure Arc last week and what this new solution will mean for resellers, but what else do you need to know and where is the cloud heading as we move towards 2020? 

4 YEARS OUT

If we look at the market just 4 years ago, customers were clamouring to get into the cloud.  But the need for flexible, large-scale computing and data storage, often outweighed the need for these systems to be connected together.  Vendor teams drove some great products, but focused on functionality; rather than getting them to integrate with other parts of the overall solution – not so much vendor lock-in, but a market stalling roadmap issue that saw customers left having to use internal resources to try and connect the dots. 

THE SAME, BUT BETTER

The news from Ignite 19 was that customer feedback has driven the vendor to improve on the way their products talk together.  At a desktop level we’ve seen SCCM and Intune being more communicative, but we can also see improvements in other areas of the Microsoft stack.  

Azure Synapse Analytics is one of those examples. Synapse works by pulling together insights from all data sources, data warehouses and big data analytics systems. So, customers with lots of diverse data can quickly gain business insights, without having to copy terabytes of information across various systems – as has traditionally been the case.

Another one on the horizon is Project Cortex.  Think about it as a knowledge network with a tagged search of all relevant data to a project, within Office 365.  Allowing customers to get more value from the growing volumes of data being stored and driving the next phase of cloud adoption, as companies find it more viable to use data at scale. 

HOW IT WORKS

Microsoft tell us that 'Project Cortex applies AI to automatically organise your content, and delivers innovative experiences -topic cards, topic pages, knowledge centres- in Office, Outlook and Microsoft Teams.'For those interested in the use case, check out this video. Cortex is scheduled for release in the first half of 2020, but you can sign up for the private preview in advance on the Microsoft site

WHERE ARE WE HEADING

It’s an exciting time for resellers to align their cloud business with the key vendors in the market. Customers will probably continue to want a choice of cloud providers and we need to be prepared to deliver on that demand.  

However, it’s time to make a clear distinction between running workloads in those clouds, and how we intend to manage them.  With Arc, Synapse and Cortex, Microsoft are focused on tools to own the management layer of your strategy.  As the level of customer choice and value becomes overwhelming, we see a future driven by cloud management, through a service-driven engagement model. 

Is your business ready to deliver this? Talk to the team at Marathon for input and advice on aligning your strategy for 2020, and beyond.  Call the team on 020 8329 1000 or email sales@marathon-ps.comto book a meeting or call.  

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Marathon Professional Services is your trusted IT solutions partner. We offer a range of services including Desktop Infrastructure Solutions and Virtualisation, and we act on a white-labelled basis as an extension of your business.