Understanding the Gartner Technology Trend: Distributed Cloud and Top 7 Advantages

February 25, 2021 by Stefanini

The distributed cloud is one of Gartner’s strategic technology trends for 2021 – and for good reason. Learn more about the advantages of distributed cloud!

The cloud continues to evolve. And with the distributed cloud, enterprises will be able to reach customers in dispersed environments and those looking for location-specific services with reduced latency. There is a reason that more and more cloud-focused conversations are starting to revolve around the distributed cloud – by incorporating physical location into its definition, the distributed cloud has the ability to execute a unified cloud strategy that meets customized service requirements of individual locations.

How might the distributed cloud make its way into your cloud strategy? Keep reading to learn more about this strategic technology trend!

Hybrid Cloud vs. Distributed Cloud

One of Gartner’s Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021, the distributed cloud is widely being hailed as the next generation of cloud computing. Prior to the growth of the distributed cloud, many organizations hesitant to completely migrate to a public cloud model began to rely on the hybrid cloud. According to Gartner, over the past three years, Gartner client requests to discuss hybrid cloud have grown 15 percent.

Yet, while the hybrid cloud is beneficial to users who don’t want the responsibility of running hardware and software infrastructure on a private cloud, it also keeps the customer from fully leveraging their cloud provider’s capabilities, including skills, innovation pace, investments, and techniques.

Distributed cloud, on the other hand, retains the advantages of cloud computing while increasing the range and use cases for the cloud. With distributed cloud models, CIOs can target location-dependent cloud use cases that will be necessary in the future.

What is the Distributed Cloud?

What is the Distributed Cloud? Understanding one of Gartner’s strategic technology trends for 2021

We’ve previously written about the distributed cloud as one of 2021’s tech trends. To recap, distributed cloud services are defined by the fact that they are distributed to different physical locations. This description is especially intriguing because historically, location has not been relevant to definitions of cloud computing. In fact, the service we now know as “the cloud” was actually given that name to specifically not reference location.

The distributed cloud comes from the public cloud, hybrid cloud, and edge computing. However, the distributed cloud’s operation, governance, and evolution are the public cloud provider’s responsibility. Bringing these services physically closer to organizations helps with low-latency scenarios (such as expediting the speed at which big data travels to a central cloud data center and back for certain applications), reduces data costs, and helps satisfy laws that dictate data must remain in a specific geographical area. With the distributed cloud, organizations still benefit from public cloud services and don’t need to manage their own private cloud.

Is the distributed cloud a case of edge computing? According to Garter, yes and no. While all cases of distributed cloud are also cases of edge computing, all instances of edge computing are not distributed cloud. The reason behind this discrepancy is due to the fact that many uses of edge involve a public cloud provider that manages the evolution and ongoing control of the resulting environment.

Advantages of Distributed Cloud Computing

When operations are physically closer to those who need their capabilities, low-latency compute is enabled. This capability ensures a consistent control plane that allows users to administer the cloud architecture from public to private cloud and extend it consistently across both environments, which improves performance while reducing the risk of global network-related outages or control plane inefficiencies.

Advantages of Distributed Cloud Computing

Gartner notes that the distributed cloud will evolve in two phases: the first phase consists of a like-for-like hybrid, where customers will buy cloud “substations” (i.e., places where people gather to use services, such as a branch post office) to imitate the advantages of hybrid cloud while avoiding latency-based problems.

The second phase (also called “next-gen cloud”) will consist of utilities, universities, city governments and telcos buying these cloud substations and opening them for use by geographically close neighbors. Next-gen cloud will function based on the assumption that, much like Wi-Fi hot spots, cloud substations can be found everywhere.

While we’re still early in the stages of distributed cloud adoption, it is clear that this form of cloud computing offers users a multitude advantages. Some noteworthy benefits include:

1.      Increased compliance: thanks to the distributed cloud’s location-specific model, it ensures that distributed clouds follow regulatory requirements that data must be in a specific customer location.

2.      Reduced network failure risk: cloud services can reside in local or semi-local subnets, allowing them to operate intermittently untethered. Therefore, a system crash on one server does not affect other servers.

3.      Scalability: In distributed computing systems, more machines can be added as needed, which naturally increases the number and availability of locations where cloud services can be hosted or from where they can be consumed (compute zones)

4.      Flexibility: It is much easier to install, implement, and debug new services.

5.      Fast calculation speed: A distributed computer system is faster than other systems because it can leverage the computing power of multiple computers. Further, the distributed cloud enables more responsive communications for specific regions.

6.      Openness: the distributed cloud can be accessed both locally and remotely.

7.      High performance: Unlike centralized computer network clusters, the distributed cloud can provide higher performance and better cost performance.

The Difference Between Distributed and Cloud Computing

The Difference Between Distributed Cloud and Cloud Computing

So, is your enterprise moving to distributed cloud computing or sticking with cloud computing? To help you choose, here are the main differences between the two:

  • Cloud Computing as we’ve previously noted, cloud computing refers to providing on-demand IT resources and services like server, storage, database, networking, analytics, and software over the internet to users and customers. It is typically classified into three different types: private, public, and hybrid cloud.
  • Distributed Cloud Computing – on the other hand, according to Geeks for Geeks, distributed cloud computing allows users to solve a problem over distributed autonomous computers that communicate over a network. This technique is highly efficient as it allows multiple computers to collaborate quickly and solve a single problem. It is classified into three different types: distributed computing systems, distributed information systems, and distributed pervasive systems.

Stefanini’s Cloud Services

When it comes to compute, storage, and networking, Stefanini is constantly working to make sure our cloud services are comprehensive, robust, and follow the latest in cloud innovations. Whether your enterprise is looking to migrate to a cloud platform or pilot new software, we can assist you and your business in cloud adoption and implementation.

Across Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS), we will work with your unique enterprise needs to balance data and applications accessibility with security concerns and address the growing need for agility to adapt to a connected world.

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