As public cloud providers compete for business and consolidate their market share, they’re now looking for new ways to diversify their solutions and cater to organizations that have yet to make the transition away from their legacy on-premises infrastructure. Throughout 2022, several new industry-focused cloud offerings have been announced, providing an early look at the next big trend in specialized cloud computing services.
What Are Industry Clouds?
An industry cloud is a specialized form of public cloud that is purpose-built for the unique requirements of a specific industry. This vertical-based focus allows them to address the specialized rules and regulations associated with a market sector like retail, insurance, healthcare, banking, finance, or manufacturing. Enterprises in the healthcare industry, for instance, face a different set of compliance and operational needs than a manufacturing business, especially with respects to the way it processes, stores, audits, and safeguards data.
In some respects, industry clouds are nothing new. Many smaller cloud providers attempted to reposition themselves as vertically-oriented industry clouds when it became clear they would not be able to compete with hyperscale players like AWS, Microsoft, and Google. But now the big three are introducing industry-oriented cloud services within the context of their broader public cloud offerings.
These solutions are particularly attractive to organizations that have been hesitant to migrate to the cloud because they offer prebuilt features and tools that align with their needs and operational requirements. Whereas transitioning to a traditional public cloud typically requires a great deal of reconfiguration and even rearchitecting some legacy systems, industry clouds make the process much easier by addressing common industry pain points ahead of time and providing an array of customized tools.
Examples of Industry Cloud Services
Some industry clouds, such as the data management and analytics solutions developed in partnership between AWS and Goldman Sachs, have been developed as a collaboration between cloud providers and major industry players. IBM has long seen industry-based clouds as a way to remain competitive in the cloud market, launching IBM Cloud offerings for financial services, government, healthcare, and more.
Among the big three cloud providers, it was Microsoft who made the biggest play for the burgeoning industry cloud market in 2021. In addition to its existing retail and healthcare clouds, the company also announced new vertical-cloud offerings for financial services, manufacturing, and nonprofits. Given Microsoft’s long standing focus on enterprise customers, the new investment was hardly a surprise.
Even less surprising was AWS’s announcement in late 2021 that it would be shifting away from its developer-centric approach in favor of a more industry-based model that will create more customized solutions for not only for the usual suspects like financial services, government, and healthcare, but also specialized offerings for the automotive and airline industries.
Google Cloud Platform, on the other hand, has taken a slightly different approach by using its unique strengths (big data, analytics, and AI) to build specialized solutions for various industries rather than creating a comprehensive vertical-based cloud. The provider’s Supply Chain Twin solution, which allows companies to build a virtual representation of their physical supply chain for monitoring and visibility purposes, is a good example of their approach.
Benefits of Industry Clouds
The growing availability of industry-based clouds should allow more organizations to reap the benefits of migrating away from expensive, inefficient on-premises infrastructure and into a more scalable, versatile colocation and cloud environment. Although the cloud industry has grown substantially in recent years, many companies in highly competitive markets have fallen behind the technology curve because they couldn’t fully replicate their operations in the cloud in a way that was cost effective.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the healthcare industry, which faces strict compliance standards and regulatory oversight. Although SaaS offerings have gradually gained adoption throughout the industry, many organizations have been hesitant to make the transition due to fears that migrating to the cloud might compromise uptime, data protection, and privacy. As industry-focused clouds become more robust, however, healthcare firms are beginning to see the potential of the cloud in terms of driving innovation, digitizing processes, and personalizing patient experiences. A recent McKinsey report projected that cloud capabilities could generate as much as $170 billion in value for healthcare companies by 2030.
A Hybrid Approach to Industry Clouds
Of course, the decision to migrate to the cloud is no longer an all or nothing proposition. Thanks to a new generation of hybrid and multi-cloud offerings, organizations can leverage the capabilities of vertical-focused clouds while still managing some of their mission critical systems and data on proprietary servers. By transitioning their assets out of expensive, hard to manage on-prem facilities and into colocation data centers, they can get many of the benefits of shifting from CapEx to OpEx without moving everything into the cloud.
Once servers are set up within a connectivity-rich data center, they can be plugged into any industry-cloud offering the organization needs thanks to lightning fast cross connects and direct cloud on-ramps. By keeping some portion of their mission-critical systems on colocated servers, risk-averse industries can retain some flexibility and avoid becoming overly reliant upon a single, consolidated cloud platform.
Unlocking Industry Cloud Innovation with Evoque
Evoque Data Center Solutions offers a unique set of infrastructure solutions that provide specialized industries with the versatility and control they need to reach their full digital potential. From colocation services and cloud engineering to build-to-suit powered shell offerings, Evoque’s innovative multi-generational infrastructure approach we put your business’s application needs first with flexible deployments that can evolve to empower your changing requirements. With our unique SpendAgility™ contract mechanism, you can mix and match your colocation, hybrid, and cloud infrastructure to fully optimize costs without sacrificing growth.
To learn more about how Evoque can help you leverage the power of the leading industry clouds, talk to one of our cloud engineering consultants today.