The cloud was a €370bn global market in 2021, and is set to grow considerably by 2030. As the cloud offering gets more mature, it becomes increasingly commoditized, distributed and regionalized. And yet, up until now, the cloud has been built on a myth: that only a handful of cloud solution providers can answer all of clients’ needs.
To deconstruct this myth, we need to review the fundamental shifts that occurred over the last decade.
Smartphone adoption has heralded an era of ubiquitous computing demand, which now accessible to over 80% of the global population, represents over 10 billion active cellular connections, including IoT (internet of things).
End users now expect instantaneous access to just about everything, on demand, and potentially simultaneously per segment of users, with expectations evolving rapidly over time, from text files to high-resolution videos.
This demand-side evolution led the supply side to shift computing from an expensive, proprietary and on-premise model to an affordable, rented and as-a-service offer.
This new model allowed e-commerce, search, and collaboration at scale, available anytime, anywhere and to any mobile or desktop computer owner on the planet.
It is therefore logical that the leaders in e-commerce, search and collaboration participated in creating the first generation of cloud services, investing massively in physical infrastructure for their own use cases. Then, on top of that, they invested in software development, to make their solutions modular and accessible in a very elastic way to all types of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers. This new type of cloud infrastructure is known as the public cloud, and it encompasses Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
The state of the affairs in 2022 is now a little more complex, for a number of reasons. Clients have understood the benefits of the cloud for scaling purposes. However, they are now growing more sophisticated in their expectations too, requiring answers to a number of issues that involve security, data regionalization, cost, lock-in, and geopolitics, etc., all of which require us to consider the cloud as a supplier problem, with new risk-management issues to take into account.
At the same time, the technology has become mature to the point where it is no longer the privilege of a handful of providers who have enjoyed the lion’s share of the market for a little too long, amassing hundreds of billions in the process and growing a little too big for the tastes of many antitrust regulators. Today’s more sophisticated clients will ask what underlying technology is used, who owns the license and the intellectual property, or can this license be invalidated by any government? In other words, to what extent can I trust this service? When it comes to data: how is it secured, who owns it, who has access to it and under what circumstances, and under which jurisdiction? And finally, how sustainable is the entire operation, beyond the marketing gloss, greenwashing and vanity metrics that often merely touch upon carbon-emission compensation?
Worse still, a number of techniques have been used to lure clients into the fold (typically negative starting prices, also known as cloud credits), and then lock them in with reverse incentives such as exit costs (through migration costs such egress fees, typically, or thanks to products that do not have a clear data reversibility path).
This is the context behind a perfect storm that has formed around two key concepts: multi cloud and choice. Indeed, the commoditization of the cloud means that 80% of cloud client needs are covered by just 20% of the products offered by a variety of providers. This means that clients need no longer fall prey to a single cloud provider. Instead, by combining multiple cloud providers, they can create their ideal balance, between localization, jurisdiction, availability, price, sustainability and even value alignment.
Contrary to the previous decade, where choice was both irreversible and excessively costly, this new state of play brings the ability to choose in a dynamic and reversible way. Be it simply by adopting a hybrid cloud, as in a chosen mix of public cloud, private cloud and on-premise; using a number of different providers either in parallel or sequentially; or, most simply, the ability to move freely from one provider to another, without losing money or data.
In other words, real choice.
At Scaleway, we truly believe that this is for the best. This is why we are fully committed to supporting the multi cloud in a way that enables clients to scale their businesses unrestrictedly, with no strings attached. First by providing the fundamental building blocks: as we like to say, “if you can code it, we can host it”. And second, by allowing clients to unlock access to the world's infrastructure, by embracing multi-cloud architectures.
This is why Scaleway is the cloud of choice.