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IPOs Head to the Enterprise Cloud

Most investors equate cloud computing with the biggest players — Amazon, Microsoft, and Google — and think the big play is about the “public cloud.” In 2017, that changes as a new crop of cloud companies find their stride in the public markets like Nutanix and Twilio, and as several additional cloud players poised for IPOs in the coming year continue to grow in stature.

Whereas the big three public cloud players make the case for shifting the bulk of enterprise IT infrastructure and applications to their datacenters, the new “enterprise cloud companies” all offer what I think of as the “componentized enterprise.” It’s the ability for companies to breakdown their traditional application and infrastructure, then componentize it into smaller pieces that can be constantly reconfigured and reassembled to keep up with changing markets and business requirements. Case and point, companies like Docker — author of the open source project of the same name — and Pivotal’s Cloudfoundry offering, in the same trend.

What the three big players in public cloud have offered is the opportunity for every company to ride their technology curve and to benefit from it. But to do that, you have to be operating in their cloud with their rules, their service levels (usually not as high as a privately manage cloud), and their management platform (usually not optimized for traditional enterprise applications).

This next set of “enterprise cloud” companies offer the same agility and the same ability to keep up with accelerating changes in markets and the business environment as the big public cloud players, but enterprises can retain full control over their cloud environments. What that means is they can take componentized pieces of their existing infrastructure and/or specialized applications and IT services (where enterprises have collectively invested trillions of dollars in the last two decades) and seamlessly run them as part of their “cloud platform.” Rip and replace is not an inevitability.

The key to making this happen hinges on three things:

1. Developing the technologies to “break apart” or “recast” old mainframe and legacy client server applications into an array of smaller, more manageable services through new overlay software technologies.

2. Using new orchestration and management software technologies to operate these new, more agile components on top of…

3. A next-generation enterprise cloud platform that can provide the guaranteed compute/storage/network resources, security, compliance and other infrastructure required by these traditional enterprise component services (unlike the “one-size-fits-all public cloud model”).

Combined, it’s the power to bring an enterprise’s cumulative IT knowledge and processes (which form the basis of it’s historical competitive advantage) into a modern, agile, cloud-technology framework.

In addition to those already mentioned, other companies and platforms to watch that are a part of this emerging framework include:

Viptela — Provides a cloud-based, enterprise connectivity platform that lets all of the componentized pieces of traditional enterprise applications connect and talk to each other whether or not they are geographically co-located.

Kubernetes and Mesophere — These are software platforms that offer orchestration and run-time environments that can be deployed in private, enterprise clouds for componentized application services.

Rubrik — Allows traditional enterprise application data to be stored in componentized or traditional application formats, and then allows all application data to be made available across traditional on-premise, private and public cloud computing environments.

CloudPassage — Secures componentized enterprise applications and infrastructure so they can be safely deployed across private and public cloud environments.

ClusterHQ, Cockroach DB — Databases to support micro-services and componentized applications.

This is what the next generation of “enterprise cloud” is going to be, and 2017 is the year it goes mainstream — both for the enterprise and for investors.

This article is part of the LinkedIn Top Voices list, a collection of the must-read writers of the year. Check out the original post here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ipos-head-enterprise-cloud-ravi-mhatre?published=t

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