What is an industry cloud?
An industry cloud is a custom cloud solution tailored to the needs of businesses in a specific sector, like healthcare. Delivered by a major public cloud service provider, an industry cloud includes computing resources plus APIs, data models, tools, and workflows designed to meet industry-specific obligations ranging from regulatory mandates to performance demands.
Vertical, rather than horizontal, alignment is the core characteristic of an industry cloud solution. General-purpose cloud services are designed to deliver a consistent set of functions to each organization, regardless of industry. Accordingly, their functionality stretches “horizontally” across all industries, whereas industry clouds are customized “vertically” by specific industry.
Horizontal general-purpose cloud
Vertical industry cloud A
Vertical industry cloud B
Vertical industry cloud C
An industry cloud may be built to satisfy requirements such as HIPAA compliance in the health space, or legislative and PCI ones in finance. Alternatively, it may be architected specifically to function within harsh and low-connectivity environments such as oil rigs and remote farms.
Is industry cloud a form of public or hybrid cloud?
Industry cloud solutions are currently most closely associated with public cloud deployments. However, they may also be configured within hybrid cloud environments that span on-premises and cloud resources. A hybrid cloud setup may offer tighter cost control alongside the ability to continue using existing infrastructure.
How do industry clouds compare to other types of cloud?
Industry cloud is simply a new mode of using cloud technology that already exists. The main difference between an industry cloud and a general-purpose cloud is how well-optimized the former is for a particular industry.
Consider the hypothetical case of a large healthcare organization with numerous legacy homegrown applications, some industry-specific software, and a prolific amount of unique data sources, all of which have been carefully assembled over the years with an eye on HIPAA compliance. Now they all need to be migrated to the cloud.
Lifting and shifting them into a general-purpose public cloud could result in diminished performance and heightened regulatory risk. Even the alternative approach of recording its applications would be risky in its own way, due to cost and time considerations. In contrast, an industry cloud would be much better at:
- Easily ingesting those industry-particular sources and then sending their data to the schema best aligned with the industry’s applicable regulations and best practices.
- Piping that data to specialized applications and machine learning and analytics engines so it can deliver clearer insights to its intended data consumers.
4 reasons to use an industry cloud instead of a general-purpose cloud
Compared to a general public cloud, an industry cloud is particularly advantageous for an organization that meets one or more of these criteria:
1. Is in a highly regulated industry
Healthcare and finance are usually front-and-center in the industry cloud conversation. An industry cloud can more closely meet their specific needs around data sharing and privacy than a non-customized public cloud. Moreover, in the case of finance, industry cloud solutions can be fine-tuned for the exacting performance that modern financial services firms require.
2. Has significant amounts of data in siloed legacy systems
Using an industry cloud, enterprises with lots of data in legacy systems can more readily get value from it. Industry cloud solutions can be customized for those specific systems, simplifying the cloud migration process and the eventual creation of actionable data analytics from a sea of information. Enterprises in a sector like manufacturing — which, despite the proliferation of Industry 4.0, still often rely on legacy industry control systems — can particularly benefit from this key business process innovation of industry cloud.
3. Already maintains — or wants — a hybrid cloud
Companies that deploy a hybrid cloud infrastructure for data analytics do so for many reasons, from performance considerations to cost savings. Overall, the motivations that drive hybrid cloud adoption overlap with those behind industry cloud. That makes an industry-specific cloud a natural next step for firms needing highly specific levels of performance from their clouds.
4. Is in the midst of accelerating digital transformation
To better understand and serve their customers while keeping up with competitors, organizations may need to undergo rapid digital transformation — and an industry cloud can be the best way to ensure the transition goes smoothly.
For example, Dutch toystore chain Intertoys had previously tried moving into a cloud-only data warehouse, only to find that it needed a solution with better performance, true multi-dimensional scalability, and more economical costs that fit its particular industry. It achieved the proper combination with an industry cloud built on a data platform in the public cloud.
How do you build an industry cloud for analytics?
Harnessing the power of an industry cloud starts with selecting the right data platform, one capable of:
- Being deployed on a public cloud platform of choice, or in a hybrid cloud or multi-cloud environment.
- Integrating tightly with the services of the major public cloud providers pioneering the development of industry cloud technologies.
- Ingesting any type of data, including from industry-specific sources, into a single system that simplifies workflows.
- Separating compute and storage to simultaneously optimize workload performance and costs.
- Delivering integrated management and analytics to reduce the amount of extra tools and manual work required.
With such a platform in place, an industry cloud can become a reality.
While we are still in the first days of industry cloud, it's not too early to start thinking about how to make the journey toward cloud data analytics that will propel your business into the future. Check out our webinar below industry clouds in finance to see whether this approach is right for your operations.
Watch our industry cloud webinar