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February 19, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 5:11pm

UK goes all-in on cloud as Google & Red Hat partner for flexible, open source storage

News: Arrival of Gluster Storage on Google and the release of Cloud Vision API designed to appeal to developers and businesses.

By James Nunns

The majority of UK firms are planning to go all-in with cloud computing.

Flexibility (77%), scalability (76%) and requiring 24/7 service availability (74%) are the top three reasons for initially moving to the cloud as 63% of UK firms plan to eventually migrate their entire IT estate.

This is according to The Cloud Industry Forum’s research into business cloud adoption trends, which also found that 78% of UK enterprises are using off-premise services, a figure that is forecast to reach 85% in the next two years.

While flexibility, scalability and the need for a 24/7 service are highlighted as important factors in being lured to the cloud, key services such as web hosting, email, e-commerce and collaboration services are the most keenly used.

Of the 250 senior IT and business-decision makers polled, 76% are running their own datacentres or on-premise servers, falling from 85% in 2014.

Partly this uptake in cloud services can be put down to a major effort made by vendors to improve their platforms with greater security, flexibility and connections to other companies’ software.

For example, Red Hat recently announced that its Gluster Storage software will be available on the Google Compute Engine.

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Red Hat says that this will give Google Cloud Platform users access to agile and scalable file storage across public and hybrid cloud environments. Gluster Storage will allow users to deploy the same storage technology both on premises and on GCP, meaning that users can take existing applications with them as they move to the cloud, which takes about 19 months according to the Cloud Industry Forum’s research.

Gluster Storage on GCE will offer customers elastic scalability by aggregating multiple Google Persistent Disks, creating a single storage pool that can scale to petabytes quickly.

It also offers a Portable Operating System Interface, a compatible distributed file system that is designed to deploy applications to GCP by providing a compatible, universal storage platform.

Taking bigger strides into the open-source market is one way that cloud vendors’ have been increasing their appeal to businesses, partly because it appeals to developers and partly because it provides even greater flexibility to the offering, removing any threat of vendor lock-in.

On the topic of appealing to developers, Google has revealed the public beta of its Cloud Vision API, which is a service that will allow developers to build image recognition and classification features into their applications.

The technology is capable of extracting text from images and also recognising the objects in an image. This technology is the same that can be found in image search in Google Photos, it is capable of recognising food, animals, local landmarks and numerous other objects, according to Google the algorithm can recognise thousands.

Included in the API is the ability to flag inappropriate content which means that developers can effectively create an app that is PG-rated.

Prices for access to the API will see users pay $2 per 1,000 images to use Label Detection and basic optical character recognition will cost $0.60 per 1,000 images.

The beta period will restrict users to a quota of up to 20 million images per use per month.

What these tie together to reveal is that the efforts from cloud vendors to get businesses into the cloud seems to be paying off. The open source drive from some vendors such as Google will greatly appeal to developers, while connecting to other platforms and improving scalability and flexibility gives the business cloud attributes that it requires.

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