What is a Vertical Cloud and Why are Businesses Migrating to It?

When the cloud first emerged, it was a mecca for all. The ecosystem was generic and gigantic, which created great potential for every industry. That inclusivity and flexibility are still a draw, but as the cloud continues to evolve, it is growing into so much more. These days, the concept of the vertical cloud is becoming more popular.

A vertical cloud is purpose-built and centered on specific requirements, allowing it to be tailored and personalized to more niche business needs. Today, let’s take a look at what a vertical cloud is and why businesses are migrating to it.

What is a Vertical Cloud?

A vertical cloud is a cloud computing environment designed specifically to meet the needs of a particular industry or business model. Also referred to as an industry cloud, a vertical cloud provides tools, configurations, security, and compliance features aligned to the industry it serves. The hardware included in many vertical clouds can also boost performance and lower costs better than a public cloud.

These industry cloud environments are meant to act as comprehensive solutions. They can exist as a software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) or infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering. Businesses turn to vertical clouds to understand deeper business insights, improve data experiences, and operate according to compliance, security, and reliability requirements.

An example of a vertical cloud would be one built for healthcare. This type of vertical cloud would usually incorporate HIPAA compliance specifications, facilitate the exchange of electronic health records, and integrate with other solutions in the healthcare cloud to share data and analytic analysis.

Emergence of Vertical Clouds Across Industries

Vertical cloud solutions hold potential for many industries and subindustries, and as providers continue expand their vertical offerings, there will be more options available across the board. However, the industries to watch first include:

  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Banking
  • IoT
  • Self-driving Vehicles

Juggernauts like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform have been competing on government verticals in particular in the past few years via solutions like Google Cloud for Government and AWS GovCloud. Notice a common theme between some of these emerging industries? They all have tight restrictions around data security and compliance standards. This makes them a prime target for vertical cloud and all it has to offer.

Industries with strict standards are top candidates because vertical cloud solutions promise to simplify their complex processes and ensure they’re meeting all the necessary rules and regulations. However, these complex industries are not the only ones that can benefit from vertical cloud adoption. Really any industry that wants to optimize efficiencies can use it.

SMBs that want to fine-tune operations can find great benefit in industry clouds, especially when they can use the solution out-of-the-box. In addition, vertical clouds built for the retail industry combine business actions around marketing, loyalty program tracking, CRM, and customer service to deliver a single inclusive infrastructure that serves all needs. Unlike heavily regulated industries, retail’s goal in vertical cloud adoption is less about compliance and more about optimizing inventory and reimagining operations.

Migrating to the Vertical Cloud

Software consulting firms and systems integrators are helping more businesses take advantage of industry clouds as they seek to align their industry-specific goals with their cloud adoption strategy.

These clients are searching beyond a traditional cloud migration to find a way to get more from what the cloud has to offer. Industry cloud adoption does that by helping businesses rethink their operating models and migrate their processes and workflows in a more intelligent way. The modernized architecture, increased scalability, and on-demand access to industry-focused resources makes migrating the vertical cloud particularly tempting.

As businesses explore the option of migrating to the vertical cloud, it’s important to consider various factors. First of all, IT leaders and stakeholders must share a common understanding of the business strategy for the future and how a vertical cloud technology should accelerate that. Which areas of the business could most benefit from an industry vertical application and how might that tie in with other supporting software the company knows it wants to keep? A cloud service provider, iPaaS integrator, or software vendor should be an ally in those discussions. They can help plan the optimal cloud journey for what the business envisions.

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