Two Surveys: Cloud is Growing, Strategies Adapting

Growing Cloud

Cloud is growing at an incredible pace, just as it did in 2015. As cloud comes into its own, IT managers are learning how to better strategize to make the most of these virtual systems.

  • Cloud Becoming Increasingly Popular with Business
  • Rise of Hybrid Cloud, DevOps, Containers

Cloud Becoming Increasingly Popular with Business

A study conducted by the research firm Clutch shows that two out of three medium and large companies will spend more on cloud systems this year than they did in 2015.

For the poll, which interviewed 300 information technology executives, more than two in five (42%) expected their cloud budget to rise moderately: 11-30%. Smaller proportions expected mild and extreme increases in their use of cloud: 27% said it would remain the same, while 14% expected a 31% to 50% greater expense. Meanwhile, only 6% said they would be using less cloud than they did last year.

Since cloud is growing so incredibly, it could be a chance for service providers to fill the emerging business demand. Specific services that enterprises most need include app deployment (51%); disaster recovery and backup (62%); and storage (70%). Plus, all companies require strong hosting as they realize they want the best infrastructure-as-a-service providers. For instance, Superb Internet uses a distributed design (no bottlenecks) and InfiniBand (dozens of times lower latency than the theoretical minimum of 10 GigE).

Companies are putting more money into their cloud budgets simply because it’s better helping them meet their business objectives, notes Go Nimbly CEO Jason Reichl. “The cloud is building ROI faster and with better business accuracy,” he says, “so companies are willing to reinvest in it ever year.”

Businesses tend to hire experts to set up their cloud systems – the majority (53%) do, in fact. There are positives and negatives to working with consultants. Of course it’s good to have access to the expertise of a third party dedicated specifically to working with the cloud. However, keeping the expertise outside the company means the insights of the cloud transition aren’t integrated as fundamentally into your own business.

Rise of Hybrid Cloud, DevOps, Containers

Another survey revealed that cloud is no longer in the realm of shadow IT. Instead, RightScale’s poll of 1060 IT leaders found that “the shift is well underway from shadow IT driven by individual teams to a centralized approach that enables cloud consumption of cloud services across the entire organization,” notes Joe McKendrick of ZDNet. IT executives are becoming cloud brokers, sources of knowledge on how to piece together cloud systems.

More and more, medium and large companies are realizing that it’s best for IT managers to create cloud policies (44% vs. 31% in 2015). Policies generally will include catalogs of acceptable cloud systems. In terms of the three types of cloud, businesses were committing to each category to about the same degree: 29% hybrid, 27% public, and 23% private.

The biggest issue companies have encountered when transitioning to cloud is recruitment of personnel with the applicable skills. Previously companies were worried primarily about security, but the top challenge is now seen as training and internal understanding of the technology (32% training  vs. 29% security).

IT leaders don’t always have the money they need for cloud. However, different techniques are making it easier for companies to achieve their missions affordably and efficiently. DevOps is one area that is particularly important, comments McKendrick. “As companies seek to drive digital business by delivering new software applications and features more quickly,” he says, “they look to both DevOps and cloud as key enablers.” DevOps is headed toward ubiquity, rising from 66% to 74% adoption between 2015 and 2016.

Open-source cloud platforms are becoming more popular as well. The most obvious example is Docker. Docker uses containers to allow businesses to quickly deploy programs broadly and easily allow portability of apps. Docker more than doubled in adoption, rising from 13% last year to 27% this year.

Configuration management systems are also becoming increasingly popular. Puppet and Chef are each used by 32% of those surveyed, while Ansible is in use at 20% of organizations.

Hybrid cloud is now becoming more of a standard. That’s because both public and private cloud use is growing considerably. The vast majority of medium to large companies (82%) currently have hybrid clouds that inegrate public and private components.

Generally speaking, there is greater use of private and public clouds as companies let go of their legacy systems. Companies that have over a thousand public cloud virtual machines rose from 13% to 17%, while those with over a thousand of the private variety went up to 31% (from 22% in 2015). A related finding is that enterprises with more than 1000 in-house virtual machines hit 48% (vs. 42% in 2015). That data is where the numbers on growth of private and hybrid cloud can be a bit deceiving. RightScale explains: “The growth in private cloud workloads also may include long-standing virtualized environments that have been enhanced and relabeled as a private cloud.”

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