An Enterprise Cloud ‘Survey of Surveys’ – Forbes Blog by John Webster

By , Wednesday, May 4th 2016

Categories: Analyst Blogs

Tags: blog, cloud, Forbes, inescapable date, John Webster, survey of surveys,

John Webster recently published a report on “Survey of Surveys’.  The Blog summarizes his findings or download the free report: Industry Insight: Cloud Survey of Surveys

Enterprise Cloud adoption is one of the most–if not the most–surveyed topics in enterprise IT today. This is true I think because cloud computing now impacts nearly every computing vendor. It is reshaping the face of IT and its impact on enterprise information systems is as significant as that of the mainframe and client/server computing.

In fact, there are so much publicly available survey data on enterprise cloud usage to be found on the web that it is possible to aggregate this data and get a determination of the current “state” of enterprise cloud computing. This I have done and here’s what I see.

Surveys now show that more than half of all enterprises consider cloud to be an essential part of their business models and they are willing to devote 50% or more of their IT budgets to cloud—hardware, software, and professional services for “build-your-own” private clouds, as well as operational costs for third-party cloud subscriptions. Payday Online include finance and accounting systems, customer relationship management, and proprietary or custom applications. why not find out more finance support that can help you if you refer to this page. And perhaps not surprisingly, the data shows that these same enterprises are the most likely to be engaged in mobility, social media, and data analytics projects.

So why has cloud computing become so important to the enterprise? Positive outcomes include:

  • Enhancement of the general business model and increased productivity from application users and business user groups
  • A growing use of cloud-based analytics for fast and actionable results
  • Cloud as a software development environment, commonly referred to as DevOps

Clouds of Many Colors—Public, Private, Hybrid, Multi, and Community

cloudWhile it is clear that public clouds (85-90% adoption rate depending on the survey) are the most popular cloud platforms, private clouds are now dominating the enterprise computing landscape as well. Adoption rates in surveys taken within the last year show an average of 73% with a 14% y/y growth rate in one.  Surveys indicate that the current private cloud leaders are VMware with vSphere and vCloud Suite followed be OpenStack. When enterprise IT administrators are asked to define by private cloud they answer with words like on-demand, agile, self-service, elasticity. But more than 1/3 of the time someone will likely say that vSphere is our private cloud.

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I hear quite often someone ask to be shown an actual hybrid cloud as if they don’t exist in reality. However according to surveys, they’re out there with a current adoption rate of 65-70% and growing in adoption. I also saw in these surveys the use of community of interest clouds with a specific focus – regional healthcare example.

And a big surprise to me at least from the data is the multi cloud phenomenon. Larger enterprises use an average of six clouds – both private and public. I think that at least one of the reasons for why so many clouds is that, in spite of the overwhelming adoption rates, cloud computing still presents challenges. These include lack of in-house expertise, security, interoperability, fear of “lock-in” and the associated cost of data migration. In aggregate, the challenges become a driver of multi-cloud adoption where users are trying to sort out the best environments for the intended applications. Some challenges are felt more acutely by some users than others. Some clouds are a better fit for an application than others. So it’s important to match the application with the cloud. That process I think leads to the proliferation of multi cloud environments.

One more thing about cloud challenges. They result in a reliance on third party expertise. Two years ago, one survey found that upwards of 90% of enterprise cloud users were relying on third party assistance. That number however is dropping – down to about 75% in the most recent survey data I’ve see.

What about Security?

Security has traditionally been the most often mentioned inhibitor to enterprise cloud adoption. However, surveys now show security falling down the list of primary concerns. The most recent survey data suggests that enterprise IT teams and security pros no longer see security as the #1 challenge to public cloud adoption. Lack of cloud resources and expertise is now #1. Nevertheless, cloud security is still something of a mixed bag in the eyes of enterprise IT and other executives. 24% of respondents in one survey indicated that use of cloud has increased security risk while only 16% said that risk of security in the cloud had decreased and that 62% of respondents indicated that security concerns are the biggest barrier to more fully embracing cloud.

I’d like to point out though that, due to the fact that public cloud services providers are aware of security as an inhibitor, they have done much to make improvements. Public cloud security and application availability has improved greatly and may now exceed that of many enterprise data centers. And in fact I’ve even seen this as a reason to move an application to the cloud – the fact that security at a particular cloud service provider is perceived to be better than in-house.

Shifting Responsibilities and Management Regimes

One major trend line forming now that can be seen in the data is the shift with enterprise IT’s policy toward cloud usage. Early on, business units leveraged public clouds for sales, marketing, and human resources for example. These user groups were not able to get what they needed in a timely way from IT while it was readily available in the cloud. So they went there. This gave rise to cloud as a shadow IT phenomenon. And that can really be seen in these survey results from 2014 where non-technical employees are increasingly making technology decisions with or without IT support – i.e. any way they can.

However, a very recent survey done earlier this year shows a shift toward enterprise IT to set policies, select public clouds, and select private cloud technologies. And an increasing percent of enterprises have now established approval policies for cloud that are administered by IT.

The Tipping Point

It is clear that cloud computing has reached a “tipping point” within the enterprise. IT budgets now contain a significant allocation for cloud resources of all types with many now devoting more than half of their annual IT budgets to cloud. Enterprise IT departments are now also exerting greater control over enterprise cloud adoption—a move that actually allows enterprises to expand their cloud usage.  Security is also becoming less of an issue—particularly for experienced users that know how to best manage this aspect of cloud. As a result, cloud computing is every bit as significant an enterprise IT phenomenon as the mainframe and client/server computing waves of the past.

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