Cloud Computing Report – Users & Providers

An Image Depicting Cloud Computing Report - Enterprise Cloud Strategy

Findings from RightScale’s Cloud Computing Report are summarized in this post and include hybrid cloud adoption ramps as cloud computing users and cloud computing providers mature.

Cloud Computing Report – Cloud Adoption: How Far Have We Come in 1 Year?

It’s hard to think of a more disruptive technology than cloud computing. In just a few short years, the cloud computing has rolled in and taken the B2B business world by storm. But how far, exactly, have we come in adopting B2B cloud computing technology?  

Chance are, right now if you’re at work, you’re somehow involved in using cloud computing technology. That’s because, according to the cloud computing report produced by RightScale, 95 percent of businesses now use the cloud. That’s up from 93 percent in just one year.

Cloud Computing Report – This is No Longer a Quantitative Discussion…

The cloud has taken over the way we do business, no matter how small or large our business might be.

But the news is no longer how many businesses are moving to the cloud. Now, the relevant discussion centers upon where businesses are in their “cloud journey”.

To really comprehend the state of cloud computing technology and its impact on business culture, we need to delve deeper into the mindset of the business owners and decision makers who are right now in the thick of the cloud computing revolution.

For that, we have RightScale’s State of the Cloud Report for 2016. They surveyed over a thousand IT professionals about their adoption of cloud technology and this is what they found.

Demographics for the Research Report on Cloud Usage 

Before we get into the answers provided by the report, here’s a quick summary of the 1,060 respondents:

  • ~60% work at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)
  • The rest work for enterprise organizations (>1,000 employees)
  • About one half work in the software and tech services industries
  • Almost two-thirds work in North America
  • They have different roles:
    • Over half work in the IT/Ops department at their company
    • About one third work in Development
    • The rest have a “business” role at work
  • They work at different levels in their respective companies:
    • About one-quarter of them are architects
    • About one-quarter of them are directors and managers
    • The rest are roughly evenly split among Executives, IT/Ops, Development & Quality Assurance, and “Other”

Cloud Computing Report – The Cloud Maturity Model

Since the report delves into the degree of cloud adoption at businesses, it was important to devise a scale for measuring how far each organization has actually come in their cloud journey.

For that, RightScale has the Cloud Maturity Model:

  1. Cloud Watchers. These organizations are still thinking about how they will move applications to the cloud. They may be developing strategies but they haven’t yet taken the plunge.
  2. Cloud Beginners. These organizations have made small inroads to adopting the cloud.
  3. Cloud Explorers. They’ve invested more resources in cloud adoption. Now they’re focused on expanding their experiences.
  4. Cloud Focused. These organizations are close to fully vested in the cloud, and are now looking for ways to become “super users” by optimizing their cloud operations and saving money.

The distribution of the survey respondents across the cloud maturity scale looks like this:

Cloud Computing Report – Key Findings

  • The Cloud Focused (final) stage has grown, meaning many organizations have moved forward in the cloud maturity model. Likewise, the number of respondents in the Cloud Explorer stage, just before the Focused state, has shrunk. That indicates companies are progressing with their adoption of cloud technology rather than retreating or stagnating.
  • More large companies are in the final two stages of maturity. As a whole, large companies seem to be further along with fully investing in the cloud. However, a larger percentage of small companies (32% vs. 25%) currently find themselves in the final stage.
  • A new role has emerged: the “Cloud Architect”.
  • The most significant growth has been in the area of “Hybrid” cloud adoption. This stems mainly from more companies adding private cloud resources in the past year. Adoption of public cloud resources has not changed in the past year among respondents.
  • The main priority at large companies is to make the best use of hybrid cloud technology. The second most frequent priority is “using the public cloud”, and after that, “building a private cloud”.
  • On average, cloud users leverage 3 private and 3 public cloud.
  • Large companies tend to favor private clouds, whereas SMBs favor public cloud resources. 
  • As cloud usage increases, IT departments gain larger roles. This includes an expanded role of setting cloud policies, which more respondents say their central IT departments should be doing.
  • Main benefits of cloud usage include increased speed. The cost savings benefit was the lowest-reported benefit.
  • Businesses are seeing more and more benefits from the cloud. The top reported benefits were faster access to infrastructure and greater scalability.
  • The more cloud a business uses, the more benefits they enjoy. In other words, as you move up the cloud maturity scale, more benefits are unlocked.
  • Likewise, the more your “cloud maturity”, the fewer challenges you experience with the cloud. Organizations reported that their experience improved with increased buy-in.
  • Cloud security is no longer the main concern. Now, it’s “lack of resources and expertise.”
  • Costs are increasing. Companies still haven’t made much progress in figuring out how to optimize their cloud experience for cost savings. Organizations who’ve reached the Cloud Focused level are more apt to begin strategizing about reducing costs.
  • DevOps is growing by leaps and bounds, especially at the enterprise level. And to help manage their cloud operations, they’ve employing configuration management tools, especially Docker. Among SMBs, Chef is more popular.
  • Amazon Web Services is the most popular public cloud service. Azure is catching up in popularity, however.
  • All private cloud providers are experiencing growth. VMware vSphere/vCenter is the most popular private cloud environment, and  VMWare vCloud Suite and OpenStack are tied for second place.

Key Findings from RightScale’s Report on Cloud Usage in 2016

An Image Depicting Cloud Computing Report - Cloud UsageHybrid cloud adoption grew significantly

  • Private cloud adoption increased from 63% to 77%
  • Hybrid cloud increases from 58% to 71% (y/y)
  • 82% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy
  • 95% of organizations surveyed are running applications or experimenting with IaaS

Cloud users leverage 6 clouds on average

  • Cloud users are running applications in an average of 5 public clouds and 1.7 private clouds
  • Cloud users are experimenting with an additional 5 public clouds and 1.3 private clouds

More enterprise workloads shift to cloud

  • 17% of enterprises now have more than 1,000 VMs in public cloud, up from 13%
  • Private cloud grew even faster with 31% of enterprises running more than 1,000 VMs, up from 22%

Enterprises increase alignment on role of central IT teams in cloud use.

  • Enterprise business units increasingly acknowledge the role of central IT to set policies (44%), select public clouds (42%), and select private cloud technologies (44%).
  • Increased cloud governance as 38% of respondents have now established approval policies for cloud, up from 30 percent in

An Image Depicting Cloud Computing Report - Enterprise ITSecurity is no longer the top cloud challenge

  • Lack of resources/expertise is now the number one cloud challenge (cited by almost one-third of respondents), displacing security (29%).
  • Even the most security conscious respondents — enterprise central IT teams and security pros agree security s not the number one challenge

Cloud cost challenges increase, but optimization efforts lag

  • 26% of respondents identify cloud computing cost management as a significant challenge
  • Cloud computing cost management provides a significant opportunity for savings

Cloud Computing Report – Conclusion

The cloud maturity level may still vary among organizations, but it’s clear that once cloud technology is integrated, few (if any) organizations choose to retreat from the massive benefits afforded by being on the cloud.

What’s more, cloud adoption is changing more than just the way organizations do business. It’s also changing the roles of key players in the cloud environment.

Finally, as organizations mature in their cloud journey, we’ll see more of them looking for ways to optimize their experience and save money. And as cloud adoption grows (and becomes interwoven with the Internet of Things), we can expect the cloud to alter the way business gets done even more profoundly than it already does.

But until then, we have RightScale and their annual State of the Cloud reports to keep us abreast of where we are in the exciting journey into the cloud and beyond.

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