According to a late 2016 survey by RightScale, the market leading Cloud Management Platform SaaS, cloud adoption is on the rise as companies and cloud providers realise the benefits of cloud migration. This State of the Cloud Survey is the largest survey in the market covering the use of cloud computing through a poll of 1100 IT professionals. It provides statistics of companies adopting cloud infrastructure and the use cases of Cloud adoption.

 

According to the State of the Cloud Survey:

“42 percent of the respondents represented enterprises with more than 1,000 employees. The margin of error is 3.07 percent.”

 

The study also found, “More enterprise workloads moved to both public and private cloud over the last year, with private cloud and hybrid solutions growing faster. The number of enterprises running more than 1,000 virtual machines (VMs) in public cloud increased from 13 percent to 17 percent, while those running more than 1,000 VMs in private cloud grew from 22 percent to 31 percent. The private cloud growth in workloads also may include long-standing virtualised environments that have been enhanced and relabeled as a private cloud.”

 

RightScale’s ‘State of the Cloud’ has accurately predicted for the past few years, the increase in Cloud usage, the types of use cases and reasons why firms invest in Cloud; and where Cloud is headed.  This survey is supported by many other research surveys including the Society of Information Management’s 2015 and 2016 surveys which put Cloud investment at the top of IT/IS’ agenda; and most importantly, identified that aligning Cloud to the Business process was the #1 concern of IT/IS Managers and Directors.

 

Typical Scenario 1: Moving your Infrastructure to the cloud to reduce costs.

Moving to the cloud requires a great deal of planning and consideration to identify the types of infrastructure that can successfully migrate to the cloud. A few common infrastructures use-cases would include:

One of the core outcomes of our consultancy is to identify appropriate use cases in which infrastructure in part, or in whole, can be deployed into the Cloud, either Public or Private.  Once we have a list of infrastructures and applications, we can begin to prioritise this list and consider who cloud can support these systems.  Considerations include computing, networking, storage, and databases.

 

Typical Scenario 2: The financial benefits of moving to the cloud.

 Seagate, a global leader in data storage solutions recently did a survey and concluded:

 

“82% of companies reportedly saved money by moving to the cloud.”

 

Seagate also provides an easy-to-understand infographic showing that the global market for cloud equipment, including storage, servers, networking hardware and high-speed links will reach $79.1 billion by 2018.

 

What does this tell us?  That the financial benefits from Public and Private Cloud computing is driving an exponential increase in investment in hardware and associated peripherals, by both Public and Private Cloud providers. 

 

For firms who are somewhat confused by the difference between Public and Private Cloud providers and deployment models a good read is an-depth study by Claus Pahl of Dublin City University entitled “A Comparison of On-premise to Cloud Migration Approaches.”  He answers the common questions people have about Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

 

Some of the financial benefits of moving to SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, or a mixture of all 3, in either public or private cloud [or a mixture of both], include:

 

Reduced IT costs.

By using cloud-based services, your organisation can significantly reduce costs associated with maintaining and upgrading servers in addition to saving money on your utility bill with reduced cooling costs and power consumption. Depending upon your cloud model, your organisation could potentially have zero upfront IT capital costs and lower TCO.

In terms of infrastructure, many companies are saving money by subscribing to cloud services for a low monthly fee.  Instead of having unused hardware lying around in anticipation of business expansion, you only pay for the resources you use with the option to scale up at a moment’s notice. If business slows down at certain times of the year, you can also subtract resources which saves space and money.

 

Reduced upgrade and software licensing costs.

In the past, companies were required to invest a significant amount of their IT costs to upgrade to the latest version of applications.  Additionally, the license fees to acquire the rights to use the software could occupy a huge chunk of your IT budget, depending upon the size of your organisation.

When your organisation adopts cloud computing, you automatically have access to the latest upgrades and security patches. Plus, there is no need to purchase new licenses when you upgrade to the latest version of the software. A monthly subscription fee in addition to a solid Service Level Agreement that guarantees access to upgrades is basically all it takes.

 

Decreased Data Backup and Disaster Recovery costs.

Some businesses lack the time and resources to devise a plan for data backup and disaster recovery.  This could prove to be a catastrophe in the event of data loss or a natural disaster.

Data backup in the Cloud means that the firm can easily retrieve lost data and be up and running quickly. Cloud service providers frequently back up data and store it in multiple safe data centre locations.  In most cases, you can be up and running in minutes following a disaster while significantly reducing the costs of backing up data on the premises.

 

Lower IT security costs.

As far back as 2013, in a global survey conducted by Thales and Ponemon Institute, researchers on information and privacy management examined company perception towards encryption and data protection in the cloud. The survey found that companies of all sizes are adopting cloud services for handling large amounts of sensitive information. 

 

Cloud security in 2017 is much more advanced than it was in 2013.  AWS, Azure, Salesforce [SaaS] and other providers are routinely audited by government, independent parties and large clients.  Security is layered into all aspects of their infrastructure and most major providers produce statistics on their security capabilities, audits, and security vulnerabilities.  Compliance organizations have pre-certified AWS and Azure for example, giving them a level of security credibility that very few on-premise data centres could ever hope to achieve.

 

Simply put, the Public Cloud is quite secure.  Private Clouds may be as secure, but that will depend on the vendor in question. The vital fact is that the cloud provider must assume responsibility for the proper security technologies required for securing data and meeting specific industry compliance standards. 

 

Lower travel and productivity costs.

Mobility is a key aspect of Cloud usage.  Cloud computing application usage should be compatible with any device that has access to a web browser and Internet connection.  This promotes improved collaboration while reducing travel costs.  Additionally, your employees can work from anywhere and at any time which fosters productivity.

Using collaborative cloud technologies, company teams can collaborate on a project, regardless of where they are located.  This reduces travel costs associated with being required to travel to a specific location to work on a project. Instead, teams collaborate in real-time without the confusion of email attachments, out of date task lists, and calendar scheduling, to name a few benefits.

Additionally, employees can leverage the power of IM, web conferencing, and audio to improve communication.  The result is a quick and accurate response to business responsibilities at a reduced cost.

 

Lower costs related to business growth.

One of the biggest challenges for most businesses is predicting and determining what resources you will need both now and in the future. This often leads to money spent on unused resources.  Using the cloud, you can scale up or down on resources and easily add new business tools as the need arises.  This is usually accomplished on a moment’s notice and allows you to easily react to needs instead of predicting what you will use.

 

High Availability and greater reliability at a lower cost.

Cloud-based applications and services have proved to be more reliable than those implemented on the premises. This is especially true if your infrastructure is old and in need of an upgrade.  SLAs of 99.99% are common in Cloud computing, equating into a few hours of downtime per annum.  Many on-premise and hosted data centres have availability and reliability problems.  One chief reason to move to the Cloud – either Public or Private – is to improve system availability, while decreasing hardware and system maintenance and offloading that to the Cloud provider.

 

Other Advantages of moving to a cloud model

-Improved Dev-Ops, or application code development

-Mobile Device Management

-Virtual Desktop Environments

-Automation of systems, server restarts, application restarts, general IS maintenance

-Modularized IS/IT which can respond to business demands faster

-Client-centric IS system development and focus

-Faster development of new products, tools

-Be quicker to market with new ideas and products

Cloud adoption is a journey has given in the following graphic.