Dispelling Cloud Myths

Public or Private? The Cloud Conversation is Shifting…

Managing the Changing IT Landscape: Hybrid Cloud

… And the hybrid cloud model is the way of the future. That is, at least according to
this survey I came across recently from Everest Group Research and Cloud Connect that dispels cloud myths.

Cloud is becoming a consumption model—a hybrid one, at that

As enterprises grapple with new business needs, an increasing number of workloads are being migrated to the cloud. This includes collaboration and content management platforms, e-commerce, and increasingly, custom business applications, among other workloads.

While the majority of these enterprise workloads are still currently deployed via private cloud, a key finding of the survey is that “rather than looking at cloud as a binary private/public model, the future should be looked at as a hybrid mix.” Not surprising, given the survey respondents’ growing disinterest in the debate of public versus private cloud. More and more, “deployment models are irrelevant, as long as business and regulatory requirements are met.” In my mind, that’s the single largest indicator that hybrid cloud solutions are likely to become the norm.

More of IT budgets are earmarked for a variety of cloud solutions

Among the myths the survey busts: that enterprises are still experimenting with cloud (myth number 1) and that cloud is primarily a technology play (myth number 2).

The reality is that enterprises are investing heavily in the cloud, spending a significant portion of their annual budgets on cloud services—greater than 10 percent, according to the Everest/Cloud Connect survey. This finding aligns with a recent Cisco/Intel report, although the numbers differ slightly.

Our survey shows an even larger total IT spend on the cloud (23 percent today, and an expected 27 percent by 2016). These dollars are being spent on a variety of cloud solutions, indicating that no one approach or size fits every organization, and further supporting the idea that hybrid cloud is the way of the future.


Cloud is seen as a strategic differentiator

Perhaps more importantly, both surveys find that cloud has become highly relevant to business and is not just a technology play (myth number 2); in fact, 83 percent of respondents to the Cisco/Intel report indicate that they believe cloud will positively impact IT planning, and 56 percent of those polled in the Everest/Cloud Connect survey consider cloud as a “strategic differentiator” that drives both operational excellence and innovation.

Security is still part of the conversation … and businesses need help with deployment

Despite the fact that the Everest/Cloud Connect survey purports the myth that “security concerns are history” (myth number 3), it quickly shoots down that point. That’s a good thing; it’s my experience that concerns over security are still seen as the top barrier to cloud adoption. Our survey supports this, indicating that robust security and data protection capabilities are the most critical factors for cloud service providers to succeed in winning business.

It also makes sense that security will continue to be an important part of the conversation as hybrid adoption continues to rise. Why? Data, of course. The possibility of data moving between internally and externally supported systems increases the vulnerability of that data, and organizations will rightfully continue to act cautiously when it comes to protecting sensitive information.

Both survey groups acknowledged the increased challenges and added complexity that cloud brings to IT organizations. The Everest/Cloud Connect survey also points out that cloud consumption is not simple (myth number 4), but fortunately, organizations are realizing that they need external help to deploy cloud solutions effectively.

My conclusion from these surveys: Not only is hybrid cloud certain to become a mainstay of modern data centers, it’s quickly becoming a reality for the enterprise.

Intel IT uses hybrid cloud to tackle workload spikes

A focus on cloud is paying off for us at Intel. Today, 94 percent of new services are deployed to the cloud, and our infrastructure is 80 percent virtualized. Not only that, but our average IT spend per employee is continuing to trend downward, dropping from $14,200 a year in 2010 to $12,900 in 2013. We too are moving to a hybrid cloud model, analyzing workloads and deploying them where it makes the most sense for our business.

At Intel, our IT department uses hybrid cloud hosting to bolster our consumer facing web services, where demand is more likely to spike and drop unpredictably, and private cloud where workloads are more predictable, such as our office and enterprise environments.

And we’re working with business groups to design cloud-aware applications and designing Intel’s infrastructure to be more cloud-centric; both of these strategies are helping to accelerate our adoption of hybrid cloud. Read more about our hybrid cloud effort in our IT@Intel white paper,
Developing a Highly Available, Dynamic Hybrid Cloud Environment.

How’s your hybrid cloud deployment strategy shaking out? I’d love to hear from you.


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