For the Love of Cloud – A Tale of Adoption

(Ping! Zine Issue 59) – Just how fast is the technology known as cloud getting adopted? In January, technology provider TwinStrata sought to answer just that, gauging the market by surveying over 200 people – most of whom were attendees at either AWS re: Invent or Cloud Computing Expo, two of the industry’s leading conferences on the issue.

While the continued strength of cloud adoption was no surprise, the results were nothing less than fascinating. At the heart of the answers, close to 90% indicated they planned to either “implement” or “had already implemented cloud storage – more than any other cloud computing initiative,” according to the company (Twinstrata.com).

With storage playing such a large factor, additional categories analyzed within “the context of cloud computing” included Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), general cloud storage and of course, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Meanwhile, the surprise had to do with the last category – IaaS. It was something that had already been implemented by 59% of those questioned. Shortly behind it was SaaS (57% already implemented, PaaS (36%) and lastly, general cloud storage (50%).

So as one of the least presently adopted platforms, how did cloud storage sound so strong with the 90% figure? The report from TwinStrata (Twinstrata.com) explained it as follows: “Although “only” 50 percent of respondents indicated current usage of cloud storage, an additional 38 percent indicated plans to deploy – resulting in a whopping 88 percent of respondents who have implemented or plan to implement cloud storage – more than any other cloud initiative.” With the 88% rounded off, geez, that’s a high majority.

Adopting the Youngster
What we take from that is yes, cloud is big but it’s still a very young platform – meaning that there are a lot of people who still need to adopt it (especially the storage part). Take none other than the U.S. government’s cloud computing initiative as an example. Just in November of last year, it was reported that the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs had signed a deal worth $36 million with HP and Microsoft to use Office 365 – an offering that features a range of cloud based services. That represents 600 thousand users moving to some sort of cloud-based platform with one sweep of a very juicy brush ($$$). And things don’t end there, in August of 2011, popular cloud provider Amazon launched its own service geared toward government agencies in the form of GovCloud.

Carbon Dating the Cloud
TwinStrata’s analysis went further, really answering the question, “How old is cloud?” Sure, we know it’s young – but just how young? The company asked survey participants how long they’d been using the technology. 25% answered they’d been using it less than a year while another 25% said they’d been using it 2-3 years. And again, the 25% figure popped up for those using it for at least 3-5 years. Meanwhile, just 3% said they currently had no plans to use cloud while 10% said they’d been using them for over five years now.

Oh, and if you’re already tired of stats, sorry, but here’s our last figure for this category…: The remaining 13% said they hadn’t started to use cloud but “plan to.”

The Cloud Gives Back…Right?
And while we know there’s a lot of hype surrounding cloud, there’s got to be a real benefit, right? TwinStrata gauged what survey participants viewed as the primary benefits to adopting the technology.

Here’s how TwinStrata explained one of most highly regarded benefits via its white paper (Twinstrata.com): “In the era of Big Data and regulation, it’s not surprising that nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents indicated that scalability and the need to easily manage growing storage needs represented the greatest value that cloud storage could provide. In fact, more than two-thirds of respondents with plans to implement cloud storage either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “It seems like we are always running out of storage,” a full 20 percentage points more than respondents who currently use cloud storage.”

Scalability, meanwhile, wasn’t the only primary benefit. Also coming in high was the category of “Offsite data protection for disaster recovery” – 68% of current cloud users indicated they most valued this.

Another category was affordability – 46% of respondents currently using cloud saying that they most valued that the technology was “less expensive/easier to budget than new hardware.” Meanwhile, 44% of those currently using cloud most valued the platform’s “simpler maintenance” while 38% cited the platform’s “quicker/easier access to backup/archive files.”

The Rebel Stage
If cloud is so great – why haven’t more already adopted it? As comes with much in life, there are challenges, including those who see some downsides to such storage.

A staggering 61% of entities who had no plans whatsoever to currently adopt cloud cited “security and/or loss of control” as an objection to adopting cloud storage. Meanwhile, just 41% of those already using the platform saw it as a downside. 26% of those with no plans to use cloud also cited “regulatory compliance issues.” Other objections included costs, management, too much invested in a current platform and simply not knowing where to start.

Watching the Kid Grow Up
So overall, what did TwinStrata get from its survey? The company noted that cloud was “rapidly maturing” – especially in the area of cloud storage.

“That cloud storage is the most popular cloud computing initiative initially came as a surprise, but upon further reflection, it’s clear that organizations require immediate solutions to problems such as rapidly escalating data growth and disaster recovery requirements. The ability to implement cloud storage incrementally at first and to grow it over time, provides a unique opportunity for organizations to solve their immediate problems while testing the viability a long-term storage strategy. Our own customer data indicates that after initial success in the first use case (often backup), customers quickly expand their cloud storage implementation to areas such as archive, file and application data as the organization becomes more comfortable with cloud storage and the clear benefits of cost containment and lower maintenance requirements become proven,” concluded the company via its white paper (Twinstrata.com).

Overall, we’ve learned that yes, young things at some point do begin to mature – and cloud appears to be doing so.

 

 

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