A new benchmark survey indicates companies aren’t just dabbling in cloud computing anymore. They’re using it as a mainstream tool for running their businesses.
Consider some numbers from the 4th annual “The Future of Cloud Computing” report: Respondents reported a 72% adoption rate of software-as-a-service offerings – a five-fold increase in four years. About 7 in 10 respondents claimed they’ll invest in moving more business applications to the cloud in the next year or two. And 49 percent of respondents reported they either want to or already run their company in the cloud.
“What comes across to me loud and clear from this survey is that even more businesses are no longer thinking, ‘Why Cloud?’, but will focus the next 12-24 months figuring out, ‘How do I execute a long-term cloud strategy?'” said Mike Schutz, general manager of cloud platform marketing at Microsoft.
The survey was conducted by North Bridge in partnership with Gigaom Research. It’s based on data from 1,358 respondents and counts 72 collaborators, including Cisco, Microsoft and Equinix.
A particularly revealing statistic from the survey indicates 65% to 70% of companies claim they’ll move more business applications to the cloud in the next year or two. At Equinix, we regard this as strong evidence that the cloud has moved beyond a demonstration environment and is emerging as a solution for a wide range of business problems.
Still, even with the rapid growth and high migration rates reported in the survey, respondents expressed many concerns about the cloud:
- About half (49%) said security concerns were the top thing keeping them from the cloud, a higher percentage than last year.
- Roughly a third of respondents cited regulatory compliance challenges as an obstacle, and 31% cited privacy – a 6% increase from 2011.
- Concerns over the expense of transitioning to cloud have tripled, from 6% in 2011 to 18% in 2014.
As concerns about security, compliance and cost continue to rise, other worries are fading. Among the survey’s findings:
- Reliability concerns dropped from 30% to 16% over the last 4 years
- Interoperability concerns have dropped by 45% over the last two years, though 29% of respondents are worried about vendor lock-in
- Roughly ¼ see network bandwidth as an inhibitor.
Many of the concerns about transitioning to cloud services are addressed by new solutions such as Equinix Cloud Exchange. The exchange lets companies directly connect to multiple cloud services over highly flexible, software-defined connections. Companies can, for example, connect to AWS and Microsoft Azure simultaneously. They can choose cloud services best suited for particular applications and workloads, as well as adjust their consumption of those services as business needs change. That flexibility makes some of the biggest worries expressed by survey respondents obsolete.
For instance, by connecting to multiple clouds, one dimension of lock-in-lack of vendor choice-is eliminated. Also, direct connections to cloud services can reduce the cost of transferring data out of leading cloud platforms. That’s seen in published rates from AWS and for Microsoft Azure. The reduced cost of exporting data via direct connections, as compared with traditional networks, makes it far more cost-efficient to transfer data between applications running in different clouds.
The two leading concerns expressed by survey respondents – security and compliance – are also alleviated by Equinix Cloud Exchange. That’s because the Cloud Exchange transmits data between your IT infrastructure and your cloud provider over direct, private connections. This private connection is established within highly secure Equinix facilities, meaning your data faces a much lower risk of exposure and tampering than if it were travelling across public IP networks.
The survey also indicates worries about bandwidth, while decreasing, remain persistent. Equinix Cloud Exchange addresses bandwidth shortages by enabling companies to scale and adjust the throughput and performance of their cloud connections to support various applications and workloads. Customers have a range of bandwidth options to choose from for each virtual circuit (up to the capacity of the physical port). Plus, they have the flexibility to temporarily provision for peak traffic for applications without having to pay for peak-level capacity all of the time.
Both the “The Future of Cloud Computing” survey and what Equinix sees inside our data centers point to the same set of overarching trends: The reasons to migrate to the cloud are growing more compelling, while the obstacles continue to fall. Also, the new technologies enabling cloud-things like Equinix Cloud Exchange-are making it easier for companies to think beyond how to transition IT functions to the cloud and instead consider how to transform their businesses using cloud computing to the fullest extent possible.