Top Five Ways the Enterprise is Putting the Cloud to Work

Jane Shurtleff

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As each year comes to a close, it is human nature to reflect back on those things that had a major impact on us. Companies and industries are no different. This December, there are a number of interesting reports available on what has shaped up to be “the year of the cloud.”

One of these reports, the “State of the Market Enterprise Cloud 2014” from Verizon, gives an excellent retrospective of just how far businesses have come in embracing cloud computing. According to the 451 Research findings in this report, 71% enterprise cloud customers surveyed are running external-facing production applications in the cloud, up from 60% in their previous year’s report.

Turning it over to the cloud

2014 has seen a bumper crop of enterprises transitioning their workloads and IT services to the cloud. According to Verizon, the following top five enterprise uses for clouds are driving this transformation:

1. Simplifying Operations
Cloud computing has streamlined processes for end users and enhanced internal efficiencies, while lowering operational costs.

2. Better and Faster Resource and Service Delivery
In the spirit of “own the base and rent the spike,” clouds provide on-demand access to scalable resources at a low-cost, allowing companies to address business demands quickly and efficiently.

3. New Ways to Work, Connect and Collaborate
Cloud software, such as hosted VDI and file sharing tools, enable enterprise users to work, connect and collaborate from any device any time, from virtually any location.

4. Improved Ability to Acquire, Share, Analyze and Act on Data
Enterprises rely on clouds for storing and analyzing the increasing volume of information in today’s digital world. Cloud-based big data analytics will enable companies to act on consumer trends more quickly and innovate to stay competitive.

5. Faster Rollout of New Innovations to Capture New Opportunities
Companies are using cloud computing as a foundation to create new and innovative applications and business processes more efficiently and bring them to market faster.

We see all of these uses as compelling reasons for our own enterprise customers’ adoption of various private, public and hybrid cloud deployments. We also believe that the way enterprises are using clouds within their businesses today could provide a crystal ball into what to expect from enterprise cloud adoption in the future.

Beyond the cloud horizon

In 2014, enterprises invested their workloads heavily in cloud-based infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions. According to the 451 Research survey, 41% of the enterprises surveyed are using IaaS for mission-critical workloads. Seventy-two percent of the enterprises surveyed are expected to put more than 50% of their workloads in the cloud (including SaaS) by 2017, an increase of 58% from 2014.

This massive usage of cloud services to either replace or augment enterprise IT infrastructures and processes parallels some of our own findings in a recent Dimension Research survey. This research showed that 74% of the enterprises expect a larger budget in 2015 for cloud services, with 91% deploying new cloud offerings over the next 12 month.

In addition, 77% of these companies plan to deploy multiple clouds within the same timeframe. Many of our cloud customers are riding that curve, deploying hybrid clouds and multiclouds using the Equinix Cloud Exchange.

Reflecting back over 2014, it’s clear that cloud computing has rapidly reached mainstream status. Looking beyond the horizon, it appears the cloud could be an even more disruptive enterprise technology than any of us expected.