Today’s escalating trend toward increasing IT spending on cloud infrastructure and services isn’t limited to large corporations. A recent survey by QuickBooks found that nearly 70% of small to mid-size business (SMBs) use an average of at least four cloud-enabled apps to run their operations. In fact, researchers at CompTIA, the world’s leading IT association, wrote in a recent report about cloud trends “there is clearly a wide range of benefits, with smaller companies improving implementation” and “mid-sized firms modernizing their IT environments.”
What’s driving this escalation to the cloud across organizations of all shapes and sizes? We see two primary drivers:
- The “Work Anywhere on Any Device” Operating Environment
Researchers predict nearly 2 billion people – more than 40 percent of the global workforce – will be mobile by the end of this decade. These swelling ranks of remote workers push companies to accommodate not only a wider range of working hours, but a more diverse set of workplaces – and an array of mobile devices. Keeping pace with this mega-trend would be impossible with implementing some form of cloud infrastructure, which is demonstrated by CompTIA’s research findings that 91 percent of the companies surveyed claim to be using some form of cloud computing.
- The Requirement for Predictable IT Costs
As CompTIA researchers wrote in their latest report:
Cloud computing “has become a foundational piece for modern IT architecture. Nearly half of all companies claim that 31% to 60% of their IT systems are cloud-based, and many firms are exploring optimization and orchestration to get the most out of the new models.”
Of course they are. With unpredictable technology expenses such as investments in artificial intelligence looming on the digital business horizon, companies across the spectrum of industries – especially SMBs – must manage the IT costs they can foresee as closely as possible.
So, if these drivers mean eventually every business will need a cloud strategy to compete in today’s digital environment, what’s yours? Private or public cloud?
Trick question, of course, as nowadays the best answer appears to be “both,” as in a “hybrid cloud” strategy. But the tricks don’t end there. Because, as Network World contributor Stacy Collett writes in a recent column: “Ask a group of IT leaders to define what a hybrid cloud is, and their answers are as likely to be as diverse as the companies they work for.”
Jargon surrounding hybrid clouds abounds, Collett says. So, in her article, she turns to Ritu Jyoti, research director at the global analyst firm IDC, for a definition: “Hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment that uses a mix of private cloud and public cloud services with orchestration between the platforms allowing data and applications to be shared between them.”
For example, Jyoti offers, a company might be testing an app on public cloud or private cloud and running actual production on a different cloud, “Or they’re running backup and recovery on public cloud but actual production on private cloud. Or they’re running the actual production application on a hosted private cloud but moving data on public cloud to run some analytics on top of it. There’s a separation of use case, but it’s essentially for the same workload.”
Still confusing? Well, hang on. We haven’t even introduced the term “multicloud” yet.
Whether or not your head is spinning, fret not. As we’ve counseled in the past, assessing cloud computing requirements takes a deliberate, phased approach, which accounts for needs that vary by industry and the markets you serve. We can help with this long-cycle process – and, meantime, fill any cloud skills gaps you have. Meantime, visit the cloud section of our blog to brush up on related technology issues.