New research is signaling a major uptick in cloud deployments in the coming years, to the point where the majority of enterprise workloads and applications will no longer reside solely on in-house infrastructure.
And perhaps even more interesting is the way in which digital services will be created, managed and utilized as the cloud becomes the new normal.
One of the latest reports on cloud consumption comes from McKinsey & Company, which recently polled some 800 IT executives to gauge their expected rates of uptake. The numbers indicate that cloud revenues will more than triple by 2020, jumping from today’s $127 billion to nearly half a trillion dollars. Perhaps most significantly, the bulk of this growth will likely come from large enterprises, which so far have been hesitant to commit to the cloud due to security risks and their ability to maintain adequate application support using dedicated, on-premises infrastructure.
This report backs up an earlier study by 451 Research that indicated the percentage of cloud-based applications across the enterprise industry would climb from today’s 41 percent to 60 percent as early as 2018. As well, 38 percent of organizations now have a cloud-first policy that directs developers to at least consider the cloud before launching any apps into production environments. As the enterprise delves more deeply into scale-out architectures in support of Big Data, IoT and other heavy data loads, expect cloud deployments to accelerate for applications like data analytics and business intelligence.
But while the floodgates may be opening up, there still seems to be a large discrepancy between what IT executives hope to achieve in the cloud and what is actually feasible. According to Gartner, the public cloud services market is expected to grow more than 17 percent in the coming year, topping $200 billion, but as analyst Sid Nag notes:
“…the aspiration for using cloud services outpaces actual adoption. There's no question there is a great appetite within organizations to use cloud services, but there are still challenges for organizations as they make the move to the cloud. Even with the high rate of predicted growth, a large number of organizations still have no current plans to use cloud services."
This is caused primarily by issues like security, migration, integration and other operational concerns that tend to arise only after resources have been provisioned but before they are put into actual service.
Increasingly, however, cloud users are finding that rather than simply supplementing legacy infrastructure with scalable, flexible clouds, it is much better to define entirely new operational paradigms that take advantage of the cloud’s unique attributes. In this way, organizations adopt entirely new business models that are more appropriate to the mobile, service-driven workflows that are increasingly out-performing traditional economic models.
An example of this trend is SAP’s new Build prototyping and user research tool. As a fully cloud-based development environment, Build allows organizations to craft end-to-end UXaaS (User eXperience as a Service) environments under the SAP HANA cloud platform. In this way, even non-technical knowledge workers can design apps, test them, draw user feedback, and then launch a fully cloud-facing service that aims to enhance consumers’ interaction with the enterprise’s digital presence.
It isn’t hard to imagine a day when the cloud and IT infrastructure become synonymous. What is more intriguing is the idea that neither users nor service providers care about the underpinnings of the digital environment they are engaged in since both have become consumers, not providers, of physical infrastructure.
The only things that will matter are the costs and performance levels of their respective services.
Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.