Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth

For a second year now we co-sponsored a survey of over 780 IT professionals to capture current industry perceptions, sentiments and emerging trends in cloud computing along with our investor North Bridge Venture Partners, VMware and other leading technology vendors.  The Future of Cloud Computing Survey results were published a few weeks back and they give us great insights into what’s happening in the cloud today and what’s on the horizon for tomorrow.

Among the findings we found interesting were that 50% of respondents indicated their intent to deploy mission critical applications in the cloud, and that scalability was the most important reason for cloud adoption, followed by business agility.  It seems organizations are accelerating their trust in cloud based solutions and looking to the cloud as a way to manage the data explosion and gain a competitive advantage.

Another interesting observation is that we’re moving past “cloud-washed” solutions (promising great, overhyped, and conceptual benefits) to cloud-formations (delivering great, real world, and measurable benefits).  The top two top cloud-formations areas seem to be in the Backup/Business Continuity and Big Data space:

  • 68% of respondents cited Backup and Business Continuity (BC) as the top two areas ready for and being adopted in the cloud.  We should expect to see this trend continuing and accelerating with users who are looking to consume backup/BC as an internally or externally sourced service.  Data protection and disaster recovery has been a painful, expensive and complicated process for years, with relatively little innovation beyond data de-duplication.   It’s no wonder why users want their Copy Data sent offsite into the cloud for safe keeping and off their expensive production systems.  With new cloud data management services maturing, and able to provide near real time RTO’s for recovery, users can finally trust their backup data to the cloud.
  • 80% of respondents identify big data as the most likely sector to be disrupted by cloud computing.  It’s no surprise that with scalability and business agility cited as top reasons for cloud adoption that big data would be a highlighted as an area for significant investment.   For many, Big Data also means Big Storage which can quickly consume any organizations IT budget.  If users can offload the storage, processing and management of Big Data to the cloud, leverage commodity hardware and utility pricing, then organizations can re-invest in other areas of their business.  Forbes Magazine recently published an article by our CEO on this topic here.

If I had to summarize this year’s survey results in 4 words: The cloud has landed.  Meaning the early lofty hype of cloud computing has dissipated and users are finding real tangible benefits for key problem areas in IT, such as Backup, Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, Test/Development as well as experimenting with big data applications.  Be sure to also check out Michael Skok’s blog about the survey results here and his slideshare deck here.

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