RightScale is a cloud infrastructure management company, so when they have something to say about the current state of the cloud, I listen. After all, if they get it wrong, they don’t just get egg on their face; they see red ink on their bottom line.
Here’s what they see coming up in their latest report, RightScale 2016 State of the Cloud. One of the most striking insights is the growing use of a hybrid could approach.
I find it interesting that hybrid cloud growth is coming largely from public cloud users. As RightScale put it, “We’ve seen strong growth in hybrid cloud adoption as public cloud users added private cloud resource pools.”
At the same time, 77 percent of respondents are now adopting private cloud, up from 63 percent last year. As a result, the use of hybrid cloud environments has grown to 71 percent.
In total, 95 percent of respondents are now using cloud, up from 93 percent in 2015. Of course, RightScale’s data comes from a survey of 1,060 technical professionals across a broad cross-section of organizations that have already adopted the cloud. Still, the growth underlines once more that corporate IT is well into moving everything and the kitchen sink to the cloud.
Looking ahead, RightScale finds “the percentage of enterprises that have a strategy to use multiple clouds held steady at 82 percent with 55 percent planning on hybrid. There was a slight increase in the number of enterprises planning for multiple public clouds (up from 13 percent to 16 percent) and a concurrent decrease in those planning for multiple private clouds (down from 14 percent to 11 percent).”
Specifically, “Among enterprises, the central IT team is typically tasked with assembling this hybrid portfolio of ‘supported’ clouds. The top priority for these central IT teams is to leverage hybrid cloud (29 percent), which aligns with the predominant strategy.”
I take this as a good sign. Companies are trusting their IT staff to drive the growth of cloud rather than rely on top-down initiatives. The top-down approach to technology change management rarely works well. By excluding IT administrators and technicians, a company also ensures that it will face resistance.
That’s also, I strongly suspect, why the hybrid cloud approach is so popular. If you try to move everything IT to a public cloud, you’ll find your IT people understandably reluctant to technically out-source their jobs. With a hybrid cloud, the company can still get public cloud cost savings while retaining internal IT support for in-house private cloud work.
You can also see this in how enterprise workloads are moving to both public and private cloud over the last year.
RightScale found, “The number of enterprises running more than 1,000 virtual machines (VMs) in public cloud increased from 13 percent to 17 percent, while those running more than 1,000 VMs in private cloud grew from 22 percent to 31 percent. In comparison, enterprises with virtualized environments containing more than 1,000 VMs, grew from 42 percent to 48 percent. The growth in private cloud workloads also may include long-standing virtualized environments that have been enhanced and relabeled as a private cloud.”
There was one other interesting finding. RightScale discovered that “enterprises with more than 1,000 employees are skewed toward private cloud while SMBs with less than 1,000 employees lean toward public cloud. 53 percent of SMBs run a majority of cloud workloads in public environments, compared to 32 percent of enterprises.”
In other words, larger companies, which are far more likely to have significant existing data centers, are sticking to private cloud, while small businesses are embracing public cloud’s lower costs. The place in the middle is, of course, the hybrid cloud. It will be interesting to watch how this trend continues in the coming year.