Like ice cream, there are many flavors to cloud

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The latest “State of Cloud Adoption” survey by RightScale shouldn’t surprise anyone – if anything, the report mirrors what storage infrastructure company Avere Systems reported last summer in their own survey – hybrid configurations continue to dominate the IT landscape.Many flavors of cloud

Not surprising that the majority saw some move to the cloud – 93% are using cloud for at least one project –  and not surprising that the C-suite has been a driving factor at some quarter of those enterprises.  But the hybrid story clouds the picture, so to speak.

Flavor Of The Month

In the ice cream world, vanilla continues to be a perennial favorite, by about 50% according to the IICA (International Ice Cream Association – yes, it exists).  In the cloud world, Amazon Web Services is still the dominant “flavor,” at 57%.   Is that because of features or is it historical?  One could argue either way:  vanilla was the first ice cream “flavor” and to a large extend AWS was the first heavily-promoted public cloud.

AWS the vanilla serviceBut neither vanilla nor AWS are poised to push the others out any time soon.  Chocolate and strawberry remain favorites – Azure increased its share to 12% – doubling adoption compared to only a year ago, likely due to the popularity of Microsoft in business environments.   And don’t expect Google to disappear either – their share is harder to quantify but at least equal to Azure.

Named private clouds have traction as well:  vSphere is used by over 50% of the 1,000 IT professionals surveyed in this report.

In fact, the survey found that only a few companies standardized, while most found attractive features in multiple cloud offerings.  In other words, companies liked to pick and choose, even looking to “match” cloud offerings to the applications they were driving to the cloud.

Off the shelf flavors and multiple toppings

Lots of choicesRightScale’s survey underscores what had been a surprise in last year’s Avere survey, that hybrid configurations not only continue but are growing in popularity.  This isn’t the result of staged cloud adoption, it’s deliberate, and at all levels of companies, from small ones right up to major enterprises.

Companies are taking a close look at cloud, security, and their own infrastructure investments and deciding which applications to keep on-premises and which to move to the cloud.  They are creating their own private clouds to try to better leverage existing infrastructure.  And they are increasingly looking at hosted private clouds, especially when security is an issue.

This means, ultimately, that companies are combining cloud offerings, cloud providers, and on-premises infrastructure.  The cloud didn’t just swallow-up all managed services and on-premises applications as predicted.  Instead, customers are taking a more pragmatic approach than what was originally predicted.  The issues are manifold:  security and breaches, the fear that public clouds are subject to intelligence-gathering, and a concern that once outside their firewalls, companies might not control data which they consider sensitive or significant.

The bottom line is that companies have decided it is they, not the vendors, who need to be in control of their infrastructure.

Customers see choice as benefitDifferent tastes mean choice is fundamental

The array of ice cream flavors offered by vendors is mirrored in how companies approach cloud.  How many people order two scoops of vanilla when they could have one of vanilla and one of Rocky Road?  It’s clearly not about price:  companies are beginning to navigate through the marketing-speak to see where cloud will truly benefit them, as well as pairing up different offerings to get the infrastructure that suits them best.

Vendors who understand this, and view platform as more of a delivery mechanism, less of a differentiator, are more likely to thrive in this new environment.  It’s no longer a question of whether or not you offer cloud, but how you offer it, whose cloud or clouds you support, and what options you can provide.  It also behooves vendors to see that on-premises infrastructure will co-exist with cloud strategies, and provide solutions that don’t penalize one for the other.

It should be clear to anyone reading this blog that such choice is fundamental at Barracuda.  Companies looking at cloud options for storage, backup, archiving, etc., can also take comfort that Barracuda spans all these different delivery vehicles, particularly when they want to combine aspects of on-premises with virtual and cloud-provided solutions.

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