As we look ahead to the new year, how have perceptions around cloud computing changed? What is holding organizations back and which areas hold the most promise?
To answer these questions, we asked a select group of thought leaders and industry experts for their perspective on the leading inhibitor to cloud adoption and the most promising use case for private cloud. Read on to hear what they had to say.
Scott Lowe, Partner and Co-Founder, ActualTech Media
Leading inhibitor to cloud adoption: For private cloud, I believe that many people already believe that they run a “private cloud” by virtue of the fact that they have a private data center. There is a lack of understanding of what differentiates a private data center from a private cloud environment. Many organizations do not have mature enough processes in place to consider automation and orchestration, which are key requirements around the implementation of a private cloud.
Most promising use for private cloud: With private cloud done right, I see end user and business unit enablement as a key use case. By making the infrastructure more flexible and versatile, IT can focus on its own value add activities rather than continual provisioning and management tasks.
Mark Leslie, Managing Director, Leslie Ventures
Leading inhibitor to cloud adoption: Today’s dev/test and native cloud applications comprise a fast growing but small subset of enterprise workloads. In order to rapidly increase cloud adoption an effective migration path for legacy applications will be needed. The true potential of the cloud can only be unlocked when a simple path is paved to transition traditional, virtualized environments to open, elastic cloud platforms.
Most promising use for private cloud: The use cases for private clouds are the same as for public, but with the security of keeping them behind the enterprise firewall. A platform that removes those boundaries and offers a set of complementary options – a fully functional Infrastructure-as-a-Service enabling the user to dictate whether a given application should be supported via virtual machines or containers, if it should be hosted on-premises or wholly in the cloud – will gain critical mass. History has repeatedly borne out that a solution that promotes flexibility and choice is most often the option consumers gravitate towards.
David Marshall, vExpert and Author of VMblog
Leading inhibitor to cloud adoption: Read almost any survey report or analyst brief and security will more times than not still pop up as THE leading inhibitor. It continues to be a strong barrier according to many different industry surveys taken over the last couple of years, with nearly half of the respondents expressing concern over how secure their data would be in the cloud. While security remains an inhibitor, that also means vendors still have an opportunity to distinguish themselves as THE partner to trust to help get a company across the finish line.
Most promising use for private cloud: I think governance or regulatory requirements become a key use case for a company making the decision to stick with a private cloud. Regulatory requirements where certain countries require application data pertaining to people in a locale remain within the country, and therefore control where a cloud lives.
Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director at THINKstrategies
Leading inhibitor to cloud adoption: Lingering confusion over the types of cloud solutions available and finding the best fit for specific business and technical use cases.
Most promising use for private cloud: Storing data, performing analytics and administering enterprise applications for critical business processes that require a high level of security, reliability and performance.
William Toll, ProfitBricks
Leading inhibitor to cloud adoption: Fear. Fear of change. Fear of needing to re-architect applications, networks and security models. Fear of changes for finance. Fear of needing a new team or the hiring of a large number of consultants for large projects. As we cross the chasm and cross over to the world of the early majority, we are seeing some IT leaders rise to any challenges and drive their initiatives forward (quickly realizing there was nothing to fear); it’s the laggards that we must all support and inspire to move forward.
Most promising use for private cloud: Private clouds can be used to meet regulatory or industry compliance requirements. It’s important to note that there is no doubt, that by 2020 ALL private clouds will have connections to their public cloud companions, as both private and public clouds will have a place to co-exist for years to come.
Joe McKendrick, Analyst and Author
Leading inhibitor to cloud adoption: It’s still concerns about security, as it has been since the very beginning. But I think those fears are lessening, as companies become familiar and comfortable with the cloud. If anything, many are recognizing that using the cloud may be more secure than relying on an on-premises data center, as cloud providers are attentive about keeping up with the latest standards and techniques. Many of the big hacks we’ve heard about in recent times — Target, Sony — have involved internal, on-premises systems, not cloud.
Most promising use for private cloud: The capability to balance the way organizations use their IT resources. Servers, storage and applications may sit underutilized in one department, while another department strains its systems to their maximum limits. Look at the challenges of development and testing, for example — not just for application developers themselves to be able to spin up capacity to test new applications, but also for business users to test new products or campaigns. The ability to perform constant testing, unrestrained by all-too-busy IT systems, opens the door to much greater innovation.
Trevor Pott, Consultant and Writer for The Register
Leading inhibitor to cloud adoption: The answer to this depends on whether you are talking about Americans or non-Americans. For Americans the answer is fairly straightforward: cost. “Cloud” doesn’t mean “cheaper than running it yourself.” Usually it is quite the opposite. If we’re talking about non-Americans, the leading inhibitor to cloud adoption is trust. American corporations can only be trusted as much as their government, and that isn’t much lately. Despite what American companies, startups and their own government would like to believe, data sovereignty is a very real issue.
Most promising use for private cloud: Control. Having control over costs and control over data is what drives private cloud adoption. Cost control matters because the majority of the world’s businesses are NOT enterprises. They are SMBs. More to the point, they are SMBs that typically operate in economies and environments that can only rationally be called “boom and bust.” Subscription services for business critical functions don’t go down well. There is a lot of value in being able to purchase IT equipment and software during the boom and sweat the assets through the bust.
Mohit Aron, Founder and CEO of Cohesity
Leading inhibitor to cloud adoption: I feel there are three inhibitors – cost, security, and bandwidth limitations. The importance of these inhibitors varies across different adopters.
Most promising use for private cloud: Improved manageability by offloading infrastructure maintenance complexity to a cloud vendor.
Ashu Garg, General Partner at Foundation Capital
Leading inhibitor to cloud adoption: With so much noise in the market today – public, private, hybrid, managed hybrid, etc. – confusion has become the default state. Plagued by “paralysis by analysis”, many organizations are choosing to sit on the sidelines until the dust settles.
Most promising use for private cloud: The sweet spot for on-premises clouds are highly active, non-bursty applications that need predictable performance. The ideal solution would provide the end-user with the flexibility to place a given app on the resource, be it a self-service internal cloud or a seamlessly integrated public cloud, that best matches its requirements.
Ajay Gulati, Co-Founder and CEO of ZeroStack
Leading inhibitor to cloud adoption: Building a cloud is not a common skill set. Most enterprises do not have the in-house expertise to build a cloud. Hiring a team for that is not viable for companies who are not operating at a very large scale. Existing solutions require several hardware and software components to be stitched together.
Most promising use for private cloud: The biggest use case today is to provide a self-service cloud to developers and IT, who can use it to build and test their applications. IT can use that platform to deploy applications and build an agile application lifecycle. Enterprises can also consolidate several different workloads on a single cloud platform instead of using different silos for different use cases.