By Daniel Goosen, Vice President, DevOps & Cloud Platforms at Entisys360

Recently released, the insights in Rightscale’s latest State of the Cloud Report are as valuable as they are varied. As a follow up to the 2017 survey, security and spend continue to be top of mind for a lot of survey respondents. However, interestingly enough “lack of resources/expertise” appears to have fallen as a concern over the past year (it was among the top 3 overall in 2017) for organizations on the advanced end of the cloud maturity spectrum.

Given that “companies run a majority of workloads in cloud” and “most enterprises have a central cloud team” now, it seems clear that many larger shops are likely getting better and better at their app migration strategies (lift and shift, refactor, etc.) and recruiting/developing/retaining more IT staff to meet stakeholder expectations. That said, while (no surprise) overall cloud usage is up yet again… the share of private cloud relative to public is down. However, in a reversal from the 2017 survey, when it was revealed that “Hybrid Cloud Is the Preferred Enterprise Strategy, but Private Cloud Adoption Fell,” this year’s report shows private cloud adoption growing again “across the board”. One way to look at all of this is to remember that to get started in public cloud, all you need is a credit card. To get started in private cloud though, you need execution. And challenges with sustained execution can certainly introduce fluctuations like these across timelines for organizations, especially with the overall cloud consumption increases we are continuing to see.

So if you’re running your workloads primarily in public clouds and still getting a ton of obvious value out of it, that’s great. But especially if you’re among the 26% of enterprise respondents indicating to Rightscale that they are spending over $6 million per year on public cloud… and if you find yourself looking for ways to better understand and optimize your organization’s cloud costs… then the report highlights some of the private cloud offerings that other enterprises are having success with in achieving public IaaS “look and feel”, while maximizing existing on prem investments, not to mention maintaining proximity to their data lakes, etc. The report also indicates that respondents “underestimate the amount of wasted cloud spend” (self estimated at 30% vs. Rightscale’s estimate of 35%), so there would seem to be no shortage of motivation to really begin prioritizing your cloud spend through people/process/tool enhancements.

Some other data points that stand out, and which largely echo what we are hearing from our own clients lately:

  • Multi-cloud: It’s not just you—almost everyone has a multi cloud strategy these days, whether that means hybrid cloud, multiple public clouds, or multiple private clouds. (The definition of cloud can seem a bit broad at times, but by Rightscale’s definition it yields an average of almost 5 clouds per respondent.)
  • Configuration management: Using infrastructure code practices to deliver features like end to end instance lifecycle automation is where the promise of IaaS and PaaS really begins to pay off. Neither the overall growth nor the products rounding out the report’s list come as any surprise to us.
  • Containers: Are everywhere these days and are being supported by organizations in the basic image format that companies are custom building into their app deployment pipelines… via enterprise container orchestration… and via public cloud managed services. Anecdotally, Entisys360 is finding microservices to be a key driver of containerization for SMB’s and enterprises alike, and their growth trend lines would seem to be moving in lock step.
  • Enterprise central IT teams shift role to governance and brokering cloud: Large organizations especially are having to think more strategically about what apps should migrate to the cloud, how to achieve that on a cost effective basis, and how to be policy driven throughout, in a way that enables—not inhibits—your business objectives. Governance and ITaaS functions such as cloud brokering will likely only grow in importance—in the enterprise and beyond—over time.