A new survey of 400 business and IT professionals conducted by CompTIA, an IT industry association, finds that more than 90 percent of companies are using some form of cloud computing. But what may come as a real surprise is how often those organizations are moving workloads between different types of clouds.
A full 44 percent of companies say they’ve moved either infrastructure or applications from one public cloud to another; 25 percent moved from a public cloud into a private cloud; and 24 percent moved from a public cloud back to systems running on premise.
The reasons cited for making a shift between cloud service providers was a better offer in term of features and pricing (44 percent), security issues (32 percent) and a decision to embrace more open standards (31 percent).
Meanwhile, those that made a decision to shift from a public cloud to an on premise system cited security (61 percent) as the primary reason for making that move. But 27 percent cited integration issues and 21 percent said they did not achieve their cost goals.
Just as interesting, 26 percent said the move to a secondary cloud required more effort than setting up the initial first one. And 33 percent of those expecting to make a similar move have already come to that same conclusion. All told, 40 percent in the next year expect to make a move to another cloud due to security (49 percent), cost (49 percent) or feature set (42 percent).
Despite the dominance of a few major players, all this willingness to move application workloads around confirms that the cloud market is far from settled. Many IT organizations have used public cloud services to build “starter clouds” that allow them to get an application up and running faster. But once that application is ready to run in production there is a tendency to want to run it on premise for security and compliance reasons. In other cases they may choose to move a workload to another cloud service provider that has more enterprise class capabilities.
Of course, things can just as easily go the other way. Price cuts provided by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google may have led to scenarios where the services being offered are being delivered at a cost that is too good to ignore.
No matter how you view it, making the transition to the cloud requires a significant amount of effort. The CompTIA study finds that among companies that have progressed from the first experimental stage to a non-critical use stage, 28 percent rated the transition as requiring significant effort. But among users that have moved from full production completely through to running everything they can in the cloud, 63 percent said the final transition required a significant effort.
Despite those challenges, only 17 percent report they are relying on external service provides for help when it comes to the cloud. But 52 percent say they have hired a cloud architect, while 49 percent said they have invested in acquitting additional cloud skills. And for all the talk about rogue IT services in the age of the cloud, 54 percent say internal IT is involved in the final decision, while 34 percent say IT was consulted before making that decision.
As cloud computing becomes more complex, there will in all probability be more reliance on external service providers. But in the meantime, IT service providers can take some comfort in the fact that most organizations have clearly not made any final decisions as to where most of the application workloads are actually going to run. That can only mean more opportunity for IT service providers as the number of application workloads moving into some type of cloud continues to steadily increase.