On the up: cloud adoption and cloud benefits

Rightscale’s recent State of the Cloud report has shown that as expected, cloud adoption is continuing to rise, year on year. The annual report includes findings based on responses from 930 technical professionals, which show a trend towards cloud being “a given” for SMEs and Enterprises, where the hybrid model reigns supreme.

Adopt, nurture — and reap the rewards

One of the most interesting findings in the report is that the benefits associated with cloud increase over time. So, although the advantages of adopting cloud computing are tangible from the beginning (scalability, faster provision of resources, high availability and faster time to market reported as the most important) the depth and impact of these benefits grow with maturity. Presumably, this is a function of how cloud beds into a business with teams learning to use the technology more effectively, and also the way in which cloud technology itself is evolving.

Adopt, nurture — and feel the fear fade

Conversely, the challenges that cloud presents are reported as becoming less apparent as the dust settles after cloud adoption. Again, it seems fair to assume that this might be in part due to the acclimatisation of a business and its people to the reality of cloud. The most common concerns remain the same — those centred around perceptions of security, staff expertise and compliance — but they have been shown to have less of an impact as time goes on.

IT and business agility in action

With scalability and fast provision of resources coming in as the main benefits of cloud adoption, it’s really interesting to see some figures that show how this is actually happening in the businesses that contributed to the report. Of those businesses that offer a self-service cloud portal, 80% can provision resources in less than an hour — 40% up on the same time last year.

See the benefits for yourself

What difference would it make to your business if you could get the resources that you needed within an hour so that you could scale on demand, get things done without delay, react to your customer’s demands? Help yourself to a free two week cloud data centre trial, and with full support from our team, you’ll be able to make an informed decision as to whether cloud is right for you business.

Archive posts

A look forward, a look back — why *are* businesses using cloud?

Well, January is coming to an end. So no doubt we’ve all had our fill of technology and business predictions for 2015…

I could, for example, state the statistic that cloud spending is expected to increase from $156bn in 2014 to $183bn in 2015, or that by the end of 2017 half of large enterprises will be using hybrid clouds. They’re impressive figures and show what is for us at least (as a cloud service provider!) an encouraging trend.

And? So what?

But do they really mean anything to you as a potential user of cloud infrastructure? What relevance do these uptake statistics have to you, your business, and your decision about the way that you work with IT now and in the future? Unless you’re one to jump on the bandwagon simply because everyone else is (apparently) doing it, I doubt they carry much weight or significance.

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Cloud Industry Forum foresees huge catalyst for cloud adoption in 2015

By the end of 2015, 90% of UK organisations will have at least one service operating in the cloud. That’s what the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) is predicting — demonstrating a significant increase on research published earlier this year that states as many as 78% of UK businesses are now using cloud services.

90%? That’s a big jump

What’s going to drive this apparently drastic shift in the way IT services are deployed and accessed? Aside from what we’d suggest is natural momentum and transition associated with the increasing acceptance and understanding of cloud as a trusted, viable and (actually) beneficial technology, the CIF have identified what it suggests is the “most significant IT refresh of the 21st century to date” — in July, time will officially be up for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Small Business Server 2003.

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Perceived threat (and the reassuring reality) of cloud security

As seems to be fairly common knowledge (and as we’ve reported in the past) one of the major barriers to cloud adoption is the perception that it is less secure than typical IT platforms — even though in reality, the opposite has been suggested to be true.

This disparity between expectation and the reality of cloud security, is again exposed in recent research carried out by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF).

Of 250 IT professionals that were questioned, 61 per cent reported that security is the primary area for concern. This contrasts with a figure of 2 per cent of organisations that actually believed they’d experienced a security issue in the cloud.

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Businesses say that cloud delivers competitive advantage, but…

Recent industry research has shown that cloud is delivering on what must surely be one of its key goals: competitive advantage. The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) reports that 55% of cloud-adopting organisations have experienced an improvement in competitive advantage, while 23% expect to see such a benefit.

The impact on competitive advantage is even more pronounced for SMEs, with 69% seeing a boost in this key metric following their move to cloud. Two other “top of the list” motivations for moving to cloud are also shown to be coming true: 66% have made good on their objective of getting the IT they need more quickly, and 65% have realised improved uptime and reliability goals since taking to the cloud.

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Public cloud computing by proxy?

David Linthicum’s observation (noted today in ZDNet) that private clouds are being used as “points-of-control or interfaces” into public clouds seems to validate a way of working that has been expected for quite some time.

The idea that private clouds can draw upon external (public) compute and storage resources as and when required, would appear to be one that sits well with the concept of the hybrid model of cloud computing. To the end user — in whatever form this might be — the outcome is the same: they get the resources they need in order to get along with what they’re doing.

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Show and tell: here’s how cloud has helped my business — what might it do for yours?

If you’re a regular reader of the 1st Easy blog (or you receive our quarterly customer newsletter) you might have seen my recent post about how cloud has changed the way my business works — we don’t just sell cloud, we use it too.

Although we’re still in the process of shifting the remainder of our own infrastructure to cloud, it has already benefited 1st Easy — and our customers — in many ways. It has (so far) reduced our data centre footprint by 50%, hugely improving our efficiency. My team spends less time slaving away managing physical hardware, and more time helping customers and improving the way we work. We have a more resilient hosting platform for our customers, who also benefit from the freedom of new levels of flexibility in the way they use our resources — flexibility that helps them to do business in the way that suits them best.

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IT and business strategy — with cloud, they’re more or less the same thing

CIOs — and the organizations for which they work — must completely commit to delivering on a vision of IT/business integration that is now close to 30 years old. There needs to be institutional recognition at every level of an organization of the strategic value of IT.”

This statement from Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen in his recent piece for ZDNet, places CIOs at the centre of a struggle between IT and business — where the two are often still viewed as separate entities, CIOs are mediators, attempting to meld technology and operational goals. He describes how IT and business collaboration should ideally be the “default” way of working, and underlines the important role that IT has in the strategic direction of a business.

What’s the answer? We’d like to suggest that this ideal state of integration is something that could be realised via cloud. Indeed, we don’t think that cloud can be viewed purely as a technology — as we’ve written about before, cloud should really be seen as a business strategy.

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Real life experience: our cloud computing customer case studies

No matter how much we write about cloud, extol its virtues and eulogise about its benefits, we’re sure our words will always be greeted with at least a degree of scepticism — cloud is after all, a service that we sell, so how could we be objective about it?

What says it best then, is real life evidence — life with cloud in a living business, and the changes that it brings.

After that long-winded build up then, what follows here is a round up of our cloud case studies. A look at the problems (or “challenges” as we’re supposed to say these days) that our customers faced, along with the why, how, and importantly, the results of cloud computing — what tangible changes became apparent once cloud became a part of the way these companies operated?

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The best way to learn about cloud, is to try cloud — get hands on with a test drive (and a tutorial from Dean!)

What’s one of the best ways of understanding something? Even if I’ve read (or been told) a lot about a particular something, quite often for me it’s when I try it — get my hands dirty, make mistakes, get involved in a bit of trial and error — that everything finally clicks.

If you’re at all curious about how cloud computing might work in practice for your business, you’re welcome to try it with us. We’ll give you a cloud data centre for you to experiment with, so you can see exactly what’s involved in creating a virtual server with a point and a click.

All the while, you’ll have the practical help and advice of Dean (our VMware cloud pro!) just a phone call or email away (plus, if you’d like it, a personal cloud orientation tutorial — just to show you the ropes and get you started).

To get started, head over to our cloud test drive page!