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Cloud adoption rates continue to climb

by Lauren Horwitz

Managing Editor, Cisco.com

According to various data indicators, enterprise cloud adoption rates will continue to climb.

The data is in, and it’s pretty conclusive. Companies continue to invest in public cloud architecture. This year, organizations are expected to run 60% of workloads in public clouds, according to 451 Research. Public clouds bring agility, productivity and even improved security to IT efforts.

At the same time, companies have many data center assets that they can’t move to the cloud. Some applications can’t be easily migrated. Other data may be subject to regulatory requirements that prevent that data from residing in public clouds. According to Gartner data, 80% of active virtual machine workloads still run on private infrastructure.

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As a result, companies often pursue a hybrid cloud architecture, where some data and applications reside in companies’ own data centers and some data and apps reside in public clouds. According to Fortune, hybrid cloud adoption rates increased from 19% to 57% in 2016 alone. And according to IDC CloudView, 73% of organizations have a hybrid cloud strategy. So, in fact, the journey to the cloud has really been a journey to a mix of cloud strategies. Companies will have to navigate this hybrid cloud equation for several years to come.

As companies deploy these models, they are finding greater success than they did a decade ago, or even five years ago. That’s because historic challenges like cloud integration have become easier as open application programming interfaces make it easier to integrate applications. Some technologies, including hyperconverged infrastructure and networking virtualization, are finally become more mature and ready for mainstream use. These technologies’ increasing maturity has aided cloud adoption rates.

Companies have also become more strategic in how they map out their public cloud and on-premises architectures to integrate and work with one another. And organizations are making headway on service-level agreements. They have learned how to negotiate more advantageous terms with cloud providers and understand better when to bring in help from consultancies and other third parties. 

Further, advances in integration, ease of use and transparency of cloud services have helped to boost cloud adoption rates. Finally, companies recognize that they may have an IT skills gap in the cloud domain, but they are hiring new talent and reskilling existing workers to bridge that gap. All these strategies are helping to accelerate cloud adoption rates.

At the same time, cloud integration and management remain sticking points. According to a recent MIT/VMware study, more than 60% of respondents say that integrating legacy systems remains a primary challenge. More than 60% of respondents to this same survey use cloud management tools.

As these public cloud environments become easier to integrate, support and manage over the long haul, the multicloud vision as a whole becomes easier to achieve.

For more on this topic, check out our hybrid cloud strategy guide.

Lauren Horwitz is the managing editor of Cisco.com, where she covers the IT infrastructure market and develops content strategy. Previously, Horwitz was a senior executive editor in the Business Applications and Architecture group at TechTarget;, a senior editor at Cutter Consortium, an IT research firm; and an editor at the American Prospect, a political journal. She has received awards from American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), a min Best of the Web award and the Kimmerling Prize for best graduate paper for her editing work on the journal article "The Fluid Jurisprudence of Israel's Emergency Powers.”