Key IT Trends Prospective Cloud Adopters Should Know

Organizations across myriad sectors continue to swap on-premises data storage solutions for cloud services. RightScale recently connected with more than 1,000 information technology decision-makers to survey the enterprise cloud landscape. Approximately 95 percent of respondents attested to managing applications in the cloud or testing Infrastructure-as-a-Service options. This figure underscores a stark new IT reality: Cloud computing technology is not a nice-to-have but an essential fixture for businesses searching success in the modern marketplace. 

Those just joining this bandwagon may be tempted to implement and scale up as quickly as possible to catch early adopters in their respective spaces. However, before reaching out to service providers and mobilizing internal resources, firms should first evaluate the latest implementation options, as well as the various trends affecting the enterprise cloud computing arena. Here are some of those key industry shifts:

Hybrid cloud installations remain dominant
When adopting new enterprise technology, organizations most often value flexibility above all else, as internal infrastructure must be able to change and grow with the business. The rise of the hybrid cloud configuration reflects this desire. Instead of working with one type of cloud installation, adopters are implementing multiple varieties, including public and private clouds. Approximately 85 percent of the IT leaders who participated in the RightScale survey said their organizations had hybrid strategies in place. Why?

Flexibility is the most common rationale. However, supporters of the hybrid model also find it eases data and infrastructure management work, and offers better security, according to the International Data Group. Of course, this strategy complicates deployment but most adopters find the initial hardship well worth it in the end when IT teams can pair applications with the cloud types that best suit their processing and security needs.

Hybrid cloud strategies facilitate optimal IT flexibility.
Hybrid cloud strategies facilitate optimal IT flexibility.

Containers grow in popularity
Analysts following the progression of the cloud believe containers represent the future of the technology, ZDNet reported. These self-contained digital caches support workloads like virtual machines, hosting applications and the data they generate. However, there is one major difference. While each virtual machine contains a complete operating system with drivers, kernels and shared libraries, containers run via a single shared OS instance, meaning they take up much less space in the cloud. This further increases the potential for computational scalability and simplifies the application management process. Additionally, because containers share an OS, IT personnel can generate them in microseconds. Virtual machines, on the other hand, take minutes to configure.

Major cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft now offer container-based products, and enterprises are purchasing them consistently, despite the new networking, security and storage concerns that come with these offerings, CIO reported. Once these issues are ironed out, container adoption rates will likely rise once more.

Lift and shift applications gain steam
While cloud technology offers many benefits, adopters continue to struggle with one central sticking point: migration. Moving enterprise applications, mission-critical and otherwise, is no easy task, even in the era of cloud computing. Businesses must often rewrite applications created for on-premises data storage systems so they function in the cloud, an arduous task that consumes considerable time and resources, according to TechTarget. The lift-and-shift migration model is the solution to this costly conundrum.

This strategy involves replicating an existing application in the cloud without redesigning its base framework. Lift-and-shift is the ideal method for companies that need to move key on-premises applications causing extreme cost overruns or are developing rock-solid disaster recovery protocols. Vendors are offering more and more effective lift-and-shift tools, opening up the cloud to prospective adopters with extensive existing workloads that want to avoid rearchitecting their applications.

Organizations serious about swapping on-premises servers for cloud services should consider these trends before making the move, as they offer a look into the future of enterprise cloud computing. Additionally, it is wise to pair such shifts with more expansive IT modernization efforts, for data storage and processing is but one facet of the organization's interconnected technological backbone.

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