Cloud Adoption 2020

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The cloud is an amorphous thing, ill defined, and likely meaning something different to different people. We have IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, FaaS, and more. Ultimately, as the joke goes, the cloud is just someone else's computer. That is true, but how you use someone else's computer is the trick. I used to virtually wander around the computer lab in college, finding lightly used machines and opening X Windows sessions on other machines to perform compilations or other resource intensive tasks. I assumed we'd all this regularly at home and inside of organizations by now. Maybe the cloud is the evolution of this idea.

OReilly has a radar where they examine technologies and survey their readers. This year (2020), they conducted a cloud survey in January and published their results recently. There are some interesting numbers in the survey, with over 1000 responses. Of these, 88% reported using the cloud in some sense. I think that makes a lot of sense as email services could account for a lot of usage. Add in the Goole Office suite or 0365, and lots of organizations would use these instead of managing the software themselves.

There were some surprising items for me. While I do expect plenty of organizations use more than one cloud (>50%), it's not evenly distributed. Most people use AWS, even those in Azure or GCP, though that's not symmetrical usage. AWS has the largest market share and plenty of their users don't use other clouds. I expect more organizations, especially larger ones, to start using more than one cloud for reliability in the future, especially as the use of containers and Kubernetes (or some orchestration) grow and make things more portable.

I was surprised that the responses indicated that 25% of the orgs expected to move 100% of their applications to the cloud. I don't know what percentage we have moved at Redgate, but we've moved most things. The other numbers of people moving significant percentages to the cloud are also surprising. Maybe they shouldn't be as many of used to operate on 2-4 year hardware cycles. Cloud computing has become very reliable, so rather than make new capital investments, maybe it makes sense to move to the cloud for more and more organizations.

Of those that aren't moving, the desire to keep data on premises or data security/regulatory concerns dominate. I know plenty of people don't trust cloud vendors more than their own staff. I won't argue that point, but my view is that there are more experts at the cloud vendors, and the tools are better for configuring and managing security than what most companies have. You might be the exception, but staffs turnover and that might not be the case next year. To me, that's a good reason to move stuff to the cloud, use Infrastructure-as-Code to document your setup and keep improving security over time. I'd also point out the financial institutions are among those highly represented in the cloud, and despite the headlines, data security is important to them.

There is a lot of data to view, and it's worth your time to read. Whether you like the cloud, hate it, distrust it, desire it, whatever, it pays to be informed about the state of our industry and be aware of what others are doing. Of course, don't take this as evidence that the cloud is better or worse for your company. As pointed out numerous times, the respondents often don't have complete visibility into what their organization is doing. It's unlikely, IMHO,  that either 0% o 100% adoption is happening, especially in large organizations.

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