September 16, 2021
IT leaders all over the country and world have their heads in the clouds. Not literally or metaphorically, but technologically. In the 18 months since COVID-19 began sweeping across America, forcing many companies to quickly set up remote workforces, the cloud prevented everything from coming to a standstill.
“Without cloud apps, tools, and services, businesses could not have sent millions of workers home, maintained global supply chains, or shifted entire industry business models in a matter of weeks,” Forrester’s Predictions 2021 Report notes.
The same report says the global public cloud infrastructure market is on track to grow 35 percent to $120 billion this year. That’s adjusted up from Forrester’s previous forecast of 28 percent growth.
Gartner is equally bullish, predicting global cloud spend will grow 23.1 percent this year for a total of $332.3 billion, up from $270 billion in 2020.
“The events of last year allowed CIOs to overcome any reluctance of moving mission critical workloads from on-premises to the cloud,” said Sid Nag, Gartner research vice president. “Even absent the pandemic there would still be a loss of appetite for data centers.
“Emerging technologies such as containerization, virtualization and edge computing are becoming more mainstream and driving additional cloud spending,” Nag added. “Simply put, the pandemic served as a multiplier for CIOs’ interest in the cloud.”
Cloud trends enumerated in Flexera’s 2021 State of the Cloud report affirm that statement. Here are four telling ones:
- Ninety-two percent of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy; 82 percent have a hybrid cloud strategy
- 36 percent of enterprises spend more than $12 million per year on public clouds
- 90 percent of enterprises expect cloud usage to exceed prior plans due to COVID-19
- Respondents estimate organizations waste 30 percent of cloud spend
In Forrester’s estimation, this “aggressive” global cloud migration is having and will continue to have a significant positive impact on enterprise adoption, cloud provider revenue, business value, and more.
Of course, it’s not without risk. Greater cloud demand has put greater pressure on providers and businesses to make sure their networks are stable, scalable and secure. In many cases, that means augmenting operational support, which isn’t cheap. For SMBs that can’t find or afford to hire in-house IT professionals, as is often the case, managed services providers (MSPs) like Mindsight are a viable option — particularly given the breadth and depth of their technology expertise amid the IT industry’s current talent shortage.
While managing overall public cloud spend can be difficult, Gartner analysts have noted that it merely requires some additional vigilance and accountability. Keys to optimizing costs, they suggested, include “making cloud consumers accountable for what they spend,” monitoring “utilization and capacity metrics,” and more.
Despite the challenges, they said, there are clear financial upsides to cloud computing — not least of all “unprecedented visibility into IT costs that organizations can use to drive more efficient consumption of IT. Traditional enterprise data centers are equipped with finite, pre-procured, capital expenditure (capex)-oriented capacity, but a more efficient use of that capacity does not automatically translate into cost savings. The cloud computing model reverses this paradigm.”
As InterVision cloud services CTO Dustin Milberg told CRN.com, cloud is a journey not a destination. Companies that truly get that, he said, will thrive.
“This is because simply ‘getting to the cloud’ doesn’t automatically mean you’ll see improved performance and spending,” Milberg said. “Instead, cloud is an iterative process of optimization and creating security by design to match your company’s goals, both now and in the long term.”
Gartner’s Nag, too, is looking toward the future of cloud — one that he thinks will look very different than it does now.
“It will further evolve from serving pedestrian use cases such as infrastructure and application migration, to those that combine cloud with technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 5G and more,” he said.
“In other words, cloud will serve as the glue between many other technologies that CIOs want to use more of, allowing them to leapfrog into the next century as they address more complex and emerging use cases. It will be a disruptive market, to say the least.”
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