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State of Cloud Services 2018: 13 Trends for MSPs

If the latest trends have taught us anything, it’s that the current state and the future of cloud computing are very strong. More companies are embracing cloud services and infrastructure, and are moving the bulk of their business processes to the cloud. Indeed, 2018 is shaping up to have more cloud transformations for businesses than any previous years.

RightScale, an enterprise universal cloud management company, recently announced the results of the RightScale 2018 State of the Cloud Survey. The survey polls corporate cloud users, including 997 technology professionals at large and small enterprises across a broad cross-section of industries.

We’ve included key highlights from RightScale’s report — word for word — below. In some areas, we’ve added and indicated ChannelE2E’s associated perspectives.

1. Average enterprise cloud spending increases: For enterprises (companies with more than 1,000 employees), 26 percent say they spend more than $6 million a year in the public cloud. Another 26 percent say they spend between $1.2 million and $6 million a year.

2. Enterprises plan to grow public cloud spend: 20 percent of enterprises (companies with more than 1,000 employees) plan to more than double public cloud spend. An additional 17 percent plan to increase cloud spend 50 to 100 percent. Overall, 71 percent of enterprises will grow public cloud spend more than 20 percent. ChannelE2E: This and the previous point seems on trend with additional research that has cloud spending increasing significantly over the next few years.

3. Optimizing cloud costs is top initiative: Optimizing cloud costs is the top initiative again for the second year in a row for all cloud users (58 percent), which is an increase over 2017 (53 percent).

4. Cloud users leverage multiple clouds: Respondents are already running applications in 3.1 clouds and experimenting with 1.7 more for a total of 4.8 clouds used.

5. Enterprises create cloud “centers of excellence” to focus on cloud governance: 57 percent of enterprises already have a central cloud team or center of excellence with another 24 percent planning one. These central teams are focusing on planning which applications to move to cloud (69 percent), optimizing costs (64 percent), and setting cloud policies (60 percent).

6. Cloud architects are on the rise: We see a continued increase in cloud architects (and a slight decline in the number of IT architects). In 2018, 61 percent of architects say they are cloud architects, an increase from 56 percent in 2017. The percentage of architects identifying as IT architects has decreased to 31 percent in 2018 from 35 percent in 2017. ChannelE2E: I believe many MSPs will need to make this shift in their offerings, as less companies deploy onsite servers and infrastructure and move to the cloud. Companies will be looking for cloud experts to help them with their digital transformation.

7. Top cloud challenges in 2018 are security and spend: Security is a challenge for 77 percent of respondents, with 29 percent seeing it as a significant challenge. Managing cloud spend is a challenge for 76 percent of respondents, while a smaller 21 percent see it as a significant challenge. Security is the largest issue among cloud beginners, while cost becomes a bigger challenge for intermediate and advanced users. ChannelE2E: Cloud spending is indeed a concern for many companies. The many businesses that are attempting to help understand cloud spending reveals a market for third-party guidance and tools to manage cloud spending.

8. Public cloud adoption is up: Adoption of public cloud grew for all cloud providers. Across all users, AWS increased adoption from 57 percent in 2017 to 64 percent in 2018; Azure increased from 34 to 45 percent; Google Cloud increased from 15 to 18 percent; IBM Cloud increased from 8 to 10 percent; VMware Cloud on AWS came right out of the gate strongly with 8 percent adoption; Oracle Cloud increased from 3 to 6 percent; and Alibaba Cloud showed 2 percent adoption in its first year being included in the survey.

9. Azure closes ground on AWS, especially in the enterprise: Among enterprises, Azure grew enterprise adoption strongly to 58 percent, gaining ground on AWS at 68 percent. Among enterprises just beginning their cloud journey, Azure is used by 49 percent while AWS is at 47 percent. Azure also saw strong growth in the footprint of virtual machines used by its customers: 44 percent of Azure users have more than 50 VMs (up from 32 percent in 2017), while 59 percent of AWS users have more than 50 VMs (up from 51 percent in 2017).

10. Extended public cloud services grow (IoT, machine learning, container-as-a-service, and more): We look at the percentages of companies using extended cloud services such as relational database-as-a-service (DBaaS) (44 percent), container-as-a-service (19 percent), NoSQL DBaaS (28 percent), machine learning (12 percent), IoT Services (6 percent), and many more. The fastest-growing cloud services year over year are serverless (up 75 percent), container-as-a-service (up 36 percent), and SQL DBaaS (up 26 percent).

11. Private cloud adoption grows across the board: Overall, VMware vSphere continues to lead with 50 percent adoption, up significantly from last year (42 percent). OpenStack (24 percent), VMware vCloud Director (24 percent), Microsoft System Center (23 percent), and bare metal (22 percent) were all neck and neck.

12. Docker, Kubernetes, and cloud container services all grow: Overall Docker adoption increased to 49 percent from 35 percent last year (a growth rate of 40 percent). Kubernetes grew even faster, almost doubling to reach 27 percent adoption. AWS’ container service reached 44 percent adoption (a growth rate of 26 percent from 2017), while Azure’s reached 20 percent and Google’s reached 14 percent.

13. Ansible is shaking up configuration tools: Among all respondents, Ansible grew the fastest and is now tied with and Chef at 36 percent adoption each, followed by Puppet at 34 percent adoption and Terraform at 20 percent. Among enterprises, however, Chef (48 percent) and Puppet (47 percent) are in a virtual tie, while Ansible leads among smaller organizations.

You can read the full report by visiting RightScale here.

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