State of the Cloud in 2021

Our world is technology driven and predictions are that the future holds more change and development. Despite the rapid introduction of new technology, many applications still need to withstand the test of time for their actual value to be realised and integrated into the broader society. Nonetheless, top organisations are quick to lead the charge in the hopes of capitalising on their newly proven possibilities.

The cloud is one such technology with massive promise and has been heavily invested in by IT leaders over the past decade.

The Cloud: The basics

Cloud computing or cloud storage, shortened to the cloud, is essentially the storage of data such as photos, music, and documents on a computer device that is separate and distant from the computer of a user. Microsoft and Apple first advertised the cloud to the public to demonstrate its use as a form of backup hard drive for storing user information to prevent data loss and the protection of personal and sensitive personal information.

User s can access the cloud from any device connected to the Internet and the inconvenience and damage caused by the local loss of data was drastically lessened. Cloud technology also allows users to use applications like Google Docs to create, edit, and share different types of documents from a web browser on most modern devices. Cloud services recently expanded beyond data storage to computing resources such as improved service availability, security, on-demand computing power, and virtual test environments.

Adoption of Cloud Computing

The cloud was not adopted and implemented instantly, and it took time for users to understand its nature. Additionally, technology companies had to develop the infrastructure and technologies to support the cloud and to take the concept to it full fruition of a fully realised business offering.

The adoption rate of cloud solutions has steadily risen since 2011 and most organisations currently employ some form of cloud computing. Findings from IDG’s 2020 Cloud Computing online study indicate that as of mid-2020, 81% of organisations utilise at least one application as part of their computing infrastructure in the cloud . The figure was 73% in 2018.

Cloud computing adoption has had risks and difficulties, and budget and managing costs are some of the main obstacles preventing organisations from fully utilising public cloud resources. Another issue is time needed in the development and implementation of cloud-based applications. Many organisations are creating purpose-built applications from scratch while others are migrating their applications to the cloud. According to respondents from IDG’s 2020 Cloud Computing online study, 54% of cloud-based applications moved into the cloud.

The Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report, which surveyed 750 IT professionals, “93 percent of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy”, while “87 percent have a hybrid cloud strategy.” Flexera’s report also shows that cloud adoption is continuing to accelerate. Furthermore, “59 percent of enterprises expect cloud usage to exceed prior plans due to COVID-19.”

This accelerated adoption of cloud technology caused organisations to overspend on their cloud budget by an average of 23 percent with expected increases of cloud spend by 47 percent in 2021. These results confirm the findings of the IDG’s study regarding cloud spend being a major concern, and questionnaire respondents estimated that organisations waste 30 percent of cloud spend.

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Despite these concerns, currently, organisations are harnessing cloud computing technology to provide a diverse array of service offerings such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

Cloud IaaS

IaaS primarily provides on-demand storage and computing capacity. IaaS business uses include:

  • Data storage, backup, and recovery
  • Website hosting with on-demand scalability
  • Development testing environments
  • On-demand high-performance computing like analysing Big Data or running complex simulations.

Cloud PaaS

PaaS offerings enable organisations to build additional services or applications on existing cloud platforms. This may include customised cloud applications to amplify the platform’s capabilities and provide tailored solutions for internal use or as a service to other organisations.

Cloud SaaS

SaaS allows web-based applications such as Microsoft Office 365, Google Docs, or any number of email services.

The cloud is a technology that cannot be avoided or ignored, but concurrently, technology organisations are struggling to capitalise on its benefits and uses in terms of ROI. Making the most of the cloud is difficult, but many organisations are finding ways to optimize their cloud spend without decimating their budgets. The array of offerings adds to the power of the cloud as it continues to grow and as more businesses experiment with the new technology and finding ways to maximize its potential.

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