Public cloud strengthens its grip as enterprise adoption accelerates

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The software-defined data center is seeing widespread adoption with more workloads, ranging from routine functions to mission-critical tasks, shifting to public clouds, according to a new survey from HyTrust Inc.

HyTrust, which is partly funded by the CIA’s venture capital unit and works with government agencies and public firms, said that adoption of software-defined data center technologies is accelerating rapidly. The study, which was published June 16, found that over half of technology, healthcare and life sciences firms have already shifted to the cloud. In addition, some 47 percent of financial services and insurance companies said they have also moved key production workloads to the cloud.

According to HyTrust President Eric Chiu, the potential of cloud and virtualization technologies has always been undeniable, but concerns over security and the processes required had held up adoption. But not anymore.

“The challenges are being overcome, and every kind of function in every kind of industry is being migrated,” Chu said. “There are some holdouts, to be sure, but they’re now the exception.”

Despite the encouraging signs, HyTrust warned that there are still many challenges to overcome before it can be said the software-defined data center has gone mainstream. Lingering concerns over security are one, while persistent fears of cyber attacks are another. In addition, skeptics argue that effective monitoring and visibility into cloud infrastructure remains a problem, as does “infrastructure-wide security and control”.

Nonetheless, adoption of software-defined data center technologies is likely to accelerate further this year. The survey found that 82 percent of financial and insurance firms are planning to move more workloads to the cloud this year, followed by 81 percent of information research and analysis firms, 79 percent of tech enterprises, and 77 percent of healthcare, life sciences and pharmaceutical companies. Not all industries are so keen however – just 53 percent of retail companies said they’re planning to shift more workloads to the cloud in 2016.

Surprisingly, the survey raised a few eyebrows when it comes to these companies’ choice of vendor. Microsoft’s Azure cloud was listed as the top public cloud service by 32 percent of respondents, while 24 percent backed VMware Inc.’s vCloud Air service. Meanwhile Amazon Web Services (AWS), long considered to be the top dog in the public cloud, was only backed by 22 percent of respondents. The findings show that Microsoft Azure is making steady inroads among financial and manufacturing firms, though AWS remains the top choice in the healthcare and research industries.

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