Public Cloud Trends - 2017 research study shows steady cloud growth


ESG recently released a new research report: 2017 Public Cloud Trends by 

Bill Lundell, Director of Syndicated Research, and me. (Subscription login is required to read the report.)


I won’t spoil the fun by repeating everything in the report in this blog, but some observations show that public cloud computing growth continues unabated.

Over a third of the respondents state they have a cloud-first policy—where a new app is deployed using public cloud services unless someone makes a compelling case to deploy it using on-premises resources. A cloud-first policy is most prevalent in younger companies (age of org, not employees).

On top of that, the SaaS usage trend continues its uptick, and more than 20% of the apps are deployed as SaaS by 62% of the respondents. This is an increase from 38% in 2013.


So is everything on the up-and-up, or are we getting closer to being very cloudified?


Not so. There are some interesting observations in the survey. The most popular use cases for IaaS or PaaS are to serve as a repository for backup and archive data, running production apps, and serving as a disaster recovery target, followed by test and dev. 


I view this as meaning that there's still plenty of greenfield space for IaaS and PaaS. There’s plenty of upside for other use cases that are not on the top of the survey responses. For example, about a third of respondents use it as a primary storage for files. I’m sure there are concerns such as regulatory compliance or other aspects of “data gravity,” but there are opportunities for the service providers to be a repository for ever more production data.


What are the trends and changes I see in the future? Multiple cloud service providers are used by three-fourths of respondents. Furthermore, we see strong correlation between agile app development and PaaS usage. As agile development becomes more popular in leading edge organizations, this means that PaaS usage will follow.


However, I believe that the distinction between IaaS and PaaS is blurry. A pure IaaS provides plain infrastructure services such as compute, storage, and networks. But cloud providers generally have moved beyond that and now provide a rich set of cloud services—whether they be container orchestration, data analytics, or machine learning. Does that mean IaaS has become PaaS? Or does it mean that PaaS has become subsumed within IaaS? I would rather not get stuck in choosing or redefining terminology, and prefer to look at these services holistically as a cloud service.


Armed with this data, we’re about to embark on additional research to better understand how organizations treat a multi-cloud strategy, or perhaps a hybrid cloud strategy. We need to better understand what inhibitors prevent ever more cloud adoption, whether there is a potential backlash if they adopt cloud services too quickly without understanding the appropriate measures for service assurance, and how these decisions apply to different workloads. Furthermore, there is a middle-ground, where organizations choose to use a colocation provider as a place to gain many public cloud provider benefits while retaining on-premises style control. We'd like to better determine who chooses that path and why.


This is an exciting time to understand these issues.



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Topics: Cloud Services & Orchestration