The Shift to Cloud Services Is Happening Faster Than Expected

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By: Jeff Bertolucci|

Enterprise IT professionals are well aware of their ultimate migration to the cloud, but for years, people thought the transition would be steady and gradual. Apparently, that isn’t the case.

According to the sixth annual Uptime Institute Data Center Industry Survey, which examines the big-picture trends shaping IT infrastructure delivery and strategy, the move to cloud services is accelerating. The Uptime Institute’s February 2016 poll of more than 1,000 data center and IT professionals predicts that an even faster shift to the cloud will occur over the next four years, reports ZDNet.

Cloud Services, Here We Come

Half of senior executives reportedly expect the majority of their IT workloads to live offsite in the cloud or in colocated data centers in the not-too-distant future. Roughly 70 percent of respondents expect that shift to happen by 2020, and 23 percent think it will happen by next year.

“A major shift in IT’s role in the enterprise is imminent — or has already happened, unbeknownst to the enterprise IT professional,” the report warns.

The Driving Force? Budget Cuts

Unsurprisingly, dwindling enterprise IT budgets (a persistent trend over the past five years) are the driving force behind the migration to cloud services. In fact, survey respondents report that 50 percent of enterprise budgets and 55 percent of enterprise server footprints are either flat or shrinking. Although some enterprise organizations are getting modest budget hikes, less than 6 percent are seeing significant growth, the study found.

This doesn’t mean all enterprise data center workloads are suddenly being spirited away to the cloud. The report cites “sunk investments, human nature and organizational resistance” as three key factors that will sustain traditional enterprise IT departments in the near future.

The Steady Rise of Third-Party Providers

In recent years, the Uptime Institute survey respondents have reported that some percentage of their IT assets live outside their organization’s data centers, such as in the cloud or in a colocation facility. For instance, in 2016, 75 percent of respondents were using some form of off-premises computing.

However, that percentage is probably closer to 100 percent, as “many of the respondents may be unaware of initiatives outside of their purview, and end users might even purposely circumvent traditional IT channels and barriers,” the report found. This sobering conclusion shows the growing need for enterprises to adopt comprehensive bring-your-own-device plans to address the popular employee practice of using consumer devices at work and storing potentially sensitive business data on public cloud sites.

Cloud Services Are Good But Could Be Better

According to the survey, respondents are generally satisfied with their third-party providers, but outsourcing is not a panacea when it comes to cost and service outages. Specifically, 40 percent of respondents say they’re paying more for colocation services than originally planned, and nearly one-third have experienced an outage at a colocation vendor site.

As IT assets are distributed across myriad locations and platforms, IT departments must migrate away from their role as a slow-moving centralized service provider.

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About The Author

Jeff Bertolucci

News Writer

Jeff Bertolucci is a Los Angeles-based journalist specializing in technology, digital media, and education. His work has appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance, InformationWeek, PCWorld, Macworld, The Saturday Evening Post, The Los Angeles Times and many other publications.