The more a company uses cloud computing, the more forgiving they are of its alleged foibles. While concerns about security and reliability have hampered cloud adoption, more experienced cloud companies suggest the second concern may be overblown.
In fact, they're so confident, according to a new Microsoft-sponsored 451 Research survey, that companies that have "broadly implemented" cloud services are inclined to pour over 75% of their applications into the cloud.
What do they know that the cloud laggards don't?
More cloud, less concern
As TechRepublic highlighted several years back, security and reliability have kept cloud from going mainstream.
As such, it's fascinating what familiarity with the cloud does to a company's squeamishness about downtime. It's not that companies are unconcerned, per se, but rather that they recognize the true impact of an hour's worth of downtime:
Part of this may derive from the reasons for going to the cloud in the first place. The top reason cited by survey respondents is a desire to "improve technology quality."
While that's a bit awkward a reason to parse (Whose technology quality? And what do they mean by quality?), many companies apparently (and correctly) feel that a cloud vendor like Amazon Web Services (AWS) will do a much better job of providing infrastructure, for example, than their own IT departments can.
In fact, IT called out this reason for moving to the cloud far more than their marketing departments did (23% vs. 15% of respondents). Apparently, IT knows more about its deficiencies than its internal customers do.
So, maybe the insouciance derives from a feeling that cloudy downtime is better than homegrown downtime? It's hard to imagine many corporate IT departments that can out-deliver Amazon when it comes to site reliability.
Of course, as Layeredi CEO John Grange tells me, it could simply be a matter of the relative size of the responding companies: "Seems like smaller orgs would have broader adoption and less critical workloads, meaning less impact from downtime."
Regardless of the answer, one thing is clear: the more a company puts into the cloud, the more they want to continue doing so.
Have cloud, want more
While there is Etsy and its ilk that pull back from the cloud to run more applications in their own data centers, expecting to gain control and lower costs, the more common scenario runs the other way.
As highlighted in the survey, not only are such cloud adopters relatively unconcerned by downtime, they're also increasingly inclined to put even more applications into the cloud:
Between the evaluation phase (15%) and broad implementation (29%), clearly a significant conversion happens, as companies grow comfortable with running in the cloud and expect to run over 75% of their applications there. While familiarity is said to breed contempt, in the case of the cloud, it's clearly breeding comfort.
Get yourself some cloud
This is a great reason to start at least experimenting with cloud services today. No, you're unlikely to dismantle a mission critical application that's happily running in your data center to push it to AWS, but there's no need to do that. Start small with a new, non-mission critical application.
Over time, my bet is that you, like these companies in the 451 Research survey, will discover that the cloud is a very welcoming place. It's only scary when you're an outsider.
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Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.