A lack of resources and expertise is now the top enterprise cloud challenge, according the 2016 State of the Cloud report from RightScale, a cloud computing management solutions provider. Of the 1,600 technical professionals surveyed, 32% said a lack of resources was their top challenge, surpassing security for the first time.
"We've got more people coming into the cloud, especially enterprises, and they are bringing more workloads to the cloud," said Kim Weins, RightScale’s vice president of marketing, in an interview with CIO Dive. "IT is taking on the role of the central broker of cloud services, and they need more resources to do this stuff. That catapulted the issue to the number one item on the list this year."
Enterprise IT teams no longer see security as their primary cloud challenge as cloud service providers offer more security capabilities, Weins said.
More companies are integrating the cloud into the IT environment, in both the public and private cloud. Private cloud adoption increased from 63% to 77% year over year. In total, 82% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy, holding steady from 2015.
"When we look at workload, both public cloud and private cloud workloads grew. The number of people that have a lot of private cloud workloads grew faster," Weins said. "I suspect that's because a lot of people have existing virtualized environments that are cloud enabling them and really starting to use them like a cloud."
The report also found significant DevOps and Docker growth in the enterprise.
DevOps adoption rose to 74%, with enterprises reaching 81%, said Weins. “Docker also had strong growth, with adoption more than doubling...another 35% have plans to use Docker.”
In terms of cloud priorities for the year, RightCloud found what enterprises are focused on depends on their level of cloud maturity. Companies that are in the earlier phases of cloud adoption are focusing on moving more workloads to the cloud, while companies that are more mature in their cloud adoption are looking to optimize what they already have.
That optimization has a lot to do with cost savings, said Weins.
"As enterprises move more workloads into the cloud, costs go up. Some of those companies that are further along the maturity scale are starting to get very large bills from cloud providers,” she said. “Some companies are seeing six-figure, even seven-figure monthly bills, and there's a lot of room for optimization there."
"Cloud cost management provides a significant opportunity for savings, since few companies are taking critical actions to optimize cloud costs, such as shutting down unused workloads or selecting lower-cost cloud or regions," Weins said.
Who will win the cloud provider horse race?
When it comes to the cloud provider competition, the action is really on the public cloud side, said Weins.
“We saw Azure make up some ground on AWS this year in terms of percent of people that are adopting," she said. "Amazon still has a strong lead, but the gap is beginning to narrow over the last couple of years."
Overall, the report found AWS is used by 57% of respondents, which was unchanged from last year. Enterprise adoption of AWS grew from 56%, while adoption by smaller businesses fell slightly from 61% to 58%.
Last week, a Morgan Stanley analyst said he thinks that Amazon Web Services may eventually lose Apple as a client, because Apple is working to build 2.5. million square feet worth of data centers to house the company's offerings, like iCloud storage and iTunes. If Apple leaves AWS, it would reportedly take about 10% of the company's profits with it, worth about $10 million.
But Weins doesn’t think that poses much threat to the cloud giant in the long run. "AWS is growing very quickly, and it’s very profitable as well," she said. "I'm sure Apple is a large customer, but it seems unlikely that any single customer is going to make a big impact on where AWS is going now."
Solving the resource challenge
In terms of addressing the resource challenges that RightCloud says are now so critical to the enterprise, Weins said, CIOs can help by focusing on internal training and skills improvement.
"You’re starting to see the cloud providers offer more training, more certifications, so that people can come up to speed on that," she said. "We’re seeing companies want to leverage those services as a way to help boot strap their own internal resources in a tight labor market. In some cases, they do want to outsource it more and have managed services, but often they really see it as a stepping stone to gaining expertise internally."