Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Saturday, August 8, 2020
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Shift to Hybrid Cloud Quickens, Survey Finds 

A new industry survey throws some cold water on bullish forecasts that have public cloud adoption doubling by the end of 2016. Rather, the Open Data Center Alliance said it found a continuing preference among its members for internal cloud services but growing interest in hybrid clouds deployments.

Enterprises seeking to keep their options open while avoiding vendor lock-in "will look to solutions that blend public and internal resources over the next few years," the Alliance concluded in an annual survey of its members conducted late last year and released this week.

The survey also found growing interest on software-defined networking as the pace of cloud deployments picks up.

Nearly one-quarter of the group's members said they had shifted the majority of their operations to internal clouds by the end of 2014. In 2012, the total was only 10 percent. Conversely, public cloud adoption among alliance members was either flat or declining depending on the percentage of operations running on public clouds.

Along with ongoing security concerns, another possible explanation for the preference for private cloud deployments is members' focus on infrastructure-as-a-service and other service models that leverage existing internal cloud technologies.

"External surveys show that public cloud adoption is still heavily weighted toward the [software-as-a-service] model, which may not be as pressing a focus area for many" survey respondents, the Alliance found.

Part of the growing interest in hybrid clouds has to do with shifting resources like archival storage to an external service as a way to free up resources in a private cloud. Hence, "resource pooling" was most often cited as cloud feature currently being adopted (62 percent) or would be over the next six months (72 percent), the membership survey found.

While compute infrastructure continues to be the leading usage model, the survey also identified a surge of interest in implementing virtualization technologies, especially software-defined networking. The Alliance's usage model was recently upgraded to include network functions virtualization, the survey noted. SDN is expected to top members' list of priorities by the end of this year.

Respondents were asked to select from a list the usage model that would guide their purchasing decisions in the coming year. While SDN ranked second to computer IaaS, the number of members selecting SDN technology jumped by more than 32 percent over the previous year as enterprises look to virtualize their internal infrastructure.

Security monitoring registered the second highest increase among the list of usage models at more than 21 percent.

The overarching trend identified in the survey is confirmation that enterprises are embracing the hybrid cloud model. The survey found that more than 80 percent of respondents are planning to use hybrid solutions. "This confirms trends seen in the larger

marketplace, and emphasizes the need for improved interoperability between clouds and cloud vendors," the group stressed.

The Open Data Center Alliance, which is focused on future datacenter requirements, said it conducted its member survey in December 2014. Alliance members include providers and users of cloud services. Among the service providers are Capgemini, CenturyLink, China Unicom, Intel Corp., NTT Data, SAP and Verizon Terremark. The organization also includes major cloud adopters such as BMW, Deutsche Bank and UBS.

Among the Alliance's goals is avoiding "vendor lock-in," a concern that partially explains the group's seeming distain for public cloud services offered by hyperscale operators like Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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