News & Insights for the AI Journey|Monday, April 22, 2019
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More Production Workloads to the Cloud, Survey Says 

A vendor specializing in secure software-defined computing claims broad adoption of the emerging IT infrastructure platform in enterprise datacenters as more workloads ranging from routine functions to mission-critical tasks shift to public clouds.

HyTrust Inc., which works with public companies and government agencies and is partially backed by the CIA's venture capital unit, reported in an industry survey that adoption of software-defined datacenter infrastructure is shifting into high gear. Asked which critical server workloads have been virtualized, the survey released June 16 found that more than half of technology companies along with healthcare and life sciences companies have moved to the cloud. Meanwhile, 47 percent of the financial services and insurance sectors said they have moved key production workloads to the cloud.

"The potential of virtualization and the cloud was always undeniable, but there was genuine concern over security and skepticism regarding the processes required," HyTrust President Eric Chiu noted in a statement. "The challenges are being overcome, and every kind of function in every kind of industry is being migrated. There are some holdouts, to be sure, but they’re now the exception," Chu argued.

HyTrust, Mountain View, Calif., acknowledges that plenty of challenges remain before the software-defined datacenter goes mainstream. Among them are lingering concerns, particularly in the financial, technology and telecommunications sectors, about data security and ongoing cyber threats. Skeptics also remain concerned about effective monitoring and visibility into cloud infrastructure along with "infrastructure-wide security and control," the survey found.

Nevertheless, HyTrust and other software-defined datacenter proponents argue that this could be the year that a range of industry sectors migrates additional workloads to the cloud. According to the HyTrust survey, 82 percent of respondents from the financial and insurance sectors said they planned to move more workloads to the cloud, followed by "information research and analysis" firms (81 percent), tech enterprises (79 percent) and healthcare, life sciences and pharmaceuticals (77 percent).

The retail sector that has been under constant attack from hackers was less enthusiastic, with only 53 percent of those polled saying they plan to shift more workloads to the cloud this year.

As for platforms, Microsoft Azure Cloud (NASDAQ: MSFT) was listed as the top public cloud service (32 percent) followed by VMware vCloud Air (24 percent). Only 22 percent said they were going with market leader Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN). Microsoft Azure appears to be gaining more traction in the financial and manufacturing sectors, according to the HyTrust survey, while AWS was the top choice of about one-third of respondents in the research and healthcare sectors.

Among the reasons for the anticipated workload shift to the cloud is wider use of data encryption. The survey found that many industry sectors are either encrypting entire workloads or all production data in a workload.

Indeed, as more distributed applications are delivered via micro-services, other industry surveys have found that persistent storage is widely seen as a bigger challenge for adoption of application container infrastructure, outpacing previous concerns about data and infrastructure security.

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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