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The State of the Cloud in Enterprises

20 Dec 2016 by Jessica Hall

This article was originally written March 10, 2016, and has been updated to bring our readers the most up-to-date technology information.

In the past year, cloud adoption rates have increased 14% as enterprise companies search for solutions that enhance cost efficiency, app performance, resource management, speed to market and scalability. While there are many benefits to transitioning applications to the cloud, it’s a complex process that demands thoughtful planning and comprehensive consideration around application allocation, portability, compatibility, security and more.

Migrating to the cloud

Relocating existing applications can be a complicated process.

With massive and immovable architecture at their core, applications that weren’t built for cloud computing can often hurt productivity with their regular performance issues. To resolve these disruptions, a partial or complete redesign is typically required.

When moving to the cloud, another common challenge is in the sheer size of enterprise applications that use and generate large amounts of data and are often terabytes in scope. Transferring an in-house system to the cloud requires that you consider network performance and latency when selecting the solution used to migrate.

Before making the change, your company should address the following:

  • How can we move massive amounts of data for development and test environments to the cloud?
  • How can we avoid hefty data transfer costs when keeping on-premises environments in sync with those in the cloud?
  • How can we ensure that data is migrated securely and protected when it lives in the cloud?
  • How can we manage burst capacity without incurring prolonged maintenance and infrastructure costs?

How portable are your valuable assets?

Another caveat to making the move is that you might have to forfeit some value-add items along the way.

If you’re looking to make a move, your company will need to determine if these value-add items deliver more benefits than the provider you’re looking to employ. Bear in mind that you can effortlessly move basic functions, such as compute and storage, to a new service, but more complex services require further consideration.

Some additional things to consider:

  • Will current and future cloud environments be able to interface?
  • What is the scope of the project, and should we prioritize its complexity over the cost?
  • Will the enhanced performance of the new environment outweigh the cost of the project?
  • Will we be locked in, or can we move and integrate among environments as needed?

Connect your hybrid future with everything else.

API maturity and availability are also major factors to consider.

APIs provide connections that help create hybrid, automated opportunities via application-to-application messaging. When connecting software and platforms of various categories, your success depends on the development and growth of the cloud platform API. Your goal of linking these services and solutions may falter if API availability and maturity also fall short.

When choosing a Platform as a Service (PaaS) vendor, ensure that they’ll provide the following:

  • SLAs for availability and performance
  • Guidelines for version compatibility for APIs
  • Clear policies for maintenance
  • Policies for version-management 

Hit the ground running with Azure

According to a study by RightScale, as of January 2016, 23% of enterprise respondents indicated that they were using Microsoft Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to run applications, up from 19% the year before.

A chart depicting the percentage of current enterprise usage of public cloud infrastructure worldwide in 2015 and 2016.
Current enterprise usage of public cloud infrastructure and platform services running applications worldwide by service was 56% in 2016 and 50% in 2015 for Amazon Web Service (AWS), 23% in 2016 and 19% in 2015 for Azure IaaS, 17% in 2016 and 15% in 2015 for Azure PaaS, 11% in 2016 and 10% in 2015 for VMware vCloud Air, 6% in 2016 and 9% in 2015 for Google App Engine (PaaS), 6% 2016 and 7% in 2015 for Google IaaS, 6% in 2016 for Oracle Cloud (IaaS), 2% in 2016 for DigitalOcean.

cloud services provide a hosted application server with the necessary storage, networking and integration infrastructure enterprises need to successfully run Windows applications. If you decide to make the move to the cloud, you will need a cloud service provider that is fast, efficient and secure. With Azure, you get integrated tools like built-in templates and managed services that easily integrate into your existing IT environment, but still run on a worldwide network of Microsoft-managed datacenters across 30 regions.

Concerned about protecting your sensitive data on the cloud? Azure offers complete cloud security solutions, including:

  • Security Development Lifecycle addresses data security breaches from initial planning to launch.
  • Azure Active Directory ensures that only authorized users can access crucial data.
  • Azure Virtual Networks block unauthorized traffic via private network connections

Last year, Microsoft also announced an all-in-one tool, Azure App Service. This one-stop shop for Azure integration was designed to help solution providers build customized cloud-based applications. Azure also offers migration plus services to ensure providers receive premium assistance during the relocation of sensitive data.

Is the cloud right for you?

Contact one of our cloud specialist to find out if Azure is the right fit for you. We'll help you devise a plan that is customized to your current business needs.