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Hybrid IT becomes a reality as cloud goes mainstream in the UK

Archana Venkatraman

About 69% of organisations in the UK have adopted at least one cloud-based service, according to a research from Cloud Industry Forum (CIF).

The research highlighted that the most organisations (86%) operate an on-premise server room or datacentre and continue their investment in on-premise IT while using a cloud-based service.

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This means a typical enterprise in the UK has a hybrid IT estate comprising a range of cloud, on-premise and hosted services, according to the not-for-profit industry body.

The research revealed that more than two thirds (69%) of enterprises use cloud services for at least one area within their organisation. This signified a compound growth of 44% since the first survey was conducted by CIF in 2010.

In 2014, 15% will reported a primary cloud-based IT strategy and a further 15% remained entirely on-premise, according to CIF. But 70% of enterprises have a hybrid IT infrastructure. Alex Hiltson, CEO of CIF, said this means most companies will continue to invest in on-premise IT alongside cloud solutions. 

“What is clear is that Hybrid IT is the new norm. There is no doubt that over time we will see the complexities of monitoring and managing hybrid IT environments subside as interoperability improves, commercial policies and practices for data migration simplify and technical standards mature.

“What our research has found is that IT is now firmly evolving as an enabler of business agility and transformation rather than a cost centre to deliver applications and devices,” Hilton said.

The rate of cloud adoption in the UK was at 15% per annum, the report revealed.

The study, conducted in Q3 2013 on 250 senior IT and business decision-makers, also found that satisfaction with the use of cloud-based services remained high at 91%.

“Cloud is now recognised as a credible deployment model within the context of an organisations IT strategy,” said Andy Burton, founder of CIF.

“But it is not seen as the only viable model and most organisations foresee the continued use of on-premise IT alongside cloud-based services for the foreseeable future resulting in the sustainable prevalence of Hybrid IT estates,” he added.

Another finding that suggested that cloud services have gone mainstream was that 68% of respondents currently using cloud computing services said that they plan to extend the use of cloud platforms within their organisations over the next year.

Flexibility of cloud platforms as a delivery model was cited as the most common primary reason (13%) for its adoption. Operational cost savings (9%), 24/7 service dependence (9%), scalability (8%), lack of in-house skills (8%) and low cost of adoption (8%) were cited as other major drivers for cloud adoption.

Among those who had adopted cloud computing, 33% reported increased flexibility of access to technology as an achieved business objective. This was followed by improvements in uptime and the reliability of IT at 31%, reductions in the risk of data loss at 30% and improvements in IT service levels.

Almost 60% of respondents said they piloted and tested the cloud services before committing to a contract.

“This is the fourth year in a row we have seen increased roll-out and deployment of cloud-based services,” said Burton. “Only 4% of the entire sample of 250 organisations said they had no intention of using Cloud-based services in the delivery of their IT strategy."

But despite going mainstream, data security, privacy and dependence on the internet access remained some of the biggest concerns around cloud.

Complexity of migration, data sovereignty concerns and time taken to migrate were cited as other big concerns of cloud computing.


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