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IT Priorities 2019: Cloud migrations emerge as top investment area for IT decision-makers

This year’s Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT Priorities research shows a growing appetite among UK IT leaders to move more of their IT estate and applications to the cloud

Moving to the cloud will be the number one investment priority for UK IT decision-makers this year, according to the 2019 Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT Priorities survey.

Of the 387 UK-based IT decision-makers who took part in the poll, 35% named migrating to the cloud as their top IT spending priority for the year ahead, when asked which “broad IT initiative” their company plans to implement in 2019.

A deeper dive into exactly what enterprises plan to do in the cloud revealed a growing appetite among respondents for increasing their use of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) technologies over the next 12 months.

For example, when asked how they expect their compute capacity requirements to change during 2019, 80% of respondents said they expected their use of public cloud and IaaS services to increase, while 20% said they thought theirs would remain the same.

On the PaaS front, the results were broadly similar, with 83% expecting their use of it to increase this year, with the rest saying they expected it to stay as it is.

This is broadly in keeping with the enterprise cloud adoption trend predictions made by a number of analyst houses for the year ahead. Market watcher Gartner’s data suggests the public cloud services market will grow by 17.3% in 2019 to be worth $206.2bn.

The IaaS sector is pegged to remain the fastest-growing part of the cloud market, as enterprises continue to wind down their datacentre estates and swap their on-premise compute capacity for cloud-based resources.

According to Gartner’s figures, the IaaS market is on course to grow by just over a quarter (27.6%) this year and will be worth $39.5bn, while the PaaS market is set for similar growth of 23.7% to $18.8bn.

It is also Gartner’s view that, by 2022, 90% of organisations will source their IaaS and PaaS from the same provider, as their cloud adoption strategies mature.

“Demand for integrated IaaS and PaaS offerings is driving the next wave of cloud infrastructure adoption,” said Sid Nag, research director at Gartner.

“We expect that IaaS-only cloud providers will continue to exist in future, but only as niches players, as organisations will demand offerings with more breadth and depth for their hybrid environments.”

Interestingly, in the TechTarget research, IaaS and PaaS were two of just three technology areas that enterprises said they had no plans to decrease their use of this year. This tallies with another prediction by Gartner that IT spending patterns will shift over the coming years because of cloud.

According to the firm, 28% of IT spending will have moved to the cloud by 2022, up from 19% in September 2018, when Gartner went public with its prediction.

When Gartner made its prediction of 19% in September 2018, it also claimed that IT spending on cloud-based IT offerings would grow markedly faster than the amount being ploughed into more traditional, on-premise technologies.

Read more from the IT Priorities survey

Michael Warrilow, research-vice president at Gartner, said this is because there are now plenty of compelling and proven reasons for enterprises to prioritise cloud expenditure over investing more of their budgets in legacy, on-premise infrastructure.

 “Cloud shift highlights the appeal of greater flexibility, and agility, which is perceived as a benefit of on-demand capacity and pay-as-you-go pricing in the cloud,” said Warrilow.

“The shift of enterprise IT spending to new, cloud-based alternatives is relentless, although it is occurring over the course of many years due to the nature of traditional enterprise IT.”

Aside from PaaS and IaaS, hyper-converged infrastructure emerged as the third and final area that respondents to the TechTarget poll said they had no plans to decrease their use of in 2019, with 67% saying they planned to do the exact opposite this year.

This chimes with figures put out by analyst house IDC in early January 2019 about how the demand for integrated systems, which includes hyper-converged technologies, is faring across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). According to its data, sales of hyper-converged technologies were up 70.9% during the third quarter of 2018, bringing in $348m.

Eckhardt Fischer, senior research analyst at IDC, said: “Hyper-converged continues to see increased adoption in the EMEA market as companies make use of these systems’ simplicity, allowing IT managers to shift their focus higher up the stack.”

Curiously, however, when asked elsewhere in the TechTarget poll about the technologies they intend to deploy in their datacentres this year, just 16% indicated a preference for hyper-converged infrastructure.

As in previous years, server virtualisation topped that part of the poll, with 45% of IT decision-makers naming it as a type of datacentre technology they plan to deploy in 2019. Cloud monitoring software and configuration management software came in joint second place (32%), while IT service management tools and managed private cloud services tied for third place.

The results form part of a wider poll, featuring responses from 1,578 IT decision-makers from across EMEA who appear to have slightly differing priorities to their UK counterparts.

While migrating to the cloud made their top three broad IT initiatives to embark upon in 2019, ramping up their use of IT automation emerged as the top priority overall for IT decision-makers across EMEA.

From a datacentre perceptive, the IT buying priorities of UK IT decision-makers are well aligned, with server virtualisation, IT service management and cloud monitoring technologies emerging as the top three technologies in which organisations plan to invest.

Read more on Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

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