A Reality Check on the Cloud: a new NTT Communications report unveils challenges and potential

A never-done-before study on the way organisations use the cloud reveals challenges and opportunities for Australian enterprises. Whether organisations decide to run business applications in house, move to a private cloud, or run them on a public cloud, they share the benefits and frustrations of the new world of cloud computing. NTT Communications surveyed nearly 1,600 ICT decision-makers in 9 countries to reveal in-depth data about the way the cloud is used, and variations by country and industry.

The key messages for organisations are that there is no definitive answer for how to best place applications on the cloud, and to move forward steadily to take advantage of the cloud’s enormous potential, but to not expect easy solutions. It is combined approaches, using multiple cloud environments, that offer enterprises the flexibility needed for the range of requirements for apps, functionality, governance, compliance and industry-specific concerns.

While NTT Communications expected some degree of clarity from the survey of how best to use the cloud, a very different picture emerged: the reality of the cloud in 2015 is as complex as the on-premise world it was supposed to replace.  

In Australia, NTT ICT commissioned a similar study with Hewlett Packard, with comparable findings: the best cloud solution for application workloads varies dramatically according to context. Matthew Allen, Product Development Manager, explained, ‘Organisations are starting to adopt a hybrid approach to IT, involving solutions from multiple providers. But this is being tempered by the complexity of managing and maintaining workloads across disparate providers and environments. What this makes evident is that NTT ICT’s experience working across platforms with multiple solutions and strong customer support is highly relevant for today’s marketplace.’

To download this report and its lessons for your organisation, visit: http://www.cloudrealitycheck.com

Cloud Reality Check Image2No clear guidance

It’s clear from the study that ICT decision-makers view the cloud as a reliable platform for business-critical applications, and the vast majority expect to migrate apps from their corporate data centres to some type of cloud infrastructure in the coming years. But there was no clear single home identified for particular applications, and whether they belonged in the cloud or in data centres. Instead, a range of variables is in play, including the nature of the application, its maturity, the industry sector, and company location. 

Meanwhile, respondents did feel comfortable with core business applications being located on cloud infrastructure, challenging a common assumption. Organisations use various types of cloud. Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) is the leading cloud platform (chosen by nearly half of respondents) while Platform as a Service (Paas), chosen by less than 10%, fell far behind.

The challenges of the cloud

The survey also uncovered key challenges of the cloud in 2015. This was the reality check: 41% found managing cloud vendors confusing, and the process of migration more trouble than it’s worth. Nearly the same number thought the implementation of the cloud is falling short of potential, and nearly half felt that moving into the cloud means losing control over their application estate.

An equal challenge is for organisations to adopt and manage a bimodal strategy: how to maintain a system and apps while developing new functions and innovation. For the management of corporate data centres, 55% respondents spend more time on maintenance than development; for cloud applications, the figure was 44%

Key findings

On average, ICT decision-makers in the survey support an average of 100 applications, with variance according to industry: financial services and telecoms use the most, private healthcare and construction and property the least. They use an average of just over four separate cloud platforms.

Other key findings:

  • Decision-makers clearly recognise future expansion of the cloud. Over one-quarter of corporate ICT budgets, 28%, is expected to be spent on cloud services by 2018. The vast majority of respondents, 80%, expect the number of individual cloud platforms in use by their organisations to grow over the next three years.  
  • Some 10 percent of apps will never migrate to cloud – this appears particularly the case in highly regulated and industrial sectors. 

  • The cloud rivals corporate data centres in terms of its potential to scale up in line with demand, as well as its ability to integrate with other areas of the business. 

  • Service providers need to provide smoother migration paths and greater assistance to complex organisations making the journey to a digital business. Disillusionment has set in and the process of migrating to the cloud is still more trouble than it’s worth for many ICT decision-makers. 

  • Security-sensitive apps still aren’t moving to the cloud – nearly one-third of ICT decision-makers voiced security, compliance and governance as reasons for not migrating to cloud. 

About NTT Communications Corporation

NTT Communications provides consultancy, architecture, security and cloud services to optimize the information and communications technology (ICT) environments of enterprises. These offerings are backed by the company’s worldwide infrastructure, including leading global tier-1 IP network, Arcstar Universal One™ VPN network reaching 196 countries/regions, and over 150 secure data centers. NTT Communications’ solutions leverage the global resources of NTT Group companies including Dimension Data, NTT DOCOMO and NTT DATA.