One-fourth of corporate data now in the cloud

Survey of database sites conducted in partnership with Amazon Web Services reveals preference for a hybrid approach to cloud.

One-fourth of corporate data is now in the cloud. It appears we've crossed the chasm when it comes to cloud, and there is growing confidence among enterprise managers that their data is safe and readily accessible from cloud providers. At the same time, there are many challenges ahead in making it all work -- especially in terms of integrating cloud services into core applications and operations. 

These are some of the conclusions coming out of a recent survey released by the Independent Oracle Users Group, in partnership with Amazon Web Services. I helped design and author the survey as part of my work with IOUG and Unisphere Research/Information Today, Inc. 

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Photo: Joe McKendrick

The survey of 202 data and IT managers finds that on average, one in every four bytes of enterprise data is now
managed by public cloud providers. Close to half of new database projects are going to public cloud providers. At the same time, there will still be a large mass of data remaining on-premises. Two-thirds, 65%, say it's likely they will be moving into hybrid cloud arrangements over the next one to two years.

In the survey, we asked for details about respondents' most recent public cloud deployment -- its purpose, architecture, depth, and challenges. Interestingly, these projects were targeted at replacing existing functionality, versus supporting something entirely new. While cloud has typically been seen as a platform applied to  greenfield initiatives, a majority of managers, 58%, indicate that cloud is being applied to upgrade or replace existing systems. Forty-one percent state that their latest cloud project was to  add new functionality.

In terms of architecture, 34% of the cloud projects studied were built on a hybrid model, while 33% were built on databases hosted entirely in the cloud (such as an Infrastructure as a Service provider). Twenty-three percent of the cloud projects were associated with Software as a Service applications. 

We asked about the challenges encountered with the cloud project. Networking and connectivity issues led the list, cited by 37%. Another 35% encountered skills issues with implementing and managing the service. Another 35% indicated there were performance issues with the cloud service they were using. 

We also asked how deep into the enterprise these cloud projects are going. While cloud implementations in the early days were typically for edge-of-enterprise functions-such as organizing sales communications-cloud is now moving closer to the core of enterprises. A large segment of public cloud data projects, 41%, went to directly supporting production applications. Interestingly, for 27% of the group, this was their very first public cloud deployment for a database function.