Most businesses have reached ‘intermediate or advanced level’ cloud usage

Sunshine breaking through clouds.
Most businesses have reached ‘intermediate or advanced level’ cloud usage
Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

More than half (54%) of organisations are either at an intermediate or advanced level of cloud usage, according to the sixth annual cloud usage survey from data management Denodo.

Cloud-enabled business transformation has become a priority as organisations face global supply chain issues, cybersecurity threats, and geopolitical instability. While organisations of all sizes and vertical markets are turning to the cloud to ensure flexibility and resilience in the face of these challenges, small to medium sized businesses have driven investment in cloud infrastructure services to support workload migration, data storage services and cloud-native application development.

Cloud-based data warehouses, data lakes, and lake houses played a prominent role in 2021, and was cited as both a top initiative by respondents (48%) and a top use case (57%). Hybrid cloud continues to be the deployment model of choice as it has been since the 2020 survey. However, this year, the gap between hybrid cloud and private cloud is dramatically wider. Hybrid cloud was chosen by almost twice the number of respondents (37.5%), compared with pure public cloud, at 20%. This year, it is clear that hybrid cloud is less a “choice” but a “necessity” and indicates that companies are not completely getting rid of their on-premises systems even if they have increased their cloud footprint. Companies have good reasons for deploying this mixed deployment style, regulatory compliance among them, which may be why they are opting not to simply abandon on-premises systems when the technology landscape changes.

As it relates to these survey respondent companies being data-driven, nearly four in five respondents (79%) cited complexity of data integration, data accessibility, and accommodating different data formats as the primary barrier to becoming data driven followed by the lack of analytical skills and resources to turn raw data into insights (62%). Data scientists struggled as well. Often cited for spending more time finding, accessing, and preparing data than they do analysing it, more than 2 out of five (44%) were unable to find, access, and analyse half or more of their data after adopting cloud technologies and only 17% were able to leverage 75% or more of their data.

The role of IT in the cloud modernisation journey has also changed. In 2020, the focus for tech professionals was choosing the appropriate cloud provider and managing the migration. But in 2021, these IT teams are more focused on receiving the training needed to take their organization’s cloud systems to the next level (as per 31.3% survey respondents), while other activities such as selecting cloud provider and plan for cloud migrations still remain important. Companies are using cloud for various use cases with the most popular being reporting and dashboards, and self-service BI and ad-hoc analytics, however respondents anticipate a shift to data virtualisation, data preparation, data quality and blending in the future.

These use cases paint a vivid portrait of where many organisations are with respect to their cloud journeys. First, it reflects the fact that the business stakeholders within organisations are ready to get better use out of their data, and second, it shows that organisations are now looking to maximise their cloud systems with robust cloud-based repositories. Having migrated key workloads to the cloud, the next step for many companies is to find a place to store the new data they then begin to acquire. Modern data-management approaches like logical data fabric enable organisations to seamlessly accommodate legacy systems so that they can work in tandem with cloud systems.

Ravi Shankar, senior VP and CMO of Denodo, said: “Audiences continue to express their need for real-time data so it is no surprise that availability, with regard to data integration, management, and analytics in the cloud, is not only ‘nice to have,’ but critical to becoming data-driven.

“This is true across all configurations, but the reality is most organisations are unable to find, access, and analyse half or more of their data after adopting cloud technologies. That may be why the overwhelming majority of organizations (93%) stated that they were using, evaluating, or considering leveraging cloud-based data integration, management, and analytics including powerful technologies, such as data virtualisation and logical data fabric to provide seamless, real-time access across both on-premises and cloud systems.”

When it comes to choosing cloud service providers, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) continue to dominate the market by a wide margin, but this year, AWS (44.6%) has jumped ahead of Azure (26.2) with a substantial lead, after Azure has kept just ahead of AWS for two consecutive years. Google Cloud Platform (GCP) came in as a third most popular option (8%), according to the survey. In contrast, Alibaba showed a bump from 1.4% in 2021 to 3.6% this year.

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