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Cloud adoption soars, but integration challenges remain

Sharon Florentine | Jan. 6, 2016
With approximately 90 percent of businesses using the cloud in some fashion, it's safe to say the technology has become a mainstay in IT. But challenges remain beyond the initial integration.

Secondary migrations

Sometimes that requires organizations to shift between public cloud providers, or to a hybrid model (with some data in a public cloud and some residing in on-premise systems) or even completely away from the cloud altogether, and each migration brings an additional wave of integration challenges. The CompTIA survey revealed that 44 percent of companies say they've moved either infrastructure or applications from one public cloud to another; 25 percent moved from a public cloud into a private cloud; and 24 percent moved from a public cloud back to an on-premise system.

The reasons for these secondary migrations vary. Users may be in search of better offerings and features, greater security, lower cost or a desire for open standards. "If companies are looking for greater compliance and corporate governanace, they may shift to a hybrid model to get the best of the both worlds. They'll use the cloud for non-sensitive, non-critical information they can store cheaply. But they'll keep sensitive data in a private cloud or on-premise so they have greater control. It's a strategic decision they're making," says Arindam Ray Chaudhuri, COO, Agreeya Solutions.

IT takes a backseat

This shift means that, instead of driving technology decisions that affect the business, IT departments are starting to take a backseat to business decisions mapping out the direction of IT, says Brett Gillett, public cloud lead at IT consulting and solutions provider Softchoice. "The strategic side of the business, all the way up to the C-suite has become more empowered. IT has been in the drivers' seat for so long, saying, 'This is the technology we need to get business done,' but now the C-suite is saying, 'No, this is the direction we're going.' New business imperatives are dictating how companies use IT," Gillett says.

The RightScale survey revealed that while 62 percent of respondents' IT departments were still driving decisions about cloud technology, 43 percent say they offer a self-service portal for general business users and 41 percent were planning such a portal.

These lines of business are incredibly empowered by the shift to the cloud, says Chaudhari. With a few mouse clicks, almost any department can access, purchase and use cloud-based technology, often without understanding how those applications or services will (or will not) integrate with an organization's existing IT stack. "This is something IT departments are really struggling with - that separate lines of business and departments can just grab technology out of the cloud; they don't have to wait for IT to come do something for them, they do it themselves," says Chaudari.

Cloud architects are essential

This creates even greater integration hassles; most non-IT end-users aren't skilled at integration, scaling, provisioning and administrating technology, and IT must get involved after the fact, he says.


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