Hyperscale Public Clouds: If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

With Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure now on greater than $2 billion annual run rates and expanding their application services nearly weekly, it’s starting to look tougher than ever for traditional hosters, enterprise cloud players and managed service providers to compete against them. When you just can’t see how to win, the better option might just be not to try.
 
That seems to be the new trend in enterprise cloud vendor strategies as evidenced this week in moves by Datapipe, Google, and VMware. These moves follow similar shifts in strategy taken by Accenture, Rackspace, and others in the past quarter. The strategies acknowledge a reality that is redefining what they hoped hybrid cloud meant.
 
That reality: Hybrid means Hyperscale +.  
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Which Public Cloud Platform Is Right For You - Round Two

Determining which public cloud platforms your company should standardize on is not a matter of marketshare, size or growth rate. What matters most is fit for purpose - yours. And that’s exactly what our latest Forrester Wave of this market helps you determine. 
 
And the key questions to ask have nothing to do with the vendors in question. They are all about you - your team’s skill sets, needs and requirements. Will you mostly be building lightweight web and mobile applications from common web services you’d rather not recreate yourself? What skills do your developers bring to the problem - deep knowledge of Java and C# but light on the infrastructure configuration and middleware management front? Need to ensure data residency in specific geographies? Compliancy top your concerns list? These factors are far more important than feature by feature comparisons. Ultimately your platform selection needs to match your business requirements, and if our surveys can be trusted, you desire agility and developer productivity over most other concerns.
 
Where Amazon Web Services may best suit your DevOps teams with strong desire to control everything themselves, your web properties team may be far more productive on Mendix or Outsystems.
 
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Hadoop Isn’t For Everyone, But There Are Cloud-Based Big Data Solutions For Us All

If you think you can do big data in-house, get ready for a lot of disappointment. If the data you want to analyze is in the terabytes in size, comes from multiple sources -- streams in from customers, devices or sensors -- and the insights you need are more complex than basic trending, you are probably looking for a data scientist or two. You probably have an open job requisition for an Hadoop expert as well and have hit the limit on what your capital budget will let you buy to house all this data and insights. Thus you are likely taking a hard look at some cloud-based options to fill your short term needs.
 
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Not All Cloud Services Are Equally Mature

SaaS has been around for 20 years, cloud platforms nearly a decade. That must mean they’ve worked all the kinks out, right. You know better. There are wide variances in the maturity, stability and enterprise-readiness of the many cloud services categories. There are certainly differences between vendors within the same category, as demonstrated in each of our Forrester Waves, but there are significant differences between the many classes of cloud services. For example, internal private clouds are far less mature than their public counterparts and the desktop-as-a-service category continues to struggle to find its place in the market. 
 
This is the reason Forrester created the Tech Radar. This class of report helps enterprise clients delineate between categories of services based on their maturity, adoption by other enterprise clients and helps ascertain the likely return on investment you can expect at its current level of maturity. The latest Cloud Computing Tech Radar, published this month on Forrester.com, plots each major category of cloud services along two axis:
 
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Cloud Becomes The Motivator In 2015

We’ve been seeing for years in our surveys, that business users and application developers are the primary consumers of cloud services. SaaS and cloud platforms are not infrastructure or alternatives to the corporate data center but are instead application services your organization leverages to create new user experiences and greater efficiencies that maximize profitability and derive trends that result in business insights.
 
In 2015 this realization will become a motivator for vendors and enterprise CIOs to focus their cloud strategies on empowering business and developers first and put aside their own concerns and priorities. In 2015, cloud adoption will accelerate and technology management groups must adapt to this reality by learning how to add value to their company’s use of these services through facilitation, adaptation and evangelism. The days of fighting the cloud are over. This means major changes are ahead for you, your application architecture, portfolio, and your vendor relationships.
 
What changes are coming in 2015? Forrester clients can read our 10 cloud predictions of what will happen in the coming year along with our recommended actions. For non-clients here’s a look at two key predictions we are making:
 
1. Microsoft Will Make More Profit From Cloud Than On-premise
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As OpenStack Stabilizes Big Questions Remain for the Foundation

At its Paris summit, the OpenStack community celebrated the 10th release of what has become the leading open source Infrastructure as a Service cloud platform software. What stood out about this latest iteration and the progress of its ever-growing ecosystem of vendors, users and service providers was the lack of excitement that comes with maturity. The Juno release addressed many challenges holding back enterprise adoption to this point and showed signs that 2015 may prove to be the year its use shifts over from mostly test & dev, to mostly production. Forrester clients will find a new Quick Take on OpenStack that analyzes the state of this platform and recommended actions here. In this blog post we look at looming questions facing the OpenStack community that could affect the pace and direction of its innovation. 
 

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Grading Our 2014 Cloud Predictions

This time last year, we published our predictions of what would be the major events and changes in enterprise cloud adoption in 2014. In this post, we look back on these prognostications to see which came true, which are still pending and which missed the mark. Look for our 2015 Cloud Predictions in the next few weeks. Thanks to Dave Bartoletti, Ed Ferrara and the rest of the Cloud Playbook team for their contributions.

So how did we do on our predictions in fall 2013:

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Use The Cloud For Success Down Under

Pop Quiz: If your company has conquered North America and Western Europe and is now looking for the next big market, where should you go? The no-thinking, because it’s obvious, answer is of course China. But if you want low cost of entry and a rapid return on investment you might want to aim a bit further South - to Australia.

While it isn’t as big a market as China (or even India) and may have a higher cost of living, which can make establishing a beachhead there expensive, Australia has significant enough similarities to the western world — a well-educated populace, a high income citizenship and desire for new technologies and innovations — to make success here far easier. And if you are doing ROI calculations around this decision, it has a key advantage over its Asian peers: higher acceptance of cloud services. 

How does greater cloud-readiness translate into higher ROI? Because your company can leverage cloud-based services to reach and serve Australian customers faster, cheaper, and with a better economic model that maximizes the profitability of crossing shores. And in our latest Forrester report, we show you how Australian companies are using the cloud and achieving success through this activity.

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IBM’s Cloud Platform Strategy Is Getting Legitimate

After a slow and somewhat disjointed start, it looks like IBM is starting to build some serious momentum in the Public Cloud Platform game. 

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What’s Your Cloud Future?

We know that cloud services and cloud platforms are here to stay and should be considered part of your overall IT portfolio but how much of that portfolio will these services occupy in your future? For most companies – and probably all enterprises - your future won’t be 100% cloud. And your business units and line employees have already ensured that it won’t be 0% cloud. So what’s the right number?

Answering this question isn’t as important as understanding how to prepare your organization for the percentage to be higher than you think it will be – that’s where you should be prioritizing.

On July 9th and 14th, I will be conducting a two-part webinar series for Forrester clients on The Future of Cloud Computing that will help you better understand how this market is moving, how your application portfolio is evolving and what you should be doing about it.

The research behind this webinar series comes primarily from three recent Forrester reports that are recommended reading for those planning their Cloud Playbook. They are:

·      The Public Cloud Market is in Hypergrowth – this report details the rate of cloud services adoption today and our forecast for cloud services between now and 2020. In this report, we discuss the factors affecting cloud service adoption and the patterns of use, which are key to understanding how your company is shifting to the cloud.

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