Moving away from talking about cloud may seem like a mad concept – cloud technology is figuratively and literally everywhere. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of enterprises will shut down their traditional data centers.

In essence, however, this means that cloud is no longer the future – it is the mainstream choice for enterprises looking to host their applications, broadly speaking at least, with obvious exceptions such as defense and government. In some instances this is 100% public cloud, but more often a hybrid cloud structure with a mix of private cloud data center and public cloud depending on individual enterprise’s needs.

IDC’s research into worldwide cloud spending saw vendor revenue from sales of infrastructure products for all cloud IT grow 48.4% year on year in the second quarter of 2018. In this period, private cloud infrastructure spending alone reached $4.6bn, an annual increase of 28.2%. IDC estimates that for the full year 2018, private cloud will represent 14.8% of total IT infrastructure spending, growing 20.3% year on year.

In the UK, one theory for this increase is that it is attributed to ‘the Brexit effect’ as companies retrench more local and controllable dedicated cloud environments  to protect themselves against the unknown and likely turbulent future. Speaking to a wide variety of organisations, however, they are not of the opinion that Brexit is shaping their cloud strategies.

What is more likely is that with the emergence of new architectures, such as Azure Stack or Google Cloud’s Anthos, which allow companies the flexibility to create on-premise with the potential of moving workloads between public and private clouds in the future, the understood meaning of ‘private cloud’ has shifted; ‘on-premise’ spend is morphing into ‘private cloud’.

Private Cloud Use is Becoming More Sophisticated as Adoption Becomes the Norm 

This increase in prevalence of cloud means it’s not whether but how companies use cloud that is important.

Increasingly companies are establishing frameworks around cloud implementations and migration – in the majority of cases employing a hybrid cloud framework with both public and private cloud alongside SaaS. This comes with the realisation that for some applications to fulfill their purpose they must remain on-premise, but this needn’t limit the whole network infrastructure to on-premise.

Insight such as this comes from an established use of cloud already leading companies to consider their network as a whole and incorporate cloud as a mature technology.

Not only is it clear from company behaviour that the cloud market is mature, there’s data to support it too.

Gartner’s The Future of the Data Center in the Cloud Era suggested that multi-cloud would be a common strategy for 70% of enterprises this year (2019). IDC frames public cloud spending as a $370 billion market by 2022, in its Worldwide Semiannual Public Cloud Services Spending Guide. The report shows a five year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.5% through to 2022. Finally, Forrester reports that nearly 60% of North American enterprises already rely on public cloud, five times the number that did five years ago.

It’s time to shift the conversation. All this suggests that we need to move the focus from whether or not cloud is the ‘next big thing’ and explore how it can be best utilised to benefit all businesses, from small to large.

Implementing cloud

Looking to the future, companies need support in building out their cloud infrastructure – making sure they can make use of both on-premise and public cloud services. There is a vast array of options out there in a heavily competitive market.

 Cloud deployments are no longer pilot schemes, at ThousandEyes we’re seeing our customers build cloud applications into their entire IT strategy. This shift means cloud and applications delivered from it are core components and so must be treated with the same discipline around risk and lifecycle that essential on-premise applications historically have been.

When implementing cloud strategies, what is not to be overlooked is the need for companies to see their entire infrastructure in order to manage it. Both public and private cloud networks need to be accessed and understood fully.

Increased complexity of networks requires a more sophisticated level of network visualisation, which has typically only been limited to on-premise infrastructures. The industry is increasingly recognising this and now a wider range of products is available to support companies who are looking to re architect their digital infrastructure, supporting their digital transformation journeys.