Cloud adoption statistics: 57 CIOs share their experience

Cloud adoption statistics: 57 CIOs share their experience

What’s the current state of cloud adoption? Statistics from a survey by Klub CIO, prepared and analyzed by Avenga, show surprising results. And many ask the question: “Is moving to the cloud the only option for the future?”

Our cloud adoption statistics for 2019

Statistics on cloud adoption help to understand the difficulties of cloud transformation. That’s why we asked 57 CIOs for insights into their approach. How many of them have adopted the cloud? And to what degree? Are there common trends and concerns?

Thirty-seven of the CIOs we asked were from European companies, while 20 had their headquarters abroad. Twenty-five (25) of them represented companies that had more than 2,000 employees. Also, more than half of these companies had revenues of over 100 million EUR.

The 5 Questions for our cloud adoption statistics

We conducted our survey on the basis of five questions. Our approach was to not only create cloud adoption statistics, but to understand the plans of the CIOs involved. Therefore, some of the questions were open-ended.

  1. How many of your key systems are currently operating in a public cloud?
  2. Which public clouds do you make use of?
  3. How soon will physical servers and private clouds disappear?
  4. Is vendor lock-in, in public clouds, a risk or an acceptable fact?
  5. What do you think about “Serverless”, “Kubernetes/Docker”, and “DevOps”?

Our last question was intended to get an overview. How would they evaluate key approaches, solutions, and architectures that arose from the development of cloud models? We wanted to know about their hopes and disappointments, and how they themselves had adapted to these key options in the cloud environment.

Key results show cloud adoption rates

An analysis of the answers that we got showed the cloud adoption rates of those companies. Some of these stats we had anticipated, others came to us as a surprise:

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have moved less than 20% of their company’s key systems to the cloud

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use Azure as the most common cloud environment

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have not yet planned to completely withdraw from their own physical infrastructure or private cloud

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think that vendor lock-in is a great risk that can be avoided by hybrid clouds

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think that the serverless approach will remain in a niche

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think DevOps is a good method and model for collaboration between developers and administrators

A deeper dive into cloud adoption rates

Coming back to our first question, we received an even more detailed view of cloud adoption rates in these companies:

  • As mentioned before, 70% had moved less than 20% of their key systems to the cloud
  • 26% of them had moved between 20% and 60% of their systems
  • Only 2% had moved 60% to 90%
  • Finally, another 2% had moved more than 90% or even all of their key systems to the cloud

This revealed a more conservative approach of the CIOs we asked, more so than we expected. Most of them still rely on their own data centers or private clouds. And, as we also learned, 67% weren’t even planning on abandoning them completely. In addition to these:

  • 19% thought they’d move to the cloud after more than 2 years
  • 5% wanted to move in the next two years
  • 7% wanted to move within a year
  • 2% already weren’t relying on physical servers or private clouds anymore

A key factor in this decision might be derived from the fact that a lot of the CIOs thought critically about vendor lock-in in public clouds. Sixty-one percent (61%) saw vendor lock-in as a risk, so they were building systems that had as little dependence as possible on a single public cloud. In contrast to that, 39% thought that vendor lock-in was an acceptable fact and therefore relied on several different PaaS and IaaS models.

Most popular cloud adoption trends

In our last question, we wanted to know how the respondent CIOs made use of cloud adoption trends. Serverless can be treated as an approach and a strategy for serving environments and systems that operate effectively in the cloud model. How many CIOs used it or were planning on using it?

  • For 7%, it was the default architecture for new solutions in their company
  • For 30%, it was gradually replacing containers in their new systems
  • 63% thought it was a niche approach that was not ready for usage in their company

The respondents regarded Kubernetes and Docker more favourably. For 54% of them, container technologies were the hope for the future and they were already putting them into practice. One in every fourth CIO even thought that Kubernetes and Docker were slowly becoming a legacy, but would stick around for a longer time. Only 23% were disappointed by container technology.

A majority, 61%, saw DevOps as an indispensable part of their workflows. For 20% it serves more as a parallel organizational layer, placed between developers and operations. Only 12% see DevOps as a temporary movement that’s not worth trying.

Link between cloud service and cloud adoption trends

Interestingly, these numbers differed depending on what type of cloud services the respondents were using. These were in total numbers (23% don’t use a Public Cloud):

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use Azure

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use Google Cloud

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use AWS

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use IBM

Half of the users that were not using Azure already had transferred between 20% and 60% of their key systems. Azure users, in their majority, chose to stay more conversative and mostly saw Azure as one component in their architecture.

In contrast, Azure users were slightly more keen on Kubernetes/Docker (66%) and half of them thought that serverless will gradually replace containers. Users of Google Cloud largely want to keep their own infrastructure (78%), while nearly all of them favor the DevOps approach. Lastly, a large majority of AWS users see vendor lock-in as a risk.

Do big players move faster in our cloud adoption report?

While all the respondent’s answers for this cloud adoption report were treated equally, not all represented larger companies. By separating out the 29 largest companies, we wanted to find out whether they were more tempted by cloud transformation or if they would follow a conservative approach.

  • 93% of the largest companies in the survey had 60% of key systems in a public cloud
  • More than 70% had no plans to completely replace their infrastructure
  • 50% of them work with Azure
  • More than 60% see vendor lock-in as a risk
  • More than 60% see serverless as a niche, though 33% think it will replace containers
  • 67% think that Kubernetes/Docker is the hope for the future

So, in terms of use of public clouds, these companies showed higher cloud adoption rates. In contrast to that, and mostly due to the perceived risk of vendor lock-in, most of them still relied on private clouds to a certain extent and were using a hybrid cloud combination.

Is cloud the only option? My personal conclusion

Having overseen these cloud adoption statistics, I also take my professional experience with cloud services into account in sharing my opinion. At Avenga, we also consult clients in cloud transformation and these experiences lead me to think about possible improvements.

Compared to the findings, I am working on the avant-garde of cloud transformation. At Avenga, we’ve reached the mentality where physical servers seem as strange as the sight of a horse cart on the freeway.

However, I am aware that the world is full of variety. That’s why we have the perspective we do on providing services for the market. We have competencies and experience that apply not only to the public cloud, but also to private clouds and physical machines.

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At Avenga, we’ve reached the mentality where physical servers seem as strange as the sight of a horse cart on the freeway.

Jacek Chmiel Director of Avenga Labs

The range of data we received in our research, and the rather conservative approach documented in responses about transfer to the public cloud, are not a surprise to me. However, I am surprised by the view on Kubernetes and its ecosystem. I would have expected it to be accepted as the standard, by acclamation.

Serverless can now be summed up ironically as a double “cold start.” First of all, this applies to the unpredictable and usually excessive time for the function to wake up; secondly, it applies to the technology, which is no longer young – it’s been more than five years, and in our world that means ages – and still adoption of serverless remains low.

When we asked about DevOps in the survey, we received answers that I believe are far from controversial. They confirm that we all know what DevOps is about, what it’s for; the practical definition is moving towards an acceptably low degree of discrepancy. That’s encouraging.

To sum up, in comparison with our observations and practices in our survey, we can identify 20 to 30% as a conservative “electoral base.” The number is driven by business reasons, resistance to change in the approach to IT, or simply attachment to local infrastructure (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it).

The cloud is changing and developing, but one thing remains certain: The pace of its adaptation is slower than was expected by the greatest pessimists. Looking at it from the perspective of 20 years in the industry, it was always supposed to be fast and bold. But that didn’t happen, and it’s not happening now.

But alongside the skeptics and enthusiasts, and the whole discussion that’s going on, the stream of ever-increasing adaptations continues to grow. As I write this commentary, another application has appeared in the cloud, and another local system has been replaced by a SaaS solution.

For us, the cloud enthusiasts, time is on our side. It’s interesting where the asymptotes will fall for each organization, both for time and for the depth of cloud transformation.

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