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Cloud Adoption Steadily Rising But Managing Cost Remains a Concern, Research Reveals

O’Reilly’s 2021 Cloud Adoption Survey explores the trends, technologies, solutions, and challenges affecting cloud usage worldwide.

Note: TDWI’s editors carefully choose press releases related to the data and analytics industry. We have edited and/or condensed this release to highlight key information but make no claims as to its accuracy.

O’Reilly, a source for insight-driven learning on technology and business, announced the findings of its global 2021 Cloud Adoption Survey. The report explores the latest trends in cloud, microservices, distributed application development, and other critical infrastructure and operations technologies. Similar to last year’s results, cloud adoption has continued to grow, but cost and regulatory requirements are two major challenges cited by respondents.

Given the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, one might have expected a bigger spike in cloud adoption to support remote and hybrid work environments. However, usage has grown steadily, with 90 percent of respondents indicating that their organizations use cloud computing, compared to 88 percent last year. Although this is only a small increase, almost half (48 percent) said they planned to migrate 50 percent or more of their applications to the cloud in the coming year, signifying continual progress.

When asked about the most important initiatives their company was undertaking pertaining to public cloud adoption, 30 percent of all respondents in almost every industry sector cited managing cost. Among respondents not currently using cloud computing, cost (19 percent) was the second most important reason why, preceded only by regulatory requirements (21 percent). Despite concerns about cost, given the high usage rates and plans for migration, it’s clear that technologists understand the value of the cloud. Flexibility, reliability, and scalability are the real advantages -- requirements for any modern business to survive and compete.

Other key findings include:

  • Amazon Web Services (62 percent), Microsoft Azure (48 percent), and Google Cloud (33 percent) are the most popular cloud solutions; most respondents use multiple cloud providers
  • Two-thirds of respondents (67 percent) reported using a public cloud, while 45 percent are using a private cloud and 55 percent are using traditional on-premises infrastructure
  • Forty-seven percent said that their organizations are pursuing a cloud-first strategy, 30 percent said their organizations were already cloud native, and 37 percent said they planned to be cloud native within three or more years
  • Interestingly, compliance wasn’t the most significant concern, even in heavily regulated sectors such as finance and banking (15 percent), government (19 percent), and healthcare (19 percent)
  • When asked what skills were needed, respondents were divided fairly evenly, with cloud-based security (59 percent) and general cloud knowledge (54 percent) the most common responses

With the proliferation of digital transformation (and as the data signifies), cloud skills are in demand across the board. Both general skills and specific expertise in areas such as security, microservices, containers, and orchestration will be important. In fact, another recent O'Reilly survey found that cloud certifications, particularly those from AWS and Microsoft Azure, were associated with the highest increases in salary for knowledge workers.

The report can be downloaded here; registration is required.

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