Boom in cloud adoption driving Australian IT transformation

Posted on June 11, 2018

Boom In Cloud Adoption Driving Australian It Transformation

The cloud has matured to such an extent that many organisations are now following a cloud-first or even a cloud-only strategy. Alongside this, momentum in software-defined infrastructure, containers and DevOps is fuelling the transformation of IT as business leaders look for increased agility from their organisations.

These were among the key findings of a survey of over 1400 IT decision-makers in 20 countries, including Australia, commissioned by multinational open-source software company SUSE to explore IT transformation. The survey suggests the next two years will be pivotal for many IT leaders as current plans for technology adoption materialise.

“As we approach 2020, businesses face a maelstrom of increasing customer demands, disruptive competitive activity and technological hairpin turns,’’ the report on the survey’s findings notes. “Speed is essential to survival, and agility has become an organisational imperative.’’

Peter Lees, chief technologist of SUSE Asia Pacific, says the findings of the global survey are very topical for Australian businesses.

“The report definitely reflects the direction that we see happening in Australia, even if we’re not quite as advanced in some areas as other regions,’’ says Lees.

Cloud growth trends and drivers

The survey finds that globally, businesses are primarily focused on hybrid and private cloud use, particularly where mission-critical workloads are concerned. The main driver of increased cloud use is cost considerations, including the rebalancing of opex and capex (61 per cent).

Most survey respondents expect their use of cloud to grow over the next two years. This is particularly the case for hybrid (66 per cent) and private cloud (55 per cent), with 36 per cent seeing public cloud growing in this timeframe.

“Most organisations SUSE talks to are looking at public cloud offerings, and Australian organisations are always looking to stretch their dollar further,’’ says Lees.

‘’However the conceptual understanding of how cloud infrastructure operates is starting to move into the private data centre.  We’re definitely seeing a lot more interest in private cloud technology.’’

Mission-critical cloud

Arguably, as data connectivity and interdependence between applications increases, so more workloads fall into the mission-critical category, where service interruptions of any kind are show-stopping for business operations.

Most respondents (89 per cent) say would ideally like to go from developing these services in public cloud to production in their own private cloud.

“Some (but certainly not all) organisations are evaluating deployment of some aspects of their mission-critical workloads in public cloud, but of course SLAs remain important for production workloads,’’ says Lees.

“The decision to deploy into the cloud is driven by the character of the organisation: start-ups for example are more likely to go ‘cloud native’ than organisations with an existing IT investment.’’
An overwhelming majority (95 per cent) believe software-defined infrastructure is the future of the data centre. Key benefits are faster delivery of IT resources (65 per cent) and simplified data centre management (63 per cent), followed by the enabling of modern IT approaches such as DevOps and hybrid cloud (51 per cent), and improved scalability (48 per cent).

OpenStack momentum

OpenStack is already deployed/in production in 23 per cent of organisations surveyed. In addition, 37 per cent are currently testing it and another 22 per cent expect to do so in the next 12 months, meaning a total of 82 per cent are either using or planning to use OpenStack.

Lees says although production deployment of OpenStack in Australia may lag the US and Europe by a year or two, it’s definitely moved from the “early adopter” stage to the “early majority” stage for test and evaluation environments.

“Having said that, the relatively small-scale needs for many customers means they’re looking more at direct container technologies rather than setting up a whole cloud environment,’’ says Lees.  

“We expect to see customers starting out with containers on a smaller platform (such as SUSE’s new container-as-a-service platform), and then moving to containers on OpenStack as their needs grow.’’

Skills and experience concerns

Concerns about the lack of available skillsets in the market when moving to cloud were raised by 72 per cent of survey respondents globally, and Lees says this is a particularly significant issue in Australia.

“The availability of skills is probably having the biggest impact on the rapid adoption of OpenStack, container and other SDI technologies,’’ he says.  

“These technologies are evolving at a rapid rate, are still very new, and not often covered in traditional IT courses.  Our consulting partners say their most effective avenue to get the necessary skills is to hire promising people and train them up.’’  

DevOps and containers

Most of those surveyed (86 per cent) see DevOps as part of their IT strategy moving forwards, and 77 per cent say they plan to modify their application development and delivery to a DevOps model.

Twenty-seven per cent are currently running containers, with a further 44 per cent planning to do so in the next 12 months. 

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