What We Can Learn from the Top Cloud Initiatives of 2020


Video produced by Steve Nathans-Kelly

At Data Summit Fall Connect 2020, Quest Software's Clay Jackson broke down data from Flexera's 2020 "State of the Cloud" report on the current distribution of cloud initiatives.

According to the research, the top six cloud initiatives for 2020 were:

  1. Optimizing existing use of cloud
  2. Migrating more workloads to the cloud
  3. Expanding the use of containers
  4. Progressing on a cloud first strategy
  5. Automating policies for governance
  6. Better financial reporting on cloud costs

Many people in organizations have gotten mandates to move more to the cloud, said Jackson. "So you start moving applications to the cloud, and then suddenly you get your first bill from your cloud provider and it's double or triple what you thought it was because you didn't look at things like turning development machines off overnight when you're not using them or whenever the developers aren't there or a network ingress and egress, charges loading data to and from the cloud, and things of that nature. Now you've spent a lot more money than you intended."

According to Jackson, the idea that the more you migrate, the greater potential for savings but it is not always real savings. "You need to look at that and think about that closely and make sure that you understand what you're getting into. If your cloud provider charges extensively for network ingress, loading data into the cloud, and you have an IoT operation or some sort of operation where you're going to be loading a bunch of external data into your cloud environment, maybe that cloud or that cloud vendor is not the best for you because you're already spending a lot of money on those networking ingress or egress charges, or maybe you've got some sizing issues in some things you need to worry about in terms of making sure that your virtual machines in the cloud are sized correctly, or are elastic enough."

A lot of the cloud vendors now are doing Lambda or serverless architectures so organizations really do only pay for what they use when they use it, said Jackson. "But again, you have to watch those and make sure that's out there and it uses the containers. That's another technology that is up and coming. It's again, now almost built into all the cloud offerings. When you start doing that, you can use containers rather than full servers progressing to cloud first, making sure that all your things are in the cloud first—although there are some corporations in some things you'd never want to move to the cloud. At a conference last year I spoke with the CTO of a very large medical center in New England and he indicated to me that he did not think that electronic medical records, at least for his organization, would move to the cloud ever during his tenure because they felt they were too critical and too sensitive to move off-premise into the cloud."

The organization had Cloud at Customer through Oracle for a lot of on-premise clouds, he said. "But in terms of moving to a model hosted by someone else, he didn't think that was never going to happen. There are still concerns around security issues, said Jackson.

Additional top initiatives cited further down in list of top initiatives were:

  • Moving on-prem software to SaaS
  • Implementing CI/CD in the cloud
  • Expanding use of public clouds
  • Managing software licenses in the cloud
  • Enabling IT to broker cloud services
  • Expanding use of cloud MSPs
  • Expanding use of cloud marketplaces

Videos of full presentations from Data Summit Connect Fall 2020, a 3-day series of data management and analytics webinars presented by DBTA and Big Data Quarterly, are also now available for on-demand viewing on the DBTA YouTube channel.

We will resume Data Summit, our annual in-person conference, in 2021—May 24–26—at the Hyatt Regency Boston.