Survey: Cloud Enters the Database Mainstream

There is a sea change underway in enterprise architecture. Just a few years ago, enterprise administrators were fearful of the security implications of trusting an outside provider to protect their data assets.

Although security is still a cloud concern—one which predominates at the time of cloud migration, and even grows stronger post-implementation—the use of cloud platforms has gained widespread acceptance.

Half of the database managers participating in a recent survey are now firmly in the cloud computing camp, and a sizable portion are committing most of the data to be managed by cloud providers.

The survey, which was conducted by Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, Inc., included input from database managers and administrators from the Quest IOUG Database & Technology Community. Respondents’ organizations included a range of sizes and industry sectors (financial services, government, technology, and healthcare).

Cloud continues to gain ground in the Oracle data world, the survey shows. Close to half of respondents, 49%, said they have moved some or all of their Oracle-based applications to a public cloud provider, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, VMware Cloud on AWS, Google Cloud Platform, or IBM Cloud. Another 24% are considering such a move.

For purposes of the survey, an Oracle-based application may be a third-party or customized application running on an Oracle Database, or an Oracle application.

One in five enterprises indicated that a majority of their Oracle-based applications have been moved to the public cloud. When including those sites with more than 26% of their applications in the cloud, the number of respondents with a significant share rises to more than one-third (see Figure 1).

Cloud-based capabilities are not necessarily unique to the Oracle space, of course. Data managers confirm that their Oracle application migrations are occurring in line with their portfolios of non-Oracle applications. Close to half, 49%, said the movement is at the same rate, compared to 28% who said they are moving Oracle applications to the cloud at a quicker pace. Only 22% said their Oracle applications are going to the cloud at a slower pace.

There are many compelling benefits to making the cloud move. Flexibility and an ability to support growth rank as the top drivers, with 51% and 49%, respectively. Interestingly, while lower cost makes the list of top five drivers, it is not as prominent a reason to make the cloud transition as more business growth-oriented benefits.

What are the issues that may hold data managers back from making the cloud move? Cloud has many benefits, but there are concerns that emerge as a cloud migration is pondered. Security lingers as the top worry for data managers with regard to moving Oracle-based applications to the cloud, cited by 47% of respondents. Performance issues also are top of mind for data managers, with 40% expressing concern over maintaining required level of performance in public cloud.

Many of these concerns diminished somewhat once the migration was complete, however. Security concerns were one of the exceptions, growing from 47% pre-migration to 55% post-implementation. Skills also rose as a concern, from 19% before migration to 28% after the cloud applications were put into production.

Worries about security, application dependencies, and performance aren’t just limited to Oracle environments, of course. Forty-three percent of data managers have similar concerns about their non-Oracle application portfolios, while 38% are somewhat concerned about non-Oracle cloud migrations.

There are applications that, for various reasons, are just not suitable for cloud under any circumstances. Organizations may have security concerns or may have bespoke applications that have been custom-built for a specific type of process (such as scientific or engineering) that cloud providers cannot replicate or support. Close to one-third of respondents, 30%, said they have “many” applications they will not run in a public cloud. Another 55% noted they have a few applications that need to stay on-premise.