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Infrastructure and Operations

A Glimpse Into Cloud-First Deployment Growth

Digital requirements for speed and scalability are driving huge rates of production applications running in containers on public clouds

Long gone are the days where public cloud infrastructure was primarily for application development or test environments. Enterprises today are increasingly turning to the cloud first to host their live applications in production—and much of that is now run in containerized environments.

From 2011 until now, the prevalence of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) has grown from fringe occurrences to near ubiquity. Eight years ago just 17% of organizations stood up IaaS environments, compared to 58% today. And in the last four years, the use cases have changed dramatically, too. The percentage of users running applications in production has risen from 27% in 2015 to 49% in 2019. Meanwhile, the percentage of organizations running more than one in five of their applications as software-as-a-service (SaaS) has surged from 38% in 2013 to 67% in 2019. So say the latest figures from the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) 2019 Public Cloud Trends report.

That report showed that much of the drive today comes from a shift of late from organizations adopting a cloud-first policy for application deployment, which has the business assuming it will gravitate to public cloud services unless someone in the business or IT makes a compelling case for on-premises resources. The number of organizations working under the cloud-first mentality has jumped 10 percentage points in the last year, up to 39%.

“The obvious takeaway is that a majority of organizations no longer view public cloud as merely an alternative or secondary means of supporting applications, but rather as a viable production platform,” explained Bill Lundell, director of syndicated research for ESG and author of the report. “The cloud-first trend is especially pronounced among younger organizations and those with more mature digital transformation initiatives.”

In fact, 56% of businesses that are a decade old or younger say they’ve adopted a cloud-first policy. That’s more than double the 26% of businesses older than 50 years old that have similar policies. In the meantime, 64% of those organizations with strong maturity in digital transformation have cloud-first policies, compared to a scant 27% who don’t have any kind of transformation on their roadmap.

Meanwhile, a new report out this week from Portworx and Aqua Security shows that the cloud-first mentality is highly interconnected with the explosion in container technology seen over the last two years. The 2019 Container Adoption survey shows that container adoption in the enterprise has jumped from 55% to 87% since 2017. Of those running applications in containers, 90% are running them in production. This adoption rate is moving beyond baby steps, too.

Whereas 40% of organizations reported running at least four in 10 of their applications in container environments back in 2017, that rate of incidence has shot up to 71%.

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