Gartner is predicting that by 2017 half of enterprises will have moved to hybrid clouds. Yes, they're serious.
How things change. Only three years ago, the research giant found that most businesses still didn't get the cloud. They looked at it as a way to secure the virtual data center. We'd now call that a private cloud. That was then. This is now.
Today, Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst Thomas J. Bittman, states that "Nearly half of large enterprises polled have deployed a private cloud service, and only 11% have no plans to do so through 2014." OK, unless you've been living under a rock you knew that. The cloud, like it or lump it, is IT's future.
What's different in the vision Bittman found in his crystal ball and what Gartner saw in 2010 is that business understands that the cloud is real. Looking ahead, Bittman sees hybrid clouds as the next step in industry cloud implementation.
Bittman wrote, "Hybrid cloud computing is at the same place today that private cloud was three years ago (PDF Link); actual deployments are low, aspirations are high, and nearly half of large enterprises will likely have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. "
Companies will be playing with the hybrid model, where both public and private clouds are used, well before 2017. Indeed, Bittman predicts that "nearly three-fourths of large enterprises will have hybrid deployments by 2015."
Of course, just like any IT rollout, it's not going to come easily. Bittman writes, "While cost reduction was the primary factor in the early years of private cloud, the market has matured and agility has been the primary driver now for the last few years. Non-technology issues continue to be the main inhibitors to private cloud computing projects, as organizations introduce new operational processes, new funding models, new organizational roles and new ways of working with IT's customers. Even with these challenges, 44% of large enterprises polled indicated they had private cloud service in pilot or production use already. "
All that means that "In many ways, private cloud is headed for the Trough of Disillusionment in the Gartner Hype Cycle, as enterprises start to understand the transformation required and determine which services fit the private cloud model, and which do not. " Hybrid clouds are at the point where the hype is still building.
Why are executives getting excited about hybrid clouds? Bittman doesn't really talk much about this. I suspect that it's because the hybrid model combines the virtues of private clouds, operational control of vital internal IT resources, with those of the public cloud, ease of deployment and low cost.
Another factor is that C-level executives, as the research house ZapThink puts it, are finally learning that they need to understand the business problem and then focus on the appropriate technology answer to that problem.
Or maybe not. Gartner also found that even now, "private cloud projects are started by choosing a technology, but technology itself does not solve the transformational people and process issues." Putting the cart before the horse like this is never a smart business move.
Still, as Wakefield Research, in concert with SAP, found, "Three quarters of hybrid cloud users feel that their IT processes are less complex having moved to hybrid." Simple often means cheaper, and that's always good news to the CFO.
Bittman says that " While a large majority of enterprises polled have aspirations to pursue hybrid cloud computing, only a tiny handful had already established a hybrid cloud service." So you should "Design private cloud deployments with hybrid interoperability in mind, and center cloud management platform architectures on services broker capabilities for the future — or plan on multiple cloud management architectures that are coordinated by cloud services brokerage technologies."