In last week’s blog post, “Cloud: Where It’s Come From, Where It’s Headed,” I provided you with some compelling information from Verizon’s latest “State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud” report. We learned 1) that cloud use is continuing to spike upward, 2) that many adopters have now moved on to thinking more strategically about how to leverage cloud as a competitive differentiator, and 3) that while there are challenges with cloud, those challenges come with a number of recommendations to allow you to make the most of cloud’s opportunity.

There’s too much goodness tucked inside this report to let it go by without some further exploration. I’d like to use this post to delve into the topic of cloud models, as developed by the Verizon 2016 report.

First, a Note About Private Cloud

Regarding cloud models, Verizon is seeing one of the most dramatic changes in cloud usage during the past year. Technological advances, and the accompanying lowering of price points for entry, are starting to make it feasible for more organizations to invest in their own private cloud.

hybrid-cloud.jpg“We see companies increasingly turning to private cloud and believe that in the future public cloud will only be used in very specific circumstances,” the report asserts.

Whereas in the past, organizations would save only their sensitive data for the private cloud, the falling cost is enabling them to bring more of their workloads in from the public cloud.

Hybrid: Where It's At for More and More Users

What about hybrid cloud, that combination of traditional on-premises models, private cloud, and public cloud? It’s a term that one hears with increasing regularity now, and Verizon affirms that hybrid cloud is now pretty much mainstream.

Says the report, “There are already services that enable companies to create a sophisticated environment made up of multiple clouds from multiple providers, but make it look like a seamless part of the enterprise infrastructure.”

That said, the report also acknowledges that hybrid is a complex undertaking that requires a level of skill and experience. For that reason, many organizations are turning to managed service providers for assistance. Some benefits of the managed service provider approach are as follows:

  • Greater ability to overcome the challenges in moving to cloud
  • Significant cost and business agility benefits
  • Reduced risk of making the wrong technology decisions

You might also find this year’s report interesting in its division of cloud users into three personas: the skeptics, the natives, and the pragmatists. While the natives, like Uber and Spotify, have been cloud-first or even cloud-only, the skeptics have yet to be fully convinced of cloud’s advantage. Verizon indicates that the financial services industry often contains skeptics due to issues such as risk management or governance but that the number of skeptics is dwindling.

In between the natives and the skeptics are most of the rest of us: the pragmatists, who are taking a measured yet increasingly confident approach toward cloud. “In a sense, these organizations are the true believers,” states Verizon. “Even though they have large estates and complex legacy applications, they are so convinced by the benefits of the cloud approach that they are rewriting the rulebook.”

Many in the pragmatist camp are using managed service providers to help. Some are sophisticated to the point where they are maintaining detailed scorecards to assess each workload according to sensitivity of data and availability and elasticity requirements. They’ve even implemented certain automated processes for greater efficiency.

It’s only 12 pages, so do have a look at the full Verizon report when you have a moment. If you’re intrigued by the possibilities, do also explore what Cisco has in the way of training and certification on cloud. If the Verizon report is correct about cloud being pretty much everywhere in some form, you’ve certainly got a fertile area to learn more about.

Are you using hybrid cloud in your organization yet? How’s it going? Comment below.

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Gary Pfitzer is a content manager at Learning@Cisco, focused on bringing various aspects of today's IT journey to light through business papers, blogging, customer success stories, and other writing.