We’ve reached a point in the cloud maturity cycle where more organizations across numerous verticals are realizing the very real benefits behind this architecture. More so, these businesses are seeing how they can deploy powerful workloads while utilizing a distributed architecture. In the past, cloud was really being used by big enterprises and larger organizations. Now, businesses of all sizes across all verticals can leverage some type of cloud ecosystem.
A report from Cisco indicates that by 2019, more than 86 percent of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers. Furthermore, overall data center workloads will more than double (2.5-fold) from 2014 to 2019; however, cloud workloads will more than triple (3.3-fold) over the same period. This growth isn’t just happening at the enterprise level either. SMBs and mid-market organizations are absolutely leveraging cloud services as well.
Consider this, a recent Forbes article point out that 78 percent of US small businesses will have fully adopted cloud computing by 2020, more than doubling the current 37 percent as of today. The US Small & Medium Business (SMB) cloud computing & services market will grow from $43B in 2015 to $55B in 2016. And, today, hybrid cloud is being used by 18 percent of cloud-using small businesses (1 to 99 employees).
So what’s fueling this surge? The reality that cloud can make a lot of sense to small and mid-market businesses. Let’s look at why specifically:
- A new way to define IT economics. SMBs and mid-market businesses can now completely revolutionize how they deploy their data center technologies. Many will create hybrid cloud ecosystems; thereby making their own data center footprint a lot smaller. Or, others will elect to create entirely new business services all residing in the cloud. Some smaller businesses have completely removed their own IT infrastructures and have shifted that to the cloud. With cloud hosting and services maturity, organizations can get the packages they need, create the SLAs which work for their business, and support new systems and applications. This can result in cost savings, increased agility, and better economics for the business.
- Creating enterprise-like agility. Small and medium organizations were limited by what they could spend on their IT infrastructure. Now, these same organizations can shift their critical workloads into the cloud and create new levels of agility for their solutions. They can distribute workloads between entire regions to support more customers. Or, they can load-balance applications to ensure optimal performance. The great part here is that these are all services provided by the cloud hosting partner. To keep up with the pace of the industry, there needs to be a way that helps businesses keep up. Cloud helps create that level of agility without the burden of acquiring more hardware or software on premise.
- Supporting more use-cases and creating innovation. Physical resources were always a limitation for small and medium businesses. Now, these organizations have the capability to innovate at the pace of cloud. Service can be dynamically provisioned as needed, applications can be delivered globally with just a few clicks, and entire user segments can be brought onboard overnight. In the past, this level of scale would be very challenging for smaller or medium organizations. Now, with cloud, they can support more users, more use-cases, and next-gen level of innovation. Most of all, these businesses can grow their services and explore with new options to improve their own products. Sandboxed environments, testing and development, lifecycle management, and deployment control is all a part of a good cloud ecosystem. And, it’s not just for the enterprise. SMBs and mid-market organizations can leverage every bit of it.
- Bringing resiliency into the business. Outages can be costly. They can be even more expensive for small and medium-sized organizations. For some shops, a serious outage or event could take a while to recover from. Aside from being able to deliver their workloads, applications, and services from the cloud – SMBs and mid-market organizations can leverage the ecosystem for disaster recovery and business continuity need as well. With fewer outages and less downtime, the business can focus on delivering new services to the customer. Most of all, organizations can use cloud to test out new apps, user groups, and new solutions for their business. This level of test and development creates agility for the business and allows for the safe testing of new systems.
Today’s cloud ecosystem is a diverse infrastructure and platform of services designed to support complex, multi-tenant, environments. These services have evolved quite a bit. Whether it’s backup-as-a-service or full IaaS, there is a lot of maturity around cloud. Most of all, it’s all becoming easier to consume. Small businesses and mid-market customers can get packages specifically designed for their organizations; and their specific use-case. Ultimately, everyone benefits as these new businesses begin to interact more with cloud services. These organizations will be able to compete at a greater level, consumers can enjoy better services and products, and business can evolve at the speed of cloud.