Cloud comes first, driven by DevOps: ServiceNow survey


We’re living in cloud-first era, according to a new report released by ServiceNow, and it’s result of DevOps have a strong influence that spans across the organization.

That’s one of the key findings “The 2016 Cloud Computing Tipping Point,” which found that more than half of all enterprises with 500 people or more are now choosing cloud as the default for IT projects, based on interviews and polls with 1,800 respondents spanning IT, DevOps and lines of business.

“There’s more going on faster than what we expected,” said Farrell Hough, ?VP of  product operations at ServiceNow. “Reality is meeting the hype for cloud computing.” What was particularly surprising, she added, what that DevOps was leading the charge. “The rise of DevOps is a major factor.”

Other key findings were contrary to the company’s expectations, said Hough, which were that anticipating five to 10 years for cloud first. “Our respondents are accelerating that two years.” Specifically, the research found that 52 per cent of respondents said would choose cloud – either Software-as-a-Service (Saas) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – for new business applications as the platform of choice over on-premises data centres, and nearly nine out of 10 said they would complete shift within two years. “There’s an accelerated timeline we didn’t expect.”

DevOps is aggressively pushing and creating the demand for cloud with 94 per cent of respondents saying they are involved in some way with the DevOps movement and just over three quarters saying the rise of DevOps is a major factor driving the move to cloud-first. Hough emphasized that this enthusiasm shouldn’t make IT worry that they will be replace by the cloud. “DevOps is kind of the trailblazer and wanting to hand the baton to IT.”

In the meantime, growth in cloud adoption could lead to cloud sprawl, she said, which means IT’s visibility to what is happening there is critical. That prompted the recent launch of ServiceNow’s IT Business Management Suite.

Tipping Point: The ServiceNow survey found that reality is now meeting the hype for cloud computing, with DevOps leading the charge. While IT departments may be concerned that cloud will usurp them completely, it’s more likely that DevOps is looking for IT manage the cloud applications.

An Accelerated Timeline: The survey found that more than half of respondents choose cloud-first, either SaaS or PaaS, instead of on-premises for a new business application, prompting the company to state that 2016 is the year the world became cloud-first. This percentage is expected to grow to 77 per cent in two years.

DevOps Leads The Charge: Nearly every respondent reported they are involved in some way with the DevOps approach, a philosophy with origins in the agile development community. Seventy-sixper cent said the rise of DevOps is driving the IT shift. Meanwhile, 63 per cent see DevOps more as an operating philosophy rather than a specific new department (37 per cent), and 58 per cent said they are implementing DevOps now or already have.

Skills Wanted: The survey found that 89 per cent of companies who have completed the shift to a cloud-first model said their current IT staff lacked the required skill sets to be successful in the new cloud world, while nearly the same amount feel cloud could be a replacement for a formal IT department at least some of the time.

Don’t Panic: While the cloud-first era suggests on-premise enterprise IT is in danger of becoming obsolete or marginalized in this new order, the ServiceNow data showed a silver lining: 72 per cent said the cloud shift actually raised IT’s relevancy to the business, while 68 per cent said IT will be completely essential in the future.

Cloud-first Costs: This shift could mean the obstruction of IT visibility and cost predictions. Survey respondents cited two top priorities as part of the shift: Achieving 360-degree visibility (64 per cent), and predicting the cost of computing (63 per cent). Meanwhile, the rise of DevOps means IT teams will be seeing more business app projects coming from the bottom up, and will need to enable the line of business with greater tools to code. They will also need to maintain control of their enterprise environment for security and compliance, and delegate development to a growing number of employees with DevOps skills. Finally, implementing more agile cloud management policies and best practices will be critical. Companies will have to deal with a greater number and types of vendors, and those vendors will come and go more quickly than they may be used to.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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