Cloud is more than a buzzword and much more than tech hype. But the real-world, evolving picture of how and why businesses of all sizes and in all sectors are migrating IT operations to cloud providers is somewhat tricky to describe. The accelerating pace at which companies across the spectrum are moving workloads to cloud environments and adopting a wide variety of services makes it difficult to extrapolate trends.
This increasingly rapid transition suggests that we might one day look back at 2014 as a tipping point year for cloud adoption among enterprises and small businesses alike. For solution providers specializing in the cloud computing market, business is growing at breakneck pace.
CRN's first-ever Cloud Partner Program Guide puts the spotlight on those companies that have put significant resources into cloud partner programs and are backing up their channel with training, support and more. Because if it's one thing that's clear, the cloud is showing no signs of slowing down.
[Related: 2014 Cloud Partner Program Guide (Part One)]
2nd Watch, an Amazon Web Services premier partner based in Washington state, has seen 400 percent growth in year-over-year bookings.
"I've seen change in the market over the last six to nine months," Matt Gerber, executive vice president of sales at 2nd Watch, told CRN recently.
"It's gone from, 'Is it safe enough, secure enough, reliable enough?' All of those are gone, and now it's, 'How do I do it?'" Gerber said.
But for many organizations in this age of mobility, the advantages to be gained from the cloud have finally gotten to the point where they outweigh concerns about security and privacy. Even companies running mission-critical applications and hosting sensitive data are warming to the concept of ditching their data centers.
For small and midsize businesses, a market more conservative when purchasing IT, the cloud offers alluring financial and accounting benefits.
Dee Dee Lear, vice president of cloud solutions and business development for Arrow Electronics, which offers cloud resellers a webstore through which they can purchase and provision best-of-breed cloud solutions, told CRN that small businesses are choosing "the cloud route because it gives them predictability without a lot of risk on the financial side of IT investments."
Small businesses are less burdened by legacy software and systems. It's usually easier for them to port IT infrastructure, move workloads to the cloud, and Software-as-a-Service applications that fit their business needs. For enterprises, migrations are usually more challenging, but the benefits can also be more substantial.
Because enterprise companies often are running mission-critical applications on company servers, they are more likely to seek out Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions onto which they can port their custom applications, Lear's colleague, Pete Koliopoulos, vice president of marketing for enterprise computing solutions at Arrow, told CRN.
"When you move upstream into the larger organizations, they have a lot more legacy-based IT, so that slows down their ability in some applications," Koliopoulos told CRN.
Enterprises are more likely to test cloud migrations first at branch of offices not tied to their headquarters, which has the interesting consequence of "changing the buying center from the CIO to a line-of-business guy," Koliopoulos said.