Veeam recently produced their 2021 Cloud Protection Trends Report, the data is generated from a survey of over 1500 organisations across 14 countries. The survey aims to understand the approaches towards cloud services protection across these organisations and how they expect to be prepared for the data protection challenges that they face – be that hybrid cloud, DR, IaaS, SaaS, PaaS and containers etc.
So what are the key take aways?
Hybrid is here and is happening
Physical servers hosted on customer premises are on the decline, which is of course to be expected. The reduction is from 38% in 2020 to 24% in 2023. So, although the decline of on premises physical servers is reducing, its not as fast as you might expect. Having said this, as warranties start to expire its reasonable to expect that this will continue to reduce at a greater rate in the years ahead.
Virtual Machines hosted within your own datacentre is remaining relatively static with minimal changes between actual data in 2020 and expected numbers in 2023 – although the trend is downward – again the decline is likely to accelerate as hardware warranties start to come up again. There is an increasing demand also for IaaS to be delivered at the edge for where there are technical or business requirements that demand this.
Virtual machines hosted via a provider, whether that be a specialist regional provider such as vBridge or a large Hyperscaler, are where the real shift is happening. The move here is from 32% of virtual machines in 2020 being hosted in this way, to an expected 52% in 2023. This means that half of the workloads are still expected to be hosted on premises – Hybrid Cloud is upon us!
Breaking this out further, questions were asked relating to how cloud-based infrastructure is used, and for how long it has been in production:
The move of production workloads in cloud service providers now far outstrips development and DR - 85% of respondents have had their production workloads in the cloud for more than a year.
A move to the public cloud is not always one way.
23% of respondents had migrated workloads to the public cloud and then migrated them back again, that’s a surprisingly high number – but also understandable, unfortunately the survey did not delve in to why they came back from public cloud. My best guess – higher than expected costs due to complex pricing models and/or performance not being what was expected.
An additional 23% of respondents completed all their development works for new services in the public cloud, and then deployed their production back on premises, which had always been their intention – this suggests that the public cloud is being used to delay or defer infrastructure costs on premises until they are ready to go production.
More and more “new services” are being deployed straight to a cloud platform.
A net 38% of services currently in the cloud were deployed directly to the cloud. This supports the common “cloud first” strategy that many companies have in place today.
Putting this together with the other stats above, its fair to say that cloud deployments are far from the end of on premises data centres, but that dilution is occurring as hybrid is proving to be a viable and workable option.
This need to maintain on premises workloads with cloud services drove us to create “vBridge Edge”, which in its simplest terms is our IaaS service delivered to your premises when your workloads need to be on premises – the same great functionality, tools and service that you get on our traditional IaaS platform – but hosted with you. We still manage everything; you get to enjoy the benefits of IaaS in our data centres, yours, or both.
Making good use of the cloud for DR is still in its infancy.
Only 27% of organisations using the cloud have a DR plan the leverages the capability of cloud services, and only 12% have a dedicated plan in place with resources and networks ready to go. A paltry 16% have an orchestrated set of workflows for failing over to their DR – this suggests that most organisations have not really planned out how they will failover with associated run books and what resources are required.
The key challenges for the above included:
· Network configuration challenges
· Connectivity to the cloud for corporate offices
· Securing remote sites against cyber risk
· Connectivity for remote users
· Bringing services online at remote (cloud) locations
· High levels of investment in existing DR facilities
Except for the last point, this is a disappointing list as they are all “relatively” easily surmountable. It is fair to say that DR in the cloud is seen as difficult, this is a real shame as the tools and services available today in combination with cloud services arguably make great DR easier than it has ever been.
SaaS Solution Backups are happening.
Two years ago most people believed that backing up SaaS based solutions wasn’t required. That has certainly shifted now, and regardless of whether it’s a seasoned IT professional or a SaaS System Administrator – there is a push to ensure that you can recover or protect from the following on your SaaS solutions:
- Accidental deletion of data
- Protection against cyber attacks
- Malicious deletion/destruction of data
- Faster recoverability with more granularity of restore
- Compliance demands
This is a positive shift and suggests that as an industry, we have matured significantly in the SaaS data protection space. Certainly, for us here at vBridge, the conversation around backup for Microsoft 365 as an example has shifted from “why you need to backup your 365” to “how we will backup your 365 and how you can recover”.
So to summarise – Hybrid Cloud is here now and it is effective, moving to the public cloud does not always workout, more and more services are being deployed straight to the cloud, as an industry we can do so much more with our DR programs, but at least we now understand that “just because its in the cloud, doesn’t mean its protected”.