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Cars are faster. Microwaves are faster. Smartphones are faster. Is it any surprise that corporate users want everything to be faster as well? That’s why you’ve got to get to the cloud – before your users do it for you.

Increasingly, organizations that once might have thought of moving to the cloud to save money are finding that, instead, moving to the cloud helps them save time. And by “increasingly,” we’re talking on the order of more than $90B on cloud services in 2015, as Forrester predicted in 2014.

What makes the cloud so useful? In a word, agility. The cloud is a streamlined delivery model to provide IT services – whether computing, networking, storage or software – faster and cheaper than ever before. With the cloud, organizations don’t need to go out and make major capital expenditures every three or four years in hardware and software, not to mention the staff to support these services. Instead, users can simply increase resource use in the cloud to support the changing needs of a specific service or application, or migrate an application across pools of resources to improve service delivery and response times. Then, when the business no longer needs the services or resources, they can be decommissioned rapidly, without worrying about disposing of equipment or laying people off. Moreover, the services become lower cost, more predictable operational expenditures with standard, recurring costs every month.

That’s why a 2014 IDG survey found 63% of customers claimed the cloud is improving IT agility. In other words, with the cloud, IT services become more of a utility. After all, when you’re using more water or electricity at home, you don’t have to lay more pipes or wires. The utility service is there when you need it, and you don’t worry about the details of how the utility company gets the resources to you.


What are users moving to the cloud for? Primarily, it’s for functions such as backup, which is among the top use cases for the cloud. Workloads can be moved to an alternate location regardless of infrastructure boundaries, particularly when they’re migrated to or “born” in the cloud. And then there’s disaster recovery, which is basically a specialized case of backup that also offers the ability to automate recovery workflows. In fact, Gartner has predicted that by 2020, 90% of disaster recovery operations will run in the cloud.

Test and development is another common use for the cloud, because it’s easier for developers to provision their own requirements and normalize resource management across multiple platforms. In addition, using the cloud speeds development efforts and reduces cycle time with fast versioning.

Users are also finding that they can save money by putting data into the cloud that they don’t need all the time. Another Gartner prediction is that by 2018, 80% of enterprise data centers will place low-performance unstructured data into public cloud storage, leaving only business-competitive capabilities on-premises.