How growing hybrid cloud usage will double in two years


This article excerpt, by author David Deans, originally appeared here: http://www.cloudcomputing-news…/

Cloud enables IT agility, empowers DevOps teams and helps to transform legacy business models. The fifth annual Future of Cloud Computing survey investigates key trends in corporate cloud usage. This year’s insightful survey findings offer perspective from cloud service practitioners across all industry sectors.

“Cloud has been gaining momentum year­-over-­year since the Future of Cloud Computing survey was launched five years ago. Looking at the adoption rates and trends at such a detailed level, it’s undeniable that the most successful technology leaders of today and tomorrow are scaling in the cloud,” said Jim Moran, General Partner at North Bridge.

“Last year, we discussed the second cloud front and the rise of cloud­-native companies. This year, we’re seeing the pervasiveness of cloud disrupt industries across the board as companies look to maximize and implement cloud as a strategic and integral technology,” Moran added.

“We’re also seeing the emergence of the cloud as the only way businesses can truly get more out of their data including analysing and executing on it in real-­time. This will be a huge opportunity, but as the survey showed, because data rarely moves between clouds companies must first learn how to interconnect disparate data sources into new applications.”

Savvy business leaders are no longer debating whether or not to use cloud, but how pervasively they will use it in their digital transformation plans. The latest survey results highlight record levels of corporate adoption of cloud computing, both for business functions and in areas such as content management and application development in the cloud.

Even the most traditional IT teams are finally evolving. Some are taking back technology strategy from the forward­-looking line of business leaders that led the way to progress. Therefore, North Bridge believes that digital technologies – delivered from the cloud – are becoming differentiating factors for more businesses.

Cloud is the business transformation catalyst

  • Significant processing, systems of engagement and systems of insight are moving to the cloud ­­– 81.3 percent of sales and marketing, 79.9 percent of business analytics, 79.1 percent of customer service and 73.5 percent of HR & Payroll activities have already transitioned to the cloud.
  • IT is moving significant processing to the cloud with 85.9 percent of web content management, 82.7 percent of communications, 80 percent of app development and 78.9 percent of disaster recovery now clou­d-based.
  • While business users have been a fan of cloud’s ease of use, accessibility and scalability since 2011, the importance of cloud agility has jumped from fourth to second in importance within five years.
  • Among all survey respondents, the top inhibitors to cloud adoption are security (45.2%), regulatory/compliance (36%), privacy (28.7%), vendor lock-­in (25.8%) and complexity (23.1%).
  • Concerns regarding interoperability and reliability have fallen off significantly since 2011 (15.7% and 9.9% respectively in 2015). However, the cost of cloud services are now three times as likely to be a concern today, versus five years ago.

Raised expectations for public and hybrid cloud

  • Today, three quarters of company data in significant volumes is living in private or public clouds. However, company data in hybrid cloud systems is forecast to double over the next two years.
  • Corporate cloud computing strategies are focusing on public (up 43.3%) and hybrid (up 19.2%) while private cloud has taken a significant back seat in comparison (down by 48.4%).
  • SaaS is the most pervasive cloud technology used today with a presence in 77.3 percent of all organizations, an increase of 9 percent since 2014.
  • Accordingly, ROI expectations are high with 78 percent expecting to see results within three months. Fifty eight percent expect ROI in less than three months for PaaS services.
  • Among users taking the survey, the biggest factors preventing use of public cloud offerings are security (38.6%), privacy (29.8%) and expertise (22.8%). Regardless, the outlook for ongoing cloud service adoption is very bright.

Azure Partner Community: Business continuity and disaster recovery

This article excerpt, by US Partner Technology Strategist Nick Johnson, originally appeared here:

This month we’re talking about business continuity and disaster recovery, two of my favorite IT topics. While they might not sound exciting, they are critical for customers to think about. A good plan for each can mean the difference between long-term success or being one of the 40% of businesses that never re-open following a disaster (as cited in this PDF from the FEMA website).

For partners, helping your customers go through the process of robust business continuity planning, implementation, and testing can solidify your trusted partner status. It can also be a source of revenue when added to your existing capabilities or as a new practice altogether.

Microsoft Azure has two fantastic services, Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery, that enable a host of use cases.

Identifying the opportunity

As a partner, how do you uncover the opportunity and determine what your customers need? I encourage partners to stop talking and listen more when in customer conversations. Listen for these statements that relate to business continuity—then ask clarifying questions.

  • “We have distributed systems across Windows Server, Hyper-V, and VMWare. They all need protection.”
  • “Protecting data and applications continues to grow in complexity.”
  • “We have so much data and we’re not sure if we’re protecting it all properly.”
  • “Are we spending too much money and effort, or too little?”
  • “Our industry requires long data-retention for compliance reasons.”
  • “Our legacy recovery plan is very labor intensive.”
  • “Testing disaster recovery is hard and often does not work as expected.”
  • “The tier 1 workloads are protected, but protecting tier 2 and 3 has been a challenge.”

If you’re not hearing these things from your customers, use the list above to create a few questions that you can use. I think you’ll find that when you dig into this topic that the need is there.

Assess your current practices

Once the need is identified, you need to spend time assessing your own practices. These questions will help you connect what you have been doing with new opportunities.

Question Opportunity
Have you been designing storage solutions using on premise solutions?
  • Extend those solutions to leverage Azure storage
Have you been designing disaster recovery solutions for on premise solutions on physical hardware, Hyper-V, or VMWare?
  • Begin using Azure as the failover site for the solutions
Are you using System Center DPM, Windows Server Backup, or third-party backup solutions with your customers?
  • Extend current solutions to leverage Azure
Have you sold Azure disaster recovery or backup solutions?
  • Assess implementation status and drive further Azure consumption
  • Extend the solutions to other parts of the customer’s business
  • Turn them into reference customers
What are your sales motions for backup and recovery solutions?
  • Build a pipeline with existing customers
  • Train your current sales teams on selling backup and recovery solutions
Do you have anyone trained on Azure backup or recovery solutions implementation?
  • Train your technical staff and sellers

If you are going to add new practices or capabilities, it needs to make financial sense. Use our new Microsoft Cloud Profitability Scenarios and financial models to understand the considerations for investing in a new cloud-oriented practice. For more partner profitability resources, refer to our online guide.

Recommendations for monetizing a business continuity practice


  • Design a Disaster Preparation evaluation to go through with your customers. This should provide opportunity to discover all the servers that need to be backed up or opportunity for Azure Backup to be used for data storage. May also stretch to StorSimple.

Upgrades to on-premises systems

  • Customers that want to run Azure Site Recovery will need Server 2012 R2 if using Hyper-V. Earlier versions of Hyper-V hosts will present an upgrade opportunity.


  • Drive services revenue through setup of the plan
  • Build repeatable IP with scripting/tools


  • Provide regular monitoring and maintenance

Ongoing testing

  • Run regular test failovers and validation for customers

Ongoing assessments

  • Regular assessment to review new parts of the business and make sure the overall DR plan still meets the needs for the customer.


  • Regular, predictable Azure consumption

Apps are going to get a lot smarter with help from Microsoft Office

This article excerpt, by Business Insider author Matt Weinberger, originally appeared here:

Today, Microsoft officially released the Microsoft Graph, a nerdy solution that opens the doors wide for developers to do a lot more with Microsoft Office.

The critical idea here is the “application programming interface,” or API. Programs use APIs to talk to each other — popular fitness app Runtastic, for example, uses the Google Maps API to display a real-time map on the app.

The Microsoft Graph, first announced in beta back in April, is a set of APIs that blow open theMicrosoft Office 365 productivity cloud to developers, letting them build apps that take a user’s data and put it to use in cool, new ways. 

Basically, it means that any developer can build an app that taps straight into the data that lives inside Office 365, making their wares smarter and faster.

“It’s not just all about Microsoft,” says Rob Lefferts, Microsoft general manager of Office exentensibility.  “It’s a huge starting set of information.” 

And just like Facebook’s famous social graph, the Microsoft Graph lets developers ask questions of the data like, “Who does my customer work closely with?” The intelligence is handled by Microsoft on the back end. (And no, it’s not as creepy as it might sound — like any other app, you’d have to give it permission to access data.)

For instance, Lefferts says, over 850 million meetings per month get booked via Microsoft Outlook for Office 365. That means that there’s tons of data there for an enterprising app developer to build a predictive calendar based on how users spend their time. 

At launch, the Microsoft Graph supports data from sources like e-mail, the address book, and calendars. Later, it’ll be able to support data taken from OneDrive storage, OneNote cloud notes, and other Microsoft data.

The Office Graph also goes both ways. For example, security startup Skyhigh Networks is already using the Microsoft Graph to enforce enterprise policies on customers’ Office 365 installations, scanning and quarantining files that live in the cloud.

For developers, the first taste of Microsoft Graph is free, Lefferts says. But if they’re using Microsoft Office data at volume in their own apps via Microsoft Graph, the company will collect a fee.

It will be a while before most developers figure out how to best access all that data, since the Microsoft Graph is new.

But it has the potential to make apps much smarter, in a behind-the-scenes kind of way. And it’s good for Microsoft, because it means that customers can get more out of the money they’re sinking into Office 365.

“The demand of customers is to say, ‘make it seamless, make it great,” says Lefferts.