A survey of 250 IT leaders published by Snow Software, a provider of software asset management software, finds 91% are changing their cloud strategy in the wake of the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey also finds twice as many respondents report they are accelerating cloud migration (45%) and digital transformation (41%) projects versus those putting cloud migration (22%) or digital transformation (21%) initiatives on hold.
At the same time, however, nearly a third of respondents (32%) said they are asking their cloud vendors for extended payment terms, while 31% are renegotiating their cloud contracts. Around 10% of respondents indicated that they would not be able to pay their cloud bills last month.
More than three-quarters of respondents (76%) said they have increased their use of cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and even private clouds.
In addition, more than half of respondents (55%) noted an increase in the use of collaboration tools such as Slack, Teams or Google Chat, while 52% said they have seen an increase in the use of cloud-based videoconferencing software such as Zoom, Cisco WebEx or GoToMeeting.
Overall, 60% of IT leaders said they are continuing to increase cloud use.
Jesse Stockall, chief architect for cloud management for Snow Software, said the results show the cloud has played a critical role in enabling employees to work from home. In many cases, the first thing to be shifted to the cloud was application testing environments. With development teams working from home the only way to effectively set up a testing environment is in the cloud.
At the same time, Stockall said entire applications have been lifted and shifted to the cloud using containers. Rather than refactoring these applications, IT teams decided to encapsulate entire applications in a container that could be deployed on any virtual machine. IT teams then will spend the next few months converting those monolithic applications into a series of microservices that can run natively on cloud computing platforms, he noted.
Stockall expects that approach to lifting and shifting applications first and modernizing them second to accelerate as more organizations conclude working remotely is now part of the new normal. Employees may soon head back into the office, but many more of them increasingly will access applications from home. Business and IT leaders are also unsure whether a second wave of the pandemic might make local offices and data center once again inaccessible, he added.
Many IT organizations will also be replacing legacy virtual private networks (VPNs) with software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) to make cloud applications more accessible, Stockall, noted.
The COVID-19 pandemic may prove to be a seminal moment in the history of cloud computing; while cloud computing has been around more than a decade, the bulk of applications still run on-premises. However, once many local data centers became inaccessible overnight, strategies that called for either replacing or modernizing those applications are being accelerated.
It’s not clear how many of those on-premises applications might be retired altogether. Whatever the outcome, there’s never been more focus on where application code is being built and deployed.