Hybrid cloud is the future for 60 per cent of UK and US enterprises, finds Rackspace study

London, UK - 15 August 2013 - A new study by Rackspace ® Hosting (NYSE: RAX) suggests that while the public cloud remains important to IT decision-makers at UK and US enterprises involved in the research, the limitations of using this type of platform as a one-size-fits-all solution are becoming more apparent.  According to the survey, these limitations are leading many respondents to turn to a hybrid cloud infrastructure (i.e. public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers working together in any combination) for certain applications or workloads.

The future is hybrid
The Rackspace study, conducted by independent technology market research specialist Vanson Bourne, investigated the use of different types of clouds – public, private and hybrid – along with dedicated servers by UK and US enterprises*. The study found that 60 per cent of respondents have moved or are considering moving certain applications or workloads either partially (41 per cent) or completely (19 per cent) off the public cloud because of its limitations or the potential benefits of other platforms, such as the hybrid cloud**.

The research also shows that the majority (60 per cent) of IT decision-makers see hybrid cloud as the culmination of their cloud journey, rather than a stepping stone to using the public cloud alone for all their cloud needs***.

John Engates, CTO of Rackspace, says: “The findings of our study indicate that the hybrid cloud is the next cloud for many organisations. They may have started with a public cloud-only architecture, but have come to realise the limitations of this approach as they’ve continued on their cloud journey. They turn to the hybrid cloud because it can combine the best of public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers, delivering a common architecture that can be tailored to create the best fit for their specific needs. For example, instead of trying to run a big database in the public cloud on its own, which can be very problematic, businesses can leverage the hybrid cloud to run that database much more efficiently on a dedicated server that can burst into the public cloud when needed.”

For example, Darren Robertson, Digital Communications – Data Scientist for Action for Children, says: “In the past we used public cloud for many of our applications and workloads, but as we grew it became clear that some of these applications were becoming too complex for a public cloud-only deployment. We chose a hybrid cloud solution from Rackspace, which includes public cloud, to ensure adequate control over our infrastructure, and have also enjoyed performance, reliability, security and cost benefits.”

Action for Children, one of the UK’s largest and most prominent charities, uses Rackspace’s Hybrid Cloud to get the privacy, security and control of dedicated servers, but the ability to burst into a public cloud when necessary. Dedicated hardware – in the charity’s data centre but managed by Rackspace – is used to host sensitive data relating to children and families. Rackspace’s Public Cloud provides the agility to accommodate spikes in website demand. The charity uses the same cloud for Big Data analytics, placing on it a Hadoop cluster of anonymised customer, donor and fundraiser data, so that it can provide its diverse user groups with bespoke online experiences to improve engagement and support.

Many benefits
Rackspace’s study also found that hybrid cloud is now used by nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of respondents for at least a portion of their application portfolio, with US organisations (80 per cent) more likely to use it than UK organisations (64 per cent). The top reasons respondents gave for why their organisation is using hybrid cloud instead of a public cloud only approach for certain applications or workloads are better security (52 per cent), more control (42 per cent), and better performance or reliability (37 per cent).

Reinforcing these findings, hybrid cloud users report the top benefits they’ve experienced from it are more control (59 per cent), better security (54 per cent), better reliability (48 per cent), reduced costs (46 per cent) and better performance (44 per cent). Specifically, the average reduction in overall cloud costs from using hybrid cloud – for those who have seen a reduction – is substantial, at 17 per cent.

Barry Parkin, IT manager at online florist Bunches.co.uk, says: “In the past we used dedicated servers for almost all of our applications and workloads, but as we grew it became clear that some of these applications were better suited to a public cloud deployment. We chose a hybrid cloud solution from Rackspace, using the public cloud to handle seasonal peaks in online demand, and dedicated servers to ensure adequate control over other parts of our IT infrastructure. Having these two platforms working together in combination, backed by Rackspace’s 24/7 Fanatical Support®, means we enjoy performance, reliability, security and cost benefits. The flexibility of the hybrid infrastructure has also improved our testing and development capability and allows us to support BYOD.”


Notes to Editors:
** Nearly three out of four (73 per cent) US respondents and almost half (47 per cent) of UK respondents have made, or are thinking about making, such a move

*** 13 per cent disagreed with this; 27 per cent either didn’t know or had no opinion; 72 per cent of US respondents agreed that hybrid was the final destination; 49 per cent of UK respondents said the same

About the research
* Rackspace commissioned independent technology market research specialist Vanson Bourne to undertake the research upon which this report is based. 400 interviews were carried out during June 2013 with IT decision-makers in organisations with more than 1000 employees. Interviews were performed in both the UK and USA across both private and public sectors.