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How SMBs use the cloud: pretty much like enterprises

Peter Krass's picture

by Peter Krass on 02/28/2019
Blog Category: cloud-and-data-centers

Small and medium businesses use the cloud, but they use it differently than big enterprises, right? Actually, not so much.

A new survey report finds SMBs use the cloud in ways that are surprisingly similar to those of large enterprises.

The survey was conducted last month by RightScale, a cloud-management company recently acquired by Flexera. The company released its report, RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud, earlier this week.

RightScale’s survey garnered responses from 786 technology professionals around the world, working in a range of industries. About 60% of the respondents are employed by enterprises (defined here as organizations with over 1,000 employees), and 40% by SMBs.

Here are some of RightScale’s key findings for tech providers serving the SMB market:

SMB patterns

> Small biz, big workload: SMBs run a majority (78%) of their workloads in the cloud. More specifically, they run 43% of workloads in the public cloud, and 35% in private clouds. That’s very close to the mix among large enterprises.                  

> Cloud maturity: Nearly a third (30%) of SMBs describe themselves as advanced users of cloud. Nearly the same percentage (27%) describe themselves as intermediate. That’s only slightly below enterprises; 34% describe themselves as advanced, and another 34% describe themselves as intermediate.

> Favorite public clouds: Among SMBs, the most commonly implemented public clouds are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. That’s very similar to the preferences of large enterprises. The following chart shows the SMB breakdown:

Public cloud use among SMBs

> Favorite private clouds: When it comes to private cloud use at SMBs, there are no big leaders. Instead, users opt for a variety of tools, including VMware vSphere, OpenStack and Microsoft System Center. Large enterprises also like VMware tools and OpenStack, but they're more likely than SMBs to use a bare-metal cloud. Here’s the SMB breakdown:

Private cloud among SMBs

That said, the RightScale survey did find 2 cloud areas where SMBs differ from enterprises:

> Cloud spend: Only about one in 10 (11%) SMBs spend more than $1.2 million a year on cloud computing. Among enterprises, fully half (50%) spend that much on cloud. No surprise there; bigger companies spend more on everything, not just cloud.

> Central cloud team: Fewer than a third (31%) of SMBs have one. But among big enterprises, fully two-thirds (66%) have a central cloud team or cloud center of excellence.

Other key findings

These pertain to organizations of all sizes, not just SMBs:

> Cloud everywhere: Nearly all (94%) organizations use some form of cloud computing.

> Multi-cloud rules: An overwhelming majority (84%) of organizations have a multi-cloud strategy. That is, they use more than just one cloud.

> Hybrid cloud rising: Nearly six in 10 (58%) organizations combine public and private clouds, up from about half (51%) a year before.

> Costly clouds: Cloud computing is sold as a cost-saver, but achieving those savings isn’t always easy. A large majority (84%) of organizations say their top growing challenge is optimizing cloud costs.

There are opportunities to fix this. RightScale estimates that as much as 35% of the total cloud spend is wasted. The company also points out that many users fail to take advantage of their cloud providers’ discounts.

The cloud isn’t a special application anymore. As the RightScale survey shows, cloud has become part of the computing mainstream.

And SMBs? When it comes to using the cloud, they aren’t so different after all.


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