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And the top AWS products of Q1 2016 are…

AWS is an innovation lab. The world’s top cloud provider releases hundreds of updates and dozens of major services every year. So, which products are companies loving right now?

We analyzed data from our customers, across a combined 100,000+ instances running monthly, for Q1 of 2016. The most popular AWS products, represented by the percentage of 2nd Watch customers deploying them in the first quarter, include Amazon S3 for storage and Data Transfer (100% each), EC2 (99%), SNS or Simple Notification Service (89%) and Key Management Service for encryption (87%). These services are standard in most AWS deployments, and have been consistent in the last year or so – no surprises here.

Perhaps less predictable was the use of other AWS products, such as Redshift, the data warehouse service introduced in 2012 as a low-cost alternative to systems from HP, Oracle and IBM. The fact that 17% of our customers are using Redshift demonstrates how quickly innovative cloud technology can carve a strong position in a legacy software market. Enterprises are starting to move away from legacy systems to Redshift because it can handle massive quantities of data with exceptional response times.

Other relatively new AWS products making rapid progress with AWS users include the high-performing NoSQL database service Dynamo DB (27%), Lambda, an automated compute management platform (21%) and Workspaces, a secure virtual desktop service (19%).

Just three years ago, enterprises were primarily using the core compute and storage services on AWS. As companies become more comfortable moving business-critical IT assets into the cloud, they’re more likely to leverage the broader AWS portfolio. We expect growth in areas such as database, desktop and management tools to continue in the coming months.

Download the Top 30 AWS Products infographic to find out which others made the list.

-Jeff Aden, EVP Strategic Business Development & Marketing

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New Survey: Enterprise IT Procurement Patterns Favor Cloud Technologies

We’re back with more survey results! Our la survey of more than 400 IT executives shows that enterprise IT procurement patterns favor cloud technologies, although most execs polled still see themselves as operating “Mode 1” type IT organizations – we’ll get into an explanation of this below. Our Public Cloud Procurement: Packaging, Consumption and Management survey sought to understand the organizational emphasis and strategic focus of modern enterprise IT departments based on the tech services they’re consuming and how much they’re spending.

Gartner refers to Mode 1 organizations as traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy and preferring entire solutions over self-service, while Mode 2 organizations are exploratory and nonlinear, emphasize agility and speed, prefer self-service and have a higher tolerance for risk. Going into the survey, we expected most enterprise IT organizations to be bimodal, with their focus split between stability and agility. The results confirmed our expectations – bimodal IT is common for modern IT organizations.

Here are some of our findings:

  • 71% of respondents reported being a Mode 1 IT organizations.
  • 72% of respondents emphasize sequential processes and linear relationships (Mode 1) over short feedback loops and clustered relationships (Mode 2) for IT delivery.
  • 65% said plan-driven / top-down decision making best represented their planning processes – a Mode 1 viewpoint.

However, respondents also showed considerable interest in public cloud technologies and outsourced management for those services:

  • 89% of respondents use AWS, Google Compute Engine or Microsoft Azure.
  • 39% have dedicated up to 25% of total IT spend to public cloud.
  • 43% spend at least half of their cloud service budget on AWS.

Many respondents found the process of buying, consuming and managing public cloud services difficult. A large majority would pay a premium if thatprocess of buying public cloud was easier, and 40% went so far as to say they’d be willing to pay 15% over cost for the benefit of an easier process.

Read the full survey results or download the infographic for a visual representation.

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The Elusive Enterprise Cloud Architect

If you’re an old hand in IT (that is, someone with at least 5 years under your belt), making a switch to the cloud could be the best decision you’ll ever make. The question is, do you have what it takes?

Job openings in the cloud computing industry are everywhere – Amazon alone lists 17 different categories of positions related to AWS on its website, and by one estimate there are nearly four million cloud computing jobs just in the United States. But cloud experts, especially architects, are a rare breed. Cloud is a relatively new platform, which limits the number of qualified personnel. Finding people with the right skillsets can be hard.

Cloud architects are experts in designing, running and managing applications in the cloud, leading DevOps teams and working with multiple cloud vendors. A senior cloud architect oversees the broad strategy of a company’s investment in the cloud, and is responsible for managing and delivering ROI from cloud investments and continually aligning with business objectives.

Instead of maintaining legacy databases, they’re re-architecting IT departments and helping their employers or clients transform business models. The knowledge bar is high: top cloud computing IT skills include SQL, Java, overall software development skills, Linux, JavaScript and experience with software quality assurance. Cloud security certifications are also extremely important to ensuring data security and user access controls.

Yet being a cloud architect is not simply about understanding new technologies and features as they come off the conveyor belt. Beyond dealing with rapid technological change, you’ve got to have some creativity and business acumen. If you are fiercely independent and don’t enjoy a little schmoozing with business colleagues and chatting up vendors, this probably is not a good career choice for you. If you don’t like things changing frequently and problem-solving, you may suffer from recurring anxiety attacks.

In talking to customers, we’ve come up with a list of the top non-techie skills that every cloud architect should have. Here are the top 10:

  1. Strategic problem-solving skills
  2. Security & compliance experience
  3. Ability to balance trade-offs with agility
  4. Business and accounting knowledge
  5. Customer experience focus
  6. Deploy & destroy mentality
  7. Adept negotiation and communications skills
  8. Ability to solve problems with an eye for the future
  9. Understanding of platform integrations
  10. Ability to evolve with the business

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In short, cloud architects are like great companions: once you have one, hold on and never let him or her go. Check out the infographic for a complete mapping of the perfect cloud architect!

-Jeff Aden, EVP Business Development & Marketing

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Cloud Forecast 2015: Skills, Security and Public Cloud Infrastructure

Public cloud is growing. Private cloud is not. Big Data and Internet of Things is hot. Virtualization is not. These are just a few of the findings of the 2nd Watch enterprise cloud trends survey, just released. More than 400 IT managers and executives from large companies participated, and 64% of them said that they will spend at least 15% more in 2015 on public cloud infrastructure. All signs point to the fact that the public cloud is continuing to grow. Q3 earnings statements from both Amazon and Microsoft for their respective cloud services, AWS and Azure, were robust.

Companies are going to need some help though. As always, IT skills are at a premium. In our own conversations with customers, supported by the survey, CIOs and CTOs are looking for bright engineers who know how to manage and optimize workloads in the cloud. As well, the ability to natively design applications for the public cloud will be a critical competitive advantage in the coming year. The opportunity is there for any company – regardless of your size or industry. Large consumer goods are innovating with mobile apps that require not just savvy developers, but an IT organization that can leverage public cloud services to mash-up data and deliver cool new services that drive brand loyalty.

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The trick is that each provider, such as AWS, operates differently. CIOs need specialists, and when they’re hard to find, using third-party experts can reduce risks and deliver faster ROI. 2nd Watch has years of diversified experience across many different project types, regimented training and continued learning programs for their employees that can supplement your IT staff.

A parallel challenge is that few large companies are ready to migrate their entire data center to the cloud just yet. With legacy applications and customer requirements, large companies typically still require or desire some systems to be hosted on their own data centers. Thus, cloud providers and technologies that are able to integrate data centers will see ample demand next year. Hybrid cloud terminology will still be popular with enterprise IT in 2015, according to our survey. However, this is not an end state but a state of transition in maintaining physical data centers while they migrate to public cloud.

The recent news that the AWS OpsWorks application management service (based on Chef) is now available for managing public cloud and on-premise servers is one sign of the growing flexibility that CIOs will have in managing workloads across their environments. Companies want to see more industrial-strength management tools that can bridge internal data centers and public cloud data centers and deliver a unified picture of the entire infrastructure.

IT executives are also looking for more help on the security front. The major public cloud providers are already investing heavily in this area, particularly AWS, but startups will play a significant role in bringing new endpoint security solutions to market in 2015. Survey participants said that security tools and services is the most underinvested category by cloud technology firms. I believe they will say differently in a year’s time. Software companies also have opportunities in modern IT management, with many companies demanding more automated options for performance monitoring, system management and change management in the cloud.

2015_Trends_Security

If you are interested in learning more about the best-in-class cloud management tools that are available today, schedule your free 2nd Watch Workshop now*.

*Applies to Enterprise Customers new to 2nd Watch with a specific use case to build the workshop around.

Download the full Infographic for more trends to watch for in 2015.

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Read more on Enterprise Cloud Trends for 2015 in 2nd Watch CTO, Kris Bliesner’s, article in Data Center Knowledge – Planning for the Future: Enterprise Cloud Trends in 2015.

-Jeff Aden, EVP of Marketing & Strategic Business Development

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2nd Watch AWS Scorecard

Check out our new AWS Scorecard for a look at what we’re seeing companies typically use for their cloud services. Taken from AWS usage trends among 2nd Watch customers for July-October, 2014.

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Download the Scorecard

Scorecard Highlights:

Organizations using Amazon EC2 are typically broken down in the following percentages:

  • 38% use Small instances
  • 19% use Medium
  • 15% use XLarge
  • The very large (which include 2XLarge, 4XLarge and 8XLarge),  and the very small (Micro) account for only  27% collectively.

 

Among our customers:

  • 94% use Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3)
  • 66% use Amazon’s Simple Notification Service (SNS) for push messaging
  • 41% use Amazon’s Relational Database Service (RDS) to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud.

 

Around three-quarters of customers run Linux instances, with the remaining using Windows. However Windows systems accounted for 31% of all computing hours, and more money is typically spent on Windows instances.

 

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