Crossing the Chasm: Looking Back on a Seminal Year of Cloud Technology

Peter Zawistowicz

#Road to re:Invent#Business#Cloud

This post is part of our Road to re:Invent series. In the weeks leading up to AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas this November, we'll be posting about a number of topics related to running MongoDB in the public cloud.

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On the main stage of Amazon’s AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last year, Capital One’s CIO, Rob Alexander made his way into headlines of tech publications when he explained that, under his leadership, the bank would be reducing the number of data centers from 8 in 2015 to just 3 in 2018. Capital One began using cloud-hosted infrastructure organically, with developers turning to the public cloud for a quick and easy way to provision development environments. The increase in productivity prompted IT leadership to adopt a cloud-first strategy not just for development and test environments, but for some of the bank’s most vital production workloads.

What generated headlines just a short year ago, Capital One’s story has now become just one of many examples of large enterprises shifting mission critical deployments to the cloud.

In a recent report released by McKinsey & Company, the authors declared “the cloud debate is over—businesses are now moving a material portion of IT workloads to cloud environments.” The report goes on to validate what many industry-watchers (including MongoDB, in our own Cloud Brief this May) have noted: cloud adoption in the enterprise is gaining momentum and is driven primarily by benefits in time to market.

According to McKinsey’s survey almost half (48 percent) of large enterprises have migrated an on-premises workload to the public cloud. Based on the conventional model of innovation adoption, this marks the divide between the “early majority” of cloud adopters and “late majority.” This not only means that the cloud computing “chasm” has been crossed, but that we have entered the period where the near term adoption of cloud-centric strategies will play a strong role in an organization’s ability to execute, and as a result, its longevity in the market.

Image source: [Technology Adoption Lifecycle](

An additional indication that the “chasm” has been bridged comes as more heavily-regulated industries put down oft-cited security concerns and pair public cloud usage with other broad-scale digitization initiatives. As Amazon, Google, and Microsoft (the three “hyperscale” public cloud vendors as McKinsey defines them) continue to invest significantly in securing their services, the most memorable soundbite from Alexander’s keynote continues to ring true: that Capital One can “operate more securely in the public cloud than we can in our own data centers."

As the concern over security in the public cloud continues to wane, other barriers to cloud adoption are becoming more apparent. Respondents to McKinsey’s survey and our own Cloud Adoption Survey earlier this year reported concerns of vendor lock-in and of limited access to talent with the skills needed for cloud deployment. With just 4 vendors holding over half of the public cloud market, CIOs are careful to select technologies that have cross-platform compatibility as Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and Google continue to release application and data services exclusive to their own clouds.

This reluctance to outsource certain tasks to the hyperscale vendors is mitigated by a limited talent pool. Developers, DBAs, and architects with experience building and managing internationally-distributed, highly-available, cloud-based deployments are in high demand. In addition, it is becoming more complex for international business to comply with the changing landscape of local data protection laws as legislators try to keep pace with cloud technology. As a result, McKinsey predicts enterprises will increasingly turn to managed cloud offerings to offset these costs.

It is unclear whether the keynote at Amazon’s re:Invent conference next month will once again predicate the changing enterprise technology landscape for the coming year. However, we can be certain that the world’s leading companies will be well-represented as the public cloud continues to entrench itself even deeper into enterprise technology.

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The MongoDB team will be at AWS re:Invent this November in Las Vegas and our CTO Eliot Horowitz will be speaking Thursday (12/1) afternoon. If you’re attending re:Invent, be sure to attend the session & visit us at booth #2620!

Learn more about AWS re:Invent