Surprise, surprise: New survey shows public cloud adoption way, way up

Given the amount of heat and noise generated by Amazon(s amzn), Google(s goog) and Microsoft(s msft) in recent weeks — with IBM(s ibm), Rackspace(s rax) and others chiming in, it’s not surprising to know that  more companies are using public cloud. But new RightScale research shows that of nearly 1,100 enterprises and small-and-mid-sized businesses (SMBs) surveyed,  89 percent are using public cloud for something. (My guess that the remaining 11 percent aren’t fully aware of what their people are doing.)
By way of comparision, according to last year RightScale survey, that one of 625 respondents, 61 percent were using public cloud for some applications. Update: The survey covered 1068 respondents, of which 303 (or 28 percent) were RightScale customers.  
Three quarters of those surveyed this year (74 percent) profess to having a hybrid cloud strategy, according to the RightScale 2014 State of the Cloud Report. This is good news for RightScale which offers a way to monitor and manage multiple clouds.
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Also unsurprising, is the data show Amazon dominating public cloud use — 54 percent of respondents overall named Amazon Web Services as their vendor. Rackspace was cited second with 12 percent and Google App Engine, a Platform as a Service, third at 9 percent.
Among customers in bigger companies (those with more than 1,000 employees), Amazon was number 1 at 49 percent use; VMware vCHS second with 18 percent; Microsoft Azure (PaaS) with 12 percent and Azure’s newer IaaS also with 11 percent. RightScale also found VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Services (Vchs) gaining traction in big accounts and that among the IaaS contenders, Google and Microsoft are getting a lot more looks, with Google Cloud Platform piquing interest in SMBs and Azure with bigger companies.

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The vendors right now are in a land grab trying to acquire customers with price cuts — mainly to baseline compute and storage but also in some higher level services. Last Tuesday, for example, Google lowered the boom on prices cutting on-demand compute pricing by 32 percent and introducing automatic sustained-use discounts. Amazon, which has been cutting pricing on its own without a ton of competition for years now, responded with its own price cuts Wednesday, and Microsoft — as promised — met those price cuts on Monday.
Once the customers are aboard with storage and compute, the hope is that they’ll add more and higher-level services to their cloud mix, which provide greater features and functions but also will make it harder for them to leave one cloud for another. It’s the Roach Motel school of cloud computing.
At any rate, things won’t get calmer any time soon so be sure to check out Gigaom’s Structure event in June where cloud leaders Werner Vogels from Amazon; Urs Hölzle from Google; Scott Guthrie from Microsoft; Taylor Rhodes from Rackspace; Lance Crosby from SoftLayer/ IBM;  and Bill Fathers from VMware will be on hand to discuss the state of cloud.
 This report was updated at 6:39 a.m. PST April 13 to reflect the percentage  of respondents that were RightScale customers.