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Not if, but When: Is the Cloud Becoming One of the Standards for SQL Server?

The cloud.

Most of us use its powers personally on a daily basis and never really give it much thought.  You know, all of those status updates and pictures of your breakfast you share with your friends? The magical power of the cloud is behind all of that.  Without it, no one would know that the vanilla mocha latte you had for breakfast was “So good. #mochatime”

But something strange happens when the focus turns to businesses using that same cloud to store enterprise data.  All of the skeptics come out.

“We can’t do that!  How will we ever know where our data is?  We must have control!

If I can’t see the blinking lights on the server, how do I know our data is really secure!?

It’s expected.  There’s hesitation when it seems things are out of our control or we’re unfamiliar with something new.  And as such, understanding and acceptance eventually lead to considerable changes. As an example, we recently surveyed over 300 DBA’s and discovered that nearly 75 percent of their organizations are currently virtualizing SQL Server environments. Just six years ago, that number would have been somewhere in the 40-50 percent range.  It’s practically virtual insanity out there now.

Now, back to the cloud.

We can’t make an exact comparison of cloud storage to virtualization, but we can look at current trends.  We asked the same 300 DBA’s how their organizations currently store SQL Server Data.  Almost 77 percent manage everything on premise, 21 percent are using some cloud deployments, and a whopping less than 3 percent have fully migrated to the cloud.  New technology, riskiness, low acceptance, etc., you get the picture. When we think of enterprise data on the cloud, we think about that scary, unpredictable place where data is just floating around for the taking. Well, not really.

Does your organization currently use Salesforce for CRM? Or maybe ADP for payroll?  Spoiler alert, those are applications leverage the cloud to host all that critical information you probably use on a daily basis.  And chances are you’ve been ok with that without even knowing. Not so scary after all, eh?

Just as with virtualization, organizations will gradually move systems over to the cloud as costs go down and advancements in security and functionality increase. In fact, Microsoft is already making that process easier through its Azure SQL Database.  This service allows businesses the flexibility to manage the administration, hardware, servers, etc., items typically associated with installing a SQL Server environment, at a level that works for their needs and requirements. Additionally, they’re continuing to invest in security improvements, with Azure Key Vault, to help customers easily manage and protect sensitive information in the cloud.

And let’s be fair.  Not all data is created equal. Data that has very specific security requirements, especially in the healthcare or financial industries, the cloud just isn’t an option right now. Data must be managed on premise.  But as security concerns and risks drops, acceptance will grow. Organizations will need to evaluate where they have capacity to move to the Cloud versus onsite. And pretty soon, the cloud will be the standard.

But don’t worry; you can continue to post pictures of your breakfast. #mochatime!

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