Public Cloud Reaches European Mainstream, But Brexit Complicates UK Picture

Paul Miller
Paul Miller
Senior Analyst
January 22, 2018

Public cloud platforms owed much of their early success to adoption by startups. With a bright idea, a web browser, a credit card, and no legacy baggage, the public cloud was an obvious place to build and grow a new business. For most enterprises, those early public clouds were a harder sell: If they were used at all, it was for net-new workloads, experiments, or cost-effective processing and conversion of large volumes of low-risk historical data. Today, that simplistic characterisation of enterprise public cloud adoption looks woefully out-of-date.

Today, public cloud is (or should be!) on the roadmap for every enterprise CIO. A few make bold transformational bets to go all-in, closing data centres and moving everything to the public cloud. Most weave public cloud into a broader technology strategy, selecting some applications and workloads for the public cloud, some for hosted or on-premises private clouds, some for traditional co-location, and some for non-cloud deployment inside their own data centres. The reality, for most, is very much hybrid. And the balance between those pieces of the hybrid whole will continue to shift, as requirements — and capabilities — evolve.

More than half of European enterprises now use public cloud platforms

As that balance continues to shift, recent Forrester data show us that more than half (53%) of European businesses with over 1,000 employees now use a public cloud platform. And the cloud providers themselves continue to expand and extend their offerings to the European market. Both AWS and Microsoft launched their French data centres at the end of last year, and all of the big public clouds have plans to enter more countries this year and next: the Nordic region is one that features on almost every roadmap.

Brexit uncertainty may lie behind dramatic jump in private cloud adoption in the UK

Back in June 2016, a small majority of those voting in a referendum opted for the UK to leave the European Union. At the time, we explored some of the possible implications for cloud computing. In early 2018, things have not become much clearer.

Public cloud adoption continues to grow strongly in the UK, just as it does elsewhere in Europe. The arrival of local public cloud offerings from AWS, Google, and Microsoft no doubt helped there. But we also see a dramatic growth in private cloud adoption in the UK. Instead of continuing to slow, reported use of on-premises private clouds jumped from around a third in 2016 to more than 60% in 2017. Are companies with UK operations hedging their bets, and preparing for every possible Brexit outcome? Is Brexit uncertainty actually making them adopt cloud more quickly than they otherwise might? If so, it will be interesting to see how much of this sudden enthusiasm for private cloud survives once we better understand where the Brexit process will leave UK businesses.

Read the report, join the webinar, share your own perspectives

These are just a few of the data points and perspectives from my latest look at the state of the European cloud market. The report, “Taking The Pulse Of Europe’s Cloud,” has just been published. I will also be hosting a related webinar on 15 February, and would be delighted if you could join the conversation.

And if you have any comments or queries, please do leave them in the comments below. Or, for Forrester clients, I am always happy to discuss these topics in an Inquiry call.

Related Forrester Content (For clients or purchase)

WEBINAR: Taking The Pulse Of Europe's Cloud: What You Need To Know About Cloud Computing In Europe For 2018
Taking The Pulse Of Europe’s Cloud
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