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Only 20 per cent of businesses’ workloads are hosted in the cloud, says IBM sales chief

Businesses have moved only 20 per cent of their workloads to public or private cloud computing servers, IBM cloud sales chief claimed on Tuesday (12 March).

Speaking at Cloud Expo Europe in London, Dave Simpson predicted that over the next decade more workloads will be transferred to cloud servers, but that most business will continue to store a significant amount of data on premise.

The remarks appear to contradict recent reports predicting that the majority of workloads will be stored in the cloud by 2020. Research by LogicMonitor, for example, suggested that 83 per cent of worloads would be held on cloud servers by next year.

“Our clients have a lot invested in their application portfolio,” said Simpson. “They can’t afford to refactor everything. For the next decade, you’re going to see more workloads move to the cloud but you’re going to have a heterogenous environment for a long time.”

IBM now has 60 data centres around the world and boasts NHS Blood and Transplant, the lift firm Kone and lighting giant Osram as clients.

In October, the company unveiled plans to acquire the open source cloud giant Red Hat for $34bn (£26bn), in what would be the biggest software acquisition in history. At the time, the tech giant said the takeover would “completely change the cloud landscape” and make IBM the world’s “number one hybrid cloud provider”.

The announcement came just months after Microsoft’s takeover of Github and highlighted the growing appeal of open source software companies to Big Tech.

“Assuming [the deal] goes through, we plan to continue to have Red Hat support other clouds for their customers,” said Simpson. “We think that’s really important.”

Quizzed about the likelihood of the deal going through, Simpson told NS Tech: “I’ve given up trying to predict racehorses, soccer games and governments. But we’ve stated our intent is to close that acquisition through the regulators this fiscal year, probably in the third quarter.”

“Things are going well. Here in Europe they have gone very well. Most of our challenge has frankly been in the US because they were not working for a while,” he added, referring to the US government shutdown. “We’re on track for the third quarter and maybe we’ll see it sooner. It’s like how long is a piece of string?”