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The Age of ‘Cloud Thinking’ Has Arrived, Study Shows

Cloud Computing Survey Points to Arrival of ‘Cloud Thinking’ – Large Firms Embracing Both Public and Private Clouds

Cloud Computing Survey Points to Arrival of ‘Cloud Thinking’ – Large Firms Embracing Both Public and Private Clouds

Cloud computing is coming of age in large enterprises, according to a new study released by CA Technologies today. It’s no surprise that many organizations are embracing the cloud and moving critical enterprise applications to public, private and hybrid clouds. The results of the survey released today further confirm the trend and shed some insight as to what resources IT departments are migrating to the cloud.

The Web based study surveyed 434 IT professionals across two regions – North America (273) and Europe (161) in organizations with 1,000 to 10,000-plus employees. The study revealed that enterprises are active in the cloud, and their virtualization efforts are contributing to broader interest in cloud computing, indicating a shift toward “cloud thinking.” 

Key figures from the study include:

• More than 80 percent of enterprises and 92 percent of the largest enterprises have at least one cloud service; 53 percent of IT implementers indicate having more than six cloud services.

• The primary incentives for organizations exploring the cloud are to save money (44 percent) and gain greater cost control (35 percent). IT staff are incented by increasing efficiency (35 percent) and a desire to work with the latest technologies (34 percent).

CA Technologies Cloud Survey

• Security and control remain perceived barriers to the cloud. Executives are primarily concerned about security (68 percent) and poor service quality (40 percent), while roughly half of all respondents consider risk of job loss and loss of control as top deterrents.

• Virtualization maturity leads to more optimistic attitudes toward cloud: Virtualization-intensive organizations are four times more likely to move as many services as possible to both public and private clouds.

• Attitudes toward public and private clouds align. Respondents cite cost savings, resource efficiencies, flexibility and servicing global users as drivers for public clouds; similarly, cost, scalability, flexibility and manageability are drivers for private clouds. Security is noted as both a driver and deterrent for public and private clouds.

Organizations Are Active in the Cloud

Collaboration tools lead cloud deployments at 75 percent, with hosted email, antivirus/spam filters and web conferencing noted as the most common applications being deployed in the cloud by large enterprises.

Infrastructure and development platforms in the cloud (Infrastructure- and Platform-as-a-Service) appear to be poised for growth with 58 percent of large organizations already using these services, and 43 percent considering them. Such use and consideration sets up infrastructure clouds as the next wave of cloud adoption.

“This study confirms that large enterprises are exploring the benefits of the cloud, and are looking to expand from basic services like collaboration to more complex Infrastructure and Platform cloud services,” said Adam Famularo, general manager, Cloud Computing Business, CA Technologies. “It validates a trend we predicted, that IT executives are rapidly becoming orchestrators of an IT supply chain made up of internal and external services. With this shift comes a growing need for sophisticated management and security, allowing enterprises to change how they think about IT to reap the full rewards that cloud computing offers – agility, efficiency and scalability.”

Virtualization Maturity is Contributing to Cloud Thinking

On average, roughly one-third of x86 servers are virtualized within the enterprise today. Nearly half of these companies (46 percent) indicate a “managed” stage of virtualization, with the ability to move virtual machines and manage them for high availability. As enterprises move along the virtualization maturity lifecycle from basic (unmanaged virtual servers), to managed, to advanced (dynamic resource scheduling and consolidated back-up), and on to “cloud-like” (advanced virtual automation, full disaster recovery via virtualization), the applications they earmark for the cloud also begin to shift.

Email leads in the managed stage (53 percent); desktop virtualization and databases peak during the advanced stage (30 percent); and industry-specific applications top all others in the cloud-like stage (32 percent).

In addition, respondents indicate plans to continue to move mission-critical applications from non-virtualized infrastructure to virtual machines over the next couple of years. Enterprises are running nearly half (47 percent) of these applications on non-virtualized infrastructure today, which will drop by 17 percent in the next two years. Of that 17 percent, 10 percent will shift to public and private clouds.

As IT reorganizes itself for more dynamic virtualized environments, the tendency to embrace the cloud rises. Virtualization-intensive organizations are roughly four times more likely to move as many services as possible into both public and private clouds. Overall, the perceptions of cloud computing take on a more optimistic tone as organizations advance their technical infrastructure to support more dynamic environments.

Adoption Polarizes Around Public and Private Clouds

When asked to share their viewpoints on drivers and barriers to the adoption of public and private clouds, respondents cite cost as a driver and barrier, suggesting the true impact and relevance of “cost savings” is still unresolved.

Drivers of public cloud adoption also cite resource efficiencies, flexibility and servicing global users as key drivers. Deterrents include security, compliance, internal resistance and the perception that public clouds are not suitable for some business applications.

Cost and security also confound private cloud adoption, with respondents citing them as both drivers and barriers. Additional drivers include scalability, flexibility and manageability, while complexity, availability and reliability, and slow adoption of new technology are seen as deterrents.

Survey participants also provided input on advocates and opponents of cloud computing within their organizations. Senior management (C-level and senior IT executives) are the primary advocates for public clouds, while those with more day-to-day responsibilities over virtualization and servers are seen as the leading private cloud advocates (32 percent of directors of IT operations or senior data center management, 31 percent of virtualization team, 30 percent of server management team). Not surprisingly, the security team topped the list as the primary opponent for both public and private clouds (44 percent and 27 percent respectively), with business unit leaders/managers sharing that attitude (23 percent and 18 percent respectively).

The Cloud is Coming of Age in Large Enterprises

Overall, the study confirms large organizations are embracing both public and private clouds. Enterprises are already active in cloud computing. Virtualization is fostering the confidence and skills needed to encourage further adoption among large organizations to build private clouds. Ultimately, living in this duopoly of public and private cloud environments will require enterprises to adapt their integration tools and management philosophies to provide end-user services across both types of clouds.

You can download a copy of the report here 

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