Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Survey: IT executives experimenting with mostly 'private' cloud architectures

If you want a realistic view of cloud computing adoption – along with an understanding of what motivates IT executives to invest the cloud, what concerns remain, and what initiatives are planned – you can’t limit your frame to a single industry. The full picture only becomes clear through a cross section of research, manufacturing, government and education fields.

That’s the approach Platform Computing took at a recent supercomputing conference. The company late last year surveyed 95 IT executives across a number of fields to offer insight into how organizations are experimenting with cloud computing and how they view the value of private clouds. [Disclosure: Platform Computing is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

The results: Nearly 85 percent intend to keep their cloud initiatives within their own firewall.

“When deploying a private cloud, organizations will need a management framework that can leverage existing hardware and software investments and support key business applications,” says Peter Nichol, general manager of the HPC Business Unit at Platform Computing. “This survey reaffirms the benefits that private clouds offer – a more flexible and dynamic infrastructure with greater levels of self-service and enterprise application support.”

Most organizations surveyed are experimenting with cloud computing – and experimenting is the key word. Eighty-two percent don’t foresee cloud bursting initiatives any time soon. This suggests an appreciation for private cloud management platforms that are independent of location and ownership, and can provide the needed security in a world of strict regulations around transparency and privacy.

Security is chief concern

Forty-nine percent cite security as a chief concern with cloud computing. Another 31 percent pointed to the complexity of managing clouds, while only 15 percent said cost was an issue. Indeed, security concerns are a force driving many IT execs toward private rather than public clouds. Forty-five percent of organizations considering establishing private clouds as they experiment with ways to improve efficiency, increase their resource pool and build a more flexible infrastructure.

. . . The adoption of cloud computing should follow a sequence of evolutionary steps rather than an overnight revolution.



There seems to be some naïveté over the cloud. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed don’t expect their IT organization infrastructure to change in the face of cloud computing. But that is not a realistic expectation. The move to cloud computing is an evolutionary one and IT organizations must themselves evolve to meet the demands of the organizations and their users. Ultimately, a willingness to evolve begins with an appreciation of the cloud’s value.

“Cloud computing has provided the impetus for IT to make a much needed shift, but many in the industry are still struggling to understand the value of the cloud,” says Randy Clark, chief marketing officer at Platform Computing. “As organizations continue to experiment with cloud to move toward better efficiency and cost-savings, it is best to bear in mind that to ensure success, the adoption of cloud computing should follow a sequence of evolutionary steps rather than an overnight revolution.”
BriefingsDirect contributor Jennifer LeClaire provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jleclaire and http://www.jenniferleclaire.com.