I’m afraid so….let’s get more! I don’t like it and….here’s a check. I’m not safe….but I need another. I’m so sick of you….give me a big hug. As I’ve mentioned on a few occasions, it seems like a new cloud computing survey gets released on a weekly basis and often the results make me want to scratch my head. One says that cloud is growing and folks love the benefits while another claims fears are holding companies back and cloud adoption could be in trouble. We really need The Cloud Computing Love/Hate Relationship Survey with conditional type questions like: If all your fears were removed, would you jump head first? Surveys can always be tricky – the way the questions are asked, in what context, the questions themselves and of course, the actual respondents answering the questions.
Now to the data. First up, we got the 2010 State of Cloud and Virtualization Survey conducted by Zenoss, a privately held company and the corporate sponsor of the cloud-based networking/management project Zenoss Core. Responses came from the 207 members of the Zenoss Open Source community and comprised of IT management, generalists, and network operators. Security was the number one hindrance, with management and monitoring as the other top concerns. When asked for reasons for using virtualization technology, 43% favored the flexibility and another 33% liked the hardware savings. The overall number one goal of using virtualization was cost savings (64.7%) followed by deployment control. Almost 71% said they wanted a tool that managed all their infrastructure rather than a solution that just focused on virtualization.
Next is Gartner’s survey that focused primarily on budgets and spending on external IT resources, specifically IT spending trends and spending on cloud computing. This was a worldwide survey covering 40 countries and questioned 1,587 respondents who managed IT budgets (CIOs, IT VPs, IT directors, IT managers, etc). 484 of those also answered detailed questions about their plans for cloud computing. 39% said they have allocated IT dollars specifically for cloud computing. A third was a continuation of last year’s budget, another third said this was additional spending new to the budget and 14% said the additional spending was being taken from a different budget category in the previous year. Of those with budget allocated, 46% indicated that they plan on increasing the use of cloud services from external providers. More respondents (43%) said the spending would go toward private/internal clouds than external/public use deployments (32%). Overall, 10.2% of IT budgets are expected to be spent on external cloud service providers – a shift from traditional data center assets to utility services in the cloud.
Another recent survey, this one conducted by PhoneFactor, asked more than 300 information technology professionals from a variety of industries about the role of security in cloud computing adoption. This survey also asked about their organizations’ current and planned use of cloud computing, what perceived benefits are driving adoption, along with which concerns are limiting embracement. Overwhelmingly, security was the top concern with 73% saying such. Compliance (54%) and Portability/Ownership of Data (48%) came in with silver and bronze. 42% said that security concerns have prevented their adoption of cloud computing, 30% unsure and only 28% bragged that security was not a deterrent. Of the security concerns, preventing unauthorized access to company data was the biggest hurdle. According to the survey, encryption (84 percent), multi-factor authentication (81 percent), and intrusion prevention (80 percent) are vital to securing the cloud. On the positives, reduced cost (65 percent), scalability (62 percent), and rapid implementation (50 percent) make cloud computing attractive to organizations. Another positive sign is that 87% affirmed that they are planning to at least evaluate the use of cloud services.
Lastly, in a survey from Sterling Commerce (an IBM Company) and conducted by Edge Research, looked at the business concerns of 301 IT, sales and supply chain decision makers in the manufacturing and logistics industries. This one was more about the economic environment and managing volatility within the supply chain. The main focus in 2011 will be focusing on implementing solutions that are more precise and automated, allowing them to reduce risk. Pertaining to cloud computing, the survey uncovered that manufacturers will continue to invest in cloud computing with 60% of respondents already implementing cloud solutions and 36% implementing two or more cloud solutions. Survey results revealed that order management, supply chain visibility and warehouse management are the most commonly used cloud solutions among manufacturers today.
All these surveys show that while there is a huge interest in cloud services and companies understand and in many cases are realizing the benefits; concerns about security, control and management are holding some back. Most seem to be testing the waters with less than critical business applications and are anxious about the future. Anxious both in terms of anticipation and fear. They want it…but need some issues ironed out. They see the benefits….yet some risks are too great. They love the design….but hate the color. Certainly, many obstructions are related (or at least that’s what they say) to security, I also wonder if that many of the security responses might have to do with the fear giving up control themselves. They cite ‘security’ since that will help them keep control. To quote a colleague, ‘it’s going to take a while for cloud to take hold. It’s got a toe in the door right now….and that’s a little toe.’
And one from Confucius: Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.