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Cloud Computing Is Here to Stay

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Once considered a fad by some analysts and IT specialists, cloud computing has become a strategic priority for many companies around the world. The fact that cloud computing is no longer a possible technology of the future but one of today is proven by various studies made public over the last six months. A recently published study (registration required) realized by IBM based on face-to-face conversations with more than 3,000 CIO worldwide has concluded that cloud computing has grown significantly in enterprises’ priority over the last two years. Cloud computing has jumped from 33%, very low on the list of priorities in 2009, to 60%, on par with Business Process Management, and not far behind Business Intelligence, Mobility Solutions and Virtualization, as depicted in the following chart:


The first recommended step in adopting the cloud would be to move non-essential computing chores to the cloud, leaving internal resources available to “perform tasks that are most valuable to the organization.”

Commenting on a 2011 study (PDF) based on surveying 1,535 CIOs and published by the CIO Magazine, Michael Friedenberg, President and CEO of IDG Enterprise, said: “Cloud computing really did arrive. Actual adoption is under way everywhere, at least to some degree.” He continues by quoting results from the study:

Enterprise organizations use private cloud most often, with 23 percent now using private versus 7 percent public.

Small-to-midsize businesses spend larger chunks of their IT budget on cloud, averaging 20 percent for companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. Larger enterprises are earmarking around 15 percent of their IT budget for cloud.

Budgets are increasing for cloud-based services, with big companies expecting the percentage of their IT budget dedicated to cloud to increase 67 percent in the next 12 months. On average, large enterprises plan to spend $2.2 million on cloud this year.

The Second Annual Government IT Purchase Plans study done by CompTIA, a non-profit association for the IT industry, concludes that US government agencies are most interested in becoming “more efficient and reduce long-term costs,” but they are placing cloud computing “slightly lower on the list”:

Nearly four in ten (39 percent) of federal, state and local government IT decision makers and influencers identified new data backup and recovery solutions as a priority over the next 12 months. Security applications were cited by 37 percent of respondents, followed by virtualization solutions (30 percent) and content management solutions (24 percent). Options such as unified communications and cloud computing (18 percent each) ranked slightly lower on the list.

With 18% in priority, cloud computing is not nearly as important for government agencies as it is for businesses - 60% in IBM’s study –, but perhaps some of the “backup and recovery” and “virtualization solutions” mentioned involve the cloud in some way.

If there was any doubt on the viability of cloud computing, now it is obvious that this technology is here to stay. One may argue over the meaning of the term, there may be security concerns, there may be some eyebrows raised by the recent Amazon EC2 outage, but the benefits seem to outweigh them, making cloud computing an attractive solution for many enterprises.

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Community comments

  • What does the term mean ?

    by c waddle,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    "One may argue over the meaning of the term"

    Without arguing, can you please tell us its meaning in this study because I never get the same twice...

  • Re: What does the term mean ?

    by Richard Clayton,

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    "Cloud" is such a great word since it's so nebulous allowing whomever to define in a way that suits their needs. A friend of mine remarked the other day that the only benefit the "cloud" really brings to an organization is that it gives that organization an excuse to reinvest in their own infrastructure. I would tend to agree with that. However, if you are CTO and CIO and think you need a "cloud" and not "virtualization", "PAAS", "SAAS", "distributed processing", or "distributed persistence" I laugh at the company that hired you.

  • Re: What does the term mean ?

    by Abel Avram,

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    There is no unique definition on what this term means, and some definitions I've seen do not correctly express what it is all about. And that is understandable considering that it is a nascent concept, and a pretty complex one. I like NIST's definition (PDF), which is currently a draft:

    Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.

    The 5 characteristics are: On-demand self-service, Broad network access, Resource pooling, Rapid elasticity, Measured Service.
    The 3 service models are: SaaS, PaaS, IaaS
    The 4 deployment models are: Private, Community, Public, and Hybrid.

    I think we are pretty safe using this definition. But it may change in the future given that it is an evolving domain.

  • Re: What does the term mean ?

    by Russell Leggett,

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    "Cloud" is such a great word since it's so nebulous...

    1. In the form of a cloud or haze; hazy.

    Yeah, I'd say that's pretty accurate ;)

  • tell me why

    by min shen,

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    What is this????

  • My humble experience

    by Diego Caravana,

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    Even if cloud is something that has proven its usefulness and its weaknesses, I'm finding both some big resistance and some hyped desire to use it for everything between my colleagues, so I'm happy that some facts and some statistical data can help us all demystify the cloud and start using it in the right way (which is the "right way" may not be yet entirely clear).

  • Hype

    by Vanni Torelli,

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    Same hype as XML Web Services back in 2003, anyone old enough to remember?

  • Re: Hype

    by Cloves Almeida,

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    Except that the XML WS emerged into REST which is thriving - definitely not a hype. And using XML-based services is the norm for any integration project.

    A better term would be "utility computing". I can see non-IT companies eventually dropping most of their servers and all the burden of maintaining them for "cloud" VMs. As long as their apps work securely and reliably why would they care?

    Much like no company outside utilities pump their own water of produce their own electricity.

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