The findings of a global survey of CIOs into attitudes and concerns relating to cloud computing has revealed that almost 80% are concerned about the hidden costs associated with cloud computing.
Complex backup and recovery in the cloud, inefficient cloud storage and employees' use of unauthorised cloud services all account for cloud's hidden costs.
The Research in Action whitepaper, commissioned by Compuware, also found that CIOs have management concerns around cloud computing services. From an IT management perspective, the biggest worries of IT leaders are:
- Loss of revenue due to poor availability, performance or troubleshooting cloud services;
- Poor user experience due to performance bottlenecks;
- The effect of poor performance on brand perception and customer loyalty.
Failure to properly manage the performance of cloud-based applications results in increased costs and prevents companies from realising the full potential benefits of cloud computing, the results revealed.
Despite fears of using cloud-based services, CIOs rated cloud computing as their top investment priority
Cloud is spending priority
But despite fears of using cloud-based services, the CIOs rated cloud computing as their top investment priority in both the short and long term. They also cited integration between public, hybrid and private cloud as the most important trend in the cloud space over the next five years.
“With cloud adoption topping the list of priorities for CIOs, companies are clearly seeing a benefit to the agility, flexibility and time-to-value that cloud services can deliver,” said Bernd Greifeneder, chief technology officer in Compuware’s APM business unit.
But the research showed that with the integration of public, hybrid and private clouds, managing and monitoring the IT environment is a growing challenge. No longer is the IT department in sole control of the services being delivered to users, since a variety of cloud services and providers are being used to deliver user applications. This in turn is presenting a management challenge.
“CIOs are right to carefully consider the impact that cloud and third-party services can have on user experience,” said Greifeneder.
Measuring and managing cloud application performance
The study also revealed that companies are increasingly taking advantage of the cloud to deliver business-critical applications, such as e-commerce, which was the most commonly used cloud service.
About 81% of CIOs are either already using cloud-based e-commerce platforms or are planning to within the next 12 months, the study showed. UK bus operator Arriva is the most recent company to launch an e-commerce platform hosted on a private cloud platform to improve scalability and customer experience.
However, despite the business-critical nature of these cloud applications, 73% of companies are still using outdated methods to track and manage application performance.
In fact, the most common metric used to track application performance in the cloud is simple availability or uptime, rather than more granular user metrics such as response time, page rendering time and user interactivity time.
The cloud is increasingly being used to deliver business-critical applications, so it is quite shocking that most companies are just waiting for problems to occur and then firefighting
Thomas Mendel, Research In Action
“The cloud is increasingly being used to deliver business-critical applications, so it is quite shocking that most companies are just waiting for problems to occur and then firefighting,” said Thomas Mendel, managing director of Research In Action.
The fact is that most traditional monitoring tools simply don’t work in the cloud, he warned.
“Effectively monitoring and managing modern cloud-based applications and services requires a new approach designed to work in today’s complex, hybrid and dynamic environments. Failure to do so could have a hugely detrimental impact on reputation, customer loyalty and revenues,” said Mendel.
The dynamic and remote characteristics of cloud-based applications means CIOs must develop a new, smart and automatic approach for deep, proactive monitoring that not only identifies user experience problems but also provides deep diagnostics for problem resolution, according to Compuware.