Research predicts ‘explosive growth’ in enterprise cloud projects

Over the next two years, there will be an explosive growth in the number of enterprise cloud computing projects, shows study

Over the next two years, there will be an explosive growth in the number of enterprise cloud computing projects, according to a study into cloud computing trends by TheInfoPro, a service arm of analyst firm 451 Research.

But the study also predicted that an increase in non-IT roadblocks – people, processes and politics – are slowing the pace at which cloud projects are completed.

The study, conducted in the first half of 2013, aimed to identify key cloud computing initiatives of leading large and medium-sized enterprise organisations in Europe and in North America. The authors said they wanted to examine market factors influencing IT decision-makers and key cloud service providers.

It found about 60% of IT decision-makers said they view cloud computing as a natural evolution of IT service delivery and do not allocate separate budgets for cloud computing projects.

Of those that do have separate budgets for cloud computing, 69% respondents expected their spending to increase in 2013 and 2014 compared with 2012.

While internal or private cloud projects still dominated cloud-related activity among respondents, with 35% citing it, public cloud services such as infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) activity in enterprises have doubled to between 30% and 33% in just the past six months.

Despite the increased cloud-computing activity, a wide majority (83%) of respondents admitted to facing significant roadblocks to deploying their cloud computing initiatives. This represented an increase (by 9%) from the previous year.

While IT roadblocks – such as availability of cloud-testing and management tools – have declined to 15%, the non-IT roadblocks have increased to 68%, according to the research. The non-IT barriers mostly related to people, processes, politics and other organisational issues.

Among the major barriers, CIOs and cloud project managers saw regulatory and compliance issues as essentially the “‘pass/fail” criteria for public cloud provider selection, but security also remained paramount as the biggest pain point for IT professionals implementing cloud computing projects.

A Gartner report recently showed that buyers of commercial cloud services – especially SaaS – are finding security provisions inadequate. SaaS was ranked as the top cloud service the UK enterprises planned to use in 2013, despite newer cloud services such as datacentre as a service, database as a service or even testing and development as a service.

The study also assessed the established cloud service providers and found that Microsoft, VMware and Amazon led the list of “exciting cloud technology providers”. However, open cloud computing platform OpenStack has also gained traction in the past year.

OpenStack looks poised to challenge the existing status quo as the enterprise cloud market develops, the study’s authors claimed.

The cloud market is still a nascent opportunity – a very long list of suppliers large and small, coupled with open source and other market initiatives are getting the attention of IT strategists, the analysts added.

At the cloud technology level, cloud platforms or orchestration stacks were high on the agenda for enterprise IT, according to the study’s “heat index”. This was followed by cloud performance management and monitoring and virtual private cloud-based IaaS as the top priorities in the next two years.

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