Cloud Adoption Quickens, But Not Without Issues

By Chris Talbot  |  Print this article Print

Businesses are increasing their rate of IT cloud adoption, but troubleshooting and monitoring remains inadequate to handle the current rate of migrations to the cloud.

Challenges related to the cloud aren’t stopping businesses from adopting the service delivery model.

That's according to a new survey by Network Instruments of 94 network engineers, IT managers and executives who attended the recent Interop networking event.

The results showed a surprisingly large increase in cloud service adoption in the last year, but it also demonstrated the challenges related to troubleshooting and monitoring when it comes to moving to the cloud.

Network Instruments' survey this year marks the fifth time the company has conducted the survey of IT professionals and executives at Interop, and according to Brad Reinboldt, product marketing manager at Network Instruments, the biggest surprise this year was a 20 percent increase cloud service adoption over last year.

"Based on my experience with virtualization, I was surprised we saw a 20 percent increase in the number of folks embracing cloud. I thought there would have been more cautiousness in doing so," Reinboldt said. He noted the change as being fairly significant and proof that businesses understand and are embracing the benefits of cloud computing.

However, there is a trade-off. With the rise in adoption of cloud computing, there's also the worry that it comes at the cost of a decline or lack of improvement in troubleshooting (noted by 60 percent of survey respondents) and that monitoring of applications has also worsened or remained the same (stated by 52 percent of respondents).

"When these types of solutions and technologies operate to their optimal, they add tremendous value and you see that value right away," Reinboldt said. He compared cloud today to the challenges of VoIP half a decade ago. It held great promise, but then there were hiccups that needed to be resolved before the technology could really come into its own.

From an infrastructure perspective, certain applications don’t immediately port over to the cloud very well, particularly what Reinboldt called "chatty apps." Many applications worked well internally on a LAN but then didn’t transfer well over to the cloud. The survey results indicated that the percentage of applications being run in the cloud will grow from 21 percent to 38 percent by mid-2012. In time, the user experience will improve, much as it did with VoIP, but Reinboldt  noted that the survey results show that IT professionals are beginning to experience challenges in deploying cloud services.

Of the 94 survey respondents to the survey, 61 percent said they have cloud computing services running on their networks now. Half of those organizations are running some form of SaaS, such as Salesforce.com or Google Apps. The number of organizations that have implemented SaaS to some degree increased by 10 percent over the 2010 Interop survey.

As many industry insiders have suggested over the last year or more, the private cloud is showing considerable growth. Of the respondents, 50 percent have deployed private clouds, which is a 21 percent increase over last year’s survey results. Additionally, 21 percent of respondents said they were relying platform-as-a-service (PaaS) such as Microsoft Azure or Salesforce.com Force.

Although businesses are clearly facing some challenges in using cloud services, they’re also realizing the benefits. For instance, 61 percent of respondents indicated that application availability improved once they’d deployed cloud services. Only 4 percent said their application availability decreased. Also, 52 percent said the end-user experience improved after deploying cloud services, whereas only 4 percent noted a decline. More than half of respondents also stated that their ability to scale applications had increased after deploying cloud services.

"Clearly, the survey shows there really is value, bottom line-wise for a company to do this, but they have to take into account that there is another variable in the equation," Reinboldt said. There’s a need to understand how cloud-based applications are going to behave in their individual environments, he added.