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Monday, July 6, 2009

Cloud Confusion Amongst IT Professionals

[Editor's note: This is a guest article by Liz Ebbrell from Version One, Ltd., a provider of electronic document management software.]

The findings of a survey by document management software company, Version One, has revealed that 41% of senior IT professionals admit that they "don't know" what cloud computing is. Version One carried out the research with 60 senior IT professionals (IT directors and managers) across a range of UK public and private sector organisations. This research follows-on from a similar survey carried-out by Version One which highlights that two-thirds of UK senior finance professionals (finance directors and managers) are confused about cloud computing.

Of the remaining 59% of IT professionals who profess to know what cloud computing is, 17% of these understand cloud computing to be internet-based computing while 11% believe it is a combination of internet-based computing, software as a service (SAAS), software on demand, an outsourced or managed service and a hosted software service. The remaining respondents understand cloud computing to be a mixture of the above.

Despite cloud computing being in the media spotlight, only a minority of respondents (5%) say that they use it "a lot" and less than a quarter of those surveyed (19%) reveal that they only use cloud computing sparingly. Almost half of respondents (47%) admit that their company doesn’t use cloud computing with the remaining 29% conceding that they "don't know" whether their organisation uses it or not.

Julian Buck, General Manager of Version One, says, "Although this is only a small survey of IT professionals, the results are nonetheless very alarming, especially as IT professionals are the very people that need to understand cloud computing so that they can explain its benefits to management."

Buck continues, "It is clear from the survey results that there are a number of contrasting views as to what cloud computing really is, which is hardly surprising in light of the many different cloud computing definitions in the public arena. For instance, Wikipedia defines it as 'Internet-based computing' while Gartner refers to it 'as a service' using Internet technologies. IT expert, John Willis, writing in his cloud blog says that 'virtualisation is the secret sauce of a cloud' and provides different levels of cloud computing. With so many definitions circulating, clarity is urgently needed."

Only 2% of respondents say that their company is "definitely" going to invest in cloud computing within the next twelve months whilst 30% state that their organisations "may" invest in this technology. 45% admit that they "don’t know" whether their organisations will be investing in it or not with the remaining 23% stating that they currently have no investment plans. For those who definitely or maybe have plans to invest in cloud computing, some of the key business drivers cited include reduction in overheads and paper, ease of use, cost savings and the ability to provide collaborative tools for teaching and learning.

Buck adds, "If organisations are going to embrace cloud computing in the future it's essential that a single, simplified explanation is adopted by everyone. Failure to cut through the confusion could result in organisations rejecting this technology and missing out on the benefits it provides."

--Liz Ebbrell, Version One, Ltd.


Anonymous said...

Cloud Computing is a marketing scam like the "paperless office". Talk the customers into wanting it and then figure out how to make money off them with it.

We are bombarded with dis-info that netbooks aren't powerful enough for REAL COMPUTING. They are 3 times as powerful as the IBM 3033 mainframe that cost $3,000,000 in 1980 and netbooks have 32 times as much memory. 160 gigabytes of on-line storage in 1980. Who had that? It's just that no one was trying to store movies on their computer in 1980.

We need higher quality information and less BS not cloud computing.

Jon Moore said...

As a software architect who has built and deployed Internet scale (10 million UV a month) web applications both in company-hosted data centers and using infrastructure-as-a-service (Amazon Web Services) and platform-as-a-service (Google App Engine) offerings, it's no hoax.

At least in that setting, the ease of deployment and scale is unmatched. I can build in a week what used to take months.

And, for what it's worth, most consumer workloads (which are becoming increasingly dominated by browser use) are not CPU-bound; they are network-bound. The last mile hurts. Even with advancing CPU power, there are still things we have to do server side because the Javascript engines in the browsers can't keep up.

For sure netbooks will be great, but I don't think that Cloud Computing in the sense I'm discussing here is really targeted at the consumer; it's targeted at software development companies. So I'm pretty sure both will have fine niches in the marketplace.

Cohen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
trapez said...

Cloud computing is a method to get customers to turnover corporate data to a company they know nothing about. 5-10 years from now the cloud companies will have gather massive repository of data to analysis and sell to whom ever they please i.e. big government, competitors… 5-10 years cloud computing will be free (the cloud companies will gladly pay you to turn over your data to them for analysis)

It’s also a one stop shop for hackers, kind’a like going to the mall all the companies are under one roof.

But for now All companies are at the learning point and focusing simply on how to interact with the cloud company using SOAP, REST learning new API’s…But in the other hand the cloud company are sorting and categorizing your payload. Crazy stuff
All the dots will start connecting in 5-10 years…enjoy

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