Cloud Computing Interest Tempered By Public Cloud Concerns, Survey Reveals

There is widespread interest in cloud computing among CTOs, architects and IT professionals, but the vast majority of IT pros deploy cloud computing solutions on dedicated resources instead of the public cloud. Those are two of the main findings of the 2011 Cloud Computing Outlook survey, a recent survey conducted by Cloud.Com, Zenoss and BitNami. The questionnaire was designed to discern trends in cloud computing usage and preferences for deploying virtual infrastructure, as well as to determine the key IT objectives and inhibitors for cloud adoption.

Sixty-one percent of organizations are either working on their cloud strategy or already have one approved, according to the survey. Another 20 percent have cloud implementations in place, and only 20 percent have no plans for cloud computing.

At the same time, 70 percent of data center managers choose to deploy infrastructure on dedicated resources (e.g. dedicated servers and data center resources) while only 12 percent prefer to deploy their infrastructure in the public cloud.

Cloud.Com, Zenoss and BitNami conducted the survey during the 2nd quarter of 2011 by polling the communities surrounding their open source projects (CloudStack, Zenoss Core and BitNami, respectively).The results were collected from more than 500 IT users in those open source and systems management communities.

“There is an unprecedented amount of interest around cloud computing but as with any nascent technology, industry users and solution providers are still coming to grips with the benefits and deployment options for cloud computing,” said Mark Hinkle, vice president of community,

The findings help identify the needs of organizations and their preferences for deploying virtual infrastructure, he added (see Figure 1).

Cloud Computing Outlook 2011
Figure 1. Cloud Computing Outlook 2011: Cloud computing trends from Cloud.Com, Zenoss and BitNami survey. (Source:

Cloud Development: Largely Open Source Software on Dedicated Systems

The survey findings reveal a pervasive use of open source and a strong preference for deploying virtualized infrastructure on dedicated data center resources.

Highlights include:

Overwhelming interest in cloud computing

  • Hardware savings was the number one reason cited for adopting cloud computing (68 percent). Faster deployment of infrastructure (66 percent) and reducing systems management burden (57 percent) were also top reasons for cloud adoption.
  • Among the surveyed CTOs, scalability (71 percent) was the most popular reason for adopting cloud computing, followed by elasticity or the need to adjust to fluctuations in resource demands (61 percent).

Open source prevalent in the cloud

  • Open source usage is pervasive among cloud computing users with 69 percent using open source software whenever possible while only 3 percent claiming not to use open source software at all. All government users indicated some degree of open source usage.
  • The open source Linux operating system is the dominant guest operating system in the cloud with 83 percent of IT professionals planning to deploy Linux as a guest operating system. Sixty-six percent said they will be deploying Windows OSes in the cloud; and, of those users who don’t use open source software, 58 percent said they have no cloud computing strategy.

IT professionals unwilling to cede total control to the cloud:

  • Fifty-seven percent of respondents preferred to host their infrastructures on their own hardware. Thirty-six percent indicated that they prefer to run their infrastructures virtually but host them on dedicated hardware at a managed data centers. Only 23 percent said they prefer to use shared infrastructure at a service provider. Even fewer (18 percent) said they prefer to use dedicated hardware at a management service provider.

Cloud Deployment: Why, How, and Why Not?

The survey results also answer some other important questions about the cloud:

Why are companies moving to the cloud?

The top factor influencing the use of cloud computing is scalability (61 percent), followed by overall cost savings (54 percent) and easier management (53 percent).

How are companies using the cloud?

The primary applications that respondents run or plan on running in the cloud are websites/content management (57 percent), document management (39 percent), networking monitoring/management (34 percent) and customer relationship management (31 percent).

What are the biggest inhibitors to cloud computing adoption?

The survey responses varied widely on the topic of inhibitors depending on the type of company. For privately-held companies, the number one inhibitor to cloud computing adoption was lack of training (43 percent), with security coming in second with 30 percent.

For publicly held companies, security and conservative IT policies came in neck-and-neck with around 50 percent of respondents naming them as inhibitors to cloud computing adoption.

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