Interop Attendees Moving Cautiously To Cloud: Surveys

For better or for worse, cloud computing dominated the discussion at Interop Las Vegas 2011 this week.

Cloud computing was the featured topic in several keynote addresses. Vendors stormed the Interop show floor with cloud-ready and cloud enabled products. And many of the sessions focused squarely on the leap into the cloud.

A pair of surveys conducted by vendors at Interop found that attendees are slowly moving into cloud computing environments, but are doing so with caution and lack confidence in the cloud.

According to a survey conducted by IT operations and cloud management player ScienceLogic, 70 percent of Interop attendees, based on 150 surveyed, have deployed or plan to deploy cloud computing. Despite adoption plans, nearly the same number lack confidence in the strategy to manage the performance of those cloud resources.

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The ScienceLogic survey found that among the 70 percent with cloud plans, 33 percent are looking at private cloud environments, 25 percent are moving toward public clouds, and the remainder is examining hybrid cloud computing environments.

Meanwhile, the survey found that 14 percent of respondents have no cloud computing plans.

Additionally, ScienceLogic's surveys found that not having insight into the performance of applications running in the cloud and who is using cloud computing resources can have a negative impact on service delivery and operating costs. Sixty-eight percent of respondents are concerned about unauthorized use of compute resources by business units or application developers. These concerns are mostly related to security and bandwidth.

"Cloud computing is growing fast and has become pervasive, but most businesses have great difficulty managing it along with their virtual and physical on-premises resources," David Link, CEO of ScienceLogic, said in a statement. "It's in vogue in some circles to downplay the need for IT operations with the advent of public cloud services, but few mid-to-large size organizations are relying exclusively on public clouds. Underestimating the need for IT operations can be a critical mistake. It has never been more important to have centralized, dynamic management of IT service delivery across distributed computing resources no matter where they reside."

According to ScienceLogic's survey, nearly 60 percent of businesses queried plan to use on-premises tools or metrics offered by the cloud service provider, or both, to measure the performance of cloud services. However, more than a third of respondents said they aren't sure how they will measure cloud performance, and more than 70 percent said they either have no confidence in their current solutions or have not selected one. The majority of attendee respondents said that their existing IT operations staff will manage cloud performance rather than adding new staff with cloud skills.

NEXT: Cloud Computing Hurts Troubleshooting

ScienceLogic's survey results jibe with a Network Instruments survey conducted at Interop Las Vegas 2011 that found attendees are moving to the cloud and are seeing increased service availability and scalability.

Network Instruments' survey queried 94 network engineers, IT managers and executives at Interop and found that 61 percent already have cloud computing services running on their network, while half have implemented some form of SaaS like or Google Apps. That was a jump of 10 percent compared to the SaaS adoption among Interop attendees in 2010.

Among the respondents that have cloud services running, 50 percent have deployed private clouds, a 21 percent increase compared to the prior year.

The survey also revealed that just 21 percent of respondents rely on some form of PaaS like or Microsoft Azure. Respondents also noted that the percentage of applications running in the cloud will increase from 21 percent to 38 percent by mid-2012.

And cloud users are finding a boost in availability, with 61 percent reporting improved application availability and 4 percent reporting availability decreasing. Fifty-two percent also noted that end-user experience improved compared to 4 percent noting that end-user experience worsened.

Cloud computing is also helping organizations improve application scalability, as more than half of respondents said their ability to scale got better with the cloud.

But one area the cloud did not excel was with troubleshooting, Network Instruments' survey found. Sixty-one percent of respondents indicated that their ability to troubleshoot problems got worse or remained the same after moving to the cloud. And 52 percent of respondents stated that their ability to monitor cloud performance worsened or remained the same after deploying cloud services.

"Although cloud adopters have reported improvements in application availability and cost savings," said Brad Reinboldt, Network Instruments senior product manager, in a statement. "These improvements aren't sustainable in the long run without appropriate monitoring tools. When trouble does hit, it falls in the lap of the organization's network team to prove that the problem is occurring on the cloud provider's side. Without proof, organizations will waste time finger pointing, jeopardizing any cost savings or efficiency improvements."