The Future Is Now: Survey Says Cloud Here To Stay

Cloud Of Dreams

Evolve IP, a cloud services provider, just released the results of its 2014 Cloud of Dreams survey.

The blind, web-based survey was conducted in June and queried 1,257 respondents. More than 28 percent of them were C-level executives; another 7 percent were vice presidents; 22 percent were IT directors; 17.5 percent were IT managers; and the final quarter were other IT professionals.

Just over three-quarters of the survey group work for organizations with revenues between $1 million and $500 million, and 70.5 percent of their companies have between 50 and 500 employees.

The Cloud Is The Future Of IT

At least 88 percent of respondents believe that's true.

But just because almost nine of 10 executives and IT professionals polled agreed that the cloud represents the future of IT, not all of them are sure that's a good thing.

Only 67 percent of the total consider themselves "cloud believers." Nearly 20 percent said they are unconvinced, with another 13.5 percent feeling they don't have enough information about the cloud to weigh in.

"Virtually everyone acknowledges the tectonic shift from premise to cloud, and the majority believes the change is good," Evolve IP concluded.

Most Companies Are Already There

More than eight of every 10 people polled by Evolve IP have deployed the cloud in their business for at least one task, according to the survey.

The average respondent was running 2.7 services in the cloud, with servers/data centers, Microsoft Exchange and co-location/backup the leading three services adopted.

Even 64 percent of those respondents who said they were still unconvinced of the cloud's benefits have some cloud usage, among them averaging 1.4 cloud services used within their organizations.

The cloud believers, on average, use 3.3 services.

VMware Rules Virtualization

It's no surprise VMware dominates the hypervisor market.

Evolve IP specifically asked the hands-on IT professionals participating in the survey about their virtualization technology, and 82.5 percent of them reported using the ESX hypervisor.

Citrix's Xen followed with 26 percent, and KVM was deployed by just 6 percent of those surveyed.

Can IT Staff Handle The Technology?

Most respondents indicated that they were relatively comfortable with their IT teams' understanding of cloud technologies. When asked if their staff could ’implement a cloud strategy independently,’ 58 percent answered affirmatively.

Only 29 percent said that on-staff knowledge was a barrier to migrating services.

How'd You Get To The Cloud?

Almost 60 percent of respondents believe they have what it takes within their organizations to handle a cloud migration themselves. But of those who already migrated, the majority -- just over 56 percent -- went with a third party.

Of the 43.5 percent of cloud users who handled the migration process internally, almost one-quarter said they would go with a third-party if they had it to do all over again.

Who Helped You Get To The Cloud?

Of the respondents who sought outside expertise to assist their cloud migrations, that third-party for 42.5 percent of them was their cloud services provider.

Another 20 percent used a consultant/VAR,18 percent worked with a data center/infrastructure provider, and the rest used a variety of vendors such as MSPs, network providers and security vendors.

When asked what some of the main considerations were in selecting a vendor, price was cited by 71.5 percent of respondents; security policies by 65 percent; and an easy-to-use management system by just over half.

Great Expectations

Half of the companies that are using the cloud told Evolve IP they have already avoided a disaster as a result, according to the survey.

That stat, along with ongoing threats of business disruption from weather, power outages and other concerns, all explain why almost three-quarters of the respondents polled said disaster avoidance/recovery and business continuity was their No. 1 expected benefit of moving to the cloud.

Another 61.5 percent expect improved flexibility, 60.5 percent believe they will enjoy greater scalability and 60 percent expect lower total cost of ownership.


"Overall, there was a general decline compared to 2013 about concerns and barriers to moving to the cloud," Evolve IP noted.

But the top two remain the same from last year: 53 percent of respondents are concerned about security and 36 percent about privacy.

Security breakdowns and breaches garnering media attention exacerbate those factors. "The result is that these concerns are likely to continue for some time, albeit with the current trend of a gradual decline."

Reliability/availability was cited as a barrier by 30.5 percent of respondents; performance by 29 percent. The biggest year-over-year drop regarded legal/compliance -- nine percent fewer companies were worried about that issue. The only barrier to significantly increase from 2013 was budget, which went from 23 percent to roughly 30 percent.

Budget Not Much Of A Barrier

More than 40 percent of respondents said their IT budgets increased in 2014, and 54 percent expect another increase next year. Of the respondents who got more money for IT in 2014, 80 percent expect to spend more in 2015.

"Budget concerns were not highly cited as a barrier in implementing the cloud," Evolve IP wrote, noting only 29 percent of respondents listed that issue.

But that doesn't mean they're ignoring the sticker price.

More than 70 percent of respondents said pricing for services is their top criteria in picking a provider.

Another Year, Another Cloud Survey

This year's Cloud of Dreams survey followed up on some major points from last year's survey to identify key shifts in the market. While most changes were incremental, there were some notable year-over-year observations.

The annual comparison shows IT and business leaders are slowly gaining knowledge about the cloud, and their concerns are accordingly decreasing. But while IT managers are coming around, they aren't yet as enthusiastic as their directors and executives.

The number of cloud services continues to increase, adoption of Microsoft's suite of cloud products is also on the rise, and there's been an uptick in plans for adoption for servers/data centers, desktops and phone systems, Evolve IP noted.


The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has made big year-over-year gains in actual service adoption in 2014, at least among those who answered Evolve IP's survey.

Exchange captured another 5 percent of the survey group, with 30 percent of respondents now using Microsoft's email service. Office advanced from 11.5 percent to 19 percent, and Lync grew from 9.5 percent to 14.5 percent. Many companies planning cloud adoption said Office and Exchange are on their radar.

It seems Office 365 is having an impact.

What's The Total Cost Of Ownership?

It should be easy to identify the TCO benefits of moving to the cloud, but in reality it's quite complicated.

That's probably why only four in 10 respondents using cloud services noted the benefits of lower TCO.

"Unfortunately, the shift from a CAPEX to an OPEX model makes quantifying actual TCO extremely difficult for organizations that don't have a sophisticated method for identifying, measuring and comparing all of the cost centers in a premise-based solution vs. cloud services," Evolve IP concluded.

Cloud Of The Future

Three-quarters of respondents plan on adding new or additional cloud services in the next three years, according to the Evolve IP survey.

Of those 75 percent, 34 percent plan on adding servers or data centers, 22 percent co-location and backup, 22 percent cloud-based phone systems and 21.5 percent Microsoft Office.

"The rapid flight to the cloud continues with organizations planning on moving their infrastructure, applications and more to the cloud. If anything, they are seeing fewer hurdles and have built more confidence in the cloud in the last year," the study's authors concluded.