Cisco Report: 8 Trends Cisco Sees In Cloud, Virtualization And Data Center

Brazil Leading The Global Cloud Computing Stampede

Here in the U.S., you can't shake a stick without hitting a cloud computing startup of some sort. But according to Cisco's Connected World Report, the U.S. is in the middle of the pack of countries that are using cloud computing today. Topping the list is Brazil (27 percent), followed by Germany (27 percent), India (26 percent), the U.S. (23 percent) and Mexico (22 percent).

Of the 13 countries Cisco surveyed, the average figure was 18 percent.

Companies Still In Wait-And-See Mode With Cloud Computing

Despite all of the hype around cloud computing, just 18 percent of the companies Cisco surveyed are actually using cloud solutions. Thirty-four percent of companies are planning to either migrate existing on-premise apps to the cloud or subscribe to SaaS applications, while 22 percent have no near-term plans to move to the cloud. A rather surprising 26 percent of companies are still trying to figure out if the cloud makes sense for their organizations, according to the survey. Within the next three years, however, 88 percent of companies expect to be storing at least some of their data and applications in private or public clouds, according to the survey.

Companies Looking To Cloud For Data Storage

As pundits debate the merits of private versus public cloud computing infrastructure, companies have begun arriving at some interesting conclusions. According to the Cisco survey, 33 percent of companies expect to store at least half of their corporate data in public or private clouds within the next three years. Twelve percent said they're planning to store 75 percent to 100 percent of their data in the cloud, while just 8 percent said they don't plan on storing any of their data in the cloud.

Server Virtualization Still Not Widespread

Although virtualization is just as ubiquitous a buzzword as cloud computing, 67 percent of companies are currently running less than half of their production servers in a virtualized state. Within the next three years, though, 46 percent expect to have virtualized between 50 percent and 100 percent of their production servers, according to the survey.

For now, security and stability are still barriers, as 38 percent of companies cited these as inhibiting factors for data center virtualization. Other roadblocks to virtualization include management concerns (16 percent), concerns of proprietary virtualization solutions being tied to apps, and IT conflicts over ownership of the virtualized environment (14 percent).

Virtualization's Glittering Appeal

Companies have a wide range of motivations for deploying virtualization, although all of them boil down to efficiency and cost savings. According to the Cisco survey, 30 percent of companies are looking for increased IT agility and flexibility, while 24 percent are looking to optimize resources to lower costs. 17 percent of companies are looking at virtualization because they're running out of data center space, while 11 percent are looking to build a green data center with efficient power and cooling.

Virtualization And Great Expectations

By this point, pretty much everyone has got the memo about server virtualization's ability to cut costs in the data center. But just how much savings are companies expecting to obtain? Forty percent of survey respondents expect server virtualization to yield data center costs savings of between 25 percent and 49 percent, while 15 percent of companies anticipate savings of between 50 and 74 percent. At this stage, companies appear to have cautious optimism for the financial benefits of moving to server virtualization.

Trends And Priorities In The Data Center

Companies that took part in the Cisco survey have a wide range of priorities for their data center investments over the next three years. Thirty-three percent indicated a desire to provide access to corporate data to mobile employees, while 32 percent said data center virtualization is their main goal. Desktop virtualization and cloud computing were each cited by 27 percent of survey respondents, and 24 percent said increased adoption of video was important.

Collaboration Is Key In The Data Center

One thing most survey respondents agreed on was that technologies like virtualization and cloud computing, which cut across multiple segments of the IT stack, will require greater cooperation between employee teams in the data center. Of companies in the survey that have started down this road, 27 percent believe in the efficiencies of having integrated data center teams working together, while 25 percent said new technologies make this closer collaboration a necessity. Just 10 percent of respondents said they don't plan to integrate their disparate data center teams.