The cloud is one of those amorphous technologies that gets trotted out as the answer to all of our woes, usually by people who don't think all that deeply about IT and its challenges. We hate to puncture anyone's bubble with a dose of reality, but at a macro level, adoption of all public cloud services except software as a service is going pretty darned slow.
For the past five years as part of our annual cloud survey, InformationWeek Reports has asked a simple question: What are your company's plans for cloud computing? The response we watch most closely is: We're receiving services today from a cloud provider. In 2008, 16% of survey respondents chose that option. In 2009, it was 21%, then 22% in 2010. It jumped to 31% last year, and to 33% this year.
Depending on your expectations, doubling in five years the percentage of IT organizations that use cloud services, and reaching one-third of organizations, might be pretty good. But compare the adoption rate for cloud services to another game-changing technology, virtualization. For almost every IT organization, virtualization isn't a matter of whether but how much. No one questions virtualization's core value proposition; the only question is about the breadth of applicability.
In contrast, two-thirds of IT organizations either have decided the cloud isn't for them or have yet to pull the trigger. The core value of the cloud is, in fact, in question.
It's not that IT planners are ignoring these services. The percentage of survey respondents who say they aren't interested has steadily decreased over the past five years. We asked the question somewhat differently in 2008 (we offered options for "don't know enough" and "no interest," but since then have offered only a "no plans" option). The percentage with no plans was about 50% in 2008 and dropped to 44%, 40%, 32%, and now 27% in subsequent years. That leaves about 40% in the planning and evaluation phase right now.
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