Survey: Cost, scalability are primary drivers for cloud usage

Summary:There's nonstop talk about how cloud computing is in its infancy this week at GigaOm's Structure conference in San Francisco. Nevertheless, more companies are favoring the cloud each day for different reasons, but there are a few that stick out.

There's nonstop talk about how cloud computing is in its infancy this week at GigaOm's Structure conference in San Francisco. Nevertheless, more companies are favoring the cloud each day for different reasons, but there are a few that stick out.

According to the "inaugural Future of Cloud Computing Survey," the primary drivers for cloud usage are more flexible scalability and the potential for lower costs on the part of the customers.

But agility and innovation have been found to be the key factors as to why IT departments are adopting the cloud because it is seen as an "effective means to implementing new applications quickly to keep pace with application backlogs and business demands." That's not terribly surprising so long as the cloud infrastructure is built with the idea of scalability in mind, or else a speedy implementation is probably out of the question.

Let's take a closer look at some of the survey highlights:

  • Most respondents have been using some sort of cloud-based solution for at least 20 months
  • 40% of respondents are currently experimenting with moving operations to the cloud
  • 26% of respondents are waiting for market maturity before attempting a formal move to the cloud
  • 31% of respondents cited security and compliance as "key obstacles" to cloud adoption
  • 25% of respondents said that these are "roadblocks" to joining the cloud
  • Most cited drivers for long-term cloud adoption: Maintaining competitive differentiation, mobility and ensuring application interoperability through the use of open cloud APIs
  • 55% of respondents believe that cloud computing has a lower total cost of ownership

For reference, the survey incorporated the responses of 413 participants from both the vendor and end user communities. It was conducted by a trio of companies heavily invested in cloud computing as well as the annual Structure conference: North Bridge Venture Partners, GigaOM Pro and The 451 Group.

One of the side effects of cloud computing that seems to be getting sidetracked is what could happen to IT personnel. The survey found that respondents were split on the impact of cloud computing on IT manageability, and at least 74% of respondents think cloud computing would lead to an increase in hiring or might not have an impact at all.

However, just over a quarter of respondents think that cloud computing cloud lead to a decrease in hiring. That doesn't necessarily mean layoffs, but it does point to suspicion about less jobs being available in a time when most people would agree that the more job opportunities out there the better. After all, many panelists at Structure this week have repeatedly argued that cloud adoption will lead to lower costs in IT management, which could also point to a smaller headcount in relevant departments.

That is in no way to say that we should abandon the current path to evolving cloud computing as it really could change the way businesses run online for the better, but it's something to still consider.

Related:

Topics: Cloud, Hardware, IT Employment

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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