Cloud computing fad becomes reality

While some businesses still see the technology as a "fad", more are turning to it for better IT management and cost control, finds a survey.

A survey has shown that one in four enterprises in Asia-Pacific use some form of cloud computing, and more than 50 percent of the respondents believe the technology can help reduce cost compared with traditional IT management.

The Frost & Sullivan survey, carried out in August and September, also revealed that 23 percent of respondents use some form of cloud computing, while 61 percent plan to increase spending on it next year.

About 330 senior IT managers participated in the survey.

The research firm said these results indicated that most companies have either initiated discussions or have already started using cloud computing despite it being labeled as another "vaporware".

Arun Chandrasekaran, research manager at Frost & Sullivan, said: "There is a growing awareness among consumers and enterprises to access their IT resources extensively through this 'utility' model... it strives to eliminate inherent inefficiencies in the existing architecture and deliver 'IT as a service' to the end-users."

The study showed that in most companies, the IT department is the key decision-maker on cloud initiatives, followed by the CXO. Key factors determining the selection of a cloud provider include security and privacy standards, quality of service level agreements (SLAs), as well as pricing.

In terms of mindshare in the public cloud computing space, IBM, Google and Microsoft came out tops. In the private cloud space, IBM, HP and EMC/VMWare were most highly regarded.

Frost & Sullivan believes the adoption rate of cloud "has improved from previous years", but admitted that many still see this as another technology fad. For those not willing to take risks, Chandrasekaran advised otherwise.

"Challenges for adopting cloud computing are regulatory compliance, invisibility over data storage and access, SLAs, reliability of the cloud, and ownership of legal liability. However, there is no such thing as 'zero' risk. Businesses need to realize that with proper planning, risks can be mitigated," he commented.

The research firm suggested that vendors and service providers need to understand that cloud computing caters for customers' business needs and the focus has always been on the business rather than the technology. "Vendors will also need to be more liberal with trial periods to fully accommodate clients' request to explore various opportunities that cloud has to offer," said Frost & Sullivan.