Switching quickly from one technology to another is not something that large organisations are prone to do. They have responsibilities to their shareholders, partners, customers and employees among others, and getting it wrong by moving too fast would be a bad thing to do.
In that light, it's hardly surprising that a press release which crossed my desk (virtually, you understand) today provoked the slightly cynical response: 'tell me something I don't know'.
The release in question announced the results of a survey commissioned by a cloud provider (Ipanema) and a network management software vendor (Orange Business Services) which found that "a large majority plan to combine public cloud and private data centres to deliver business applications - rather than opting for a cloud only (17%) or private data centre only approach (17%)." Surveys incidentally are what companies tend to publish when they have no products to release but want to keep up their media profiles.
The reason I wasn't surprised is that, if your network is big enough to be needing network management products, then your organisation is probably a fairly hefty size. It's probably big enough to already own either a whole or part of a datacentre. Datacentres are expensive investments so, if you can find a way of sloughing off some of the cost to someone else, you'll do that. It might mean pulling in other companies to hire your datacentre facilities, or it might mean downsizing your investment and outsourcing those bits of the organisation that you don't feel strongly enough about to want to retain control in-house.
In effect that results in some stuff being done in-house, some outsourced: a hybrid model. And the survey, which asked 150 enterprise CIOs and IT directors, suggests that most companies will be doing this. Companies I've spoken to all have something like this in mind. For example, finance houses will keep in-house the stuff that makes the profit -- the trading systems, the insurance algorithms and so on -- while pushing HR and accounts departments into the cloud.
So far so conventional, I feel. The survey continues with the news that about half of those surveyed will have a private cloud -- which it defines as a "completely virtualised central datacentre" -- in place by the end of 2012.
What is surprising is that 17 percent of the CIOs plan to go for a cloud-only approach. This is pretty radical stuff unless, of course, they already have most their assets out there anyway, and the rest is just a matter of implementing the programme. Of course, it depends too on exactly what question was asked and exactly who answered it.
If you're a CIO, are you going cloud -only and, if so, why?