Oracle: Enterprise cloud adoption could take 30 years

It could be 30 years before major enterprises move the majority of their IT operations to the public cloud, thanks to a 'generational' mistrust of cloud security, according to a senior Oracle executive
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

It could be 30 years before the industry sees wholesale public cloud adoption by enterprises, according to an Oracle executive.

Due to a "generational" mentality in enterprises, it could be decades before enterprises shake off their security concerns and adopt cloud computing beyond testing and development, Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president for Database Server Technologies at Oracle, told ZDNet UK on Tuesday.

"The current generation [of enterprise decision makers], they're probably going to have to die out before they accept the cloud as a safe place," Mendelsohn said. "I think [cloud adoption] is going to be a generational thing."

Mendelsohn said he thought it could take "30 years" for major enterprises to shift to an IT infrastructure based mostly around the cloud.

Oracle announced plans for its Oracle Public Cloud at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco in October, but the technology is yet to launch.

"A lot of people are interested in using the public cloud for development and testing, but when they go [into] production a lot are going to bring it back in-house," he said, pointing to examples such as Facebook.

Enterprise adoption

Mendelsohn noted that small companies and start-ups tend to adopt the cloud very enthusiastically, while enterprises are much more sceptical.

"Enterprise customers are just not there yet," he said. "They're just not ready to trust their crown jewels to any cloud provider, whether it's Oracle or Amazon or anyone else, and [when they use the cloud] it'll mostly be doing testing and development."

Enterprise customers are just not ready to trust their crown jewels to any cloud provider.
– Andrew Mendelsohn, Oracle

As today's start-up grow, Mendelsohn expects they'll continue to use the cloud. However, until a new generation of chief information officers (CIOs) take the reins at some of the world's major multinationals, like Boeing or General Electric, cloud adoption in large enterprises could be slow.

"There have been similar transitions," he said. "A hundred years ago every manufacturing plant had their own power generator. You can argue that the same transition will happen with computing, but how fast it happens is hard to predict." (Camera film maker Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy in January, still had two dedicated power plants (PDF) for its manufacturing facilities as of 2006.)

Mendelsohn's comments were made on the same day that Amazon's chief information security officer, Steve Schmidt, gave a keynote to a packed audience in London outlining the approach Amazon takes to securing its cloud.

Schmidt sought to allay enterprise fears over cloud security by pointing to Amazon's long list of security accreditations and procedures.

Get the latest technology news and analysis, blogs and reviews delivered directly to your inbox with ZDNet UK's newsletters.
Editorial standards