Intel's survey of 200 professional IT leaders about their organisation's intentions in regards to cloud computing has revealed interesting trends (PDF), and can assist you in your own thinking and planning about moving to the cloud.
The survey screened respondents to ensure that they work in a company with 100-plus employees and are the IT decision makers there. From this audience, 40 percent were in the process of deploying a private cloud, and 40 percent have already moved components of the IT environment to a public cloud. The remaining 20 percent planned to deploy within the next 12 to 24 months.
As such, the survey focused on IT professionals who have already applied thinking, engaged vendors, and formulated budgets with respect to cloud computing. The survey excluded respondents who have not yet investigated cloud computing, or who are in the early stages of evaluation, with no time frame for implementation.
Consequently, it provides useful insights and guidance based on real-world experiences.
This research showed a marked preference for private clouds. This is not surprising; a private cloud allows greater control over network, storage, and security issues.
Long term, however, the picture changes: 42 percent of respondents are already using a public cloud to support some applications, and within the next two years, plans for deployment are similar across internal private clouds, external private clouds, and public cloud environments.
Most of the IT organisations surveyed have already taken steps to virtualise storage infrastructure, consolidate servers, and enable VM mobility across servers. The research overwhelmingly found that IT managers believe a highly virtualised datacentre is a key prerequisite for operating their own cloud.
With the explosion of data continuing, IT managers are facing storage challenges that are new and different to their forebears' challenges. IT departments worldwide are dealing with inherited storage inefficiencies, and are working through changing their datacentre from traditional storage to virtualised storage.
These issues are being tackled by thin provisioning, data deduplication, cache tiering, and other technologies that increase volume and improve effectiveness. These solutions are being applied most to backup, archiving, and application data stores, but the research found that there is an increasing interest in implementing large analytics and large NoSQL databases in the cloud.
This, in turn, means that datacentres will need to rely heavily on intelligent solutions that can scale out storage.
Achieving these goals and establishing the appropriate infrastructure for the necessary networking and storage is not without concern. The survey found that the biggest concerns were security and scalability issues, as well as, not unexpectedly, cost.
The study determined that IT managers agreed there must be an investment from the business to simplify infrastructure when preparing for the cloud.
Fuelled by the dual drivers of reducing cost and simplifying infrastructure, the survey found that IT managers are utilising intelligent technologies that scale out storage, reduce costs, and increase storage efficiency, with adoption of 10 gigabit Ethernet (10GbE), Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), and Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) growing. These three technologies can also improve network speed and the capacity to transport, manage, and store data.