The way the cloud and managed hosting market is maturing represents a challenge to users and cloud and managed hosting service providers.
IT teams from midsized U.K.
and U.S. businesses polled still spend more than half (56 percent) their time
on server management and troubleshooting in a typical month, and only 28 percent
on strategic, "value-added" activities, according to a survey released
by cloud computing specialist Rackspace Hosting.
Despite the widespread
availability of cloud and managed hosting, many organizations are clinging to
physical servers, leaving in-house IT teams struggling with troubleshooting and
capacity planning amid demands from their bosses to do more for less, the
The report shows that most U.K.
and U.S. businesses seem to have either made poor progress or taken a step
backward regarding server management. The majority (59 percent) of U.K.
respondents admit they have either bought too many servers, which has wasted
money, or bought too few, which has meant a lack of capacity. In 2009, 55 percent
of respondents said they got this wrong.
In the United States, the
situation is worse: 67 percent said theyve purchased the wrong number of
servers, compared with 47 percent in 2009.
The respondents indicated
that U.K. IT teams spend 50 percent of their time on server maintenance and
troubleshooting today, down from the 57 percent revealed in a 2009 Rackspace survey.
Yet using these results, a U.K. IT team member on average would still spend an
estimated 912 hours a year just servicing servers, rather than helping drive
U.S. businesses reported
that their teams spend even more of their time62 percent in a typical monthon
server maintenance, and only a quarter of their time (25 percent) on value-added
In addition, the
"hassle of managing servers" seems to be a problem for far more U.K.
and U.S. businesses now (79 percent) than was indicated in the 2009 survey (58
percent). Similarly, top gripes regarding managing servers physically on-sitehardware
maintenance (53 percent), having to be available 24/7 (50 percent), and the
cost of buying and maintaining servers (40 percent)are voiced by more respondents
in both the United States and the United Kingdom now than as reported in the
Problems associated with
having to manage and maintain servers are often readily solved by cloud and
managed hosting services. In 2009, one-third (33 percent) of businesses surveyed
expected to outsource their in-house servers in the next two to five years,
said Fabio Torlini, vice president of cloud at Rackspace. However, over two
years later, the new study suggests that many midsized businesses are still
chained to their servers, and may be spending unnecessary time and money on
A large percentage of U.K.
and U.S. IT decision makers interviewed said they are under mounting pressure
to support business growth and change (89 percent, up from 65 percent in 2009),
improve flexibility (88 percent, compared with 66 percent) and help drive
internal innovation (88 percent, up from 61 percent). In addition, businesses
are also facing demands from the board to reduce IT spending, according to 87
percent of respondents (up from 65 percent in 2009).
This years results show
that 38 percent of respondents now expect to outsource their in-house servers
in two to five years (35 percent in the United Kingdom and 40 percent in the United
States). Top barriers to moving to cloud hostingquestions regarding security
(54 percent), reliability (47 percent) and return on investment (42 percent)are
holding back more organizations now than indicated in Rackspaces 2009 survey.
For example, security is seen as a barrier to server outsourcing by twice as
many respondents in 2012 (54 percent), compared with 2009 (27 percent).
According to Torlini, the
way the cloud and managed hosting market is maturing, as suggested by the study,
represents a challenge to users and cloud and managed hosting service providers
alike. In 2009, almost two out of five (40 percent) of respondents didnt know
what cloud computing was. In 2012, everybody does, and is looking at it the
benefits and the issues, he explained. The challenge for midsized businesses
is to stop unnecessarily holding onto their in-house physical servers, and give
themselves a chance to focus on more important and valuable work. The challenge
for cloud service providers is to provide the right advice and services to help
more of them overcome the barriers to doing just this.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.