Enterprises are increasingly adopting cloud computing in at least part of their IT environments, and are now also beginning to see positive results from the shift, according to a study by x86 chip-maker Advanced Micro Devices.
In a study released June 1, AMD officials found that 42 percent of respondents said they are using cloud computing for at least part of their operations-either to host data, for remotely hosted applications or both-and another 32 percent said they are investigating the use of the cloud. In addition, of those currently using the cloud, 60 percent said they already are seeing business value.
Those numbers, and other figures gleaned from the study, indicate that cloud computing is rapidly maturing and that the adoption trend will only go up as businesses increase their trust in the model, according to John Fruehe, director of product marketing for servers at AMD. A year or two ago, people were trying to get their arms around what cloud computing meant. Now they are jumping in and reaping the rewards.
"It's not a technology that someday, eventually will be here," Fruehe said in an interview with eWEEK. "It's something that's in use today."
And that's good news for AMD, he said. As enterprises continue to embrace the cloud, there also will be an increase in demand for high-performance, scalable and energy efficient servers to run highly virtualized workloads. That dovetails with the direction in which AMD is taking its chips, particularly now with its Fusion strategy-integrating the CPU and discrete-level graphics onto the same piece of silicon-well underway.
"Our product roadmap calls for more cores and more scalability," Fruehe said, noting AMD's upcoming Opteron "Interlagos" chips based on the "Bulldozer" core will offer as many as 16 cores per chip.
AMD had planned the survey for internal use, Fruehe said, but decided to put it out into the public realm after seeing the results. In all, 1,513 people in organizations with 100 or more people on their staff responded to the survey. According to AMD, 1,000 of the respondents came from the United States; the remaining was split almost evenly between Asia and Europe.
The numbers from the survey indicate that cloud computing is becoming an important part of an organization's overall business. Some 46 percent said the cloud represented a strategic shift in IT policies at their organizations, while another 35 percent called it a tactical move to address a specific need. Nineteen percent saw it as a necessity to reduce costs.
That shift toward the cloud is also being seen in another area, Fruehe said. About 63 percent of global cloud users estimate they store more than $250,000 worth of data in the cloud.
"It tells us that the people who are using the cloud today trust the technology enough to use it for real things," he said.
Among those using the cloud, 63 percent of all private companies say they are getting real business value out of the cloud. That includes 64 percent of those with 100 to 499 employees, and 57 percent of those with 500 or more.
For many companies, security and privacy were still concerns, particularly when it involved data that could involve liability. That includes financial, customer and employee data, according to the survey. Companies were more likely to put sales, product or research data in the cloud. However, IT staffing didn't seem to be an issue for most businesses; 75 percent of those using cloud computing say they had the expertise in-house.
Survey respondents said that email was the application most suited for the cloud, followed by finance/accounting, Web serving, marketing, sales and human resources.
In AMD's wheelhouse were the questions around the underlying hardware infrastructure needed for cloud computing. Ninety-two percent of those businesses using the cloud said the infrastructure was an important consideration when deploying a cloud computing model. In addition, the top benefit of cloud computing was hardware cost savings.