A new industry coalition comprising the likes of Cisco Systems, IBM, EMC and Microsoft will try to remove some of the key barriers for enterprises looking to embrace cloud computing.
At the Management World Americas conference in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 8, the industry group TM Forum announced the creation of the ECBC (Enterprise Cloud Buyers Council), part of a larger initiative designed to create an ecosystem of the largest IT vendors and telecommunications companies in the cloud services space.
The ECBC is tasked with understanding the needs of the largest enterprises and addressing the top challenges to adopting a cloud computing model.
Industry analysts are expecting cloud computing to rapidly grow in importance as businesses look for ways to improve their delivery of services while reducing IT capital and operational costs. Research firm Gartner in March predicted that global cloud services revenue will grow to more than $56.3 billion this year-compared to $46.4 billion in 2008-and increase to $150.1 billion in 2013.
That said, there are several issues that will hold back adoption until they're addressed. Forrester Research said in a report this month that in a survey of businesses in North America and Europe, 49 percent of respondents from enterprises and 51 from SMBs said security and privacy concerns were the primary reasons for not using cloud computing.
"The demand for cloud services holds significant potential for the industry, and it's just at the start of its evolution," Keith Willetts, chairman and CEO of TM Forum, said in a statement. "However, there are a number of barriers that must be overcome before cloud can become a mass-market success."
Included in the ECBC are Alcatel-Lucent, Amdocs, AT&T, British Telecom, CA, Hewlett-Packard, Nokia Siemens Networks, Telecom Italia and Telstra. Also participating are industry organizations DMTF (Distributed Management Task Force) and itSMF (Information Technology Senior Management Forum), as well as enterprise buyers Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Deutsche Bank.
The group will work to understand the needs of enterprise buyers and will launch specific work programs to address various issues, including cloud security issues, cloud-to-cloud interoperability, and cloud network performance and latency issues.
In a report Dec. 1, Gartner analysts said that through at least 2012, organizations will spend more money on private cloud deployments than on putting workloads on public clouds, such as Amazon's EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud).
Eventually businesses will use a combination of the two in a hybrid cloud fashion, the analysts said.