Most Large Enterprises Already Active in Cloud Computing: Survey

Many large organizations are already active in cloud computing in some form and are planning more deployments, according to a CA Technologies study.

Many enterprises, including the largest, are actively exploring cloud computing, according to the results of a study released by CA Technologies on Dec. 16.

More than 80 percent of surveyed enterprises and 92 percent of the largest enterprises, have at least one cloud service, the report found. Additionally, more than half, or 52 percent, of organizations using the cloud claimed to have more than six cloud services.

The report surveyed 434 North American and European IT professionals in enterprises with 1,000 to more than 10,000 employees. The largest enterprises in this report had more than 10,000 employees.

The results indicate that "there are more cloud implementations within the enterprise than people were aware of," Jay Fry, vice president of marketing for the cloud computing division at CA Technologies, told eWEEK. The report indicates that IT administrators are starting to get some visibility on what the various groups within the organization are working on, he said. As more people begin to discuss the cloud within the enterprise, the visibility will continue to improve, said Fry.

In the past, there were "rogue deployments" that the company's IT staff didn't even know about, because the individual line of business was purchasing software-as-a-service offerings without involving IT. Some departments were temporarily sourcing application development and testing resources in the cloud to complete their tasks, Fry said. These implementations were "hidden" from IT because they weren't necessarily a "known corporate initiative," he said.

Collaboration tools such as hosted e-mail, antivirus and spam filtering and Web conferencing software accounted for a bulk of cloud deployments, at 75 percent, according to the report. Infrastructure and development platforms in the cloud are also gaining popularity, as 58 percent of large organizations are already using these services and 43 percent are considering them, the report said.

There was no big difference in how the surveyed IT professionals viewed public and private clouds, which was a little surprising, said Fry. Respondents cited cost savings, resource efficiencies, flexibility, and scalability as the reasons to move to both types of cloud infrastructure, according to the report. Security was both a driver and a deterrent for public and private clouds, said the report.

How long a cloud system has been deployed within the organization influenced how IT staff viewed the benefits of the project, said Fry. The primary incentive for initially going to the cloud is to trim costs, he said. While that result was expected, the report found that IT staff considered other benefits, such as agility and adaptability as soon as six months after deployment, said Fry.

The act of "decoupling applications from hardware frees people's mind to start thinking, -What else can we do?' and gets their minds pointing in the right direction," Fry said.

Nearly half, or 43 percent, of virtualization deployments in surveyed enterprises were managed services, the report found. E-mail deployments were generally the most likely to be managed, but industry-specific applications were likely to take advantage of full cloud features, such as advanced automation and full disaster recovery, according to the results.

In general, virtualization maturity resulted in more optimistic attitudes toward the cloud. Virtualization-intensive organizations are four times more likely to move as many services as possible to both public and private clouds, according to the report.

CA Technologies plans to conduct the study again next year, although the timing has not yet been determined. Fry expected to notice more increases in the number of enterpricies with cloud deployments, but also a shift in attitude for IT staff. While members of the IT staff in general were positive about the cloud because they wanted to work with the latest technology, roughtly half of all respondents also saw the cloud as a risk of job loss and control, according to the report.

This was also expected as "anytime there's a shift in how things are done in IT, people wonder, -What is in it for me?' and -What will it mean for my job?'" even if there is widespread interest in experimenting with the technology, Fry said.

Overall, the study "confirms" that large organizations are embracing and are already active in cloud computing, said Fry.