Private Clouds Top List of IT Investment Priorities: Survey

Two online polls indicate IT organizations will be investing in cloud computing projects, especially private clouds in 2011, echoing similar predictions from a number of other sources.

Investing in private clouds is a top priority for IT organizations in 2011, according to two recent online polls, Unisys said on Jan. 26.

The two polls were conducted on the Unisys Website. The first poll, in December 2010, asked visitors about their cloud computing implementation plans. The second poll, asking visitors to name their organization's biggest investment priority in 2011, was conducted a month later and completed on Jan. 24.

In the January poll, 44 percent of respondents said cloud computing is the top priority for IT investment in 2011 at their organizations. In contrast, 24 percent said mobile and end-user device support and 17 percent named security as the top investment focus, Unisys said. There were 262 respondents in this poll.

About 45 percent of the respondents in the December poll said their organizations have private cloud plans, followed by 21 percent focusing on hybrid clouds and 15 percent looking at public cloud deployments.

"Organizations are no longer debating whether cloud computing makes sense for their organization. They are now deciding how to get started and what type of cloud best fits their initial strategy," said Sam Gross, vice president of Global IT Outsourcing Solutions at Unisys.

A separate Novell research report published in October also found that organizations are looking at private clouds as the "next logical step" after implementing virtualization. Novell's report said organizations generally were adopting cloud technologies much faster than expected.

Meanwhile, 81 percent of the Unisys poll respondents said that while their organizations will be rolling out cloud deployments, the clear preference is for the private cloud.

Companies would move from "kicking the tires" to actually implementing and executing cloud computing infrastructure, especially private clouds, in 2011, Fred Dillman, Unisys chief technology officer, said earlier this month. He said organizations will make practical and targeted investments in private cloud and hosted software-as-a-service applications over the next 12 months, leading the way to "broader use" of public clouds over the next two to three years.

Merrill Lynch estimated that public and private cloud infrastructure will be a $160 billion market in 2011. Anticipating the demand, a number of cloud service providers have made various private cloud announcements in the past few weeks, including Hewlett-Packard's HP Enterprise Cloud Services - Compute, Nimbula, GoGrid's Hosted Private Cloud and Rackspace's Cloud Connect service. Unisys also rolled out its own offering, Unisys Hosted Secure Private Cloud, in December.

There is a built-in selection bias in the Unisys polls, as the company is a cloud services vendor and visitors to the site are already thinking about cloud deployments. Even so, and despite the small size of the December poll, which had only 88 responses, Unisys said the respondents' focus on cloud computing was consistent with the overall industry trend.

The recent 2011 CIO Agenda Survey from Gartner found that CIOs will be adopting new cloud services much faster than expected. In the report, analysts predicted that 43 percent of CIOs will have moved the majority of their applications to the cloud or software-as-a-service platforms over the next four years. The Gartner report also found that cloud computing and virtualization are the top two technology priorities facing CIOs.