Cloud Computing, Virtualization on the Rise: Report

While a majority of companies implement new technologies, they lack appropriate tools to accurately manage performance.

There's a need for IT organizations to monitor performance and identify potential trouble spots as organizations move to cloud-based projects, virtualization and unified communication initiatives, according to findings in Network Instruments' fourth annual "State of the Network Global Study." These technologies, while being adopted, present "enormous" troubleshooting challenges when attempting to identify network trouble spots, the report concluded.
The study of more than 250 network professionals found cloud embracement on the rise, with 54 percent of survey respondents having implemented cloud computing. However, there are difficulties monitoring the cloud, with 56 percent of respondents saying they lack appropriate tools to troubleshoot cloud problems. Nearly half (47 percent) reported improved application availability and lower infrastructure costs by moving to the cloud.
Despite the monitoring challenges of these new network environments, 85 percent of respondents said they realized benefits by migrating to the cloud, including infrastructure cost reductions and increased application availability. Similarly, 80 percent achieved cost reductions through virtualizing resources. One-third of organizations utilize some form of software as a service (SaaS), like or Google Apps. One-quarter said they had invested in private clouds, and a small but significant number (13 percent) rely on infrastructure as a service (IaaS), such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.
The report also indicated a strong future for video conferencing, with 90 percent saying they plan to deploy a video conferencing solution within 24 months. Thirty-five percent of respondents indicated troubleshooting abilities worsened after implementing virtualization. And 85 percent of respondents cited identifying the problem source as the greatest troubleshooting challenge.
Energy and infrastructure cost savings were the chief factors driving virtualization, according to 80 percent of respondents. This was followed by improved application availability, cited by nearly two-thirds of respondents. Interestingly, these gains did not necessarily lead to an improved user experience, as the majority of network professionals stated the experience remained the same.
"While network teams saw substantial benefits from cloud computing, virtualization and unified communication initiatives, they are spending more time managing and troubleshooting related performance problems," said Brad Reinboldt, senior product manager of Network Instruments. "I was surprised by the number of organizations failing to verify if their monitoring solutions support these environments. If IT can't address these problems, they risk not only degrading application performance but threatening overall business productivity."
The "State of the Network Global Study" has been conducted annually for four years. This year, Network Instruments engaged 265 network professionals to understand and quantify new technology adoption trends and daily IT challenges. Respondents were asked, via a third-party Web portal, to answer a series of questions on the impact, challenges and benefits of cloud computing, video conferencing, virtualization and application performance management. The results were based on responses by network engineers, IT directors and CIOs in North America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia and South America. Responses were collected from Sept. 22 to Oct. 20.