Everybody understands it’s no longer a question of if you get on the cloud, but what you do on the cloud, when do you do it, and how do you do it. There are lots of benefits, including flexibility, agility and cost-savings, and lots of concerns, including security, governance, skills, and costs.
Both IDC and Gartner are predicting a rosy future for cloud. In contrast to the 5% increase in IT spending expected for 2014, cloud spending, including cloud services and the technology to enable these services, will surge by 25% to over $100B, according to IDC. Gartner said cloud computing will become the bulk of new IT spend by 2016, as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.
In its latest forecast for 2014 IT spending Gartner projected a 3.1% increase to $3.8 trillion, highlighted by a small drop in services, although they are still expected to average 4-5% growth this year. “We are seeing CIOs increasingly reconsidering data center build-out and instead planning faster-than-expected moves to cloud computing,” said Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner.
Clearly the cloud rush is on and everybody is figuring out how to participate, but while the benefits are many, the concerns are significant. One of those concerns, according to a recent survey from ScienceLogic, a provider of IT monitoring solutions, is a lack of cloud skills, but there are other issues to be addressed for an enterprise cloud audience, said Antonio Piraino, CTO, in a briefing late last year.
Piraino said large enterprises are going to have a very hard time moving to the cloud if security and reliability aren’t addressed appropriately. “Security also means a number of things: it’s really about assurance and that assurance starts with give me a warm and fuzzy about what you’re offering me.”
Give me security, give me the IOPs that my work requires, and don’t give me any downtime, he said. “We’re still in that era where big cloud providers haven’t gotten to that granularity yet.”
The first thing enterprises are looking for is trust… visibility, control… in the service level agreement, said Piraino. “I think predictability is very important too… from a cost perspective and a performance perspective. Give me adequate warning.”
The ScienceLogic survey reported a growing discrepancy between cloud computing needs and employee skill sets required for workplace success and job satisfaction. While 50% of organizations will spend more on IT in 2014, investing heavily in public and private cloud-enabling technologies like infrastructure and virtualization, 50% of all respondents participating in cloud initiatives within their organizations stated they need more education on the technology and noted that their current skill sets do not adequately prepare them to do their jobs well in the coming year.
“Cloud computing is at the top of every CIO’s agenda, but it’s clear that many employees do not feel confident managing the new IT environment,” said Piraino. He added that there is hope in automated IT monitoring solutions, which can aid in getting staff up to speed on cloud technologies.
The 10-year-old company, which reported a 75% year-over-year sales increase in its last quarter, currently serves more than 15,000 service providers, enterprises, and government organizations, with over 1,000 management apps to simplify the managing of resources, services, and applications. “As a result, employees are more secure in their jobs, and employers don’t have to worry about losing valuable talent due to a lack of skills.”