Sunday, 20 March 2011

Johnny head-in-the-clouds

Almost everyone is predicting 2011 will be the year when cloud computing becomes a reality for many organizations. CA produced surveys towards the end of last year showing this to be part of the planning of most of the organizations they surveyed. Other surveys, like BMC’s and the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook found that cloud computing wasn’t quite on the radar of many of the people who actually do the day-to-day systems work.

This week has seen a report from IBM suggesting that 70 percent of small and medium businesses – perhaps not its usual massive mainframe users – are either planning to, or already do, deploy cloud-based IT infrastructures to improve their performance and reduce costs. For the report, IBM surveyed 2,112 business and information technology decision makers at midsize businesses around the world, and the publication is called Inside the Midmarket: A 2011 Perspective.

Also in the report was a finding that these same SMBs were moving from cost control to growth in terms of cloud computing. The report says that 62 percent of surveyed organizations are planning to increase their IT budgets in the next year or so. Now one spin on that would be that the world is out of recession and all’s good with the world. An alternative way of looking at it is to say that most sites have reduced or kept spending the same for the past two years and there’s a huge amount of pressure – like a boiling kettle – to update hardware and software.

The survey also found that 70 percent of respondents are actively pursuing business analytics to help give them some kind of insights into the huge amounts of data they’ve generated. The survey also found that 66 percent of respondents say they are embracing the benefits of cloud computing to optimize costs and redundancy while increasing uptime and scalability.

Obviously cloud computing is new to so many of the organizations surveyed and perhaps not surprisingly it was found that more than 70 percent are looking for local business partners with industry expertise for more of a consultative – rather than a purely transactional – relationship.

In other news (as they say) the new CEO at HP, Leo Apotheker is looking to make his company a leader in the development of infrastructure and platform Cloud services with an open Cloud, which many people assume will compete directly with Google's similar Cloud-based offering.

My final words of ‘wisdom’ on this matter is that we all think we know what we mean by cloud, but for many organizations it might be like shopping for a ‘car’ or ‘automobile’. You could end up with a Rolls Royce or second-hand Reliant Robin! As you work your way down into the nitty gritty details of what your organization needs, you can find cloud computing to be a fairly nebulous term!

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