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When It Comes to the Cloud, Users Won’t Wait for IT

The saying “Give the customers what they want” has an equally important corollary: “If you don’t, customers will find another way to get it.” When it comes to public clouds, heed the corollary.

A new study, Delivering on High Cloud Expectations conducted by Forrester Consulting for business service management specialist BMC Software, won’t be released until April 26, but the company released a preview of some key findings this week that should be of interest to IT and business users (and managers) alike.

The study looks at the growing demand for public cloud services. That’s what the customer wants. It IT doesn’t give its users what they want, CIOs “are rightly concerned that business teams are willing to circumvent IT in order to acquire cloud services on their own.”

Business users see the cloud as a speedy and low-cost way of getting the solutions they need, which is putting pressure on IT everywhere. Although “IT teams work to meet the needs of the business, the demand for more speed and agility is creating an environment in which business teams are looking outside the organization to provision services in public clouds.” The bottom line: “IT departments must expand plans to incorporate public cloud services into their overall cloud strategies.”

Some key findings from the report show a conundrum for IT. For example, IT is battling complexity, which isn’t going to change any time soon. The survey found that “39 percent of respondents reported having five or more virtual server pools, and 43 percent report three or more hypervisor technologies.” The study found that IT’s top priority over the next year is cost reduction (the “doing more with less” principle), and “complexity reduction” is the leading strategy for getting there.

Business users, on the other hand, see cloud computing as a way to be independent of IT, according to 72 percent of the CIOs in the survey. The problem: when users go around IT, the complexity (and headaches) for IT simply increase. Unfortunately, users are already well on their way to this behavior. “Approximately 58 percent of respondents are running mission-critical workloads in the unmanaged public cloud regardless of policy, while only 36 percent have policies allowing this.” The survey found that 79 percent of respondents

“plan to support running mission-critical workloads on unmanaged public cloud services in the next two years.”

They’d better hurry if they don’t want to lose all control. Don’t get me wrong -- IT wants to help, but it’ll be tough when you read that “71 percent of respondents thought that IT operations should be responsible for ensuring public cloud services meet their firm’s requirements for performance, security, and availability,” but “61 percent of the survey respondents agreed that it will be difficult to provide the same level of management across public and private cloud services.”

The study was based on a sample of “327 enterprise infrastructure executives and architects across the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific.”

-- James E. Powell
Editorial Director, ESJ

Posted by Jim Powell on 03/23/2012

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