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IaaS: Not Yet a Cloud Computing Stalwart

Although cloud computing market leaders like Microsoft, VMware and Citrix are touting the advantages of Infrastructure as a Service for the growing ranks of their cloud customers, a Yankee Group Focus Report entitled "2010 FastView Survey: Cloud Computing Grows Up" makes it clear that IaaS--like Platform as a Service--is still very much an emerging technology that has yet to meet the acceptance found by Software as a Service in IT organizations.

IaaS is based on the concept of combining all servers and storage in a giant pool of resources and allocating them on-demand to applications via private clouds in the datacenter, or shared, public clouds offered by service providers. Despite the benefits of IaaS--including converting capex to opex, paying only for resources consumed, and flexibly scaling resources up or down based on current business requirements--early adopters are cautiously implementing it for "relatively tactical server/storage capacity issues."

However, as Yankee Group learned from its survey of large enterprises with 500 or more employees that have deployed or are considering some kind of cloud solution, things are looking up for IaaS. Specifically, 20 percent reported that they have already implemented IaaS, and among that group, companies with 10,000 or more employees have the highest percentage of current adoption at 24 percent. The report goes on to note:

"An additional 37% are expecting to adopt IaaS some time in the next 24 months, and 60% are evaluating solutions for the near term (i.e. looking to adopt IaaS in less than 12 months). Despite this activity, there remains a segment of the enterprise population (16%) that still has no plans to adopt IaaS, even though they are interested in or already use other types of cloud services."

Many people would be quick to cite security as the primary obstacle to IaaS and cloud adoption, but the Yankee Group notes that five other obstacles are more frequently mentioned. They include "Migrating existing data and applications to the cloud could be costly and difficult," "Regulatory compliance/corporate governance," "Employee resistance," "Lack of measureable business benefits" and "Reliability/availability of cloud platforms."

A majority of survey respondents (29 percent) consider systems integrators to be the most trusted partners for cloud computing, but when early IaaS adopters were asked who they viewed as their most trusted partners, telecom companies came out on top, garnering 33 percent of responses. Near-term IaaS adopters (less than 24 months) viewed both datacenter providers and SIs as their "best-positioned providers."

Among the conclusions and recommendations cited by Yankee Group, suppliers that help enterprises navigate the evolution of integrating IaaS with their legacy IT infrastructures were mentioned as most likely to succeed against their competition. Overall, the report states, "To foster further adoption, vendors and service providers must adapt their solutions to address enterprise concerns, especially those held by early adopters." It goes on to recommend that service providers work to ease data migration issues, foster interoperability and offer an evolutionary approach to the cloud.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 12/09/2010 at 12:48 PM


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