Platform Computing: IT Execs Increasingly Confident in the Private Cloud

Is a better understanding of private cloud services enough to spur user adoption? Maybe, according to a benchmark survey of IT executives taken at Platform Computing’s International Supercomputing Conference last June. Although demand for such services clocked in at the same figure as the year before 28 percent the executives polled by the London-based cluster, grid and cloud management software vendor indicated a different set of primary reasons to initiate deployments. This in turn may be a sign not only of growing awareness for private clouds, but also a deeper understanding of their benefits and pitfalls that could ultimately spur adoption, as well as greater customer satisfaction.

And perhaps a move away from pure-play public cloud services; 79 percent of respondents have no plans to adopt “cloud bursting” (cloud services delivered by an external service provider) this year.

Breaking down the key changes in user perception of private clouds, the survey revealed that fewer respondents rated efficiency as the number one driver (just 27 percent, down from 41 percent last year); cost-cutting went up from 17 percent for 2009 to 25 percent, as network managers continued to struggle against the global recession. Resource scalability and IT responsiveness came in at 17 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Surprisingly, though, experimenting with cloud services picked up a relatively strong 19 percent as the leading driver, an impressive show of confidence for such new technologies.

Except many respondents find the cloud to be an evolution of older networking concepts. Sixty-two percent of executives identified the cloud as another step along the lines of clusters and grids; only 17 percent called it a new technology, making those more familiar with such older forms of networking  a potential first adopter market for private clouds.

The survey also noted a greater willingness within their respective companies to deploy private clouds. Organizational culture was the biggest roadblock last year (37 percent), but polled just 26 percent this time around. Potential concerns have shifted to more technical and administrative issues, with 26 percent naming security the greatest obstacle to adoption, complexity of management close behind at 25 percent, and application software licensing and upfront costs at 12 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

Whats interesting is that private cloud deployment intent continues to be strong, independent of public cloud intentions, said Randy Clark, chief marketing officer at Platform Computing. That cost is growing as a business driver while organizational culture becomes less of a barrier, speaks to maturing use cases, pilots and deployments. We expect that private clouds will continue to outpace public cloud models but that the correlation between private clouds and hybrid use-cases such as cloud bursting will increase over time.

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