CompTIA Study Reveals Cloud Growing Pains

Cloud computing

The last five years saw a massive number of new companies adopting cloud, but many of them are rethinking what role it should play in their business.

CompTIA’s latest Trends in Cloud Computing study found that although nine in 10 companies say they use cloud computing in some part, there’s a significant shift in how they use it.

CompTIA's Seth RobinsonThe study showed that more businesses adopted cloud for non-critical uses than they did last year. While last year 42 percent said they were in the “full production,” or most serious, stage, only 33 percent put themselves in that category this year.

Seth Robinson, senior director, technology analysis, says this indicates a “refinement” and not a step backward. Many of these companies are new to the technology – 23 percent have been using cloud for less than one year – and are still learning about what role it should play in their business.

“I think rather than a slowing around cloud momentum, it’s simply gaining a better understanding of what these cloud concepts are and still continuing the long adoption path toward a reality of transforming your entire IT architecture and your business operations around cloud components,” Robinson said.{ad}

He said an example of refinement is private cloud. In his conversations with IT managers, they’ve used that term in a broad way. That prompted him to ask what they meant by “private cloud.” In many cases, they’re talking about a hosted data center.

“I think they understand the distinctions, but because they’re working so closely with lines of business that don’t understand the distinction, it’s become easier to just use a single term,” he said. “Now what I think is happening is the business user is starting to understand the distinction as well, so IT can go back to what they know and can divide these things out and say, ‘If you’re really looking for something that gives you elasticity or that gives you some self-service, then we need to build out a private cloud. If you’re looking for something that’s going to be hosted off site, then that can be a few different options.’”

The majority of the 500 respondents (74 percent) are using software-as-a-service (SaaS) in their businesses, while 42 percent are using Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and one-third (33 percent) are using Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). However, IaaS is growing the most rapidly. SaaS adoption remains healthy and established, but Robinson said the findings should encourage channel firms to rethink their approach.

The common mindset has been figuring out ways to resell and migrate, but Robinson said it’s all about wrapping value around those solutions.

“Rather than thinking of trying to resell Infrastructure-as-a-Service or migrat[ing] your client’s workload into cloud infrastructure, how can you as a channel firm use infrastructure as a service on the back end to provide a service for your clients where they don’t necessarily have to even be aware of what the underlying infrastructure is?” he queried.

The partners that are already operating hosted data centers are “well along this path,” he added.

“How can they act as a traditional channel company that’s fitting these elements from the vendors and the creators of these things into the hands of their client? And those opportunities are there, maybe more so around SaaS and IaaS, but I think the larger question going forward has to be how they can create their own value by using these things as components,” he said.

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