Cloud use continues to grow, new report shows

August 27, 2011

While the number of agencies adopting cloud computing continues to grow so does the number of private sector companies, according to a new report.

72 percent of the IT professionals surveyed said they plan to increase their use of the cloud over the next year. Of those, 64 percent said they plan to spend at least five percent more on cloud in that same time period.

The survey was conducted by CompTIA, a non-profit IT trade association.

Some of the major reasons given for companies’ decisions to use the cloud:

  • 49 percent said it’s to cut capital expenditure costs on hardware and other systems,
  • 44 percent said it’s to cut costs overall,
  • 33 percent said it’s to add new features and capabilities they can’t get with other models.

The study also found medium-sized companies (revenues from $10 million to $99.9 million annually) are the ones using cloud the most. 64 percent of them have adopted cloud computing. 58 percent of large companies (revenues greater that $100 million) are using the cloud. Small-sized companies reported using cloud computing the least. Only 36 percent of them have jumped into the cloud.

Perceptions on cloud computing are also getting more positive. 72 percent of those surveyed said they felt more positive about the cloud this year than they did last year. 25 percent said their opinion on the cloud hasn’t changed, according to TMCnet.

542 “IT end-user customers, influencers, and solution providers” were surveyed by CompTIA from June 29 – July 13. The study is called, “Cloud Computing: Pulling Back the Curtain.”

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Privacy policies will change by 2012, new research suggests

August 14, 2011

Recent security breaches have put a spotlight on companies’ privacy policies. According to new research from Gartner, at least half of the companies that host their clients’ data will be forced to update their privacy policies by the end of 2012 to appease their customers.

In addition to the security breaches, customers’ worries about where across the globe their data is being housed also play a role. Read Write Web says there is a “trend among cloud customers to request that their data only be housed in jurisdictions where law enforcement agencies would not be entitled to seek court-warranted access to them.”

But, Gartner Research Director Carsten Casper says instead of demanding your data be stored in a specific country, companies should tell their vendors where they don’t want their data stored.

“Don’t demand storage in a specific country for privacy purposes alone,” Casper was quoted on Read Write Web. “There are other cases when sensitive company information should not leave the country (for example, if there are export control or national security concerns), but in most cases – and usually under conditions – in-country storage is not mandatory for privacy compliance. In some cases, it will be sufficient to ensure that personal data will not be stored in a specific country that is known for its privacy violations.”

Gartner says, cloud computing is one of six areas that will be at the top of privacy officers’ agendas for the remainder of 2011 and 2012, in addition to data breaches, location-based services, offshoring, context-awareness and regulatory changes.


GAO issues RFI for cloud services

August 4, 2011

The Government Accountability Office is looking into possible cloud computing options. The agency recently issued a request for information for cloud services as it tries to enhance its IT systems in an age of decreasing budgets.

“In facing both an expected decrease in resources and the impending end of life for major elements of its existing infrastructure, GAO is looking for avenues to not merely maintain the existing environment but to take steps to transform it into an environment that is more cost-effective, sustainable and aligned with future business needs,” GAO wrote in the RFI.

GAO noted its multiple locations around the country, its massive amounts of data, and security as three of the main things vendors should consider when submitting their responses to the agency.

Interested companies have until 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 26 to reply to the RFI.

GAO is the latest in a long list of agencies interested in cloud computing. The government’s 25-point IT reform plan released in December called on agencies to identify three current systems to move to the cloud. The plan also called for agencies to follow a cloud-first policy when evaluating options for new IT systems.

Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra has said he believes $20 billion of the $80 billion government spends on IT is a potential for migration to the cloud.


Cloud computing to drive global job creation

July 20, 2011

The growth of cloud computing is expected to create 2.4 million jobs in the next four years in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, according to Cloudtweaks.com. The prediction comes from a report released by IT company EMC and a United Kingdom think tank.

In India alone, the cloud market is expected to increase from $400 million today to $4.5 billion by 2015, reports Indo Asian News Service. That growth could translate into 100,000 new jobs in India, according to a survey of CIOs in that country.

“Cloud computing will reshape the Indian IT market by generating new opportunities for vendors and driving changes in traditional IT offerings,” said Pari Natrajan, chief executive of management consultant company Zinnov, according to IANS.

For cloud adoption to grow, people are going to need human resources as well, IANS quotes an IT company executive as saying.

How the cloud will impact U.S. job creation is unclear now. Although the manufacturing sector of the technology industry continues to shed jobs, jobs in software services are growing, according to Global Corporate XPansion.

Josh James, director of research and industry analysis, TechAmerica, told GCX: “Software services were the only one out of four sectors [which TechAmerica tracks] to add jobs. The sector showed strong employment records throughout the ups and downs in the economy. They were the last to get rid of jobs in the middle of the economic downturn and the first to start adding again.”


Cisco announces enhancements to cloud offerings

July 16, 2011

By 2020, 50 billion devices will be connected to the network, according to Padmasree Warrior, senior vice president of engineering and the chief technology officer at Cisco. That, of course, raises even more security issues for companies and agencies dealing with employees who would like to use those devices.

At its annual CiscoLive event held this week in Las Vegas, the company announced multiple upgrades to its cloud offerings to help customers deal with these issues.

Its Unified Computing System has expanded to include “new Fabric Interconnects, a new Virtual Interface Card and a new chassis I/O module,” according to a press release. Cisco said the improvements increase bandwidth to the chassis and the server, while “doubling the switching capacity of the data center fabric.”

It also introduced new email security features as part of its cloud security solutions to deal with the rising number of targeted attacks companies have seen more recently.

Cisco also announced advances to its WAAS product line. “The new context-aware DRE [data redundancy elimination] improves application response times and throughput by changing the DRE caching behavior on a per-application and per-branch office basis. This context-aware capability provides ‘performance fairness’ across all branches and improves the end-user experience,” Cisco said in its release.

You can watch Warrior’s keynote address from the event, see a demonstration of some of the company’s new cloud offerings, and see other discussions on the cloud, at the CiscoLive website. (Free registration is required.)

According to Cisco, more than 15,000 people attended the Las Vegas event and another 40,000 in 150 countries tuned in online.


Cloud zone draws scrutiny in China

July 1, 2011

The city of Chongqing, China is constructing a cloud development zone which will offer uncensored Internet access. The catch – it will only be available to foreign businesses, not locals.

The Cloud Computing Special Zone will house multiple data centers that the city hopes will attract businesses to set up shop there.

The plan has left some locals angry. China is known for its Internet censorship techniques. The Chongqing Economic and Information Technology Commission declined to comment for a story in Computer World.

“The Chinese government is marketing an uncensored, unfiltered Internet connection as a selling point, while they so blatantly and purposely deny that right to the vast majority of their citizens,” said Phelim Kine, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, in an interview with Computer World.

According to the Asia Cloud Forum, the city has set aside 10 square kilometers for the project. The first phase of the plan is expected to cost about $150 million and includes the build-out of the data centers.

No word on how much the city believes it can make off of the project.


Fact or cloud computing myth?

June 24, 2011

Information technology managers around the world are being asked their thoughts on cloud computing and whether the companies (or agencies) they work for should use it. As with any new(er) technology, separating fact from fiction can be difficult.

Former Chief Information Officer Michael Hugos discussed what he believes are five cloud computing myths with Business Finance.

First, he said the idea that security for data in a cloud isn’t as good as in-house security, doesn’t make sense. “Security is part of how these companies make money,” Hugos told Business Finance, therefore they take it very seriously.

Second, the idea that cloud servers are less reliable than in-house data centers often isn’t the case. He points to the fact that cloud vendors have to keep on top of updates for their servers because it’s their livelihood.

Third, saving money is not the main reason companies should consider the cloud, he said. “The most compelling incentive to move to the cloud is to switch from a fixed-cost capital intensive business model to a variable cost pay-as-you-go operating expense model,” Hugos said in Business Finance.

Fourth, he said it’s a myth that big companies can run servers in-house for less money than in the cloud. He said companies often fail to factor in indirect costs like the salaries of people needed to run those servers and the energy it takes to run them.

Finally, he said the myth that cloud computing technologies require a whole new skill set for employees is unfounded. Instead, he said, businesses incorporating cloud computing will begin to rely more heavily on different kinds of people within their organizations, like business architects and enterprise architects. “That person is suddenly going to become much more important because they’re the ones who translate business needs into technical solutions,” Hugos told Business Finance.