Why companies using the cloud are so happy

RightScale-sponsored survey shows that problems scaring many IT organizations fade away as they actually deploy

As reported by my friend and Forbes writer Joe McKendrick, "A new survey finds that roughly one out of four organizations are heavily into cloud computing, and they are providing lessons from which everyone else can benefit." The lessons come from having two or three years of real experience, enough time to see the real benefits and issues.

Keep in mind the study is sponsored by RightScale, a cloud vendor, and it was done in a way to discover the positive, not the negative. It's as if Dunkin' Donuts sponsored a study on breakfast foods. You wouldn't expect to find results related to obesity or diabetes.

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Still, the results are interesting and in line with what I see in the marketplace. One finding was that fairly new, bigger enterprises are the leading adopters of cloud. Although the survey of 625 companies found the cloud is "commonplace," 8 percent of respondents wanted nothing to do with cloud.

RightScale used the survey to categorize how many companies fall in its list of cloud "maturity" stages: 17 percent are cloud watchers (no implementations or pilots), 26 percent are cloud beginners (active studiers and perhaps a few pilots), 23 percent are cloud explorers (with multiple pilots and perhaps some deeper cloud deployments, and 26 percent are cloud-focused (with multiple deployments).

Other findings:

  • 18 percent of advanced cloud users (cloud-focused) see security and compliance as a challenge, versus 38 percent of the greenhorns.
  • 80 percent of advanced-level respondents are seeing faster time to market for applications, versus 25 percent of beginners.
  • 87 percent of advanced respondents report they were gaining faster access to infrastructure, compared to 30 percent of beginners.
  • Experienced cloud companies don't necessarily have fewer outages, but they're shorter in duration. Because of greater exposure to cloud, 57 percent of the veterans had an outage in 2012, compared to 32 percent of the novices. But the length of an outage at an experienced site was 4.6 hours, compared to 5.8 hours at the beginner companies.
  • About 65 percent of the experienced companies reported higher system availability, compared to 20 percent of the novices.

As I'd expect, the more comfortable a company gets with cloud computing, the less daunting the issues identified early on seem. Many of the issues that cause IT organizations to push back on cloud computing -- compliance, security, ownership, and resiliency -- are solvable problems, even though they require a bit of proactive planning.

As more companies gain experience, cloud computing becomes what it really should be: a new platform that has some clear advantages and issues to address. That should feel normal to most of us.

This article, "Why companies using the cloud are so happy," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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