Companies, vendors trying to figure out cloud computing’s role

Despite its numerous advantages, cloud computing is still a relatively new technology that has some companies wondering where it fits in with traditional IT services. To help businesses and cloud vendors bridge this potential gap, market analysis firm IDC recently issued a set of guidelines to better educate both parties. IDC vice president David Tapper noted that the introduction of cloud services alongside other systems has complicated things for many businesses. "Success for both services and technology firms will require that they not only develop a framework that clearly states how these two worlds interact and align, but also use this framework to help customers migrate as seamlessly as possible and enable vendors themselves to build more integrated organizations, optimize investments, construct effective road maps and create a financial plan that supports a smooth transition to the world of cloud services," Tapper said. The research firm encouraged customers and cloud vendors to ask themselves if the cloud is considered a new services market, represents how these services are provisioned in existing markets and if the cloud is a new business model. IDC also suggested that these parties consider how the cloud may impact current and future service markets and taxonomy. Cloud optimism grows Although some companies may be wondering how the cloud fits into their current and future IT plans, more businesses are confident in cloud computing. IT nonprofit CompTIA recently announced that more than 80 percent of organizations surveyed said they currently use some type of cloud, marking the third straight year that this figure has grown. Half of participants indicated they expect their cloud budgets to increase by at least 10 percent in 2012. The CompTIA survey also found that 85 percent of companies have a positive view of the cloud, growing 13 percent from last year's study. The firm's technology analysis director, Seth Robinson, explained that more businesses are "experimenting" with their cloud deployments. "This may entail changes to policies and procedures, restructuring of IT departments and use of outside companies," Robinson said. Regardless of which type of cloud a company implements, cloud health is crucial to ensure the technology is operating efficiently over time. Industry experts encourage businesses to utilize cloud monitoring solutions so the cloud is always scaled to meet current demand. With real-time alerts, organizations are always in the know regarding how their clouds are operating.

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