As the demand for cloud computing grows in the private sector, decision-makers are deploying new hosted solutions at a much faster rate than several years ago to quickly experience the benefits the technology has to offer.
A new study by Rackspace Hosting found that many IT executives are happy with their choice to migrate to the cloud, as more than 90 percent of decision-makers now have a positive opinion of cloud computing.
Businesses looking for different qualities in the cloud
Cost is always an issue for companies adopting a new technology, especially for small and medium-sized businesses with limited financial resources. Interestingly, the survey found that decision-makers are placing more of an emphasis on customer service than price. Approximately 75 percent of respondents said they would prefer a cloud provider that offers strong technical support, even if the service is more expensive.
The survey also revealed that IT executives demand the ability to migrate applications and data from one service provider's cloud to another's. More than 90 percent of decision-makers said this was important when choosing a vendor, as roughly 86 percent of respondents said the issue of vendor lock-in weighed heavily when making a selection.
"We believe it is important that companies be empowered with choice, an open cloud and the high level of technical support they need to concentrate on their core business," Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier said. "A chief benefit for IT decision-makers using open-source technology is portability of workloads across vendors and the elimination of vendor lock-in."
Rogue deployments still a concern
The advent of cloud computing has no doubt introduced the trend of employees implementing the cloud on their own without the approval of IT departments and decision-makers. The Rackspace survey found that 43 percent of IT executives know that individuals are leveraging rogue cloud services.
Rackspace Hosting noted there are several reasons this trend is occurring. More than one-third of survey respondents said the main reason for leveraging rogue clouds was likely to save time. Another one-third said individuals did so because specific applications were not available or because it was easier than dealing with the IT department.
"Cloud computing is spurring innovation by enabling business users and developers to deploy, configure and adapt faster," Rackspace CTO John Engates said. "The survey confirms the rapid migration to the cloud as IT leaders reap the benefit of spending more time creating and less time configuring."
Preventing issues requires planning
As the cloud continues to be adopted, decision-makers should develop an implementation plan rather than waiting for employees to circumvent IT and deploy the technology on their own. Conducting an extensive audit of operations is important for determining which cloud model and solutions to leverage, according to a separate CloudTweaks report. Some practices will not need to use the cloud to remain efficient, while others can experience significant improvements through hosted services.
Decision-makers then need to determine which model – public, private or hybrid – best suits individual departments that will benefit from the technology. Cloud performance, security and availability are also important factors when choosing a service provider.
"The world is in the midst of a tectonic shift toward cloud computing that is revolutionizing the way companies do business," Rackspace's Napier said. "The survey shows that IT decision-makers understand the importance of selecting a cloud provider that empowers their businesses with the systems, products and customer service capabilities to successfully make the transition to the cloud."
The growing presence of the cloud is transforming the private sector, and decision-makers should be prepared to adapt to the technology or be outperformed by competitors that do.