While clouds are on every enterprise’s horizon, they’re mostly internal clouds. That’s a key finding in an annual study conducted by 451 Research about the state of cloud computing for businesses. 

The 2013 Cloud Computing Outlook, from TheInfoPro service of IT research firm 451 Research, found that 47 percent of those interviewed have internal cloud projects planned among their top two cloud-related projects.

Skepticism About Savings

The next most selected choices were Software-as-a-Service at 21 percent, Infrastructure-as-a-Service at 19 percent and Cloud Provider Assessments/Strategy Planning at 14 percent. Many of the surveyed enterprises indicated skepticism about whether public clouds would actually save them money, while 36 percent expected anywhere from one to ten percent savings from internal cloud projects.

But much of the expected savings are actually projected to come from increased automation in the internal cloud environment. This reinforces another trend the study discovered -- the Cloud has become what it called “a proxy for internal transformation,” a shorthand for the first phases of transforming technologies -- virtualization, automation, standardization and consolidation.

In fact, the majority of respondents reported they were in the process of virtualization. Forty-seven percent reported that they were facing “significant roadblocks” in their attempt to move beyond virtualization toward automation. About a third said the roadblocks were non-technical, involving people, time and buy-in and/or resistance to change, while 13 percent cited technological issues.

Phase of Evol.png

From "2013 Cloud Computing Outlook"

Amazon Leads in IaaS

Only about a quarter said they are currently using a cloud platform, but 40 percent indicated they were in a pilot phase and expect to deploy a platform within about 18 months. Amazon clearly leads in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) space, with 19 percent of respondents having chosen that service. Eight percent had selected Verizon and 5 percent Rackspace.

Peter ffoulkes (an all lower-case last name), TheInfoPro’s Research Director for Cloud Computing, noted in a statement that the emerging infrastructure for many companies “will enable users to schedule or automate the delivery of workloads to the most suitable internal or external clouds,” depending on the workload.

The study, now in its third year, was completed in December, and involved extensive interviews with 100 IT professionals at large and mid-sized companies.