SolarWinds Survey: Cloud is Today’s Reality, Security – Top Concern


CloudWhether it is private or public, Software as a Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS), an extension of the data center or just virtualization, conversations about the “cloud” are occurring in organizations of all sizes.  A recent survey by SolarWinds, a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software to more than 97,000 customers worldwide, indicates that while IT professionals understand the need for and benefits of moving to the cloud, many continue to struggle  with the challenges of managing this next big wave of computing.

“As a company, we make it a priority to stay on top of the challenges that our customers face on a daily basis.  More and more, we are hearing about how cloud – and related trends such as data center consolidation, virtualization and SAAS – is driving IT organizations to re-think their IT management needs and priorities,” said Suku Krishnaraj, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy for SolarWinds.  “In the past, management of the IT environment was often an afterthought.  But, this survey indicates that more and more IT organizations are thinking about the need to manage the performance and availability of these cloud-based services as a part of their planning process.”

Survey Findings – SolarWinds recently conducted a survey in the fall of 2010 and received responses from nearly 100 IT professionals.* The IT professionals were either customers or prospective customers of SolarWinds.   As part of the survey, SolarWinds asked each IT Professional a series of questions related to their organizations’ plans to use cloud computing in their IT environment, the decision drivers for those plans, and the expected impacts of cloud deployments on their IT teams.  Survey findings include:

  • More than 60% of the respondents indicated their organizations are either evaluating cloud computing or already investing in the technology.
  • Respondents understood the benefits of a cloud-based approach, citing operational efficiency (28%), business flexibility (24%) and financial savings (19%) as the top three reasons for adopting cloud services.
  • The top cloud services that respondents were evaluating are Software-as-a-Service (40%) and Platform-as-a-Service (15%).

IT teams are the driving force behind the move to the cloud, but the responses showed that all the hype about the cloud is not outweighing pragmatism.

  • Nearly 40% are OK with a “slow but steady” approach to cloud computing.
  • Respondents were asked “When is your target time frame to begin implementation?” and (28%) responded that there was, “No target time set,” although 16% of those respondents are on track to begin within the next six months.

The need to acquire more skills and knowledge was another key theme of respondents. Among the findings in this area:

  • Among their list of top concerns: Security (cited by 73%); ability to resolve application issues (55%); being blamed when service is down or slow (42%).
  • 77% feel they either lack the proper training or expect to have to augment their skills and expertise to become proficient in the cloud and to manage the implementation.
  • Nearly one-third perceive that a move to the public cloud creates an increase in their responsibilities and opportunities.

While respondents generally recognize the value of cloud services for the efficiency, flexibility and financial benefits noted above, their concerns indicate that effectively monitoring the availability and performance of the workloads moved to public, private and hybrid cloud environments is critical.

  • With respect to public cloud deployments, it is important for IT organizations to not only have visibility into availability and performance of these workloads, but also similar visibility into the network and infrastructure that connects end-users to these public cloud services. IT teams must ensure that the latency, bandwidth, and traffic prioritization of their networks are proactively managed to ensure responsiveness of services.
  • For IT shops building private cloud services, effective monitoring and management systems are critical to delivering the “on demand” model that end-users expect – reliability is a critical expectation that can’t be overlooked.

“As a provider of (private) cloud services, IT orgs need to ensure not just the availability of the compute infrastructure or silo applications, but also optimal performance across the whole IT stack, including application, compute, storage and network,” continued Krishnaraj.

About SolarWinds – SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI) provides powerful and affordable IT management software to more than 97,000 customers worldwide – from Fortune 500 enterprises to small businesses. Focused on the real-world needs of IT professionals, SolarWinds products are downloadable, easy to use and maintain, and provide the power, scale, and flexibility needed to manage today’s complex IT environments. SolarWinds’ growing online community, thwack, is a gathering-place for problem-solving, technology-sharing, and participating in product development for all of SolarWinds’ products. Learn more today at http://www.solarwinds.com/.

The SolarWinds-sponsored survey was conducted September 28 – October 7, 2010, via an online survey service. The survey was sent to nearly 1000 IT professionals, resulting in 93 completed surveys.

Courtesy: Jacqueline Lafosse from Hoffman Agency

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