Work In Progress

It’s Still A Work In Progress, But Cloud To Drive Networking Budgets

Work In ProgressThe future is looking bright for the cloud — and branch office infrastructures — according to a new network survey from Infonetics Research. That shouldn’t be a surprise, but what is somewhat surprising is that interest in the cloud is accelerating, and not just from the vendors who want to cash in — or at least, to minimize the bleeding from on-premise product sales — and carriers/service providers, but from actual end users. That’s not to say it will be clear sailing to Cloudtopia, but at least we appear to be heading in the right direction.

Cloud is our number-one networking initiative, say businesses in the survey. “One of the most interesting findings is that cloud has emerged as the number-1 networking initiative over the next 12 months,” said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise networks and video at Infonetics. “Companies are embracing the cloud in a services model as well as building their own cloud-architected data centers, and this means upgrades to network infrastructure,”

More new data from Technology Business Research support just how fast cloud is catching on in the enterprise. TBR’s Spring 2014 Cloud Professional Services Customer Research report shows 82% of enterprise respondents adopting cloud professional services in 2014.

“While public, private and hybrid cloud services drive significant investment in cloud, cloud professional services remains the most adopted cloud service, due to the complexity of environments requiring third-party involvement in the design, implementation, and management of customer clouds,” said TBR Cloud Analyst Cassandra Mooshian. The research company said pent-up demand in 2014 from lower spending will result in increased cloud professional services spend in 2015, ‘when end users will be better educated and have more realistic expectations’.

Security is a top concern, while hybrid integration is a top driver of adoption. “Because security continues to top the list of concerns related to adoption, managed and orchestration services are becoming increasingly popular as customers realize systems integrators have the expertise to navigate barriers and alleviate concerns regarding cloud adoption,” said Mooshian.

TBR’s Hybrid Cloud Customer Research report indicates 20% of the large enterprise market has integrated at least two clouds to create a hybrid cloud, creating a $7 billion hybrid integration market in 2014. It expects the volume of integration to increase over the next five years as customers demand improved data interoperability, connectivity, and customer experience.

A third TBR report underscores the challenges this growing cloud adoption poses to the vendor community. Data center vendors face a growing set of channel challenges as they expand solutions portfolios to more effectively accommodate burgeoning demand for cloud and analytics.

“Data center hardware buyers look at their environments today from an ecosystem level, rather than from a device level,” said Christian Perry, TBR senior analyst and Data Center content manager. “These heterogeneous environments — and ultimately the customers within them — spur solutions sales.”

Cloud is not the only beneficiary of network largesse, added Infonetics’ Machowinski. The economic outlook for North America is positive and companies are looking to capitalize on new opportunities, leading to an expenditure shift from headquarters to branch offices.

“Greater spending on branch office infrastructure is also anticipated, a sign of confidence in a continued economic expansion.” Respondent companies spent, on average, over $1.1 million on networking equipment in 2013, and they expect to increase spending by 19% this year

5 Reasons Why Cloudtopia Is Still A Work In Progress

1) Transparency: While the technology is fairly straightforward to consider, it is still devilishly difficult to figure out the pricing.
2) Regional (and smaller) Clouds: While country-by-country cloud computing centers may not be the most efficient in terms of scale, it may be the most effective in acquiring new customers and retaining the old.
3) The Hybrid Narrative: The hybrid cloud usually means a mixture of in-house applications and software-as-a-service applications for sales force management, human resources and payroll. Maybe the hybrid scenario will be closer to the seamless infrastructure model in a year or so, but not this year.
4) Incompatible Clouds: Amazon, Google, Microsoft and even OpenStack all have their visions and versions of cloud computing.
5) The Internet of Things: We are now in an era of competing approaches to sensor communications that don’t talk with one another.

About the author
Steve Wexler
Steve is a proficient IT journalist, editor, publisher, and marketing communications professional. For the past two-plus decades, he has worked for the world’s leading high-technology publishers. Currently a contributor to Network Computing, Steve has served as editor and reporter for the Canadian affiliates of IDG and CMP, as well as Ziff Davis and UBM in the U.S. His strong knowledge of computers and networking technology complement his understanding of what’s important to the builders, sellers and buyers of IT products and services.