There are few things analysts – no matter what kind of analyst – love more than counting things and making predictions. Researchers at venture capitalist firm North Bridge Venture Partners are no different. The company released the results of its second annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey. The poll, which included 785 respondents, captured the views of industry experts, users and vendors on a long list of topics driving the current and future state of cloud computing. The survey results revealed big changes in plans and perceptions of the cloud.
Unsurprisingly, the survey found almost everyone believes the cloud market will continue to expand and have a significant impact on everything from office productivity to big data. Respondents in this year’s survey were more confident about moving to the cloud. Half reported they felt comfortable using the cloud for mission critical applications, which was a significant increase over the 13 percent that held the view in 2011. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) was the most common form of cloud adoption, with 82 percent of participants indicating they currently use SaaS and 88 percent saying they will use it within five years. Respondents also plan to increase their consumption of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings over the next five years. By 2017, 72 percent plan to leverage PaaS and 66 percent IaaS.
Cloud deployment strategies are also evolving. Currently, 40 percent of respondents are deploying public cloud strategies and 36 percent emphasizing a hybrid approach. In five years, 52 percent plan to focus hybrid models. Looking beyond layering (SaaS, IaaS and PaaS) and deployment strategy (public, private and hybrid), the survey found several processes are becoming cloud enabled:
- backup and archiving
- business continuity
- big data processing
Scalability, business agility and cost were the three primary drivers for adoption, while respondents listed security (55 percent), regulatory compliance (38 percent) and vendor lock-in (32 percent) as their key barriers. Over half of the survey participants, 53 percent, said they believed cloud computing simplified IT management and lowered total cost of ownership (TCO). Interestingly this represented an increase in the percentage of respondents that felt the cloud simplified IT management, but a slight decrease in the percentage that associated lower TCO with the cloud.
It will he interesting to see how viewpoints on cloud computing change each year the survey is conducted. What would be even more interesting (and unlikely) is polling the same respondents each year. Surveys of this type are useful for capturing point-in-time sentiment, but I wouldn’t bet my retirement account by using the data to predict the future.