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The Biggest Barrier to Cloud Adoption : Its not the IT Department

It’s generally the non-IT world that stands in the way of cloud adoption, but the cost savings and efficiencies of a managed, virtualized environment should trump any petty political or organizational issues.

A recent 2013 Cloud Computing Study, The Info Pro, a Service of 451 Research, showed that investments in cloud computing are increasing rapidly.  That’s the good news, companies are seeing increasing benefit from moving IT service to the cloud. The bad news is that 83% of the respondents are facing significant barriers to getting their clouds deployed.  You’ll probably not be surprised to hear that these barriers tend to be non-IT (68%) vs internal IT (15%) roadblocks.

Parallels with Virtualization Adoption
These barriers were the same type of obstacles that slowed down virtualization deployments in the early stages of its adoption.  In 2004, I remember attending a focus group with senior IT exec from some of the largest global financial institutions.  I was with a storage company at the time, but the conversation was more general about which technologies they saw having the largest impact on IT efficiency.  At some point the conversation turned to server virtualization and I remember that the dominant sentiment was that you would never see broad adoption of server virtualization within their companies.  There were some early adopters who understood the benefits that virtualization delivered, but most were not open to this new way to deliver IT compute services.  The majority of the excuses they raised had less to do with the technical viability of virtualization and more to do with the political and organizational challenges of sharing resources across groups or applications, having one application impact another, and so on.

At some point the efficiencies and cost savings of virtualization became so compelling that they could no longer stand up to the petty political and organizational issues that were stalling the move from physical to virtual systems.  The efficiencies, agility and cost savings possible with server virtualization created a wave of adoption that grew to tsunami size proportions.  Here we stand almost 10 years later and the dominant model for delivering server based applications is virtualize first and prove why you need a dedicated physical resource.

Operations Virtualization
Now we are at a point where we are looking to virtualize not only our server resources, but also other infrastructure resources like network and storage.   The goal is to create a software defined data center where infrastructure resources can be dynamically allocated and reallocated to meet changing business needs.  A key component of a software defined data center is the management tools that will help IT rapidly deploy and manage their new dynamic infrastructures. Cloud management virtualizes the operational aspects breaking down the walls that separate the management silos with most companies. Through simplification, standardization and automating the delivery of applications and infrastructure, IT will drive the next wave of IT efficiency improvements.

Where are we now?
In the technology adoption lifecycle, Cloud Management has now moved from the early adopters stage to the early majority where we typically see explosive deployments. Over the course of the last year, VMware has seen an exponential rise in adoption of its cloud management offerings.  This is consistent with many analysts are seeing.  Estimates from a number of Industry experts are that somewhere between 30-40% of companies have deployed or started private cloud initiatives and another 20-30% are planning to deploy private clouds in the next year.  Overall, the analyst forecast for cloud computing growth is about 60% annually for the next three to four years.

Cloud automation and management will drive the next round of IT efficiency improvements.  Automation will help accelerate IT service delivery from days and sometimes weeks to hours and even minutes.  Policy based governance and controls will assure that IT receives the appropriate level of resources for the tasks they need to perform the job.  Performance and health monitoring will make sure that applications continue to operate at peak efficiencies and make the appropriate adjustments to make sure that happens.  Financial management capabilities will allow IT to compare costs of internal and external delivery models.  Intelligent placement algorithms will help deliver the appropriate service level based on both cost as well as operational policies that control where specific applications and data need to be located.

Risk of Ignoring Cloud Management 

Automating the delivery and ongoing management of cloud services has moved from early adopters to the more mainstream deployment.   The Info Pro survey indicated that 60% of the study’s respondents view cloud computing as a natural evolution of IT service delivery and 69% expect their spending to increase in both 2013 and 2014 compared with the prior year.  For companies that rely on IT as a competitive weapon don’t let non- IT barriers slow your Cloud Management deployment plans.  One way to break through the organizational barriers that slow down process improvements is to build a compelling business case.  This helps get support of management and the business.  Let VMware help you build your cloud management business justification so that you can better articulate a compelling business case to break through these organizational barriers.

For companies that rely on IT as a competitive weapon, what impact can Cloud Management have on your business? More importantly what is the risk of ignoring private cloud infrastructures and have more agile competitors take business from you? 

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Need help deploying your private cloud infrastructure or developing your business justification? Contact us and our experts can help your team build the business case and the solution that will maximize your IT productivity.


2 comments have been added so far

  1. To me, the Application team is still IT, as developers and application architect are still part of IT organisation. Security might not be part of IT, and do not report to CIO.
    Having said that, I agree that the barriers are People, not Technology. Reducing layers and breaking down the silos in IT will help. An idea I saw at a large customer is they rotate the Head of Application with the Head of Infrastructure. It’s part of job rotation and career succession planning as part of preparing them to be CIO (who needs to know both).

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