Sachs & Co. recently released the results of their latest survey of CIOs
which showed that enterprise IT is contracting spending a bit and that cloud
computing is at the very bottom of their priority list. This shouldn’t come as
a surprise to anyone, nor should it be seen as a needle inserted into the cloud
computing hype balloon because CIOs
aren’t the target market for clouds. Like other disruptive innovations in
the technology space, such as cloud
as a service (SaaS) and the
iPhone, cloud computing targets the tech savvy business developer, startup
and interactive marketer. These business innovators don’t take their technology
cues from the corporate standards set by infrastructure & operations
professionals. They seek solutions that enable their ideas faster and cheaper.
And cloud computing is the extreme
programming of the IT deployment world.
The encouraging news in the Goldman
survey was the strong prioritization on server consolidation and
virtualization which has been in evidence with Forrester clients for the past
twelve months. Investments in these efforts are moves to make IT more efficient
and the proof is coming
through. Recent interviews with Forrester clients showed significant
improvements in capital expense savings and time to market are being achieved. Many
Forrester customers are reporting 50 percent or greater savings per application
deployed via virtualization. Application deployment times as long as 4 weeks to
6 months before consolidation and virtualization are down to less than a week
due to virtualization.
Through greater efficiency, IT is showing its responsiveness
to the business need for speed and flexibility. But clouds take these values
further, in ways IT may be unable (or unwilling) to follow.
While virtualized IT may match the speed of deployment, it
can’t yet touch the cost of deployment or the scale clouds can deliver. What
enterprise IT shop is going to create an internal cloud composed of hundreds or
thousands of servers where the business can test new apps that don’t yet have a
business case? Even with a good chargeback
model in place, this still would be a difficult service to justify – especially
in today’s recessionary environment.
And it’s this contracting market that is fueling the cloud
computing opportunity. No one can afford to be buying more assets today and a way
to try new things, expand your customer base and improve customer relations
that doesn’t involve buying new assets becomes increasingly attractive; if IT
can fulfill this need with virtual servers, all the better, but in many cases
the economics will favor the cloud. Cloud computing may not be a CIO priority
but you can bet it’s on their radar.
By James Staten
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