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Business agility 'key driver for cloud services'

Dubai, April 14, 2011

Forty-eight per cent of EMEA businesses are already actively deploying cloud architectures, with more than half of respondents citing business agility as the key driver, according to a recent research.

Cost-savings, operational or capital, were of secondary concern at 16 and 14 per cent, respectively, said the research project report from Brocade, a networking solutions leader.

For the purpose of this project, Brocade defined cloud computing as a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are provided as a service over public networks, including the Internet.

The study showed that nearly half of EMEA businesses are already using cloud computing, and a further 31 per cent are expected to have started the planning and migration to a distributed computing model within the next year.

Of those companies that have already embraced the cloud, 85 per cent of respondents stated that they plan to further scale their deployments over the next 12 months to manage critical business processes such as data backup and retrieval.

The performance, reliability and manageability of their networks will be a critical factor in the successful operation of these clouds.

According to Gartner, through 2013, at least 60 per cent of enterprises will experience slow or inconsistent application performance due to improper network design.

Recognizing that the network is pivotal in defining the user experience in both public and private clouds, Brocade – working in association with the Cloud Industry Forum – found that close to 90 per cent of respondents included the cloud within their IT strategy decision-making.

With business agility being the core driver for adoption, any failure in service provisioning would have a dramatic impact on productivity, illustrating the need for the network to be cloud-optimized at every point, the report said.

“The cloud has been in the media spotlight for several years, and many businesses see it as the magic answer to a wide range of operational challenges,” said Alberto Soto, vice president EMEA at Brocade.

“However, unless a well-considered IT strategy is in place, the cloud can cause more problems than it solves. Today, the way we work is very different than it was 10, or even five years ago.”

“The networks of that period were not designed to be cloud-optimized, so expecting them to cope with today’s needs is doomed to fail. Our research suggests that companies are beginning to recognize this and that cloud-based strategies are being driven from within the IT department. Addressing the commercial needs of the business, IT leaders can develop a strategic blueprint for a truly cloud-optimized network, therefore ensuring a successful deployment,” he added.

Andy Burton, chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum, said: “Over recent years the market has been primarily focusing on the cost savings afforded by cloud migration.”

“This research proves, whilst financial benefits are achieved and do drive further investment from companies already using the cloud, it is the agility given to businesses that has driven initial adoption. This is the true value of the cloud.”

However, challenges to widespread adoption of the cloud remain, the report said.

According to the study, almost two-thirds of companies still question the cloud’s inherent security; they would refrain from placing sensitive data, such as employee records, in the cloud, which shows that more work in this area needs to be done.

Other key research findings include:

• 94 per cent of those already using cloud services are satisfied with the results

• Of those currently not using cloud services just under a third (31 per cent) anticipate doing so in the next year

• Only 12 per cent stated that they would never consider migrating to the cloud

• The top three applications currently deployed in the cloud are e-mail management (41 per cent), data backup and disaster recovery ( 35 per cent) and data storage (34 per cent)

“The benefits of the cloud have been known for some time, not least the rapid deployment, reliability, scalability and pay-as-you-go financial model,” Soto said.

“What appears to be happening in the market is that this message, for so long evangelised by vendors and channel alike, is being heard and acted upon by organisations seeking to expand or change their IT capability in support of business performance,” he added.

“Key to this business model is the network. Without an agile, high-performance foundation, the cloud doesn’t work. But our research shows that this is being recognized and vendors are already delivering solutions that enable businesses to deploy such architectures, today,” concluded Soto. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Dubai | business | Networking | EMEA | Brocade | Cloud services |

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