Tag Archives: cloud migration

  • Microsoft, RedHat and VMware offer attractive total cost of ownership

    The competition throughout the cloud industry has resulted in affordable suites for organizations. Certain vendors such as Microsoft, RedHat and VMware have made strides to offer adopters low total cost of ownership for their cloud solutions. 451 Research's latest Cloud Price Index: Private Edition discovered the costs of these companies' private models are $0.10 per hour, higher than the $0.08 for OpenStack counterparts. However, firms using the former can hire 3 percent more engineers because there is an apparent skills gap impacting OpenStack deployments, contributing to a higher TCO as a result.

    William Fellows, vice president of 451 Research, said the Cloud Price Index is an opportunity to educate adopters when comparing solutions for hosting workloads and applications or considering the pricing differences between vendors. He added that adopters can access accurate information related to cloud-based pricing to determine if vendors offer dividends or charge clients taxes.

    Microsoft and other vendors are not backing down from Amazon
    Amazon – a company not mentioned in the 451 Research report – is the vendor that all other brands are trying to gain market share from. A separate survey conducted by the research firm found 57 percent of the more than 1,500 IT professionals polled are using Amazon Web Services for their Infrastructure-as-a-Service needs. Another 35 percent of respondents cited AWS as the most important IaaS provider.

    "While the 2015 Vendor Window for IaaS shows Amazon Web Services as the clear leader based on multiple metrics, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace and VMware's vCloud Air are becoming competitive challengers," said 451 Research Senior Vice President Michelle Bailey.

    Microsoft Azure in particular has gained significant traction among enterprises. The 451 Research survey discovered 42 percent of respondents have adopted the solution and 20 percent of IaaS users cited Microsoft as the most important vendor in this sector.

    Rackspace is another vendor that is competing head-on with Amazon. The company is commensurate with AWS in terms of customer fulfillment and service-level agreements, 451 Research found.

    "As more mainstream customers move business-critical workloads to cloud environments, the decision criteria for evaluating potential vendors change relative to early cloud adopters, and in turn so do the vendors under consideration," Bailey suggested.

    Thorough testing leads to sound decision-making
    With so many options to consider, organizations planning any cloud deployment should try to find a way to compare the available services prior to launch. Doing so provides adopters insight into how their businesses will succeed when critical assets are transitioned to cloud environments. Some solutions may be less expensive and offer lower TCO, but perhaps operational efficiency is more challenging than the alternatives. It is important to find out which cloud suite is the right fit.

    Organizations that want this necessary insight should seek the help of managed service providers that use cloud migration tools. These systems enable MSPs to determine how applications, servers, networks and data centers perform in hosted environments prior to deployment, making the most informed decisions possible to make sure clients maintain efficiency during the entire implementation process.

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  • 2015 is a big year for converged cloud computing market

    The uses of cloud computing have evolved over the years, advancing from cost efficiency, productivity and data accessibility to more critical strategies. Information-Age's Ben Rossi reported organizations now want converged cloud environments to deliver new services and applications to market. This capability is essential for helping brands establish a competitive advantage over their industry rivals.

    The emphasis on converged cloud computing has not replace other considerations for using the technology completely. Rossi wrote companies still want the ability to scale operations to meet ever-changing demands. This desire will remain in 2015. As a result, vendors should offer consulting services to remain competitive in the cloud field this year.

    Rossi indicated service providers may want to communicate with clients on their current IT spending plans, determine their previous spending goals and how these will change throughout 2015. Vendors that do not take this approach will struggle to effectively predict demand and determine how markets are changing based on these analyses.

    What are the trends surrounding converged cloud market?
    Cloud computing has constantly shifted over the years, not only from how businesses leverage the technology, but to which models – public, private or hybrid – are en vogue. Today, it appears hybrid environments are among the most influential trends to the converged sector. Rossi explained hybrid suites are driving the growth of certain technologies including flash.

    Hybrid models, on-site private solutions and software-defined architectures can benefit from converged clouds because they offer automation and SD-network functionality. For vendors and resellers to take advantage of these tools and trends, Rossi indicated both parties will have to work with one another to deliver IT- and-cloud consultancy.

    Regardless of cloud model, security is often at the forefront of any implementation. Rossi emphasized this point, noting vendors and resellers must make sure cloud environments function simply and securely.

    Otherwise, breaches may occur, leading to compliance fines, unwanted news coverage and loss of trust among clients and customers whose data is exposed during these incidents.

    Cloud computing exceeding companies' expectations
    As Rossi touched on, the traditional and popular reasons behind cloud computing adoption are not going anywhere. The desire to adopt the service to facilitate productivity and reduce operating costs is still strong even as more firms look to converged environments. A Tata Communications survey discovered 85 percent of organizations believe the cloud has matched the hype, with nearly one-quarter of respondents asserting the service has exceeded their expectations. A similar percentage of companies have experienced unexpected advantages, including productivity, improved data access and cost reductions, eWEEK reported.

    In an interview with the news source, John Hayduk, chief technology officer of Tata Communications, said cloud solutions are supporting IT standardization practices.

    "So tasks like creating a server can be done virtually, and not require any real human intervention to connect or install a server," Hayduk told eWEEK. "In the cloud application space, you simply have to create a commercial relationship to get access to the service and start using. Gone are the days of getting software, installing it, testing it, and then rolling it out to your user base."

    Managed service providers looking for a leg up on the competition when helping clients transition to cloud suites should consider incorporating cloud readiness tools into their offerings. These solutions enable MSPs to determine how customer IT infrastructures will perform in cloud environments before launch, identifying any challenges that may harm efficiency and finding a suitable alternative.

    With the market heading toward more converged cloud assets, MSPs that can support clients' demands and help them successfully and securely implement new cloud applications will be the ones leading their respective industries by keeping customers on track even when the market constantly evolves.

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  • Cloud computing may help SMBs transition to modern infrastructure

    Small and medium-sized businesses currently have a lot on their plates. Some are concerned their infrastructures are not secure enough to combat cybersecurity attacks or not modern enough to sustain success. Cloud computing could be one way for SMBs in the United States to address these potential shortcomings.

    CompTIA polled 500 U.S. SMBs and discovered 42 percent cited security as one area in which they must improve. In addition to protecting critical data, SMBs are also eager to use this content to their advantage. The survey found 42 percent of participants want to improve how they accumulate and maintain information.

    "Small businesses are not immune to attacks simply because their data sets are smaller," said CompTIA Technology Analysis Director Seth Robinson. "Cyberattacks stem from a variety of motivations. Attacks of the smallest firms, where defenses are often weak, occur just as often as attacks on larger companies."

    For SMBs to safeguard data and use it in an advantageous fashion, companies will require some upgrades to their core systems. Nearly 40 percent of SMBs admitted to CompTIA their firms must modernize their IT environments. Before the advent of cloud computing, accomplishing this feat may been far more difficult. CompTIA explained, however, businesses can procure affordable cloud solutions to achieve functionality even large enterprises enjoy.

    Cloud offers world of benefits to SMBs​
    Cloud computing is affordable due to its flexible pricing model. SMBs that have purchased on-site hardware may have had to allocate upfront capital investments for the systems, paying flat rates for solutions that could never be used to full capacity. The cloud, on the other hand, is scalable, so firms no longer have to worry about wasting resources during low-traffic periods or not having enough computing power to satisfy peak workloads. All of these updates occur on the server side of the cloud hosting provider.

    In addition to offering subscription packages that can be monthly or longer, SMBs can procure cloud applications through other means. Some vendors include pay-as-you-go models, so clients are only charged for the resources they consume. This service model is ideal for companies that experience fluctuating traffic periods, such as retailers, which are flooded with activity during peak shopping ​seasons and special promotions.

    Companies interested in flexible environments can also make employee productivity even more widespread with cloud computing. Staff members, regardless of location, can use Internet-connected devices to access cloud suites to view the data needed to perform their jobs.

    SMBs are a driving force behind cloud market
    As more SMBs realize their IT infrastructures depend heavily on solutions such as cloud computing, the market for hosted services will undoubtedly increase at a healthy pace. A TechNavio report suggested the global SMB cloud industry will achieve a compound annual growth rate of 20.2 percent between 2014 and 2019.

    The research firm noted SMBs are implementing cloud environments to reduce operating costs and capital investments.

    Despite all of the advantages associated with cloud computing, there are ways that SMBs can experience hiccups with their deployments. The sheer number of different vendors available, as well as the various models, makes every decision critical to achieve efficient implementations.

    Technavio indicated SMBs do not always need the most robust cloud suites. However, they still require personalized suites that account for their unique brands and respective markets.

    Hybrid clouds in particular may support SMBs' specialized demands. Faisal Ghaus, vice president of Technavio, noted vendors are already creating hybrid environments that deliver control over critical corporate assets.

    SMBs eager to achieve successful cloud deployments should seek third-party vendors that take advantage of cloud readiness tools. Service providers with these solutions can determine how customers' critical infrastructure – networks and servers – perform in cloud environments prior to launching suites, so businesses can make the most informed decisions pertaining to products available on behalf of their clients.

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  • AWS VIDEO: Application Portfolio Migration

    This is a very interesting video from Miha Kralj, Principal Consultant, AWS Professional Services that was presented at AWS re:Invent 2014, this past November.

    What is most interesting is Miha’s take on CMDB applications. Miha stated “CMDB’s lie, if you think you have anything good or meaningful information in your CMBD, good luck. We didn’t find anything of use and don’t trust anything that is in the CMBD. Agents are not really being taken care of in CMDB’s. Most enterprises already have a dynamic virtualized infrastructure, and CMDB’s are just too slow to catch up. CMDB’s are a snap shot in time, and that snap shot in time can’t be done once a week. Enterprises say “that snapshot is two weeks old”. Do you know how much I can spin up and spin down on Amazon in two weeks. That why CMDB’s won’t work to prepare for migrations.”

    We get the question from many analyst, systems integrators and customers as to why they need our tool instead of using their existing CMDB. Miha’s presentation gives a great explanation as to why tools like our CloudScape tool is very valuable during the discovery process and why using it ongoing is critical to ongoing cloud projects

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  • Cloud Pricing Taboos

    Cloud Computing looks to be making the transition from a development and test option to a primary considerations for many businesses, but many are finding the pricing models and options overwhelming and complicated to figure out.

    In the fall of 2014, 451 Research released a report at their Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit that included information about the top cloud computing-related pain points, which pricing/budget/cost rated as the number two pain point on that list behind security.

    How does an organization determine the best cost for their environment, what should they buy, what cloud providers should they consider. Regardless of the fact that Google, AWS and Microsoft appear to be playing the pricing battle to try and win the title of lowest priced public cloud offering, cloud computing decisions are no longer based just on price. IT leaders are looking at a variety of criteria in their decision making process, and are looking for processes, tools and ideas to simplify this challenge for them.

    Tale of Two Approaches

    Our data shows that most organizations could be saving an average of 66% on their IaaS infrastructure by simply gathering performance data from their infrastructure and making decisions on application and workload usage vs. using an inventory approach (buying exactly what you have in the data center in the cloud). Then we have reserved capacity vs. on-demand capacity in AWS, which can cause some IT buyers a little anxiety.

    We recommend for anyone moving to AWS for the first time or for a new application to purchase On-Demand instances to see how your application runs in AWS, and then if you are happy with the results than you can consider buying reserved instances.

    Something to consider when buying reserved versus on-demand; you are committing to a 1 year or 3 year term when buying reserved instances, which can have a 30-50+% savings over on-demand pricing, but you are stuck with the hardware characteristics of that instance. What does this mean? When you buy reserved capacity you are buying specific technology that you will run your application for the next year or three years, with no upgrade options. In some cases, organizations have purchased reserved instances of a specific hardware type, and a month later AWS lowers the price on their newer hardware technology, but you are stuck at a higher price on older technology.

    If your use case is suitable for that option, and it is the right fit for your business, then go with that option. But if your application is of dynamic nature and you need better performance on newer hardware technology throughout the year or over the next three years, than on-demand pricing may make the most sense for your organization.

    Most of these issues are addressed specifically to AWS, but Microsoft has developed their model to align with AWS. Microsoft has pledged to stay comparable with AWS with respect to pricing. Do not assume that AWS or Microsoft are going to be the best option for price for your business, we see situations where AWS and Microsoft are not necessarily the best price for larger instances. In cloud we are not paying for what we use, we are paying for what we reserve, and in some cases we are paying too much.

     Network I/O and Percentage of Daily Cost

    We looked at 148 of our clients and looked at just network I/O, let’s talk about the percentage of daily cost. If you take network I/O and you are going to spend $10 a day on a cloud server, based on your network usage, what percentage of that cost is made up of network I/O?

    Our analysis showed that most organizations saw less than 25% of their cost of cloud was made up of network I/O. In some cases the network I/O of a particular server can make up 50-75% of the total daily cost of a server running in cloud. In 2% of the cases we evaluated, organizations had servers/workloads that network would make up greater than 75% of the total cost of running that server in the cloud.

    If you have large database servers with data replication and high network communication to those applications, the cost of running those applications in the cloud may be prohibitive. We believe that before you can truly determine if the cloud is the right place for your application, you should complete a thorough readiness assessment of each application and their dependent workloads. Know before you go!

    Keys to Success with Cloud Pricing

    How can you be prepared when moving to public infrastructure-as-a-Service, you need to make sure you do not overbuy from a capacity standpoint.

    1. General Usage information for CPU, Memory and Disk I/O – You need to have a clear picture of the workloads you plan to move to cloud, and this includes CPU, Memory, and Disk I/O to ensure you are not going to over pay capacity.
    2. Current network usage and impact on performance – Including network usage when planning cloud cost models is critical. In some cases, your servers network I/O may make up 75% of the total cost of moving to cloud. It would be great to know this in advance.
    3. Application dependency mapping – Prior to pricing out your cloud implementation, it is important to understand all of the associated dependent workloads that may have to be moved with your application. It is much easier to price an application stack than pricing individual workloads.

    The great thing about IT today is that organizations have plenty of choices of where and how to run their applications. The problem is that with a ton of choices, it also makes selecting the best option for your business.

    We recommend that prior to selecting a cloud provider, you should have a clear picture of your entire environment, including full application dependency visualization for each application and a full communication density map of all of your host and client connections. Don’t make the mistake that plenty of organizations have made before you, it could save you hundreds of thousands each year in unnecessary cloud cost.

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  • Cloud computing is the backbone of Web-scale IT

    Cloud computing is the foundation of many operations, including Web-scale IT. Cameron Haight, research vice president at Gartner, recently explained the term was founded by the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix and Rackspace. The tech model improves service delivery capabilities, enabling smaller businesses to directly compete with larger enterprises.

    "Gartner has identified six elements to Web-scale IT: industrially-designed data centers, Web-oriented (or microservices) architectures, programmable management, velocity-focused processes, a collaborative organization style, and an innovation-centric and learning culture," Haight said.

    Companies with Web-scale hardware can take advantage of affordable solutions that offer more computing power and storage capacity compared to other options. Haight added this equipment is also effective at addressing infrastructure failure, since businesses can replace nodes if one breaks.

    This scalability is a welcome addition for organizations, especially small businesses that must compete with much larger brands. Haight noted smaller companies with Web-scale IT can essentially achieve "higher IT velocity" than the competition, taking advantage of new market trends before their rivals.

    Firms with a combination of on-premise equipment and cloud services should be able to implement their own brand of Web-scale IT, according to Haight.

    Successful businesses will be cloud users, survey suggests
    Small companies that embrace Web-scale IT can hold their own against even larger counterparts if they play their cards right. Cloud computing will remain a key building block in helping businesses accomplish this goal for the foreseeable future, according to a Canopy survey.

    The study polled chief financial officers and chief information officers regarding their stance on cloud computing and the technology's impact on their companies. Of the CFOs polled, 75 percent are concerned their organizations will fall behind in their markets if they lack access to cloud-based infrastructure and applications.

    A total of 70 percent of both CIOs and CFOs fear their companies will be uncompetitive at some point in the near future, with more than three-quarters expecting this situation to rear its head as early as the end of 2015.

    Cloud computing the gateway to digital transformation
    Organizations without forward-thinking strategies will be unable to succeed in their highly competitive markets. Cloud computing is a technology that can help these firms migrate to the digital frontier.

    Jacques Pommeraud, CEO of Canopy, asserted digital solutions such as the cloud must be in companies' DNA to gain market share and achieve maximum revenue. Businesses in specific industries – manufacturing, retail and hospitality – can leverage digital technologies to find new revenue opportunities.

    "One of the keys to unlocking digital transformation is cloud computing. From the work we're doing with clients, we're seeing that it has the power to create revenue by making the customer journey effortless across any device, enables faster customer sign-ups so they'll spend sooner and support real-time analytics to make more accurate targeting decisions," Pommeraud explained.

    Pommeraud added the most innovative companies will be the ones to use cloud computing and analytics to discover new revenue streams.

    Take measured approach to cloud deployments
    Businesses planning a cloud implementation in the near future can achieve a smooth transition if they put in the effort before making any final decision. Cloud readiness tools enable adopters to test how various cloud services will impact their networks and other mission-critical IT infrastructure.

    Such solutions are essential for companies that want to avoid choosing cloud environments that may be cost-effective, but do not deliver consistent efficiency on a daily basis. There are plenty of affordable cloud services available. It is all about finding the right fit, however, which can be accomplished through cloud readiness suites.

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  • Health care market using cloud computing for innovative research

    Health care organizations are turning to cloud computing to perform all types of functions. GigaOM recently reported DNAnexus, a cloud startup, is using the technology to turn DNA sequences into valuable information. For example, Regeneron Genetics Center is leveraging the solution to for drug research.

    The news provider explained Regeneron uses DNAnexus' technology to analyze 1,000 exomes, which make up 1 percent of the human genome most relevant to health data, to compare these genes to potential health issues. DNAnexus streams these findings to cloud environments and translates the content in only a week, opposed to the six months it would take with an on-site data center.

    Richard Daly, CEO of DNAnexus, told the news source the process reduces both the time and funding needed to execute the research.

    "They have achieved a scale where they can look for what would have been relatively rare occurrences in the data," DNAnexus Chief Cloud Officer Omar Serang said, GigaOM reported. "You need really large data sets to look for the next advancements in medicine."

    Cloud-based health market set for healthy growth
    Cloud computing is poised to take off in the health care field through 2017. A MarketsandMarkets report projected the industry to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 20.5 percent between 2012 and 2017.

    The cloud's data accessibility is one function expected to fuel the health care market's use of the service. MarketsandMarkets explained hospitals and clinics need quicker access to data to collaborate across the entire organization and geographical locations. Achieving this goal enables caregivers to enhance patient treatments by being able to view patient records without delay.

    Since the cloud health care market is poised for such rapid growth, it means many organizations will be first-time adopters. Choosing a cloud model and service provider may seem easy on the surface, but the number of options in both categories can be overwhelming for newcomers.

    A migration tool such as RISC Networks CloudScape is the perfect way to make informed decisions about cloud computing. The solution enables adopters to view how cloud products will benefit their operations beforehand. Establishing a performance baseline before a cloud environment launches allows firms to identify any issues that may harm efficiency or result in security problems and address them appropriately.

    Health organizations that take a measured approach to cloud computing will be happy they were so diligent when the service lives up to its true potential in the workplace.

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  • Navigate the cloud migration process with precision

    Cloud computing is often cited for its simplicity and agility, promoting the perception that migration is a hands-off process for the enterprise in question. While transitions to off-premise environments are indeed streamlined by the centralized nature of cloud architecture, the most effective projects are marked by involvement from several sources of input and guidance. A successful cloud migration needs to be carefully coordinated between executive teams, IT leadership, third-party solutions providers and end-users across the organization.

    Treading lightly
    While many companies have blindly tossed their hats into the cloud computing ring, moving servers and applications off premises with abandon, too few consider the long-term cost and operational implications of their decisions before pulling the trigger. According to a recent article from tech news provider Processor, not all legacy assets are built for the cloud, making the assessment and evaluation process especially important when launching a migration initiative. Without these key planning steps, companies may encounter compatibility obstacles, as well as adoption roadblocks.

    "Not all applications are cloud-ready," said Dan Kusnetzky, analyst and founder of the Kusnetzky Group, the source noted. "Does the enterprise understand how data located on-premises can be accessed from the cloud-hosted application? Can on-premises applications access data in the service provider's data center?"

    By consulting with a variety of groups within the organization and beyond the office walls, project leaders can enter the cloud environment with greater confidence and a firm grasp of the core objectives of the initiative. This not only minimizes the risks associated with off-premise deployments, but can build support among stakeholders and end-users during the implementation process.

    Avoiding temptation
    To avoid jumping the gun on a cloud migration, business leaders must remember to pump the brakes when it comes to planning and procuring their system layouts. This can be done by establishing critical success factors (CSFs), key performance indicators (KPIs) and other project benchmarks that serve as signposts along the way to the final destination. Christian Perry, senior analyst and content manager at Technology Business Research explained to Processor that exercising such restraint can bring decision-makers in closer alignment with cloud best practices.

    "The lure of saving money through cloud services is strong, but past history has shown that leveraging cloud resources without proper research can easily end in frustration at best and business disaster at worst," Perry told the news source.

    With interdepartmental coordination, third-party support and a comprehensive benchmark roadmap, businesses can realize their cloud dreams with greater efficiency and precision.

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  • Data center’s evolution causes rift in available skill sets

    Companies' data centers are evolving at a rapid rate. This advancement is putting pressure on employees to develop the skills to manage these systems. A recent Gartner survey discovered a vast majority of organizations – 80 percent – will lack such expertise by 2016, inhibiting their long-term growth.

    Ian Head, research director at Gartner, said businesses are investing in capacity-planning solutions and skills to maintain their data centers. In addition to devoting such resources toward these goals, companies must also allocate funding toward capacity performance management to support today's Web IT industry.

    "Web-scale IT organizations do things differently – they learn from one another. Conventional IT organizations can use some of the Web-scale techniques heading for mainstream adoption in the next three years," Head explained.

    Cloud computing figures to dominate future data center market
    Gartner indicated organizations will require scalable infrastructures to address their data center needs moving forward. Cloud computing could be a solution to this need. The technology is flexible, enabling businesses to add more computing power and storage capacity during high traffic periods. Firms no longer have to fret about purchasing additional on-site equipment to handle these workloads. Instead, vendors take care of these requirements and only charge for what customers consume during their subscription periods.

    A separate Gartner report suggested cloud vendors such as Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft will influence the data center landscape in coming years. These service providers should "dominate" the market with their Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service offerings, affecting data center pricing as a result.

    "Underneath this calm surface, increasing market pressures are driving a change in vendor behaviors, which, along with the four disruptive factors, make the market ripe for a period of major disruption," Joe Skorupa, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, explained. "These behaviors will become more obvious as the pace of change increases."

    Firms interested in implementing cloud computing to achieve a more flexible infrastructure are advised to take their time when choosing a service and vendor. There are all types of models – public, private and hybrid – that each offer its own advantages. A migration tool such as RISC Networks CloudScape enables adopters to achieve a performance baseline to work out any kinks that may negatively impact efficiency once the cloud environment goes live. The solution is ideal for making the most informed decision pertaining to this innovative technology by avoiding any unnecessary complications.

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  • What’s the IT forecast look like? Cloudy with a chance of more clouds

    There's a strong chance that most companies have at least heard of cloud computing by now. There's also a strong possibility that many businesses worldwide have already adopted the technology or are planning to do so in the near future, as a way to replace antiquated IT systems, promote employee collaboration and reduce operating costs, all while outsourcing management of these environments to a third-party vendor. Now, firms can focus on their brands instead of tech-related maintenance.

    Organizations that have kept cloud solutions at arm's length are doing themselves a disservice if they continue down this path. The fact of the matter is that more companies will be cloud users soon enough, meaning those on the outside looking in will be in this position until they make the switch. Businesses assertive in their stance that their on-site systems are fine don't have to move all in with a cloud deployment – migrating mission-critical data and a few applications to a hosted environment to put the solution through its paces.

    Firms not happy with the technology can simply end their subscription with the service and go back to normal. But organizations owe it to themselves to at least give the cloud a chance because, before long, they will be in the minority when it comes to using the technology.

    North Bridge Venture Partners, Gigaom Research and 72 collaborating firms found adoption of the cloud has never been higher during its research that spans four studies over four years.

    "With four years of data, we're now really beginning to see some interesting trends, such as the five-fold increase in SaaS adoption to 74 percent and the nearly six-fold increase in PaaS adoption to 41 percent." said Michael Skok, founder of the Future of Cloud program and general partner at North Bridge.

    Businesses, execs hoping cloud delivers results
    Decision-makers must always be ready to establish long-term roadmaps that set their businesses on a successful path. The survey found nearly 50 percent of respondents are using the cloud to create new products and generate revenue. Another 45 percent of participants plan to or already operate their companies from a cloud-based environment.

    David Card, vice president of Gigaom, said "long-suffering IT execs" are benefiting from the latest cloud innovations, especially in terms of offloading functions and instead focusing on new business objectives.

    Data security is perhaps the only inhibitor of the cloud's momentum at the moment. The survey found 49 percent of respondents cited this concern as a problem area. The report indicated vendors that rise above the competition and communicate with customers about their corporate safeguards can set themselves apart from their rivals by gaining client trust.

    Are the security concerns overblown?
    The cloud's security is often a hot debate topic, due primarily to the fact that information is no longer stored at a company's office. Such content is now located at an off-site location and managed by another company. However, the locale of this data is actually its greatest strength.

    For example, data backed up on disks, tapes and external hard drives can be misplaced, stolen or damaged during natural disasters. Companies that migrate information and applications to a cloud environment do not have to worry about such incidents if these resources are accessible through the Internet.

    Any cloud vendor that wants to remain in business for the long run will undoubtedly offer encryption services to safeguard customer content, allowing only authorized personnel to access data and apps.

    It's never easy for an organization so used to operating a certain way to make a major corporate shift. However, the knocks against cloud computing no longer hold as much weight as they used to, making the technology a perfect way for companies to sustain success for years to come.

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