Enterprise cloud adoption is expected to grow significantly in 2012, but some serious obstacles remain, according to a survey released by Cisco at Interop 2012 this week in Las Vegas. Also at the networking industry's premier event, Cisco unveiled a new router and related technology that provides to voice networks the same level of security and control that enterprises demand on their data networks.
The 2012 Cisco Global Cloud Networking Survey reveals that while only 5% of those surveyed use cloud computing to deliver the majority of the software applications in their businesses, the adoption rate is expected to grow to 20% by year's end. The survey polled 100 IT executives in each of 13 countries.
"The reason so many are moving the majority of their apps to the cloud is because there are more cloud applications out there, more choice, and then there's the maturity of the process," says Inbar Lasser-Raab, senior marketing director of the Cisco Services Routing Technology Group (SRTG).
The cloud adoption process is maturing, she says, because enterprises are becoming more familiar with what cloud computing is, how it works and how it can be implemented within their organizations.
While the adoption of cloud computing is on a growth curve, the process is nonetheless complex, time-consuming and includes many pitfalls, the survey shows. The No. 1 challenge to cloud adoption is networking issues, identified by 37% of the IT professionals surveyed.
Cloud computing started in the data center, but as cloud adoption grew, enterprises discovered the limitations of their wide-area network (WAN) infrastructures, Lasser-Raab says. Depending on the application, the infrastructure may require upgrades. In the case of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment, for example, a typical WAN link today can support 20 virtual desktop sessions but may not deliver the sub-50-millisecond latency limit required in a service-level agreement (SLA).
"So there are a lot of considerations that they didn't plan for as they moved the applications to the cloud, but they found out through the process," she says.
Security of cloud deployments was also a top worry--particularly the protection of corporate data on the network, identified by 72% of respondents. The next biggest concerns were availability and reliability of cloud apps (67%), device-based security (66%), visibility and control of applications across the WAN (60%), and overall application performance (60%).
In a series of tongue-in-cheek questions focused on how daunting a cloud project can be, 27% of respondents said they're more knowledgeable about how to play Angry Birds or change a tire than they are about how to migrate their network to the cloud. Twenty-four percent said that during the next six months, they think they would be more likely to see a UFO, a unicorn or a ghost before they'd see a cloud project go from start to finish.