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Cloud Integration Pain

Cloud computing is always touted as way to cut costs, but IT pros aren't finding cloud services all that cheap when it comes to integrating them with existing IT infrastructure.

According to a new report released by IT solution provider CDW, IT pros are struggling with cloud integration and migration. Fifty-nine percent said the complexity and cost of integrating cloud services with legacy IT systems prevent them from deploying more cloud workloads.

The survey of 1,200 US IT pros across a range of industries showed that storage, email and Web hosting are the easiest IT services to transition to the cloud. Those polled cited ERP and CRM/marketing automation services as more difficult.

As with everything in life, experience helps. IT pros said their first cloud deployment took on average 14 weeks to finish, the survey showed. Later implementations took 10 weeks. More than half of the survey respondents said they usually complete cloud deployments in six weeks or less.

IT pros reported that 35% their IT services are delivered partly or completely in the cloud.

There's been's lot of hang wringing about the rise of shadow IT, generally the use of cloud services outside of IT's jurisdiction.  However, from CDW's perspective, the survey results show that even though cloud services are popular with those outside the IT department (27% of them are purchased by other departments like finance and HR), the shadow IT phenomenon doesn't reduce the role of the IT department.

“Cloud services have such great appeal that departments outside IT are often sourcing them independently, but rather than diminishing IT’s role, the data suggests that IT has a more critical role than ever:  integrating cloud with traditional services and architecting for reliability and continuity of service, regardless of delivery mode," Stephen Braat, VP of cloud and managed solutions at CDW, said in a prepared statement.

The study showed that reliability tops the list of cloud attributes IT pros most value, but that cloud service providers aren't always meeting that expectation. Seventy-six percent of survey participants said at least one of their cloud providers failed to meet their SLA.

IT pros also place a priority on security of cloud services, but the poll showed that only 28% cited security as the biggest source of problems with their cloud services.

But accurately calculating cloud costs and benefits remains an issue, the poll showed, with 53% reporting that their models were off by more than 10% from reality.