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Cloud Storage Lags Behind The Hype

Cloud computing has attracted the attention of nearly everyone, but adoption is still in its infancy. That's particularly true when it comes to moving stored data to the cloud, according to a recent survey done by Forrester Research. In Forrester's "Enterprise And SMB Hardware Survey, North America And Europe, Q3 2009," researchers asked businesses about their interest in "hosted storage capacity" offerings, or storage-as-a-service, and only 3 percent said they plan to implement it in the next 12 months. Another five percent said they would implement it in a year or more. Nearly half, or 43 percent, said they have no interest in storage-as-a-service at all. Another 43 percent did express interest, but have no plans to implement it.

The findings are not surprising, says Andrew Reichman, who, with colleagues Stephanie Balaouras and Alex Crumb, co-authored a report entitled "Business Users Are Not Ready For Cloud Storage." Their report is based is based on responses from more than 1200 decision makers in U.S. and European firms who participated in the survey. Although data storage capacities are growing at 30 percent to 40 percent annually, and storage budgets are flat or barely growing--making low-cost per gigabyte cloud storage seemingly attractive--Reichman says companies aren't convinced that cloud storage makes sense for them.

cloud-computing-chart.pngThe Forrester study isn't the only one that indicates the jury is still out when it comes to cloud storage solutions. In the InformationWeek Analytics/Network Computing 2010 State of Storage Survey, a Web survey of business technology professionals, 54 percent said they currently aren't using cloud storage services, while only 34 percent said they are considering it. Only 12 percent are using it, for archiving (five percent), backup and recovery (five percent) and e-mail (twe percent).

Apprehension about cloud storage is well-founded, according to Reichman. "In the long term, cloud computing could change the way people deliver IT services, but I think people are kind of dreaming big," he says. "The reservations I have are mainly for businesses. If you are a consumer or a developer, you probably have a lot of interest in these cheaper services. But if you are a mature business, the reality is there aren't the service level agreements in place to make you feel comfortable."

Specifically, Reichman says, "there is a fundamental mismatch between the price vendors are charging and the value of the data they will be potentially holding," as part of a cloud storage solution. He points to data breaches that could have financial impact that far outweighs money saved via cloud computing. "Shared tenancy is a key piece of the cloud, it is why there can be economies of scale. But security needs to be better."

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