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Survey Shows Businesses Interested, But Still Conflicted, About The Cloud

A study released at the start of a cloud computing industry conference in Silicon Valley shows businesses embracing cloud computing, although cautiously. The study of companies of all sizes and industry types shows that companies are primarily attracted to cloud computing because of the improved elasticity of IT resources, lower costs and less time to deploy than when a company builds its own IT capacity. However, concern remains about the privacy of a company's data in a cloud environment, control over cloud infrastructure and vendor lock-in.

The study was released Tuesday at the start of the three-day Cloud Connect conference in Santa Clara, Calif. Cloud Connect is hosted by UBM TechWeb, the publisher of Network Computing. The survey was conducted and compiled by Bitcurrent, an analyst firm that is focused on emerging technologies.

Admittedly, the survey size is small: 150 surveys were returned, and some were excluded by Bitcurrent because they came from cloud service providers. Nonetheless, the survey ranked the top cloud service providers as follows: Amazon Web Services was ranked as the leading cloud vendor by 69 respondents; Google App Engine was picked by 40 respondents; Rackspace cloud, 28; , 26; Microsoft Azure Public Cloud, 12; Terramark Cloud, 5; Joyent, 5; Gogrid, 4; and Savvis Symphony, 2.

Respondents were asked to rate their motivations for using cloud providers on a scale of one to five, and the results ranked as follows: elasticity, 4.0; deployment speed, 3.75; lower costs, 3.5;  and a wide array of services offered by cloud providers, 3.25. Of lesser motivation was better security, access to the providers' expert employees, a general positive opinion of utility computing and the separation of the provider from the day-to-day work of the client's employees.

A one-to-five scale was also used to rate customer concerns about going to the cloud: The top concern was data privacy, ranking close to a 3.0; infrastructure control, about 2.5; vendor lock-in, 2.4; and concern about who's responsible if there are problems,  2.3. Of lesser concern were reliable uptime, provider performance and potential high costs of a cloud service.

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