Australian businesses demonstrate confidence in the cloud

Friday, 29 October, 2010

VMware has announced that Australia has generated the highest level of confidence in cloud understanding throughout the Asia-Pacific, according to the region’s largest-ever, in-depth cloud computing survey.

Commissioned by VMware, the Springboard Research study reported that 77% of Australian respondents scored 7 or higher out of 10 - contrasting with a regional average of 58% - when answering the question: “How well do you believe you understand cloud computing on a scale of 1-10?”

The September 2010 survey also revealed that cloud adoption in Australia is becoming widespread, with 60% of organisations currently using or actively planning to use a cloud infrastructure. Compared with other Asia-Pacific countries, Australia is the only country in the region tending to view cloud computing as a strategic investment, according to 48% of respondents - rather than as a cost-saving measure (45%). This strongly suggests a pragmatic approach to cloud computing in the Australian market.

The client study surveyed 6953 IT and business decision-makers across the Asia-Pacific region, including 1524 respondents in Australia, 60% of which identified cloud adoption’s primary driver as provision of scalability-on-demand to meet business needs. At the same time, 59% agreed that cloud adoption creates an opportunity to reduce hardware infrastructure costs.

On the subject of business benefits, survey respondents rated the ability to “become more flexible” the highest (75%), followed by the opportunity to “more effectively share IT resources” (73%). This re-emphasises the point that the ability to drive broader business benefits, rather than trim the bottom line, is top-of-mind for Australian organisations.

Interestingly, the final cloud computing purchasing decision in Australia and throughout the Asia-Pacific region lies with the CEO in the majority of organisations (53%), with the IT manager emerging as the key influencer (56%) versus the CIO (33%). This clearly demonstrates the strategic role cloud can play in driving overall business strategy.

When examining the likelihood of deploying private versus public clouds, Australian organisations are more focused on private cloud by a factor of 8-to-1, but 40% of businesses ultimately expect to leverage both. This emerging opportunity in public clouds is also capturing the attention of service providers. Australian telecommunications companies are currently the most aggressive adopters of cloud computing in Australia, with 46% already leveraging cloud and 96% agreeing the technology is directly relevant to their organisations.

By contrast, only 10% of the retail sector currently has cloud initiatives in place, compared with an Australian cross-industry average of 31%. Australia also commands the highest level of understanding in the region when asked about the difference between public and private cloud, with more than half of Australian respondents (57%) scoring 7 out of 10 or higher.

Furthermore, Australia is the country “least concerned” with building new applications not compatible with existing cloud infrastructure, thereby demonstrating increased confidence in a hybrid cloud approach.

Looking at virtualisation more closely as foundation technology for a cloud-enabled infrastructure, the majority of respondents in Australia were primarily interested in server consolidation (82%), closely followed by 78% citing business continuity and disaster recovery as their primary interest.

This clearly reflects that Australian businesses view virtualisation as capable of delivering broad business benefits that go far beyond cost savings. Some 75% of Australian organisations are willing to consider virtualising their most business-critical applications, while 22% of Australian organisations have over 80% of production applications running in a virtualised environment, compared with a regional average of only 9%.

Paul Harapin, Vice President for VMware Australia, said: “This study shows that Australian businesses are embracing cloud computing as a strategic enabler for the business, truly providing IT-as-a-service and enjoying the flexibility to dynamically respond to business requirements at short notice. This survey confirms that the penetration level of virtualisation in Australia is the highest in the region - and many of our customers are rapidly moving along the virtualisation journey and leveraging broader business benefits.”

John Brand, Vice President, Springboard Research, which conducted the survey, said: “As the most comprehensive study of cloud computing awareness and adoption trends in Asia-Pacific to date, with nearly 7000 respondents, this survey gives us an exciting window into what’s really happening with this revolutionary technology trend. Clearly, Australia is one of the most mature countries in the region, and most business leaders view cloud computing as an opportunity to make a strategic investment in the future success of their companies.”

Barriers to cloud adoption are consistent with customer concerns to date. Security, integration with existing systems and concerns over data privacy and control are identified as the primary obstructions.

VForum held this week in Sydney attracted more than 4000 customers and partners which was a record crowd.

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