Cloud computing, virtualisation and identity federation key issues

Wednesday, 17 November, 2010

Quest Software has unveiled 11 technology predictions for 2011 based on the results of its annual survey conducted at The Experts Conference (TEC) US. The results were analysed by Quest experts to extract key insights and compelling trends. Based on analysis of this year's TEC conference survey responses from in-the-trenches IT practitioners, as well as historical perspective gleaned from conducting annual surveys, Quest offers the following 10 predictions about key technology trends and practices.

Gil Kirkpatrick, Quest chief architect and conference founder, said, "Taken together, these predictions paint a picture of the key priorities of IT organisations and the technology market dynamics we can expect in 2011. We're excited to share these insights on the complexities of adoption behind the cloud buzz, platform vendor battles and shifting technology investment strategies."

  1. Corporate IT will ascend to the cloud. Adoption in cloud computing has lagged behind media buzz, but survey results indicate growth in cloud deployments is likely to accelerate in the coming year.
  2. But, half won't commit for five years. While genuine interest in the cloud is growing, nearly 40% of respondents indicated their organisations had no plans to use cloud services. As a result, the adoption curve for cloud computing will not follow the bell curve typical of most new technologies. After an initial surge of adoption, growth will slow until remaining companies see proof of success from early adopters. Once a critical mass of users establishes success, competitive pressures will force the remaining companies to adopt cloud services.
  3. Cloud platform supremacy: the battle intensifies. Only 3% of respondents selected a primary cloud platform, with selections evenly split between Microsoft Azure Services Platform, Google App Engine and Amazon Web Services, indicating the competition for market dominance is still wide open and likely will intensify.
  4. New support teams emerge to lasso the cloud. The survey found the first signs of organisational change with the emergence of new administrative teams dedicated to supporting cloud services. Leading-edge companies recognise that provisioning and support of cloud services will be fundamentally different than current application delivery models.
  5. IT will adopt email cloud services first. Survey results showed people are most interested in email as a cloud service. Approximately 50% of the companies using, currently evaluating or planning to deploy cloud services have or are considering email. Enterprises are waiting for email offerings to mature, however, with truly widespread adoption still likely years, rather than months, away.
  6. 'Best-of-breed' trumps standardisation as more cloud decisions are made outside IT. The ease of use and scalability of many cloud solutions enables business area managers to choose their own platforms and applications rather than rely on centralised decisions by IT organisations. Survey respondents' relatively low interest in customer relationship management (CRM) is inconsistent with the popularity of and other cloud-delivered CRM services, indicating that IT organisations are not involved in, and may not even be aware of, all cloud services used within their enterprises.
  7. Small cloud service contingency plans spell big trouble. Cost reduction is cited by 34% of survey respondents as the primary driver for considering cloud services. Yet, the newness of cloud service delivery models coupled with this strong focus on cost reduction means some IT organisations will underestimate the need for proper contingency planning for service outages.
  8. Federation will become IT delivery standard. Use of federation to share identity information across domains and enable business users to access multiple systems and services has grown steadily over the past several years. 24% of survey respondents already deploy federation, and another 9% plan to deploy it within the next 12 months.
  9. E-discovery, compliance and security will drive increased Exchange support spending. More than 40% of respondents reported their resource requirements for e-discovery support and security increased over the past year, perhaps due to increasing regulatory oversight, litigation levels, or pressure to protect corporate information. 31% saw growth in resources needed for compliance reporting and supporting audit requirements, and 70% were less than satisfied with their email compliance processes. E-discovery, compliance and security likely will be the primary drivers of increases in Exchange support spending in 2011.
  10. Fight will continue on desktop and storage battlegrounds. 91% of TEC respondents are already using virtualisation in production, and most of the rest are either evaluating or planning to deploy within the next 12 months. Server virtualisation is either in use or under evaluation by 94% of responding organisations, and the market has reached saturation. Desktop virtualisation still has room for growth in adoption, with current use at 46% in responding organisations. Storage virtualisation is currently used by only 24% of responding organisations.
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