The public cloud plateau

Customers like private clouds better

CHICAGO - "The enthusiasm for getting everything out of your data center and into the public cloud is starting to wane."

That's the assessment from Eric Hanselman (pictured), chief analyst at the 451 Research Group based on his latest study on cloud computing usage trends, which he presented this week at Cloud Connect in Chicago.

The interest among enterprises in public cloud computing platforms has grown steadily over the last couple of years in 451's survey it commissions every few months. In the latest round though, the interest in public IaaS resources has begun to level off. Instead of growing again, IT directors of Fortune 2000 companies interviewed by 451 are no more likely today to explore IaaS compared to four months prior.

What explains this "plateau"?

For one, it's a natural evolution for new technologies, Hanselman says. Exciting new products and services come on to the market, people get interested in them, and then they realize that it's not all its hyped up to be.

Secondly, it reflects the growing interest in private cloud options, which are workloads that remain on a customer's premises instead of being outsourced to a provider.

In 2011, 17% of respondents to 451's survey said they used some public cloud resources. By the same time in 2012, it had jumped to 25%. In January it was as 42%, and when the study was conducted earlier this year it remained again at 42%.

"Cloud is harder than it looks," Hanselman says. "It's not just about getting the newest, fastest, shiniest thing; it's about finding a solution that fits."

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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