Cloud coming but security makes it gray: Cisco study

Survey tracks trends, strategies, concerns in data center and cloud computing

Cisco this week finished up its three part Connected World study by finding that IT is moving to cloud computing but grappling with security and control over data. Fifty-two percent of IT officials responding to a Cisco study use or plan to use cloud computing with high adoption rates in India, Brazil and China.  

But of those 52%, only 18% are actually using it; 34% are in the "plan to use" phase. Eighty-eight percent of respondents expect to be using private and public clouds for some of their data and applications over the next three years.

Like the two Connected World surveys conducted in October and November, those queried 2,600 employees and IT practitioners in 13 countries -- Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States.

The study also found that, in another three years, half of the IT respondents expect half to all of their production servers to be virtualized. Today, 29% have more than half of their production servers virtualized. What's currently holding IT back are challenges with security, stability, operational processes and management of the virtualized environment, the Cisco study found, despite the benefits - 40% of the respondents expect an operational cost reduction of 25% to 49% from virtualization due to optimized resources and faster application provisioning.

Indeed, IT managers ranked security as their top data center concern, along with performance, reliability, and budget for maintenance and management. Top data center priorities over the next three years are to improve the speed of application deployment; better align resource capacity with demand; increase data center resilience; and reduce power and cooling costs.

The primary data center technology strategy is unified fabric, the Cisco study found. Converging LAN and SAN traffic ranked higher than virtualization, cloud computing (which some might argue require virtualization and unified fabrics), "unified computing," and desktop virtualization.

Unified computing means different things to different vendors and customers - since this is a Cisco survey, it must refer to planned deployment of Cisco's Unified Computing System. Whatever it means, Cisco found that 19% of the survey respondents had already tested or deployed unified computing while 41% plan to test or deploy it in the next year.  

Technology trends that most affect data center strategy are mobile access to information, virtualization, unified data center fabric, desktop virtualization and cloud computing, the study found. Business trends driving data center strategy include increasing applications and data, security and risk management, and cost reduction.

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