Thursday, May 10, 2012

How CIOs Migrate their IT Applications to the Cloud

As the role of cloud computing is growing around the globe, many CIOs and other senior IT decision makers are facing challenges with their existing network infrastructure -- to support the migration of their business applications to the cloud. A new international study by Cisco Systems revealed the ongoing challenges associated with public or private cloud deployments.

These latest research findings provide insight into the current state of cloud service adoption and the chasm between IT expectations and network realities. The survey also examines the experiences of IT professionals regarding the level of difficulty and time required to update their networks and migrate their applications to the cloud.

The 2012 Cisco Global Cloud Networking Survey addresses the applications that are most critical for businesses to move to a cloud services delivery model, as well as the network challenges and potential disruptions and road blocks they are facing during this process. The report also takes a closer look at the typical length of these cloud migrations, and how confident IT professionals are in the ability of their own network deployments to securely deliver an optimal cloud application experience.

Among its findings, the study reveals that updating the network is one of the top focus areas for cloud migration. In order to successfully move more applications to the cloud, the majority of respondents cited a cloud-ready network (37 percent) as the biggest infrastructure element required for further cloud deployments, ahead of a virtualized data center (28 percent) or a service-level agreement from a managed cloud service provider (21 percent).

This data expands on the Cisco Global Cloud Index, which predicts that more than 50 percent of computing workloads in data centers will be cloud-based by 2014, and that global cloud traffic will grow over 12 times by 2015, to 1.6 zettabytes per year – the equivalent of over four days of business-class video for every person on Earth.


Key findings from the global market study include:

Cloud Deployments in Perspective
  • Almost two in five (39 percent) of those surveyed said they dread network challenges associated with private or public cloud deployments so much that they would rather get a root canal, dig a ditch, or do their own taxes.
  • At the same time, nearly three quarters (73 percent) feel they are confident with enough information to begin their private or public cloud deployments. However, the remainder (27 percent) feels they have more knowledge about how to play Angry Birds than the steps needed to migrate their company's network and applications to the cloud.
  • In a clear sign that many IT organizations are still considering and planning cloud migrations, nearly one quarter (24 percent) of IT decision makers said that over the next six months, they are more likely to see a UFO, a unicorn or a ghost before they see their company's cloud migration starting and finishing.
  • Without proper processes and planning, more than one quarter (31 percent) said they could train for a marathon in a shorter period of time than it would take to migrate their company's applications to the cloud.
  • A majority (76 percent) predict their cloud applications are likely to be breached, yet only one quarter (24 percent) are confident to the point in which they believe the odds are better for them to be struck by lightning than have their cloud applications breached by an unwanted third party.

Cloud Deployments Expected to Increase Significantly by the end of 2012

  • Presently, only 5 percent of IT decision makers have been able to migrate at least half of their total applications to the cloud. By the end of 2012, that number is expected to significantly rise, as one in five (20 percent) will have deployed over half of their total applications to the cloud.

Most Critical Infrastructure for Cloud Deployments

  • In order to successfully move more applications to the cloud, the majority of respondents cited a cloud-ready network (37 percent) as the biggest infrastructure element required for further cloud deployments, ahead of a virtualized data center (28 percent) or a service-level agreement from a cloud service provider (21 percent).

Top Infrastructure Roadblocks to Cloud Migration

  • During the cloud migration process, data protection security (72 percent) was cited as the top network challenge or roadblock responsible for preventing a successful implementation of cloud services, followed by availability/reliability of cloud applications (67 percent), device-based security (66 percent), visibility and control of applications across the WAN (60 percent) and overall application performance (60 percent).

Top Choice of Application for Cloud Migration

  • If given the choice of only being able to move one application to the cloud, most respondents would choose storage (25 percent), followed by enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications to manage HR, customer relationship management, supply chain management, and project management systems (20 percent). Email (16 percent) and collaboration solutions (15 percent) followed.

Reality Check: Status of Cloud Application Migration

  • When asked which applications have been moved, or are being planning to be moved to public or private clouds in the next year, the majority of IT decision makers cited email and Web services (77 percent), followed by storage (74 percent) and collaboration solutions such as Web conferencing and instant messaging (72 percent).

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