Cloud acceptance in UK organisations widening rapidly

by Editor 4/15/2011 10:17:00 AM

Almost half (48 per cent) of all organisations in the UK are already using some form of cloud service, with larger companies more likely to use them, according to the findings of the most comprehensive survey undertaken into trends by the Cloud Industry Forum. The research, conducted in the first two months of 2011, polled 450 senior IT and business decision-makers in enterprises, small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) and public sector organisations in the UK; as well as 200 respondents from the channel.

According to the findings private organisations that employ over 20 people are at the forefront of the cloud revolution, as opposed to the small companies (defined as 20 employees or less), or public organisations.

The survey also showed that the decision to migrate to the cloud is now predominantly taken by the head of IT, with 65 per cent of respondents, compared to just a quarter who said it was still the responsibility of CEOs / MDs. The opportunity of cloud services has clearly won over IT departments and is considered part of the wider IT strategy.

The research confirms similar accounts by organisations like Gartner and McKinsey that have seen the European market for cloud services mature more quickly than in other regions, driven by the combined effect of SMB participation and IT professionals including cloud within the wider IT strategy.

The overwhelming reason given for initially adopting cloud-based services is the flexibility that it brings to the organisation, identified by 53 per cent of respondents. Interestingly, it is organisations with fewer than 20 employees though who identified flexibility as the key issue for their participation (63 per cent of the sample).

Another of the more interesting statistics is that there is very little separating public and private sector organisations attitude toward drivers of cloud adoption. In both cases flexibility came out as the number one reason for the adoption of cloud (public:private – 55 per cent:52 per cent) beating cost savings threefold.

Satisfaction with cloud services (where they have been adopted) is, at 94 per cent, extremely high, and is leading the vast majority of current users to expand their use into other areas of their IT operations. This simultaneous move to a new type of technology-led business model is a rare and perhaps a unique phenomenon in business IT: after all it has usually been only the large organisations and enterprises that can afford to be the pioneers of new technology.
The current “big four” core cloud services are: email; back-up / disaster recovery; storage; and webhosting services. While this by no means defines “the cloud”, it gives a very helpful indication of how the cloud is most popularly and effectively employed by end users, and interestingly this reflects more about IT back office services than the higher profile often given to vertical specific business applications, confirming that IT departments are also looking to make the cloud delivery part of their wider IT strategy to embrace on-premise and cloud solutions overall. A fact directly confirmed by the majority of participants.

Andy Burton, Chair of the Cloud Industry Forum and CEO of Fasthosts, stated: “Over recent years the market has been primarily focusing on the cost savings afforded by cloud migration and yet, as the research proves, whilst financial benefits are achieved and do drive further investment from companies already using the cloud, it is the agility given to businesses to deliver new services, access technology quickly and to offer solutions that they did not already have that has driven initial adoption.

Interestingly, cost savings were only cited by 16 per cent as the primary driver for initial cloud adoption, however, this increase to 69% when organisations consider the drivers for further cloud service adoption and how they currently access technology through the supply chain,” he added.

Piers Linney joint CEO for Outsourcery, a founder member of CIF, said: “The research clearly indicates that cloud-based services are being rapidly adopted by businesses of all sizes and across all sectors and, more importantly, is proving to be a great experience for those who have implemented the technology with 94 per cent of respondents expressing satisfaction.  With only two per cent of respondents saying they would never consider cloud, it is clear that we are heralding a new era in business computing that will be disruptive for many of the existing providers of IT and comms solutions.”

Mark Cresswell, President of Scalable, added: “The evidence indicates that the cloud is affording businesses both large and small, both public and private, the flexibility they need to adapt to the ever changing business climate and that this is their primary concern, that fact the cost savings can materialise is a secondary benefit.”

Richard Chart, COO, ScienceLogic, commented; “The survey results are further proof that the benefits of cloud so long evangelised by vendors and channel alike, including rapid deployment, reliability, scalability and pay-as-you-go financial model, are being realized by organisations seeking to expand or change their IT capability to more efficiently and cost-effectively support their business goals.”

“This research makes clear that the cost message is still critically important. However, it is clearly secondary to end users as they contemplate the initial adoption of cloud services. This means both vendors and channel alike need to understand the impact that cloud is having in terms of enabling faster and more efficient change of IT capability and build that into their solution design and message to end users,” commented Ian McEwan, EMEA VP, FrontRange.

"The cloud has been in the media spotlight for several years, and many businesses see it as the magic answer to a myriad of operational challenges," stated Alberto Soto, Vice President EMEA at Brocade.  "However, unless a well-considered IT strategy is in place, the cloud can cause more problems than it solves.  Today, the way we work is very different than it was ten, or even five years ago.  The networks of that period were not designed to be cloud-optimised so expecting them to cope with today's needs is deemed to fail.  This research suggests that companies are beginning to recognize this and that cloud-based strategies are being driven from within the IT department.  Addressing the commercial needs of the business, IT leaders can develop a strategic blueprint for a truly cloud-optimised network, therefore ensuring a successful deployment and a more agile business environment."

A series of White Papers based on the Research are available free of charge from the Cloud Industry Forum website (www.cloudindustryforum.org).

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ACM and Infosys Foundation Honor Innovator in Software System Performance, Scalability, and Security

by Editor 4/6/2011 10:36:00 AM
ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) Opens in a new window announced today that Frans Kaashoek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the recipient of the 2010 ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences for his contributions to the structuring, robustness, scalability, and security of software systems underlying many applications. Kaashoek’s advances have led to efficient, portable, and highly distributed applications of software systems, fostering wider use of portable embedded and distributed systems. He also used information flow control techniques to address a major security challenge in broadly deployed commercial systems. In addition to his groundbreaking research, Kaashoek founded commercial ventures that have enabled expanded content distribution like large, high-quality video files to travel over the Internet, and that have enhanced protection of large enterprise networks using network behavioral analysis software.

The ACM-Infosys Foundation Award, established in August 2007, recognizes personal contributions by young scientists and system developers to a contemporary innovation that exemplifies the greatest recent achievements in the computing field. Financial support for the $150,000 award is provided by an endowment from the Infosys Foundation.

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ACM President Alain Chesnais said, "Kaashoek's contributions have had a deep impact on the direction of important research in software systems as well as broad implications for practical systems design. His visionary research has changed not only the structure of systems. It has had extensive practical impacts for entrepreneurial opportunities and commercial applications, making him a significant influence in the world."

Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO and Managing Director, Infosys Technologies, said, "Dr. Kaashoek's research has had a direct impact on some of today's most popular computer applications including advancements in scalability, security, and performance. His innovations led to the founding of two commercial ventures focused on improving the performance and security of the Internet and strengthening network security for large enterprise networks. As Cloud Computing accelerates across the globe, Dr. Kaashoek's innovative research is incredibly important to companies and consumers alike. On behalf of the 127,000 people of Infosys, I am proud to recognize Dr. Kaashoek's contributions to computing."

Kaashoek and his collaborators at the MIT Parallel and Distributed Operating Systems group defined a new operating system structure, the Exokernel, a lightweight operating system kernel, which moved functionality out of the operating system and into applications without significant loss of performance. Their goal was to eliminate constraints on how application designers can use a computer’s resources, giving applications direct control over functions that allow hardware and software to communicate. The Exokernel innovation enabled programmers to improve program performance in enterprise-oriented software systems.

In papers describing the building blocks for peer-to-peer applications known as distributed hash tables (DHTs), Kaashoek and his colleagues showed how DHTs could be used to enhance both the scalability and robustness of distributed systems. This innovation has led to the establishment of DHTs as a core component of many products including peer-to-peer file sharing systems and content distribution systems. It also resulted in the creation of the Infrastructure for Resilient Internet Systems (IRIS) project, funded by the National Science Foundation and co-led by Kaashoek, which used DHT technology to address vulnerabilities of the Internet and other mission-critical networked applications to malicious attack.

Using Decentralized Information Flow Control (DIFC), Kaashoek and his colleagues developed an approach to computer security that provides an effective means for preserving user privacy in widely deployed commercial systems. It allows applications writers to control how data flows between the pieces of an application and the outside world, protecting a large array of privacy sensitive operations like banking servers, medical records processors, and legal software.

Kaashoek was Chief Scientist and Co-founder of Sightpath, Inc., a provider of software that lets companies distribute high-quality videos easily on their networks. The company was acquired by Cisco systems in 2000. He also helped found Mazu Networks, Inc., which employs innovative network behavioral analysis to enhance the network security of global enterprises. Kaashoek served as a director of Mazu Networks until its acquisition by Riverbed Technology, Inc. in 2009.

A professor of Computer Science and Engineering in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Kaashoek, 45, is also a member of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and acknowledges the collaborative benefits of his colleagues and students. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2006, and was named an ACM Fellow in 2004. In that year, he also received the William R. Bennett Prize Paper Award from IEEE. He won the inaugural Mark Weiser Award from ACM’s Special Interest Group on Operating Systems in 2001. A graduate of Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, he earned a Doctorandus Computer Science degree (equivalent to an M.S. degree) and a Doctor Computer Science degree (equivalent to a Ph.D. degree).

ACM will present the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award at its annual Awards Banquet June 4, in San Jose, CA.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

About The Infosys Foundation

Established in 1996, the Infosys Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Infosys Technologies Ltd. and has the sole objective of fulfilling the social responsibility of the company by creating opportunities and working toward a more equitable society. The Infosys Foundation has made effective strides in the areas of healthcare, education, social rehabilitation, and the arts. The company contributes up to one percent of its profit to the foundation each year.

About Infosys Technologies Ltd.

Many of the world’s most successful organizations rely on the 127,000 people of Infosys to deliver measurable business value. Infosys provides business consulting, technology, engineering and outsourcing services to help clients in over 30 countries build tomorrow’s enterprise.

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