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1/13/2011
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6 Ways To Fail In The Cloud

Our latest survey shows double-digit increases in cloud adoption. But ignore integration, security, connectivity, and three other factors at your peril.

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6 Ways To Fail Our 2011 InformationWeek Analytics State of Cloud Computing Survey shows a 67% increase in the number of companies using cloud services, up from 18% in February 2009 and 30% in October 2010. IT now has a choice: Grab ownership of what's poised to be a core part of the enterprise technology toolset, or shortchange key functions and set ourselves up for disaster.

This shouldn't be a hard call, yet over and over we see CIOs underfund or ignore six major areas: integration, security, connectivity, monitoring, continuity planning, and long-term staffing. Only 29% of companies using or planning to use the cloud have evaluated its impact on their architectures. Just 20% implement monitoring of applications and throughput; 40% don't have any monitoring in place. Talk about blind trust.

There's a misperception that it's smaller companies driving the cloud usage upswing. But don't write off management shortfalls as an SMB problem; we saw almost the same rates of use and planned use regardless of company size, once we delved into the data. There are now viable cloud options for almost every layer of the technology stack--from raw computing, storage, databases, and utilities to e-mail to the spectrum of enterprise applications, all with a "point, click, go" functionality that has maverick business units everywhere rejoicing. Ignore management at your peril.

Integration: New Twists

Cloud vendors Boomi, Cast Iron, and Jitterbit are focused solely on offering integration services for less money and in less time, and they're shaking up established firms like Informatica and Oracle-SAP as well as EDI players like Ariba, Hubspan, and Sterling Commerce. Boomi and Cast Iron have been acquired by Dell and IBM, respectively. Both buyers cited the benefits of offering streamlined integration connections across the enterprise. Earlier last year, IBM, acknowledging gaps in its cloud integration, also bought Sterling, one of the larger EDI players.

This is a new twist to interoperability that is available only within the cloud. Previously, there just wasn't scale to build multitenant integration services. But now, integration services have become clouds themselves--middleware as a service, if you will. The more options and connections they have, the more competitive they become and the more monthly subscriptions they get. Will they make it? Yes. There's a fortune in margins in integration, especially if you have scale, and the financial performance of these vendors is impressive.

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