Cloud computing offers advantages to nearly every entity in the ecosystem.
Gartner predicts that global cloud revenue will increase from US$46 billion in 2009 to US$150 billion by 2013. Clearly, enterprises must see substantial advantages to the cloud.
Enterprises can derive three primary benefits from the cloud:
Cost Savings: Corporate servers are estimated to run at only 15 percent capacity. Pay-per-use IaaS services can reduce or eliminate these investments as well as the cost of maintaining them. Running in-house servers as clouds, known as the private cloud, can increase utilization of existing investments.
Cost savings extend to the desktop as well. With SaaS, no software needs to be installed, saving time and money for IT departments and end-users. Since data is stored in the cloud, users can access their applications anywhere from any device with an Internet connection.
Agility: By using IaaS services, enterprises can scale up or scale down on an as-needed basis and pay only for what they use. In the past, scaling service delivery could take months. It can now be done in minutes.
Focus: IT departments can spend less time on deployment and maintenance and instead focus on more strategic initiatives that will have top and bottom line impacts.
With these three primary benefits, businesses will find moving to the cloud an increasingly promising proposition.
Barriers to Adoption
While there are compelling benefits to introducing cloud computing to organizations, cloud adoption also introduces new challenges. Concerns around connectivity and availability as well as security and regulatory compliance are potential barriers to adoption. In addition, enterprises might also find the transition to the cloud expensive and complicated (or impractical) depending on the application they're using. Since the technology is still evolving, many IT executives are hesitant to commit to a platform. Finally, latency can be an issue for time-critical applications, such as those in finance.
These disadvantages will not be concerns for all organizations, and improving technologies will eventually address most of them. Novell, for example, is a leading provider of cloud security solutions and is investing heavily in this area.