Survey highlights the challenges of shifting your business into the cloud

The cloud might not be the latest buzzword (that award goes to the Internet of Things), but it's still a major force in technology which businesses are increasingly aligning themselves with. However, it's certainly an area with its problems – and some light has been thrown on exactly what those difficulties are by a new survey conducted by analyst firm EMA (and commissioned by iland).

The research, which questioned 400 IT professionals from across the globe, focused on real-world experiences with public cloud providers. It found that in the UK, 98 per cent of respondents had encountered at least one "cloud challenge" which they didn't anticipate.

So, what were the top six unexpected challenges the cloud presented?

Joint first place went to pricing and performance, with 38 per cent saying both these areas presented hiccups. While cost savings are generally cited as one of the reasons to head cloud-wards, pricing models proved difficult to understand, and companies need to tread carefully when working out costs. As for performance, of course there can be variations in this depending on which way the winds of the internet are blowing (as ever), and some cloud systems are less efficiently architected than others.

Related: A closer look at how IT personnel are failing to understand the cloud

The next most challenging aspect was support, with 36 per cent of respondents saying that this was an issue. Simple ticket-based support may only be an option for the lower tiers, and companies with high-end support may have trouble getting a decent level of hands-on help.

Fourth on the list was downtime at 35 per cent, with cloud service management troubles (arcane interfaces and the like) following on 33 per cent. Scalability was the final bone of contention highlighted also on 33 per cent, again another big selling point for the cloud, but an area where the actual execution of scaling can be problematic for those not familiar with the whens and hows.

Dante Orsini, SVP of Business Development at iland, commented: "I would advise organisations to carefully consider their cloud choices. Select a cloud vendor with live, human support – and pay attention not just to the availability of such support, but also its cost. Separate, hefty support contracts can quickly compound the cost of cloud. Your cloud vendor should be a partner to your IT department."

"Look for a cloud that makes your job easier – a cloud with familiar management metrics, functionality and straightforward pricing. Ensure the cloud provider can bake in features such as high availability and reporting to ease your management task. And finally, make sure you can explain the pricing model to your manager because believe me, you'll be asked to sooner or later."