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How enterprises navigate through hype & myths associated with the cloud

The issues around cloud hype and myths are still prevalent among CIOs and analysts, even as the cloud catches on across enterprises. For instance, there is widespread dissatisfaction among UK CIOs about being offered "fake" cloud services.

Research among 200 UK CIOs shows that 83 per cent are frustrated with having to cut through marketing hype to find out which services are genuine cloud offerings, and which ones are merely conventional hosting services with the word "cloud" added to the title.

Cloud Washing

Such "cloud washing" was covered in a report from leading analyst Forrester, but more on that later. In the CIO research over two thirds (67 per cent) of respondents said they had been offered "cloud" services that were fixed term, 40 per cent said they had been offered "solutions" that weren't elastic or scalable, and 32 per cent had found that in many cases services weren't even self-service. According to the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, cloud services should be on-demand and self-service, scalable/elastic and pay-as-you-go.

Cloud Server Over-capacity

The CIO survey also found that despite the availability of infrastructure-as-a-service offerings, which allow companies to pay by consumption, many are being asked to pay for cloud server capacity they will not use.

The CIO research was conducted by independent research firm Vanson Bourne, on behalf of cloud hosting provider ElasticHosts.

The survey found businesses were already using less than half (49 percent) of their on-premise server capacity at any given time, so why would they want to pay for the same processing over-capacity in the cloud via an external data centre?

The bottom line is that there are many "cloud" providers out there that are providing traditional IT services and rebadging them as "cloud" even though they fail to meet widely accepted criteria.

Go to the cloud and learn

As mentioned, such "cloud washing" has been covered in research from analyst Forrester. The analyst echoed the concern of CIOs when it warned of cloud washing in its framework for cloud computing - "Playbook on Cloud Computing" - pointing to the efforts by a number of vendors in branding their "business-as-usual IT services" and virtualisation products as "cloud" offerings.

The Playbook on Cloud Computing does however urge CIOs to "leverage cloud services today and reap the early education from doing so" to gain competitive advantage in the future.

But Forrester also put the cloud market in perspective with its latest Forrsights data covering total UK IT budget spending. It showed, that on average, UK firms in 2013 plan to spend 31 percent of their budget on IT staff, 15 percent on software, plus 5 percent on various "as-a-service" offerings - mostly SaaS (software-as-a-service).

Cloud in perspective

The hype around the cloud was underlined in the same Forrester report, which said only one-third of UK firms are using or planning to use cloud computing.

James Staten, an analyst at Forrester, says, "Not everything will move to the cloud as there are many business processes, data sets and workflows that require specific hardware or proprietary solutions, and which can't take advantage of cloud economics. For this reason we'll likely still have mainframes 20 years from now."

Such a position is also taken by analyst Ovum, which says the internal data centre market will see "accelerated growth" in 2013, despite the progress of cloud connectivity and hosting technology.

In its "2013 Trends to Watch: Data Centre Technology" report, Ovum says companies will focus more on data centre cost-savings and more efficient internal IT delivery methods, such as virtualisation and emerging software-defined networks (SDNs).

Private, public and hybrid clouds

Ovum says in its report, "The hype surrounding cloud computing can lead some organisations to predict the end of the internal data centre. For many organisations though the question of workload classification remains a difficult issue - and the default position is to keep it on-premise".

Roy Illsley, an Ovum analyst, says, "This scenario is highly unlikely to change unless workloads between cloud technologies become truly portable, or security and privacy concerns evaporate."

That said, many companies are first looking to move to the cloud using a private cloud model using their internal data centre to distribute applications and services and share data across departments, staff and partners.

Once they master this way of working they are then often moving towards externally hosted cloud services through relying on public clouds, or adopting the hybrid cloud model by integrating external cloud services with their on-premise private clouds.

Where HP comes in to deliver on Cloud Promises

And whatever way organisations use to move to the cloud, they need cloud management systems in place on-premise or in the data centres of their external providers.

And that's where HP comes in as a leading cloud systems management provider.

HP CloudSystem is the most complete, integrated and open platform that enables enterprises and service providers to build and manage services across private, public and hybrid cloud environments.

Based on the proven, market-leading HP Cloud Service Automation and Converged Infrastructure, HP CloudSystem integrates servers, storage, networking, security and management, to automate the application-to-infrastructure lifecycle for hybrid service delivery management. The result is a complete cloud solution that lets enterprises gain agility and speed, and allows service providers to drive top-line growth.

HP CloudSystem delivers broad application support and helps businesses package, provision and manage cloud services to users regardless of where those services are sourced, whether from CloudSystem's on-premises resources or from external clouds.

As part of the HP Converged Cloud architecture, clients have a simplified, integrated architecture, that is easier to manage and which provides flexibility and portability between private, public and managed clouds.

While there is plenty of hype about cloud computing, HP systems can bring you real benefits. Embracing cloud where it makes sense for your business can speed your time to revenue and reduce your costs. But embracing cloud means cutting through the hype to find real solutions.

No matter where you are in the cloud adoption lifecycle, HP has the people, processes and proven track record to make a real difference, and help you take a direct route to the cloud. With HP as your partner, you'll be on your way to reaping the benefits of cloud computing - without the hype - because HP offers the most extensive range of cloud computing expertise, products and services.

Contact HP today and learn more about the solutions discussed in this paper and how HP can help make your journey to the cloud a smooth one. To learn more about HP Converged Cloud solutions, go to:

HP CloudSystem at hp.com/go/cloudsystem

HP Converged Cloud at hp.com/go/cloud

HP Cloud Demos at hp.com/go/cloudsystemdemos

For more information on HP cloud services, visit http://www.hp.com/uk/cloudinaday