Survey: Cloud isn’t a cost panacea, but few expect it to be

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Cloud computing is not the money saver it’s sometimes made out to be. But don’t fret — it’s still a very valuable delivery model for IT resources, according to a new survey by systems integrator Computer Science Corporation.

While cost savings, where present, were small among the survey’s 3,645 respondents — under $20,000 in 35 percent of cases — the cloud brings a wealth of benefits around mobility, efficiency and, believe it or not, jobs. Mobility, the ability to access applications and data from a variety of end-user devices, was actually the No.1 reason respondents gave for adopting cloud computing. The survey results aren’t entirely surprising when one considers ideal cloud use cases, especially with regard to infrastructure-as-a-service clouds.

For IaaS, the delivery model is arguably best-suited for handling dynamic or unknown workloads because organizations don’t have to overprovision resources before launching their applications. It’s also very helpful for testing and development, ad hoc applications, and other workloads where companies don’t want to buy and manage physical servers and storage. Cloud computing very likely will cost more in the long haul, but it’s very valuable in the short term, which explains Zynga’s hybrid Z Cloud infrastructure, for example.

Of course, some companies — including Netflix — have decided that cloud computing’s flexibility and minimal requirement for hardware ownership (and management) make it worth sticking with. Earlier this year, video startup Animoto suggested to me that running a GPU farm on Amazon Web Services cost slightly more than running its own in a colocation facility, but stuck with AWS to save itself the hassle of managing servers, switches and everything that goes along with running a data center.

And, as the survey suggests, even software as a service and platform as a service are all about simpicity. Sure, companies will save some money on enterprise licenses in most cases, but the real value is in making it much easier to launch, manage and access business applications.

The highlights of the CSC survey are included in the infographic below. The full results can be found here.

Feature image courtesy of Flickr user Monochrome.


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