Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cloud Services are a Bright Option for the Enterprise

The Cloud Opportunity
With Cisco Partner Summit happening in New Orleans this week there has been a lot of important news with the announcement of the Cloud Partner Program that enables and encourages Cisco Partners to develop and deliver cloud services being at the top of the list. You can follow the action on the Cisco Channels Facebook page. This announcement might have you wondering what the size of the market for cloud services is and what Enterprise organizations are thinking as they consider the move to services from the cloud.

At Cisco we had these same questions as we were making investment decisions in the systems and solutions that enable organizations to build a cloud service delivery architecture. As a result the Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) conducted research that included interviews with enterprise IT decisions makers and key subject matter experts. The study showed that enterprises across many sectors are seriously considering cloud computing. Based on direct feedback from enterprise decision makers, Cisco IBSG estimates that close to 12 percent of enterprise workloads will run in the cloud by the end of 2013 and that this will yield a market for public-cloud services of approximately US$43 billion. Organizations have a few things to consider as they make this migration to the cloud.

To Cloud or Not To Cloud
The primary reason for the enterprise to adopt cloud services is to reduce costs and increase agility. The decision to migrate to the cloud hinges the how access to critical applications will be impacted and what the benefits are for running applications in the cloud when weighted against the constraints. Many factors come into account such as workload variability, the need for agility, and application functionality when run in the cloud. The applications that are most suitable for delivery from the cloud are workloads with variable or unpredictable resource requirements. For example workloads that are seasonal, such as tax season, or public-facing applications such as online sales. Since these applications must be provisioned for peak loads there is a major cost advantage to utilizing on-demand infrastructure to run them. Applications that require quick setup, such as sales-and-marketing campaigns, and application development are prime candidates to move to the cloud as well.