Skepticism of the cloud persists: Symantec

Randy Cochran Symantec

Symantec Americas channel chief Randy Cochran

According to the findings of Symantec’s latest survey on virtualization and cloud deployment, a quarter of IT managers expressed disappointment as perceived operational and performance cost benefits didn’t jive with reality.

Symantec’s “2011 Virtualization and Evolution to the Cloud Survey” examined how organizations plan to move business-critical initiatives to virtual and hybrid cloud computing environments. But it’s still a very immature market for cloud and virtualization solutions, explained Randy Cochran, vice president of channel sales for the Americas at Symantec, in Mountain View, Calif.

“There is a disconnect in terms of what organizations think these technologies can do for their needs, what changes need to be made to their current infrastructure to meet IT and business needs, and where the real challenges lie in properly deploying these technologies,” he noted. “There’s a huge opportunity for channel partners to leverage their expertise and educate and manage customer expectations throughout cloud and virtualization projects by advising them on what these technologies can do for them, and ease their transition to the cloud and virtualized environments.”

Clearly, business migration to the cloud can’t be denied. Many companies have gone through the proof of concept phase and are embarking on middle-to-late stage projects leveraging public and private clouds, but they want to be confident that their data is protected whether it’s on premise or in the cloud, Cochran said. Interestingly, Canadian businesses are slightly ahead of the game when it comes to adopting virtualization and cloud technologies, with 87 to 89 per cent of Canuck respondents that have implemented hybrid or private clouds stating they actually achieved their performance goals.

The survey also showed storage to be a top-of-mind concern.

“Storage costs, quality of performance and reliability were among the top concerns associated with virtualization and adopting the hybrid and private cloud,” he said. “More than half of respondents referenced these as major factors affecting the implementation of server virtualization and, hybrid and private cloud adoption.”

Also noteworthy, the survey found most organizations lean heavily on third-party service providers for guidance on virtual and cloud deployments. This too translates into a huge opportunity for partners to leverage their implementations expertise to help customers transition to the cloud.

“Service providers can help their customers by offering their expertise and provide virtualization and hybrid or private cloud solutions based on the customers’ needs,” he continued. “But service providers should also keep in mind that virtual and cloud solutions are not a one-size-fits-all proposition for organizations. They need to assess their customers’ needs and expectations on a case-by-case basis to recommend the right solutions.”

On the whole, the survey highlighted topics including server, client, and storage virtualization, storage-as-a-service, and hybrid/private cloud technologies; and the results uncover disparities between expectations and reality as enterprises deploy these solutions. The survey is based on more than 3,700 respondents from 35 countries worldwide, including 200 respondents from Canada.

Key findings include:

  • More than 75 per cent of organizations are discussing private and hybrid cloud deployments, globally
  • 60 per cent of Canadian companies are implementing server virtualization, while less than half (45 per cent) have adopted server virtualization globally;
  • 77 per cent of Canadian respondents indicated that they plan on virtualizing database applications in the next 12 months;
  • Of the technologies evaluated in the survey, server and storage virtualization are the most mature with 45 and 43 per cent of enterprises implementing, while Private Storage-as-a-Service is the least mature with 36 per cent adopting.;
  • 76 per cent of enterprises who have implemented server virtualization indicated that security was a somewhat/extremely large factor in keeping various constituents from being more confident about placing business-critical applications on virtualized servers, while 63 per cent listed security as a significant/extreme challenge to implementing server virtualization.

IT consultancy Gartner stated recently global security software revenue grew by 12 per cent in 2010 with Symantec at the top of the class (19 per cent of total security software revenue share).

“We’re certainly seeing a greater demand for security and comprehensive information management solutions,” Cochran acknowledged. “Today, we’re sharing and storing more information than at any point in history. People and businesses have a desire and a responsibility to protect that data as the cyber threats continue to be more sophisticated and pervasive.”

To download a copy of the Canadian 2011 Virtualization and Evolution to the Cloud Survey, click here.

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