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domino1In the past year, I’ve had hundreds of conversations with client and press about the emerging cloud services model, and its impact on the IT industry. As you might imagine, more than a few folks question whether the cloud services model will really be as pervasive and transforming as its proponents argue. The skeptics point, legitimately, to the many remaining challenges of cloud services adoption, particularly around security, availability, performance, limited customization, lack of standards, etc.

My response to the skeptics is very simple: within the next several years, none of those challenges will make a bit of difference to the vast majority of customers. [...read more...]

[This piece was contributed by Bob Parker, Group VP, Industry Insights, who oversees research at Global Retail Insights and Manufacturing Insights.]

retail_cloud1At a recent IDC conference on cloud computing, we were surprised at how well the retail industry was represented among the attendees. These attendees told us that their motives were investigative – they were there to learn, not to start buying. They also told us that their interest was in “private clouds” – using the technologies behind utility computing and public cloud offerings to operate their own cloud for provisioning, running, and managing their corporate applications. [...read more...]

IDC Survey: Recession Accelerating Cloud Computing

Posted by Frank Gens on May 1st, 2009

idc_survey1One of the most common questions I’ve been asked in the past several months has been “How will the global recession impact the pace of adoption of Cloud Computing?”.

My gut reaction has been that the economic crunch would certainly amplify the economic benefits of the cloud services model, and therefore accelerate IT cloud services adoption. Some data from a user survey my colleague Stephen Minton published earlier this year substantiates that view. [...read more...]

Energy Industry IT Execs Share Cloud Wish List

Posted by Frank Gens on April 7th, 2009

Oil rig and cloudsIn Houston yesterday, I spoke about cloud computing at an IDC/Energy Insights gathering of IT executives from the Oil and Gas industry. It was a high-powered group, with 5 of the top 10 global energy companies represented (it’s been a big month for me with the Energy sector – a few weeks ago, in Milan, I met with the CIO of another of the top 10 global energy players, Eni S.p.A.).

The interest in cloud computing by these Energy industry IT leaders was strong – we had a lively 1-1/2 hour discussion, which could have easily gone on for twice the time. Here are some of the comments/questions that these execs had about cloud computing – they offer some interesting insights to the IT industry about how users are thinking about cloud computing right now, and what vendors should be focusing on to position for success in this industry transition: [...read more...]

The “Open Cloud”: a Pre-Condition for Broad Cloud Adoption?

Posted by Frank Gens on March 31st, 2009

[UPDATE - Good news: looks like someone at Microsoft is hearing the same things from users that we're hearing. On Monday early a.m., Steve Martin posted that Microsoft was, after all, going to meet with the Open Cloud Manifesto group later that day.]

Open Cloud ManifestoOn Monday, 30+ IT vendors announced the creation of the “Open Cloud Manifesto” group, with a declared intent to “initiate a conversation that will bring together the emerging cloud computing community (both cloud users and cloud providers) around a core set of principles. We believe that these core principles are rooted in the belief that cloud computing should be as open as all other IT technologies.”

Much has been made about the fact that IBM and the rest of this group were not able to convince key Cloud players – particularly Amazon, Google, Salesforce.com and Microsoft – to join in. One obvious reason: these companies are all rivals for a strategic control point in the cloud: the application platform. (To me, the interesting exception was SAP, which is among those competing at the application platform level in the cloud, but still signed on to the IBM-led Manifesto.)

Yes, this kind of IT vendor rivalry is as old as the IT industry. But anyone who’s listening to customers today (including – importantly – those not yet leveraging the cloud), knows that driving more agreement around cloud service interoperability and data portability is going to be a very important element in moving cloud computing “across the chasm“. [...read more...]

Ready for 2009? Check Out IDC’s Predictions…

Posted by Frank Gens on January 5th, 2009

Welcome to 2009. This first work week of the year is a great time to think about the weeks and months ahead – and what you’ll need to do. Here are some tools that may help:

Last month we released IDC’s IT and Telecom industry predictions for 2009. The overarching story this year will be about the IT industry’s ongoing and massive transformation – toward emerging markets, SMB and consumer customer segments, and toward Internet/Cloud, mobile, sustainable, community-developed and solutions-packaged technologies and offerings – colliding with the deep global recession.

The key question: Will the recession put the industry’s transformation on hold? Or will it drive even faster change and disruption?

Here’s a video summary of our predictions:

And here’s the 15-page Predictions 2009 document: for IDC clients, and for everyone else.

And lastly, here’s the IDC Predictions web site, where we’re be posting dozens of more detailed, segment-specific predictions: by IT industry product and service segment, by region, by industry, and more.

Microsoft’s Azure – We Told You So…

Posted by Frank Gens on October 28th, 2008

Yesterday, as we had predicted, Microsoft finally announced its intent to become a major player in the rapidly-expanding cloud services market. Here’s a clip from IDC Directions last March, predicting the “big boots” (including Microsoft’s) that would be jumping into the Cloud Computing world this year.

We’ve written for several years about the unique opportunity Microsoft has to play a market-maker role in industry’s shift to the Cloud, particularly by helping its thousands of application solution and channel partners migrate to the Software-as-a-Service delivery model. [...read more...]

In our previous posts on the IT industry’s shift to the Cloud Services era, we’ve provided definitions, market context, user adoption trends, and user views about cloud services benefits, challenges and suppliers.

In this post, we offer our initial forecast of IT cloud services delivery across five major IT product segments that, in aggregate, represent almost two-thirds of enterprise IT spending (excluding PCs). This forecast sizes IT suppliers’ opportunity to deliver their own IT offerings to customers via the cloud services model. [...read more...]

As part of our ongoing research into Cloud Computing, IDC recently conducted a survey of 244 IT executives/CIOs and their line-of-business (LOB) colleagues about their companies’ use of, and views about, IT Cloud Services. In part 1, we looked at current and future adoption of IT cloud services. In part 2, we looked at users’ views about the key benefits and challenges of IT cloud services.

This post, part 3, identifies the most important attributes users want in their preferred IT cloud services providers. [...read more...]

IT Cloud Services User Survey, pt.2: Top Benefits & Challenges

Posted by Frank Gens on October 2nd, 2008

As part of our ongoing research into Cloud Computing, IDC recently conducted a survey of 244 IT executives/CIOs and their line-of-business (LOB) colleagues about their companies’ use of, and views about, IT Cloud Services. In part 1, we looked at current and future adoption of IT cloud services.

This post, part 2, looks at users’ perceptions of the key benefits and challenges of IT cloud services. [...read more...]


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