Cloud to drive business agility
EMEA research shows that enterprises are putting the cloud at the heart of their IT strategy, with 48 percent seeing it as key to empowering agility and business performance.
As organisations strive to compete in today’s economy, with workers demanding instant access to information wherever they are, the cloud is becoming a critical part of modern business strategy. Supporting this trend are the results from a new research project from Brocade indicating that 48 percent of EMEA businesses are already actively deploying cloud architectures, with more than half of respondents citing business agility as the key driver. Cost-savings, operational or capital, were of secondary concern at 16 and 14 percent, respectively.
For the purpose of this project, Brocade defined cloud computing as a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are provided as a service over public networks, including the Internet. The study showed that nearly half of EMEA businesses are already using cloud computing, and a further 31 percent are expected to have started the planning and migration to a distributed computing model within the next year. Of those companies that have already embraced the cloud, 85 percent of respondents stated that they plan to further scale their deployments over the next 12 months to manage critical business processes such as data backup and retrieval.
The performance, reliability and manageability of their networks will be a critical factor in the successful operation of these clouds.
According to Gartner, through 2013, at least 60 percent of enterprises will experience slow or inconsistent application performance due to improper network design2. Recognizing that the network is pivotal in defining the user experience in both public and private clouds, Brocade – working in association with the Cloud Industry Forum – found that close to 90 percent of respondents included the cloud within their IT strategy decision-making. With business agility being the core driver for adoption, any failure in service provisioning would have a dramatic impact on productivity, illustrating the need for the network to be cloud-optimized at every point.
“The cloud has been in the media spotlight for several years, and many businesses see it as the magic answer to a wide range of operational challenges. However, unless a well-considered IT strategy is in place, the cloud can cause more problems than it solves. Today, the way we work is very different than it was 10, or even five years ago. The networks of that period were not designed to be cloud-optimized, so expecting them to cope with today’s needs is doomed to fail. Our research suggests that companies are beginning to recognize this and that cloud-based strategies are being driven from within the IT department. Addressing the commercial needs of the business, IT leaders can develop a strategic blueprint for a truly cloud-optimized network, therefore ensuring a successful deployment.” stated Alberto Soto, Vice President EMEA, Brocade.
However, challenges to widespread adoption of the cloud remain. According to the study, almost two-thirds of companies still question the cloud’s inherent security; they would refrain from placing sensitive data, such as employee records, in the cloud, which shows that more work in this area needs to be done.
Other key research findings include 94 percent of those already using cloud services are satisfied with the results and of those currently not using cloud services just under a third (31 percent) anticipate doing so in the next year. Whereas, only 12 percent stated that they would never consider migrating to the cloud. The top three applications currently deployed in the cloud are e-mail management (41 percent), data backup and disaster recovery ( 35 percent) and data storage (34 percent).
“The benefits of the cloud have been known for some time, not least the rapid deployment, reliability, scalability and pay-as-you-go financial model. What appears to be happening in the market is that this message, for so long evangelised by vendors and channel alike, is being heard and acted upon by organisations seeking to expand or change their IT capability in support of business performance. Key to this business model is the network. Without an agile, high-performance foundation, the cloud doesn’t work. But our research shows that this is being recognized and vendors are already delivering solutions that enable businesses to deploy such architectures, today,” concluded Soto.
As the research suggests, cloud-based architectures help organisations achieve a wide ranges of key business objectives while realizing significant cost savings. However, for either the private, public or hybrid cloud to be truly effective, the data centre is pivotal. As a leader in fabric-based data centre architectures with 15 years of experience in building mission-critical networks for some of the most demanding IT environments in the world, Brocade is helping customers move to highly virtualized and cloud models, leveraging proven technologies such as Fibre Channel and emerging technologies such as standards-based Ethernet fabrics.
Today, Brocade cloud-optimized networks span across multiple customer segments, architectures and applications. A strong heritage in both data centre and IP networking uniquely positions Brocade to deliver comprehensive networking solutions for private, public and hybrid clouds.