While virtualization is the foundation of cloud computing, recent reports are finding that virtualization is affecting cloud adoption in that more businesses are opting to virtualize rather than utilize cloud-based services.
Currently, 42 percent of businesses are using traditional IT environments for its storage capacities, according to a recent survey by EMC. Of that, 31 percent of respondents said they planned to move to either a virtualized server or cloud environment by 2015.
Of the businesses that have made the transition to a virtualized environment, virtualization was implemented at 79 percent and cloud at 39 percent, up from 29 percent in 2012-2013, EMC reported.
In a 2013 survey of more than 3,000 IT professionals in the U.S., Scale Computing reported 90 percent of respondents were choosing local infrastructures over the cloud because of concern over how and where data was managed.
Even though cloud services are being widely hyped, respondents wanted to keep applications and data within a company-owned infrastructure and that many of the core applications used were the “least likely” to be adopted through a cloud-based service.
The skills gap was one reason identified by EMC for the widening of adoption of virtualization and cloud computing over other technologies like Big Data. In addition, it cited the shortage of experienced professionals with knowledge of storage and emerging technologies. Managers responded that have at least half of their teams capable of working with virtualization (35 percent) and cloud (14 percent), respectively.
Tom Gdula, data center virtualization practice manager at Clifton Park, N.Y.-based Annese & Associates Inc., agrees there is a learning curve about the cloud.
“There are so many interpretations and services that could be offered,” he said. “I’m sure most people have used DropBox, but don’t realize that is cloud-based storage. If you looked at it that way, tons of organizations are probably utilizing the cloud.”
Organizations should assess their needs to make the decision between virtualization and cloud. That’s because the idea behind the cloud is commonality among users. Businesses needing unique applications specific to their organization might find it more difficult to find that on the cloud.
Small businesses, for example, may decide it makes sense to do everything in the cloud instead of investing in infrastructure, Gdula said.
Meanwhile, more established and larger organizations typically adopt virtualization first, then find services that work in the cloud such as a data backup service, he added.
Higher education is one of the areas Gdula said is utilizing virtualization over cloud because there may be research requirements and unique applications that organizations need to run for testing or data gathering. But over in the kindergarten to 12th grade space, there are applications more common, and therefore work well in the cloud.
Since virtualization and cloud are complimentary, Gdula said it is too early to ask the question of whether or not virtualization adoption is adversely affecting the adoption of the cloud. Rather, he considers virtualization to be the “ying” to cloud’s “yang” – that there are positives and negatives to both depending on an organization’s needs.