Survey exposes differing views toward public cloud


A new survey has highlighted the significant differences in public cloud infrastructure concerns among IT decision makers around the world.

The research, by internet infrastructure service provider Internap, has also shed light on new challenges for organisations as they operate fast, big data applications in the cloud, and revealed the ‘common misconception’ that virtualisation is a required characteristic of public clouds.

Respondents covered a range of industries, including software and internet, hosting and IT infrastructure, media and entertainment, gaming, healthcare, education and financial services.

Coming from North America, EMEA, APAC and Latin America, the respondents worked for companies that range from more than $10 billion to less than $1 million in revenue.

The majority of the ‘cloud-wary’ (40%) cited cloud security as a concern, whereas only 15% of the cloud-wise cited security as a challenge they’ve encountered.

The top cloud challenges encountered by ‘cloud-wise’ organisations were performance (30%) and cost at scale (28%), followed by reliability (22%), compliance (16%), security (15%) and limited configurations (15%).

Over half (59%) of respondents hosting big data applications in the cloud cited performance challenges, while two thirds (66%) cited virtualisation as a defining characteristic of a public cloud, even though public clouds do not require virtualisation.

Furthermore, 63% of respondents said a bare-metal cloud would appeal to them. Most of these (73%) cited the ‘higher performance of dedicated servers’ as the reason, and 35% said they would prefer a bare-metal cloud over a virtual cloud. 

>See also: Controlling the skies: The rise and role of the cloud service broker

The cloud-wary may overestimate cloud security risks; cloud-wise face new pain points

Cloud-wise and cloud-wary organisations expressed distinct concerns with public cloud services.

While the majority of cloud-wary organisations cited security concerns as the reason they are holding back from using cloud services, the cloud-wise pointed to performance and cost-at-scale as the top challenges encountered with their current public cloud service. Cloud-wise organisations ranked security challenges a distant fifth.

While a portion of the cloud-wary are from security-conscious industries, such as financial services, healthcare and government, the majority may be overestimating security risks since performance and costs top the list of actual problems encountered by the cloud-wise.

Organisations mistakenly equate virtualisation with public cloud

The survey also highlighted the pervasiveness of the ‘cloud equals virtualisation’ myth. Contrary to popular belief, public cloud is not synonymous with virtualisation, Internap said.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), virtualisation is not a defining characteristic of public cloud. This ‘widespread misconception’ presents an opportunity to expand today’s narrow definition of public cloud and build greater awareness of other forms of on-demand, elastic compute offerings, such as bare-metal cloud, that often provide superior performance and price alternatives, the company added.

Changing application requirements are driving interest in other forms of public cloud

Organisations with scale-out, performance-sensitive applications have been some of the first to adopt bare-metal public clouds, which combine the speed and reliability of dedicated, single-tenant servers with the agility, self-service and flexible billing of virtualised, multi-tenant public cloud offerings. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents said a bare-metal cloud would appeal to them.


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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...