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TechWeek Europe Readers Prefer Their Own Clouds

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Our readers like cloud computing, but on their own terms, according to a series of polls on TechWeekEurope

Although our readers are keen to use the cloud, it seems that you want to keep control of it – with a majority of TechWeekEurope readers opting for private cloud solutions. When you do go outside the company you prefer to run your own apps on an infrastructure or platform service.

A series of polls on this site reveal that TechWeekEurope’s readers choose the varieties of cloud where they have most control – private clouds, or clouds provided at the infrastructure level by third parties. It seems your doubts about the cloud are the ones most usually expressed by IT people generally, and the applicationss you choose to run are the simplest ones.

Rugged individualists

When asked simply “which type of cloud does your organisation prefer”, 38 percent of you responded “self-managed private cloud“.

Hybrid cloud (with some parts of the service moved onto the public net) came next on 18 percent, but was beaten by “Other”, the free-range option. Since this consisted of 19 percent of you saying you preferred “cumulus clouds in the sky” or similar, we’ll take that as a strong anti-cloud vote, and give you that option up-front in future.

Below that, 12 percent of you voted for private clouds managed by third parties, and only 11.5 percent of you preferred public cloud services.

When we asked at what level you like your clouds, the answers differed slightly. Cloud services are available at different levels, and we asked at what level cloud services work best.

This time round Here, TechWeek readers were more ready to consider third party services but still preferred to access them at the level which gives you most control.

The top option (35 percent)  is “platform as a service”  (services like Amazon EC2, where users rent virtual servers and use them as they please – within reason.

Next most popular is “private cloud” (29 percent)  where users run their own cloud on their own hardware – and obviously have complete control.

Below these two come options where the user hands over more control to the cloud provider –  platform as a service (eg Microsoft Azure) and software as a service applications such as Salesforce.

So, what’s holding you back?

TechWeek readers’ objections to cloud computing as such followed fairly predictable lines. Security has always been a major problem – at least for the percetion of the cloud – and it came top of your list of “barriers to the cloud”, with 35 percent of your votes.

Next up is the closely-related issue of privacy. Many worry that cloud providers will be unable or unwilling to keep their customers’ data private, perhaps when confronted with requests from government to hand it over.

Below that came performance and reliability on nine percent. We think reliability will probably be a more important issue than appears from this reslut, as the cloud relies on networks and underlying services which are still not 100 percent reliable – as Microsoft’s Office365 outage this summer proved.

Nine percent of you thought the cloud would be hard to integrate with your own in-house IT, and eight percent of you think that loud services may not deliver promised saviongs, and another eight percent of you fear that vendors will find a way to lock you into their cloud offerings.

Below that came a mixed bag of objections centring on reliabilityand flexibiloity.

To our surprise, the often-quoted fear that cloud services may break industry governance rules came bottom of the heap on two percent. Either this objection has been overstated, or perhaps the cloud users among you don’t know what danger you are in.

What applications are you running on your clouds?  The simpler ones are the best, it seems from our poll answers.

Cloud storage came top on 19 percent, and cloud-based email scored 14 percent. Next most popular option, it seemed, was “nothing” on 14 percent.

Below that came office productivity (12 percent), customer relationship management (CRM), 11 percent). ERP/database and cloud-based security each got around seven percent, and Financials got six percent.

What are your app plans?

For our next poll, we want to know if your company uses mobile apps – and if so where do they come from? Are you happy with apps off the shelf, or do you have them built specially by third parties? Or do you have them built in-house by your own people?

Once again, apps will be a big feature of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 27 February, and we aim to explore their lifecycle this year.