Data privacy is now the main obstacle to cloud adoption among organisations, with 74% of respondents citing it as a concern, ahead last year’s top mention of security, reveals the Cloud Computing in "Asia Pacific: The Annual Cloud Maturity Index," a study conducted in October 2011 by Forrester Consulting on behalf of VMware.
The twin problems of data residency and loss of control were top of mind in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.
The survey also indicated that integration with existing systems remained high on the list of barriers to cloud adoption, with 68% expressing significant concerns. Other key concerns included lack of interoperability across clouds (57%), fear of vendor lock-in (59%) and immature cloud management features (57%). A lack of cloud knowledge and understanding is far less of a concern across the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region than last year.
“Companies in Asia Pacific and Japan are clearly more confident about cloud computing today than they were a year ago," Andrew Dutton, SVP and GM, VMware Asia Pacific Japan. "However, some obstacles still prevent them from fully benefiting from the technology. We are aware of these concerns and have cloud computing solutions in place that will help companies address such issues.”
Adoption All-Time High
Businesses are increasingly seeing cloud computing as relevant to their needs, especially among larger enterprises. According to the survey, which is in its second year, cloud computing adoption has continued to accelerate in the APJ region, with close to 90% of respondents viewing cloud as relevant to their business.
The study showed that 64% of regional firms are either using or planning cloud initiatives compared with 59% a year ago. Organizations in Australia lead in cloud adoption, with 43% already running a cloud-related initiative.
Korea and China lead the region in terms of adoption plans, with 48% and 46% of organisations, respectively, expecting to implement cloud computing in the next 18 months.
The Index has also found that across the region, the decision to adopt cloud computing lies largely with the CEO opposed to just the CIO, indicating that top management is more aware of the fact that investing in new technology can result in improvements to business efficiency and productivity.
Based on the survey results, the most IT-savvy players, such as telecommunications and technology companies, are ahead of the pack for cloud adoption, while government and insurance companies lead in planning cloud adoption.
Cloud adoption rates increase according to the size of organisations, with larger firms – especially those with more than 10,000 employees – leading in cloud adoption, at 47%.
Cost Efficiency, On-demand Storage and Networking
Cost reduction remains the primary driver for cloud adoption for 55% of Asia Pacific firms, down from 57% in 2010. However, very large organisations viewed cloud more as a strategic investment (49%) than a cost-saving measure.
Reduced hardware infrastructure costs (76%) and simplified resource/server provisioning (75%) continue to be key drivers for cloud adoption, with the need for cloud management tools highest in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
The Index found that 80% of organisations in APJ link cloud computing with on-demand storage and networking. Organisations in China (84%) dominated in terms of this association, followed by Singapore and Japan (both 82%).
Dutton said: “As companies look to gain cost efficiencies, utility-based scalable storage and networking platforms in the cloud will be instrumental to helping them handle unexpected capacity demands and short-falls.”
Hybrid Clouds in the Ascendant
While 32% of respondents are comfortable only with private clouds, more companies have chosen to deploy both public and private clouds (41%) – a slight increase over the previous year (38%).
Public clouds were the least popular, as the majority of companies across the region viewed them as less secure when managing corporate data and applications. A preference for the private cloud was more prevalent in the banking/financial and insurance sectors.
Storage (73%) represents the region’s No.1 workload for private clouds, with firms in Thailand (82%) and China (79%) most likely to deploy storage in a private cloud. Servers represent the No.2 workload for private cloud deployment. Public clouds are primarily the choice for web conferencing, instant messaging and collaboration, as well as email.
“Enterprises are looking to the hybrid cloud model to provide business agility and efficiency, without compromising data sovereignty and privacy,” said Dutton. “The availability of a common cloud infrastructure platform, with a common management model and application services that bridge private and public clouds to deliver seamless data and application portability, will be critical to the success of cloud implementations.”
Foundation of Cloud Computing
Some 78% of organisations in the region now consider virtualisation to be an essential building block for cloud computing. virtualisation adoption in Asia Pacific continues to be led by Australia (91%) and Japan (80%). Among verticals, virtualisation adoption is highest in insurance (83%) and banking/financial services sectors (81%).
Desktop virtualisation continued to be a consideration for 64% of companies, as they contemplate virtualizing their top-10 most business critical applications. Companies in Korea lead, with 88% indicating that desktop virtualisation plans were in place, followed by China (69%) and Japan (68%). The survey also showed an increase in interest for server/data centre virtualisation among Asia Pacific companies.
Dutton said: “As consumerization of IT becomes more widespread in the region, companies are realising that desktop virtualisation can provide the flexibility to deliver applications and data to end-users when and wherever they need them, and regardless of access device.”
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