By Marcus Leach
VMware Inc. have published the results of a comprehensive study into the adoption of cloud computing among small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) in Europe.
The independent survey of 1,616 IT decision-makers across eight countries in Europe (France Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain and the UK) found that over 60% of SMBs have already moved at least some of their infrastructure or applications to the cloud.
Critically, the research showed a direct link between virtualization and the extent to which an organization is using cloud computing, with virtualized businesses having, on average, twice as much of their IT infrastructure in the cloud than non-virtualized businesses.
Key UK findings:
- 48% of SMBs have already put some aspects of their IT into the cloud
- 57% of SMBs have virtualized parts of their IT infrastructure
- 82% of SMBs with some applications and/or infrastructure in the cloud have virtualised, vs. 3% who have not virtualised
- 55% of those in the cloud agree that virtualisation made deployment in the cloud easier
- Virtualised businesses have, on average, twice as much of their IT infrastructure in the cloud than non-virtualized businesses
Key European findings:
- 60% of SMBs have already put some aspects of their IT into the cloud
- 73% of SMBs have virtualized parts of their IT infrastructure
- Those who have virtualized show deeper cloud deployments than those who haven’t: 79% of SMBs with some applications and/or infrastructure in the cloud have virtualized, vs. 8% who have not virtualised
- 86% of those in the cloud agree that virtualization made deployment to the cloud easier
When looking at cloud computing, irrespective of the extent to which an organisation is using the cloud, the statistics are more defined. 82% of UK organisations with a virtualised IT infrastructure have moved at least some of their IT infrastructure or applications to the cloud. This compares to just 3% of UK cloud-using organizations who have not virtualised.
The survey was commissioned by VMware to gain insight into the levels of adoption of virtualisation and cloud computing among Europe’s SMBs. The research also looked at the most common drivers and barriers to this adoption, as well as management understanding of the technology.
Of those European organisations that have moved aspects of their IT infrastructure to the cloud, 56% have moved their storage resources to it, making storage the most common aspect of the IT infrastructure to have been moved to the cloud.
By contrast, compute resources (at 33%) and desktop computing (at 27%) were the lowest, showing a real opportunity for further innovations in the future. When looking at applications specifically, email and office programs are those most commonly moved to the cloud (with 61% and 45% of cloud-enabled organizations respectively).
“The debate as to whether small-to-medium sized businesses are embracing the cloud has passed. With 60% of European SMBs already using the cloud to some extent, this research proves they have not just bought into the concept of the cloud, but are progressing well on their journey to it. However, the journey is far from complete. While many organisations are realising the benefits of virtualisation and cloud computing in some aspects of their business, it is now critical for them to extend these benefits across the whole organisation. Furthermore, organizations should pay close attention to the role that virtualisation can play in making the most of the cloud,” said Jürgen Kühlewein, director SMB EMEA, VMware.
While cost savings are still the primary driver for most cloud deployments, there is a growing awareness of the agility benefits offered by the technologies. 37% of organisations in Europe cited reduced IT hardware costs and reduced IT maintenance costs from virtualisation, with similar numbers expecting the same benefits from the cloud: 34% expect reduced IT hardware costs and 35% reduced maintenance costs.
However one quarter (25%) said that virtualisation has made it easier for the organisation to deploy new applications and services. An equivalent amount (26%) said the same about cloud computing. This shows that while organisations may be migrating to the cloud for its immediate cost benefits, they are also realizing greater flexibility benefits once deployed.
“Having virtualised 100% of our IT environment with VMware, we are in a strong position to move our applications and infrastructure to the cloud,” commented Richard Hanson, Group IT Manager, JSR Farming Group.
“We’ve already initiated a private cloud project, which has seen our customers benefit from using our software-as-a-service to get the best from their herds. The project runs very smoothly and has both strengthened our position in the market and solidified our existing customer relationships. We wouldn’t have been able to offer this service had we not virtualised the entire estate.
"As a result of this, we anticipate that we’ll be moving further elements of our IT into the cloud; as a growing business, the benefits offered by the cloud model - reduced costs, increased scalability and flexibility - are very appealing.”
“It is encouraging to see that a large proportion of the companies surveyed are using the cloud, and that there is a growing understanding of the fundamental shift that cloud computing brings to the organisation.
"Cloud computing delivers far more than cost savings alone; it enables organisations to launch products more quickly, dynamically scale resources to meet peaks in demand for a particular service, or shift R&D efforts into an entirely new business area. This is an important point that must be understood at every level of the business if organisations are to gain the most from the cloud.”