Private clouds hold a wide lead over public clouds among IT pros polled

Public clouds have a way to go if they want to be the top choice of businesses looking to put resources in a shared, centralized computing environment, according to a poll of 1,200 IT professionals.

Just 7% of respondents say they'd most likely use public cloud services while 47% say they would make a private cloud their first pick, according to the CDW 2011 Cloud Computing Tracking Poll.

Overall, security concern was the major deterrent to adoption with 41% of respondents indicating it's a worry. But nearly as many, 40%, say cost is a concern as well. Coming in a distant third with 26% was privacy and compliance concerns.

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The cost worries are more pronounced among IT professionals that haven't actually tried cloud services yet, the poll finds. Asked whether cloud applications cost less than traditional applications, 36% say yes. But when those actually using at least some cloud applications were asked whether they were saving money by moving applications to the cloud, 84% say yes.

The poll was performed in March for CDW by O'Keefe & Co., and polled 1,200 IT professionals equally distributed among small, medium and large businesses; federal and state/local government; healthcare organizations; higher education; and K-12 school districts.

Cloud users project that in two years they could save 22% of their organizations' IT budgets using cloud resources and applications. That will grow to 31% in five years, the poll says. Currently, the number is 18%.

By contrast, IT pros who don't use any cloud resources project they will save 15% in two years and 23% in five years after they jump into using the cloud. Despite saying they were not yet implementing or maintaining cloud services, the non-user group nevertheless responded that it is currently spending 9% of its IT budget on cloud resources or applications.

Overall, based on cloud services and technology available now, all those polled say on average 42% of their IT services and applications theoretically could be run in the cloud.

Two-thirds of them say they aren't using cloud computing at all yet, equally split between learning about it and making firm plans to implement it. Just 8% say they aren't considering it at all.

Of the 320 respondents that actually use cloud computing in some way, 73% started by using a single cloud application. Ranked from one to six, the categories of applications most often placed in a cloud environment are: email, file storage, office productivity, Web conferencing, online learning and video conferencing.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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