Public clouds are calling to IT engineers -- and their wallets

A global survey found one-third of data-center and IT professionals plan to put workloads in the cloud over the next year

Less than one-fifth of enterprise IT assets are in the cloud, but it looks like more are on the way.

One-third of data-center professionals and IT practitioners plan to deploy workloads in the cloud in the next year, according to a survey by the Uptime Institute, an advisory group focused on improving critical infrastructure.

Companies still rely mostly on their own infrastructure and multi-tenant data centers, including collocation facilities, the survey found. Sixty-five percent of IT assets are in-house, and only 13 percent in the cloud.

But the move to the cloud continues. The survey found 67 percent of respondents had seen at least some workloads that would have run internally in the past move to the cloud.

The findings from Uptime's global survey of more than 1,000 IT people, released on Monday, reinforce what analysts are saying. Last week at an Open Networking User Group conference, analyst Rod Hall of J.P. Morgan said enterprises are moving to public cloud services because they can do more for less. Just under 4 percent of total IT infrastructure spending last year went to cloud computing equipment, he said. But those systems performed 20 percent of all workloads, so the cloud is a bargain for processing power -- and there's a similar trend with cloud storage.

Other factors are also driving cloud adoption, Hall said. It's the wave of the future in many organizations, because the developers creating new applications often write them first for the cloud. If the use of new applications grows and older ones stagnate, the balance will shift over time to the cloud.

By 2025, 65 percent of enterprise workloads will be cloud-based, Citi analyst Walter Pritchard told the conference.

In addition to cloud adoption, the Uptime Institute survey looked at how companies deal with infrastructure failures.

About one-quarter of all respondents said they had experienced a data-center outage in the past 12 months. It's a concern that many enterprises take seriously: 60 percent said they measure the cost of downtime.

Most have some kind of strategy to get back online, but the tools they use vary around the world.

For example, only 10 percent globally have installed lithium-ion batteries in their UPSes (uninterruptible power supplies), but adoption has reached 35 percent in Africa and the Middle East. Lithium ion batteries are more efficient than the older lead-acid technology used in most data centers. They're used more in Africa and the Middle East because there are more new facilities being built there, said Matt Stansberry, senior director of content & publications at Uptime.

Also, Russia and the surrounding former Soviet countries are well ahead of other regions in generating power on-site. Thirty-three percent of enterprises there were creating power with either natural gas or solar. It's a practice that's most common in areas where utility power is hard to come by or unreliable, Stansberry said. Europe was in last place, with just 13 percent of data centers using on-site power generation.

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