June 21, 2012 – Cloud computing interest is channeling into confidence, particularly through as-a-service options and adoption of hybrid deployments, according to results from a new survey by startup financier North Bridge Venture Partners.

The Boston-based venture capital firm, which invests in software, communications and health care tech, released the results from a survey of 785 cloud experts, users and vendors, entitled “Future of Cloud Computing.” Scale remains the top reason for adopting the cloud from last year’s inaugural survey, with 57 percent of respondents, though business agility was a close second at 54 percent. And sentiment on the type of cloud platform is changing, too: 40 percent of those surveyed deploy a public cloud, and 36 percent use a hybrid approach. By 2017, hybrid clouds will ramp up to 52 percent of use instances, respondents forecasted.

Eighty-two percent of respondents noted they use some level of Software as a Service, with even more expected to adopt SaaS within five years. Another bump in the as-a-service market is expected from PaaS and Infrastructure as a Service, anticipated to grow by 15 percent in combined adoption over the next five years, the survey stated.

Big data was cited as an opportunity specifically suited for the cloud. Big data was considered the sector most likely to be disrupted by cloud computing. In addition, analytics and big data were ranked by vendors in the survey as the top two most important cloud services to provide.

North Bridge also reported that half the respondents expressed confidence in the cloud for mission critical applications, a strong indicator in comfort and confidence with the cloud, according to partner Michael Skrok.

“While agility and scalability continue to be primary drivers for cloud adoption, IT decision makers are beginning to trust the cloud with more mission-critical applications, like eCommerce,” Skrok said in a statement on the results. “Furthermore, the identification of 'cloud formations' around the hottest business trends including big data and analytics, by both vendors and IT decision makers alike, highlights new opportunities for cloud.”

The survey wasn’t all cheerleading. To little surprise, most people are hesitant with cloud deployments due to security (55 percent), followed by concerns over regulatory compliance (38 percent) and getting locked in with one vendor (32 percent). The survey also hinted at uncertainty with the overall savings and simplicity from the cloud; just 53 percent replied that the cloud maintains lower ownership costs and eases IT workflows.

Collaborators on the survey included analyst firm 451 Group, Twitter, as well as vendors such as Akamai, BlackDuck, Amazon Web Services, SAP and CA.

The firm, which has also backed surveys on open source adoption, has displayed the results of the 2012 cloud survey here.

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