Cloud is leading enterprise IT plans, bringing with it new levels of expectations related to integration, system testing and backup, according to a new independent research firm survey.

Research in Action, backed by vendor Compuware, surveyed 468 IT decision-makers from businesses in the Americas, Europe and Asia at the end of 2012 for its new report, entitled “The Hidden Costs of Managing Applications in the Cloud.”

Of more than a dozen data management trends that those surveyed plan to invest in, cloud infrastructure pulled in the biggest response, with 12 percent putting money there this year. Other top enterprise IT investment areas for 2013 were renegotiation of outsourcing contracts (9 percent), and advanced analytics and big data (9 percent). Over the next five years, cloud computing was the top area cited for investment, with more than 16 percent intending to spend on the cloud in the near term. Enterprise mobility ranked second in survey responses for the five-year plan, with 13 percent, followed by analytics/big data/in-memory investments (11 percent).

Putting the cloud into action, survey respondents listed the top plans in 2013 for deployments as testing and backup (24 percent) and establishing private clouds (17 percent). Looking five years out, cloud plans were led by full integration of public and hybrid deployments (24 percent), end-to-end SLAs (13 percent) and turning to a cloud broker (12 percent).

When it comes to current deployment areas for business and Web applications, 78 percent of cloud users are involved in an e-commerce suite. Other leading cloud uses were public cloud SaaS (50 percent), social media (50 percent) and website traffic analytics (48 percent).

Reflecting on the survey figures, Research in Action wrote that new and additional enterprise cloud activity will come to loggerheads with stiff data systems and issues related to “hidden” cloud service costs, which dominated concerns among IT decision-makers in the survey.

“All of these concerns are due to one simple fact: most traditional application performance monitoring tools simply don’t work in cloud environments,” RIA report authors wrote. “The dynamic and physically remote characteristics of cloud-based applications require a new, smart, and automated approach for proactive monitoring that not only identifies end-user experience problems, but also accelerates a company’s ability to find and fix those problems. Effectively monitoring and managing modern cloud-based applications and services require a new approach designed to work in today’s complex, hybrid, and dynamic environments.”

To access a copy of the full report, click and register here.

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