March 21, 2012 – Enterprise movement to the public cloud has created uncertainty and tension between IT officials and their business counterparts over expectations, costs and complexity, according to a new survey conducted by Forrester Consulting.

The survey, entitled “Delivering on High Cloud Expectations,” parses responses from 327 enterprise infrastructure executives and architects across industry verticals in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It was conducted on behalf of business software and service provider BMC.

Among CIOs surveyed, nearly three-fourths stated they agreed or strongly agreed that their business executives see the cloud as a way to be “independent of IT.” As an extension of that figure, 58 percent of respondents are running mission-critical workloads in the unmanaged public cloud despite in-house policy, a figure respondents expect to grow regardless of data governance in the next two years.

In addition, IT is dealing with new-found complexities from the cloud and virtualized deployments: 39 percent reported having five or more virtual server pools, and 43 percent registered three or more hypervisor technologies.

The top IT priority over next 12 months is reducing enterprise costs, and complexity reduction was the top strategy to meet that goal. However, taking on public cloud management duties may butt up against that goal to reduce complexity, according to those surveyed. Seventy-one percent of respondents thought that IT operations should be responsible for ensuring public cloud services meet their enterprise’s performance, security and availability requirements. But 61 percent noted that it “will be difficult to provide the same level of management across public and private cloud services.”

Even with these obstacles of complexity and the struggle between business and IT, 81 percent of respondents indicated that setting a comprehensive cloud strategy is a “high priority” over the next two years. To meet that goal, enterprises need to have a more comprehensive cloud strategy in place that includes such aspects as plan for managing public cloud services and cost transparency through fine-gained resource consumption tracking, says Brian Hopkins, Principal Analyst serving Enterprise Architecture Professionals at Forrester. Hopkins, who was knowledgeable of the survey’s findings though not the report author, says that the high number of survey respondents planning to support public cloud use in the next two years makes the need for a establishing a full cloud strategy soon “a fact of life.”

“In order to ensure that public cloud isn’t just a means to circumvent IT, CIOs must deliver experiences that at least approximate what users find when they go to the public cloud – specifically, internal services must be easy to request, easy to pay for, and quickly delivered,” says Hopkins.

A full study that includes the survey will be released in April. To sign up for a Web seminar on the findings to be conducted April 26, click here.

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