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Cloud computing, virtualization still strong after IT decline

22 октября 2009

Amid the worst-ever decline in technology spending, corporations still invested in cloud computing and virtualization--two areas poised for further growth as tech budgets loosen.

In recent years, companies spent on cloud computing, or the delivery of services through the Internet, and virtualization, a technique that cuts down on the number of servers handling corporate data, as a way to ultimately save money.

Attendees this week at Gartner Inc.'s technology conference in Orlando, Fla., say both technologies will remain attractive as companies look to expand once the economic environment turns around; however, obstacles remain before either becomes mainstream business practices.

The notion of the cloud is something that consumers are already used to, because many send emails or write documents using Web-based software. The next step is applying it to more business applications.

"Cloud computing is a disruptive change," Hewlett-Packard Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Mark Hurd said in a keynote address during the conference. He added that it makes for an attractive business model.

Eric Schmidt, chief executive of Google Inc., a company that performs many cloud services--such as delivering email, word processing and spreadsheets services through the Web--is slated to speak later Wednesday.

Cloud services had a stellar year, with revenue on pace to exceed $56 billion this year, an increase of 21% from a year ago, according to Gartner. That is in light of a broader decline of more than 5% for the IT industry. The cloud market is expected to reach $150.1 billion by 2013.

A major player in the segment is Salesforce.com Inc., which provides customer relationship software for salesmen. Gartner analyst Peter Sondergaard said he likes the company as a major beneficiary of the cloud trend in the coming months.

Beyond saving money, cloud computing allows a company to grow without spending more on capital expenditures.

"How do you drive costs out of the business while positioning it for future growth?" asked Neil Cohen, marketing executive for Akamai Technologies Inc.

Akamai has benefited from the rising trend in cloud computing because it sits between companies such as Salesforce and their customers, ensuring a speedy connection between the two.

Still, challenges remain to companies adopting cloud services. Executives are still resistant to putting up crucial corporate data, such as financial numbers, on the Web. Hurd said that while there is an opportunity to bring cloud services within a protected corporate network, obstacles remain in getting companies to put up services across different firewalls on the open Internet.

The virtualization market, meanwhile, is in a more nascent stage. Roughly 16% of the data runs through virtualized machines, which simulate multiple servers, therefore making them more efficient. Last year, there were 5.8 million virtualized servers; Gartner predicts that number to rise ten-fold by 2012.

"The final push has been the budget squeeze of this past year," said Paul Martine, chief information officer of Citrix Systems Inc. "It's forced many to go deeper into virtualization."

While cost-control is believed to be the primary factor, Gartner analyst Thomas Bittman said that was a myth. More businesses point to the agility of a virtual server over the cost-savings, he said in a presentation on Tuesday. In particular, virtualization provides a path to using more cloud services, he said.

It's become a hotter topic as market leader VMware Inc. strengthens its ties with Cisco Systems Inc. as part of a broader offering of IT products. Microsoft Corp. is also a major player expected to have a significant presence in the business.

The next step, according to Martine, is virtualized desktops, where the local PC is powered by a data center at a central location.


Источник: Total Telecom

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