Cloud Computing Innovation Key Initiative Overview


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This overview provides a high-level description of the Cloud Computing Innovation Key Initiative. Use this guide to understand what you need to do to prepare for this initiative.


Cloud computing is a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-related capabilities are provided as a service to customers, using Internet technologies.

Cloud computing has a broad long-term impact in most industries; however, intense hype makes it difficult for buyers to understand their options.

Cloud services cover a spectrum, including system infrastructure (e.g., computing, storage), application infrastructure (e.g., process server, database), full applications, information services (e.g., search) and business services (e.g., order fulfillment).

There are three main delivery models:

  • Public cloud, where a cloud provider runs a shared-service environment accessible to any buyer. Community cloud limits access to a set of buyers (e.g., government agencies). Public and community cloud offer economies of scale, but concerns about security, privacy, trust and control limit mission-critical uses.

  • Private cloud, where the enterprise has exclusive use of an isolated cloud, by implementing a cloud itself or offloading to a cloud provider's virtual private environment. Both approaches reduce elasticity and cost savings versus public cloud, but mitigate some security concerns.

  • Hybrid cloud, which coordinates external cloud services and internal resources (either private cloud or traditional infrastructure) to assemble a solution. For example, a cloudbursting approach could dynamically extend a private cloud to a public cloud for extra capacity. Hybrid cloud needs careful planning.

All forms of cloud computing change the way that businesses consume, manage and price IT, requiring new mind-sets and relationships between IT and the business.

Figure 1. Cloud Computing Innovation
Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (July 2011)

Consider These Factors to Determine Your Readiness

Cloud computing is a complex and rapidly evolving concept. Consider these points when planning your initiative:

  • Understand what cloud computing is, how it will evolve and under what circumstances it can offer value.

  • Evaluate which models, architectures, technologies and IT organization best practices you should adopt from cloud computing to build private cloud computing environments.

  • Consider how IT will secure, manage and govern cloud services across public, community, private and hybrid environments.

  • Determine where there is value in migrating applications to the cloud and where there are opportunities to create new cloud-optimized applications.

  • Analyze how cloud computing will affect the strategy and direction of IT and your business — including where it is appropriate for the enterprise to provide cloud services to customers or partners.

Strategic Planning Assumptions

  • Through 2012, IT organizations will spend more on private cloud computing investments than on offerings from public cloud providers.

  • Starting in 2014, spending on external cloud services will accelerate as these offerings mature to address business concerns.

  • By 2014, the cloud services broker vendor landscape will have grown from dozens to hundreds of providers.

  • By 2014, cloud computing experience will be a listed or demanded skill in most hiring decisions for IT software projects.

  • By 2015, 50% of all new application independent software vendors will be pure software-as-a-service providers.

  • Through 2015, more than 90% of private cloud computing deployments will be for infrastructure as a service.

  • By 2015, 50% of Global 1000 enterprises will rely on external cloud computing services for at least one of their top 10 revenue-generating processes.

  • By 2016, all Global 2000 companies will use some level of public cloud services.

  • Through 2020, the most common use of cloud services will be a hybrid model combining on-premises and external cloud services.

Technology Providers

There are many cloud providers. Representative players include:

  • Amazon — Offerings include cloud system infrastructure services, Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3).

  • — Offerings include CRM application services, and the and Heroku application infrastructure services.

  • Google — Offerings include the Google App Engine and Google Apps.

  • Microsoft — Offerings include the Azure application infrastructure, Office 365 and Windows Server Hyper-V (a private cloud tool).

  • VMware — Offerings include a suite of products under the vCloud brand for private clouds, and application infrastructure services with Cloud Foundry.

Conduct Your Cloud Computing Initiative Using This Structured Approach

Enterprises should plan cloud computing initiatives using three organizing principles:

  • Concepts Defined: Explore the initiative scope and any subcategories in this dynamic area of innovation.

  • Implications and Scenarios: Identify scenarios where the innovation likely will affect current IT. Identify the impact on business goals and risks. Explore how to use the innovation, including where to start, your organization's readiness and plans to adopt the innovation.

  • Technologies and Vendors: Identify current and future technologies that apply to this innovation. Explore the most important vendor offerings.

© 2011 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartners research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

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