451 Research survey: Microsoft tops 'exciting' cloud vendor list

Here’s a surprising result from new research on cloud computing from 451 Research: Microsoft tops the list of cloud providers that IT professionals are excited about.

451 Research talked to 100 IT pros from large and midsize enterprises, asking them where they are now in their transition to cloud and what roadblocks they face. The researchers also asked which cloud vendors they find exciting.

azure balloon_0.jpgSource: Flaxe, via Flickr

Microsoft got the most votes, with 29 percent, followed closely by VMware, with 25 percent, and then Amazon with 24 percent. OpenStack ranked fourth, with 16 percent.

The results tell me that even though Amazon Web Services remains the market leader for cloud services, enterprises continue to align with traditional vendors, like Microsoft and VMware, with which they’ve worked for years.

The sheer size of the list of vendors that respondents named, however, also indicates how young the market is. The survey size was 100 IT professionals and they named a total of 60 different cloud companies that they were excited about (they could name more than one each). This is a young market and it’s still anybody’s game.

Otherwise, the survey showed that the companies are relatively early on in the journey toward full fledged internal cloud implementations and that they are facing new roadblocks.

Respondents were asked what phase they are in at evolving their internal infrastructure environment. Sixty one percent said virtualization, with 26 percent saying automation and 10 percent orchestration. While virtualization is an important step, it’s not enough for businesses that want to realize the true benefits of the cloud that can come from automation.

What’s interesting is that an increasing number of respondents cite new kinds of roadblocks to achieving the next phase of their cloud computing initiatives. In the first half of this year, 68 percent of respondents cited non-IT roadblocks, compared to 54 percent last year.

Of those non-IT roadblocks, 37 percent were related to organization or budget. Sixteen percent were related to resistance to change.

On the positive side, those findings could be interpreted to show that IT is becoming more accepting of the cloud, since the roadblocks are now coming from other sources. But the downside is that people who may not have the expertise to make smart choices could be preventing businesses from implementing cloud services and reaping the benefits.

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring and on Google+. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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