Users lukewarm on cloud storage

By Dave Simpson

Many cloud storage providers have conducted surveys designed to gauge end-user interest in hosted (external) cloud storage. All of the surveys produce results suggesting that end-user interest is very high and deployment plans are near term.

However, according to the results of a survey conducted by Forrester Research, end-user interest in hosted cloud storage is, at best, lukewarm and only limited deployment is on the horizon.

In part of its "Enterprise and SMB Hardware Survey," Forrester queried 1,272 North American and European IT professionals regarding their interest in, and deployment plans for, cloud storage (see Figure).

About 43% of the respondents said that they were categorically "not interested," and another 43% said that they were interested but had no plans to implement cloud storage. That's 86% with no plans for hosted cloud storage.

Only 3% of the respondents plan to implement hosted cloud storage in the next 12 months, while 5% plan to do so in a year or more.

And 2% of the respondents have adopted cloud storage but have no plans for expansion, while a mere 1% have implemented it and have plans for expansion.

Surprisingly, that relative lack of interest does not vary much when you divide the respondents according to company size (e.g., SMBs and larger enterprises), according to the Forrester report

According to Forrester analyst Andrew Reichman, the key barriers to end-user adoption of cloud storage include issues with guaranteed service levels, security, chain of custody, shared tenancy, and long-term pricing. Other analysts have also cited vendor lock-in as a gating factor to acceptance of storage-as-a-service.

It's important to note that Forrester considers the following terms to be synonymous: cloud storage, hosted storage capacity, and storage-as-a-service. But these terms are not synonymous with backup-as-a-service which, according to Forrester's survey, seems to have more appeal to end users.

For example, 16% of the survey respondents have already adopted some form of backup-as-a-service (with 11% saying that they have implemented it but have no plans for expansion, and 5% saying that they have implemented it and plan to expand). On the other hand, 37% of the respondents are "not interested" in backup-as-a-service, and 33% are interested but have no plans to implement.

Somewhat surprisingly, larger enterprises are slightly more inclined toward backup-as-a-service than are SMBs. For example, 17% of the larger enterprises have already implemented backup-as-a-service, compared to 13% of the SMBs.

Although there are dozens of vendors offering backup-as-a-service, Forrester cites the following vendors/products as examples: Asigra, EMC (Mozy), i365 (formerly EVault, now a Seagate company), IBM (Business Continuity and Resiliency Services), and Iron Mountain.

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This article was originally published on March 01, 2010