Notes From the Field: It’s Still Early for Cloud

Most major corporations are on the road to cloud computing, right? Not necessarily so.

Asked at the Sierra Ventures CIO Summit whether they were spending money on public cloud services or moving to build private clouds, a roomful of CIOs from top companies gave an answer that may surprise you. Only a handful, maybe 10% to 15%, said they were doing either.

If you have a portfolio company eager to make a mark in enterprise cloud computing, there is plenty of runway.

Here are a few cloud-related observations from more advanced users at the Silicon Valley event:

Intel has had a private cloud for as long as three years and is presently on a multi-year journey to develop a broader, open, “federated” cloud supporting enterprise apps, says Ram Peddibhotla, systems software planning and marketing director. Already server provisioning times have been cut from three days to three hours or less.

EBay’s cloud efforts stress an open-sourced approach. “We moved away from anything that is proprietary,” says Steven Hallett, head of engineering and cloud operations for the X-commerce group. The approach was designed to attract outside developers to the eBay platform. The alternative, Amazon’s services, has a nice price point but is proprietary and competes with eBay customers, says Hallett.

Redundancy and IT staff training continue to be two points of concern for chief information officers considering cloud implementation. At Intel, these concerns have led to mirrored systems running in private and public cloud environments.

Coming along with cloud is the consumerization of IT and how it is changing internal functions, such as marketing. One challenge is the increasing frequency with which internal departments are circumventing IT to work directly with outside agencies on marketing campaigns or to spend $15,000 on a video presentation.

These days, marketing is more closely than ever tied to analytics and IT needs to be involved. But it is difficult to manage, says Stephen Bury, a senior product manager at Microsoft.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Disclosure: Mark Boslet owns shares of Intel common stock.