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September 13, 2010

Cloud performance issues costing firms €600,000 a year: survey

Performance issues slowing cloud adoption, but why?

By Jason Stamper

Research released today by Compuware has revealed that large European organisations lose €608,000 every year due to performance-related problems with cloud-based applications, such as e-commerce sites and Internet-based business applications.

Speaking to CBR, Compuware’s Richard Stone, cloud computing solutions manager, said: "This is definitely slowing companies’ adoption of cloud today. This time last year all the discussion around cloud was about security, but now the discussion has moved on to performance and service levels."

Compuware commissioned a survey conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne, which surveyed 300 European IT directors at organisations of over 1,000 staff. It found that 57% of businesses are slowing down or stopping adoption of further cloud applications until they can solve these applications performance issues.

The research also found that 72% of businesses admitted that their ability to guarantee service levels is severely restricted because cloud applications, by their very nature are delivered over the Internet.

"Many companies have decided that they have to move to cloud for flexibility or to reduce costs, but they are realising that they need the tools and processes in place to do so effectively," Stone told CBR. "The perception moving to cloud is that the earth is flat and that cloud-based applications will move at the speed of light, but that’s simply not the case."

"Many surveyed have also found that what their neighbour in their cloud provider does can have a sudden impact on their own cloud applications performance," Stone said, arguing that the internal network bandwidth of cloud computing providers can be degraded for all users of those cloud services if one customer is experiencing a sudden rise in demand.

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Compuware argues that those looking to the cloud need to be sure of service level agreements and be able to determine whether performance issues experienced at the customer’s site are down to their own infrastructure, the Internet itself, or indeed service levels being supplied by the cloud provider.

Compuware claims its technology can help companies to do just that.

"So far businesses have largely invested in cloud applications, such as e-commerce sites and online collaboration tools without really thinking about the hidden business risks that result from poor performance," Stone said. "Although organisations understand the flexibility and cost benefits of the cloud model, this research indicated that further adoption will be severely hampered unless cloud performance management is tackled."

84% of those questioned stated that they would expect more rigorous SLAs that go beyond simple availability metrics if they increase their use of business-critical cloud applications. 67% though believe that their IT teams have the skills needed to negotiate the more complex SLAs required for cloud services.

Compuware argues that those adopting cloud computing need to take an end-user focused view of performance levels that they are receiving, not rely only on what cloud providers are telling them.

"Security concerns are obviously still important but it’s clear that performance is now becoming the ‘day in, day out’ business inhibitor that has to be solved," said Stone. "The good thing is people are aware of the issue and understand that the end-user experience can’t be compromised."



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