Execs still worried about moving critical applications to virtual, cloud environments

Adoption of server virtualization is widespread, and more than 75% of organizations are discussing private and hybrid cloud deployments. Of the technologies evaluated in the survey, server and storage virtualization are the most mature with 45% and 43% of enterprises implementing each, respectively. Private storage-as-a-service is the least mature with 36% adopting that approach.

For the Symantec-sponsored survey, Applied Research polled 3,700 IT and C-level professionals responsible for computers, networks, and technology resources at small, medium, and large enterprises.

The survey found “some gaps between expectations and realities” concerning virtual and cloud environments, said John Magee, vice president of virtualization and cloud solutions at Symantec.

The survey found security is an area where there is a major gap between expectations and realities in the hybrid/private cloud computing environment.

“There were some dramatic gaps [between expected and realized goals] in hybrid/private cloud computing. The biggest gaps were the time it took to provision new resources, scalability, and security. For those who have done private clouds, they were hoping to improve security, and there was a gap in the actual result, indicating to us that security challenges remain”, Magee to Infosecurity.

Concerns about vulnerabilities, disaster recovery, and encryption are discouraging organizations from using hybrid/private cloud technologies, the survey found. Currently, respondents averaged 33% of their business-critical applications deployed in the hybrid/private cloud environment.

Despite these concerns, organizations plan to virtualize more business-critical applications in the next 12 months, with 59% planning to virtualize database applications, 47% email, and 41% ERP applications, the survey found.

“Organizations are feeling more comfortable with virtualization and starting to apply it to applications that they previously did not”, Magee said, adding that security concerns remain stumbling blocks for more widespread adoption.

A full 63% of respondents listed security as a “significant/extreme challenge” to implementing server virtualization, the highest levels of concerns allowed by the question.

“As organizations start to virtualize more important applications, they run into things that might not have been an issue for the less important applications….When you get into applications that might be subject to compliance requirements or security audits, that can be a challenge”, Magee said, adding that the dynamic nature of the virtualized environment can change significantly security processes.

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