Scalability, Not Cloud, More Important to Engineers

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Research study of CIOs and engineering VPs shows that scalability is first priority for IT departments. Study also indicates skills and expertise, much more than cost or location, as the most important factor in selecting an outsourcing vendor.

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The outcome of this research is something that we at Grid Dynamics expected. Cloud is an umbrella marketing term for a lot of things. Technology executives tend to think in terms of specific business challenges and technology solutions that address them.

A research study commissioned by Grid Dynamics, the authority on cloud deployments and enterprise systems scalability, showed that scalability rather than cloud computing is the primary concern of engineering groups.

The private study of CIOs and engineering vice presidents at leading eCommerce and financial services companies was conducted to determine the concerns and priorities of engineering groups, and especially to gauge the importance of cloud computing in IT departments’ future plans.

While a third of those interviewed said their companies have some cloud technology systems in place, only a few indicated that cloud enablement was a top priority for their engineering organizations in 2010. Rather, most companies surveyed (63%) said scalability improvement was their first priority. Interviewees said their companies are focused on enhancing infrastructure or product scalability and availability in order to make computing resources more readily available internally to IT staff and other employees and to customers. Software companies, more than any other market segment, especially indicated they were more focused on scalability.

“Despite the industry buzz about cloud computing, and its rating as ‘one of the top 10 strategic technologies for 2010’ by Gartner, most technology executives we spoke to define their priorities in terms of what their systems deliver to business customers via greater reliability, flexibility, and performance, and avoid the term ‘cloud’ altogether,” noted Lilia Shirman, Managing Director at the Shirman Group, which conducted the study.

About 40% of companies in the study said they use some form of cloud-enabled systems. Interestingly, another 30% made comments that indicated that some aspect of the infrastructure they have in place could be termed cloud, but they don’t call it that. A substantial number – almost one third – expressed reluctance about using the term cloud due to ambiguity about its meaning.

“The outcome of this research is something that we at Grid Dynamics expected. Cloud is an umbrella marketing term for a lot of things. Technology executives tend to think in terms of specific business challenges and technology solutions that address them.” explained Boris Renski, executive vice president at Grid Dynamics

“At this point, cloud refers more to an economic phenomenon, not a specific technology or solution. Besides, it’s been so overhyped and overused that any self-respecting hands-on technology practitioner t considers it an insult to loosely throw around the term,” continued Renski.

Of those companies with the priority on scalability, eighty percent said they outsource engineering work, primarily to access a broader set of skills than they have in-house. Cost reduction and time to market were not the primary reason for outsourcing.

Overwhelmingly, interviewees cited deep expertise in specific technologies as a primary requirement when selecting a vendor to provide very advanced technology expertise and engineering services, as well as commodity skills, to augment their in-house team.

Only about 30% of companies said they are scaling back on outsourcing; they cited the desire to have resources available immediately in-house and concerns about intellectual property protection.

The research study was conducted by The Shirman Group, which advises business-to-business technology companies on growth and go-to-market strategies and conducts primary research that informs enterprise technology sales decisions.

About Grid Dynamics
Grid Dynamics helps companies achieve better performance, higher availability, faster time-to-market and lower operational costs by scaling mission-critical systems. Using the latest advancements in grid and cloud computing technologies, the company helps customers turn monolithic applications into scalable services; and static, underutilized server clusters into virtualized compute clouds. http://www.griddynamics.com

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Cynthia Hoye
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