Cloud Computing

One third of German companies use the cloud. Really? I don’t think so.

According to a survey of Bitkom among 436 German companies a third of all respondents use cloud computing in 2012. This sounds good at first and shows that the cloud adoption is going upwards in Germany. However, I assume that the number is sugarcoated. No, not by Bitkom itself, but because it is still unclear what cloud computing really means, and most of the surveyed companies have simply said yes, even though they are not using cloud. Support for my assumption I get from Forrester Research.

Survey results of Bitkom

That one in three companies in Germany relies on cloud roughly means a growth of 9 percent compared to 2011. Additionally, 29 percent plan to deploy cloud solutions. Another third sees cloud computing not on the agenda. The survey reveals that currently 65 percent of large firms with 2,000 employees have cloud solutions in the use. The middle class between 100 to 1999 employees is at 45 percent. Smaller companies with 20 to 99 employees cover a quarter.

Private cloud is preferred

Moreover 34 percent of surveyed companies rely on their own private clouds. Compared to 2011, a growth of 7 percent. 29 percent plan to use this cloud form.

Now, let’s come to my assertion that the statement that one third of German companies use the cloud, is sugarcoated. Because what I hear and see again and again, is now also publicly stated by Forrester Research, more precisely by James Staten, who even describes this as cloud-washing. 70 percent of “private clouds” are no clouds.

70 percent of “private clouds” are no clouds

The problem is mainly in the fact that most IT administrators continue to lack an understanding of what cloud computing, whether public or private cloud, really means. As James Staten writes, 70 percent of interviewed IT administrators are not aware of what a private cloud really is. Most named a fully virtualized environment already a cloud, which in general does not have the core features of a cloud.

Virtualization is not cloud computing

One has to make clear again at this point, that the mere virtualization of an infrastructure does not makes a private cloud. Virtualization is a subset of cloud computing and a key component. But: The areas self-service, scalability, resource pools, automation, granular billing, on-demand delivery of resources and so on, no ordinary virtualization solution is offering, and only is provided by a cloud infrastructure.

Frighteningly, some vendors are so perky and sold there former on-premise virtualization solutions now as a cloud. The “confession” I have received from an employee of a very large U.S. vendor, who is now offering cloud solutions. The context in the personal conversation was about “We have adjusted our VMware solutions by simply written cloud on it to quickly have something “cloud-ready” on the market.

German companies believe to have a “private cloud”

Similarly, I see it with German companies. I would not blame the Bitkom. Finally, they have to rely on the correct answers to the questions. And what should they do if the respondents due to ignorance may answer incorrect by claiming to use a private cloud, even though this is no more than a virtualized infrastructure without cloud properties.

With this in mind, you should see the results of this Bitkom survey critical, relativize it and acknowledge that not one third of German companies use cloud computing.

Update: 12.03.13

I do not want to give the impression that I take my statements out of the air. Yesterday somebody told me that their “Terminal-Server” is a private cloud. Reason: There are so many definitions of cloud you can choose.

Update: 13.03.13

Also Exchange server with OWA are often named as a private mail cloud.

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.

Leave a Reply