Blog post

Data Center Executives See Clouds In Their Future

By Tom Bittman | December 11, 2008 | 2 Comments

Future of InfrastructureCloud

More than half of large enterprise data center executives expect to get some IT services from the cloud within two years.

During Gartner’s Data Center Conference in Las Vegas last week, we used electronic polling to survey the attendees on various topics. I asked several questions during my keynote. More than 1,600 attended the session, and 492 answered the question: “When do you expect to use some external cloud services in place of what could be internal IT services?”

Before analyzing the results, it’s important to understand the demographics of the attendees. In terms of company size, 44% belong to companies with more than 20,000 employees, and only 10% belong to companies with less than 750 employees. 22% belong to the public sector/government, and about 12% are in financial services. 35% are data center managers or supervisors, 28% directors, 9% VPs and 6% are C-level or presidents. In general, these are decision-makers who don’t swallow market hype too quickly, and are more cautious about using new techniques and technologies for enterprise IT.

Cloud Use BlueThe poll is revealing on data center intentions and attitudes. Note that this is not asking about new types of applications that may emerge because of cloud computing. This was specifically about workloads/services that could leverage the cloud instead of using internal IT assets.

  • 11% said “Never”. I’m sure these are organizations where IT is seen as a differentiator, or where security and compliance are absolutely critical. However, 11% sounds high to me – a smaller percentage are likely to have no choice in whether workloads could be sourced internally or in the cloud in the future.
  • Only a fourth of the respondents thought cloud services were a post-2012 phenomena.
  • Interestingly, 20% said they already were using services in the cloud. We know there is experimentation taking place in the cloud today, but 20% sounds high to me.
  • More than half believe that they will be using external cloud services in place of what could be internal services within two years – and about two-thirds by 2012. While that does not mean that the majority of all IT services will be handled in the cloud, it does show that the number of large organizations using some cloud services could be growing rapidly.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

Leave a Comment


  • The danger is, I think, that we’ll see departmental level cloud usage that grows into critical applications without forethought regarding future implications that may have on compliance, maintenance, manageability, etc…

    Every time we experience a new technology (client-server, SOA, etc…) we see departmental experimentation that turns into critical business use applications that put kinks in organizational plans for adoption or lack thereof.

    The adoption and use of cloud technology in the data center may be important, but as history shows, many organizations who didn’t think they were going to get into a technology end up there anyway.


  • Tom Bittman says:

    Lori, agree completely. In fact, in my last presentation I used client/server as an example of allowing business to take the reins blindly.