But this hesitation isn't limited to the cloud computing space, he pointed out. "Canadian companies are not early adopters of any technology. When it comes to cloud computing, it's even more nebulous to them," he said.
Canadian enterprises are "willing to part with certain workloads in a public format, but not many," said Ruest. They are very concerned when it comes to sensitive data and unsure about the true economics of public cloud computing, he pointed out.
According to recent research from IDC Canada, roughly 70 per cent of Canadian organizations are looking to adopt private clouds before public clouds, noted Ruest.
Within the cloud computing space, the highest level of adoption is software-as-a-service (SaaS), he said. Roughly 30 per cent of Canadian organizations are using SaaS, 10 per cent plan to invest more and 15 per cent are not using SaaS but plan to invest in this area within the next 12 months, he said.
The adoption of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) follows second. About 10 per cent of Canadian organizations are current users and five per cent are planning to invest even more, he said. Of the 90 per cent that are not using IaaS, eight per cent plan to invest within the next 12 months, he said.
The lowest level of cloud adoption in Canada is platform-as-a-service (PaaS). Approximately six per cent of organizations are using PaaS and four per cent plan to invest more, said Ruest. Of the remaining 95 per cent of non-users, ten per cent are planning to invest, he said.
There is a lot of interest right now in external clouds and the possibility of using cloud resources to host applications and storage and reduce the cost of internal infrastructure, said John Sloan, senior research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group Ltd. But these are still "very early days," he said.
Sloan's short-term advice for enterprises is to focus on getting their internal infrastructure working as if it is an internal cloud. "Get it working as sort of a service-oriented architecture, because you are lot further along with that with virtualization," he said.
While the external cloud is viewed as "not quite ready" for serious enterprise applications, it is something "certainly worth exploring," said Sloan. He suggested enterprises test the external cloud with pilot projects.
Over time, "the external cloud will get more secure and then we can treat everything as a resource pool," said Sloan. As external clouds grow more mature in terms of security and reliability, some of the concerns that larger enterprises have about the cloud will be addressed, he said.
"The internal cloud is more mature right now than the external cloud services in a sense," said Sloan. Internal cloud computing has been a development "going on for a while now, enabled by server virtualization," he said.
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