Cloud computing will continue its march into data centers this year, displacing traditional computing and storage methods.
Half of all respondents to TechTarget's 2013 IT Priorities Survey of more than 1,700 IT professionals and business analysts said that cloud projects are capturing increasingly large portions of IT budgets -- even as other line items decrease or remain flat.
Overall, the survey found 30% of companies plan to implement cloud computing using external providers during the year, while another 22% will implement their own private clouds. Respondents said allocations for cloud services will grow 35% over the course of the year.
Popular cloud applications include disaster recovery and Platform as a Service, but IT pros are especially interested in cloud storage.
"For archiving, [cloud storage] is a way to save space and keep stuff longer, while spending less to do it," said Dennis Martin, president of the Rocky Mountain Windows Technology User Group in Denver.
By the end of 2013, as many as 60% of those polled will have as much as 14% of their companies' storage located in the cloud. Further, 43% said they plan to use Storage as a Service in the new year -- behind only those planning to use Software as a Service, at 52%. That's a gain over last year's study, when 35% of IT pros said they would use Storage as a Service, which was topped by Software as a Service at 56%.
"People are increasingly using [the cloud] for bulk archive storage," said Mark Eisenberg, director at enterprise application and cloud integration firm Fino Consulting in New York City. "We're [hearing] people say 'We have a public cloud that's a virtual data center, [and] we're getting away from physical data centers.'"
While Storage as a Service helps further validate migration to the cloud, it is challenged by perennial issues including cloud security. Ironically, the survey found that 19% plan to use external Security as a Service this year.
"Large organizations are definitely planning, and are sold on the concept of cloud as a resource for their global enterprise," said Ajit Kapoor, principal and managing director at The Kapoor Group, a global consultancy for aligning business with IT expenses located in Orlando, Fla. "However, the security concerns drive increased costs, as requirements for security are forcing IT pros to look into internal hosting versus the much-advertised cost savings from the third-party providers."
Meanwhile, infrastructure projects support such goals as server virtualization (54%), disaster recovery (45%) and data center consolidation (40%).
Other initiatives are competing for budget dollars as well; 22% of respondents said they have 'big data' initiatives in the works this year, while 38% will deploy mobility solutions and 30% will focus on compliance, the survey found.
Ed Scannell, Executive Editor, contributed to this article.