A report from Forrester into the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) industry has found growth far lower than predicted, and a worrying disconnect between those buying the services and the IT departments supposed to be administering them.
Only six per cent of the companies surveyed had even limited IaaS implementations, and just seven per cent were planning to adopt such systems by this time next year.
But the majority of services are not being bought via formal IT procurement for expected tasks like transaction handling and analysis applications, the report found.
Adoption is instead coming from informal purchases by departments or individuals, largely for heavy compute or session applications.
Some 16 per cent of this latter group said they were purchasing IaaS services, compared to just six per cent of central IT departments.
"As an IT manager if you think you know what's going on in your company you may be wrong," Frank Gillett, principal analyst at Forrester, told V3.co.uk.
"Some people are not out of line, not breaking policy, and they're not going to put a load on the network. But if they are taking company information and putting it with third-party service providers without telling anyone, then that could well be an issue."
Realistically it would be counterproductive for IT managers to shut these systems down, he said. Instead they should map usage and make sure that security and corporate data policies are applied.
Overall, Gillett described the market as over-hyped, with low and uneven adoption rates for new applications and very little indication of large-scale shifts from installed infrastructures to cloud systems.
"Enterprises shouldn't feel bad if they don't have everything running on Amazon yet," he said.
"If confronted with being told to move everything onto IaaS, any IT manager will say that's nuts. It's feasible to think of it with a new use case or new app, but migration is much more challenging."
The relatively undeveloped state of the market means that criticism of Microsoft and HP that they came late to the IaaS market are unfounded, according to Gillett.
With such low levels of deployment there is plenty for time for these players, as well as smaller operators like Salesforce.com, to pitch for business.
Previous Forrester research has shown that Europe is even further behind the US in IaaS deployment. A report in January found that two per cent of European companies had any kind of IaaS use.
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