Barely one in five of European IT managers think that cloud computing represents a game-changing change in methodology for enterprises, roughly the same proportion that believes that cloud computing is a fad.

That's according to CA, which has just surveyed 550 IT managers across Europe and produced a report Unleashing the Power of Virtualization 2010 and found that the most managers on the front-line of computing were far from convinced on the need to go down the cloud computing route, with only 17 percent thinking that it was methodology for the future, compared to 11 percent who thought it was a fad.

The main concern that managers had about the viability of the technology was security, something which has long been seen as an obstacle to successful cloud deployment.

However, the notion that virtualisation and cloud computing are intrinsically linked took a bit of a pounding. Despite the scepticism about cloud deployment, 70 percent of the respondents said they were implementing some element of virtualisation. According to Colin Bannister, CA's VP of technical sales, the move towards virtualisation is a marker for the future. "Cloud computing is a journey of which one of the 1st steps is virtualisation of the server (and desktop) environments; the take-up of virtualisation has been significant however much of this has been driven by the need to drive out cost."

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He said that the next step was to go one stage further and start talking about the advantages of cloud computing. "It's beholden on us as an industry to start talking about the benefits of cloud computing. We've made a start with SaaS but we need to persuade customers that there are other ways of doing business."

As for the question of security, Bannister acknowledged that it was a problem for many enterprises, but he didn't think that in the long term, it would be a major inhibitor. "There are problems but I don't think they're insurmountable. There were problems in the early days of the Internet too but we got over that and are now happy to adopt things like Internet banking."

There are other issues facing potential cloud users. More than half (54 percent) of respondents, saw management of cloud computing as a key issue, something that CA is looking to address. "It's an area we're heavily focused on. Our recent purchase of 3Tera was aimed at enabling users to quickly model an application within the cloud," said Bannister, adding that the company was looking to announce further products in cloud management at CA World in May.