European cloud users see email as the first technology to be ported to the cloud, in stark contrast to North Americans who see software testing as the main reason to go down the cloud route. Furthermore, European companies are giving a massive thumbs-up to cloud with 70 percent of IT execs agreeing that "cloud services are becoming more important to organisations as solutions to practical problems"

The findings were revealed by a new survey carried out assessing the attitudes to cloud technology within a group of IT professionals in the UK, Germany, France and Italy. The survey, carried out by F5, followed a similar exercise carried out earlier in the year in North America.

Not only is email the favourite cloud application with 58 percent of European companies considering it being actively used, but it's also top of the pops when it comes to the application expected to grow fastest with 58 percent of respondents expecting to see growth.

There was another stark difference between Europeans and North Americans when it came to end user experience – there was a high degree of satisfaction in Europe compared to the American experience. F5's technical marketing manager Alan Murphy said that this was because North American cloud providers didn't match the seven 9s capability offered by their European equivalents while Europeans offered more transparency on performance.

Murphy said that although companies were beginning to see cloud as a viable business options, there were still concerns over security - although these were seen as a difficulty rather than a total barrier. There remains concerns about portabality and lock-in to a cloud provider, with most respondents seeing little opportunity to move between providers. "One customer pointed out that it would take about two years to get a ROI on a cloud implementation. If, for any reason, he'd have to move to another cloud provider, he'd have to reset the clock," said Murphy.