Promising benefits of better flexibility, agility and cost-savings, which are fueling a 25% jump in spending to over $100B this year, it’s no surprise customers and vendors are jumping on the cloud bandwagon. By 2016 cloud will become the bulk of new IT spend, as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.
However, those benefits – and sales opportunities – don’t come without their challenges, including security, governance, skills, and costs. Then there is the issue that we appear to be moving to a world of multiple clouds, addressing different requirements.
A year ago Cisco’s Pat Adamiak, Senior Director, Cloud Solutions Marketing, told IT Trends & Analysis it is pretty clear that the market is evolving with many flavors of specialized cloud services coming to market, providing a wealth of choice for the enterprise, small and medium business, and public sector markets and a range of opportunities for cloud providers to provide differentiated cloud services. The networking giant coined the phrase ‘world of many clouds’ to describe its customer-choice model.
“Large enterprises are taking a portfolio approach,” said John Humphreys, VP of Sales and Marketing, Egenera, in a recent interview. Over the last year since the company, a developer of converged infrastructure and cloud management software (i.e. PAN Cloud Director and PAN Manager), has been banging the drum on its Cloud Suite offering, it’s seen an evolution in thinking. “When we started over year ago, almost exclusively, what I heard was private cloud.”
This multi-cloud vision centers around moving workloads, applications and data to the most appropriate cloud, based on variables like timing, security and cost. “Our role is to be the orchestration,” said Humphreys, to be the portal to enable this mixing and matching of services and suppliers.
Caveat emptor – buyer beware – plays a critical role here. It was only a few months ago that cloud cloud storage vendor Nirvanix shut down, giving more than 1,000 customers two weeks to move their data elsewhere.
So who are providing the services and their reliability can be as important the reliability of the services themselves. If you’re the end user, it’s important to understand who you’re ultimately doing business with (i.e. are they using another CSP to provide the service), he said.
“Before you get in, we recommend you have your security team audit their security practices. It’s really about vetting, especially if the workload you’re going to be running is critical to your business.”
Humphreys said Egenera also recommends taking that portfolio approach, understanding how it is classified, and then match workload with provider. And the last thing is the documentation. “It’s really basic, but you want to document all the steps in your process.”
Looking ahead, he said there will be greater focus on specialization among cloud service providers and brokers. “One of the challenges service providers have is differentiation.”
It’s all about physical, virtual and many, many cloud resources, said Humphreys.