IT has good reason to demand standardization in SaaS, IaaS and PaaS offerings. But what's interesting is that vendors themselves are just as interested, and in many cases, are driving standards efforts.
Two main factors drive demand for standards. Cloud vendors want to show they can meet companies' security requirements, since that's the biggest roadblock to adoption. IT pros also see value in formalized standards for cloud services, according to the 400 respondents to our InformationWeek Standardization Survey: 89% rate standards for cloud infrastructure vendors such as Amazon, Microsoft Azure or Rackspace as extremely (53%) or somewhat (36%) helpful to their organizations; 85% say the same about software-as-a-service. Why? Would-be cloud customers want to avoid getting locked in to one vendor, so investments in cloud services now don't end up limiting future flexibility.
CIOs are right to be wary. When a cloud vendor raises its rates or lets its service quality decline -- or worse, shuts its doors -- IT may be left scrambling. These aren't just theoretical concerns. Amazon Web Services, the dominant provider of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), had three major outages in 2012, and Gmail, the most widely used cloud email provider, had two major outages last year. In late 2011, Google raised prices for its platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, App Engine, by more than 100% for many customers. On the flip side, keeping open the option to switch spurs competition and lets companies jump ...