How Public Cloud Providers Rain On Users - InformationWeek

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7/1/2015
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How Public Cloud Providers Rain On Users

A Forrester study finds corporate customers are largely dissatisfied with their primary public cloud providers.

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Forrester Research released the results of a study Tuesday that examines the relationships between existing cloud users and their primary cloud services providers. The report, "Is Your Cloud Provider Keeping Secrets," includes forecasts of a bright future for the global public cloud market even as it uncovers prevalent problems that can serve as guideposts for CIOs and IT staff.

In April, Forrester forecast that the global public cloud market would reach $191 billion by 2020, from $53 billion in 2013.

The study released Tuesday evaluated the data and human elements missing from "commodity" public cloud services. It was funded by iland, a cloud services provider, and is based on a survey of 275 infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals in the US, the UK, and Singapore conducted in April 2015. Survey respondents are those involved in the selection of cloud providers and the support issues with them. Seven in ten (70%) of respondents have been using the cloud operationally for over a year. In what may reflect a pervasive practice, 73% said they were involved with more than just one cloud provider.

[ Is technology out to get us? Read 9 Ways Technology Is Slowly Killing Us All. ]

The majority of respondents (60%) said they were delaying cloud adoption and expansion plans. This seems counterintuitive from a business standpoint. Why is this slowdown occurring?

Respondents cited a number of concerns how their cloud providers did business, including a lack of operational transparency, access to compliance information, and support issues, as the causes of the delay in extending cloud adoption.

Compliance issues were an area of dissatisfaction for a large number of respondents. Three quarters of the executives surveyed are responsible for verifying data compliance via audit. Yet, compliance concerns are a barrier to cloud expansion for 63% of respondents.

This is no trivial issue. Fifty-five percent of respondents whose companies require compliance information said that implementing the proper controls in order to achieve compliance was their top challenge. Roughly the same number are finding it difficult to understand the level of compliance their provider offers, especially getting the provider documentation necessary to fulfill an audit.

(Image: Kropekk via Pixabay)

(Image: Kropekk via Pixabay)

Survey respondents indicated that they receive incomplete metadata about their cloud workloads, including compliance status, performance data, historical information, security data, and billing and cost metrics. Respondents are dealing with to this situation by relying on tools provided by their cloud provider (41%), or by making new cloud purchase decisions that prioritize transparency (39%).

What we seem to have here is a failure to communicate. Users want better information about their cloud usage and data storage. Also, over half of respondents (52%) were not happy with the overall support process from their providers. This was due to a variety of factors, including slow response time, and the lack of human support.

A CIO or IT manager has to consider how a cloud experience may fail. The Forrester report highlights negative experiences that some users have encountered with their providers while trying to get real work done. By checking the kinds of services a provider offers before committing to them, problems may be solved before they ever occur.

Editor's Note: This article was updated with additional information on July 1.

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek. He has written a book on the Secure Electronic Transaction Internet ... View Full Bio

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larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
7/16/2015 | 8:55:09 AM
Re: Transparency
I am indifferent to the vendor's problems here.

Give me the information I need, or I will find someone that can.

Very simple.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
7/16/2015 | 6:35:14 AM
Re: Transparency
@Larry I agree with you here. I believe that customer satisfaction is paramount and I also think that pressure from customer should make it possible for the vendors to share the information. The information is necessary and will definitely make it a good name for the vendor. But we also need to find out the problems faced by the vendors in scrutanizing the data that is required and what is not essential from a big data bank.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
7/6/2015 | 3:18:28 PM
Re: Transparency
Transparency is a deal maker or breaker. I need to be able to provide auditable information to my CEO and board of directors. Without the right level of detail in the metadata, I can't allow a vendor relationship to continue. I know others in the same situation. I agree that cloud providers are going to have to figure out how to provide the analytics and audit data that their customers need, or their customers will find another dime-a-dozen cloud provider to work with.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
7/1/2015 | 3:12:08 PM
Re: Transparency
Quite so, but i expect that pressure from the users will force them to share it.

Providing that kind of information will become a differentiator in a commodity marketplace.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2015 | 2:58:36 PM
Transparency
There still seems to be a lack of transparency in the data (and metadata) that is passed on from vendor to customer. Sure, it is certainly the vendor's fault. But I would argue that vendors probably did not initially expect customers to want so much data. Maybe they should have known better in that regard...
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