The sixth annual Cloud World Forum wrapped up yesterday and
here's what the event tells us about the state of cloud IT in the enterprise
OpenStack is gaining
OpenStack's big users and
providers claimed the cloud technology is truly enterprise-ready because of its
freedom from vendor lock-in and portability features. Big internet companies
such as eBay are running mission-critical workloads
on OpenStack cloud. Even smaller players
such as German company Centralway is using open source cloud to power its infrastructure
when TV adverts create load peaks.
HP says it is "all in" when
it comes to OpenStack. It is investing over $1bn in cloud-related products and services, including
an investment in the open-source cloud. RedHat has just acquired
eNovance, a leader in the OpenStack integration services for $95m. Rackspace and
VMware are ramping up their OpenStack services and IBM has built its cloud
strategy around OpenStack.
Skills shortage around
developing OpenStack APIs into a cloud infrastructure seems to be the only big
barrier hindering its widescale adoption.
Rise of the cloud marketplace
Cloud marketplace is fast
becoming an important channel for cloud transactions. According to Ovum analyst
Laurent Lachal, company JasperSoft gained 500 new customers in just six months with
AWS marketplace. Oracle, Rackspace, Cisco, Microsoft and IBM have all recently
launched cloud services marketplaces.
What it means to the users? Browsing
the full spectrum of cloud services will become as easy for customers as
browsing apps in the Apple App Store or Google Play. "As cloud matures,
established marketplace seems like a logical evolution. It is a new trend but
it gives users a wealth of options in a one-stop-shop kind of way," said Lachal.
Vendor skepticism on the rise
Bank of England CIO John
Finch, in his keynote, warned users of "pesky vendors" and cloud
providers' promises around "financial upside of using the cloud". Legal
experts and top enterprise users urged delegates to understand the SLAs and contract
terms very clearly before shaking hands with the cloud providers.
Changing role of CIOs
Cloud is leading to the rise
of Shadow IT and CIOs must don the role of becoming the broker of technologies and
educating enterprise users on compliance and security, it became apparent at the event. Technology integration, IT
innovation and service brokerage are some of the skills CIOs need to develop in
the cloud era.
Questions around compliance, data protection, security
on the cloud remain unanswered
Most speakers focusing on the
challenges around cloud adoption mentioned security, data sovereignty, privacy,
compliance and vendor-friendly SLAs as its biggest barriers
Not all enterprises using cloud are putting
mission-critical apps on public cloud
Lack of trust seems to be the
main reason why enterprises are not putting mission critical workloads on
public cloud. Bank of England's Finch just stopped short of saying "never" to
public cloud. Take Coca Cola bottling company CIO Onyeke Nchege for
instance - he's planning to put mission critical ERP systems on the cloud but
private cloud. EBay runs its website on the OpenStack cloud - but a private
version it built for itself. One reason customers cite is that mission critical
apps seem to be more static and don't need fast-provisioning or high
"It is not always about the technology though. In our case our metadata is not sophisticated enough for us to take advantage of public cloud," said Charles Ewan, IT director at the Met Office.
But there are some
enterprises such as Astra Zeneca (running payroll workloads on public cloud) or
News UK that manages its flagship newspaper brands on AWS cloud.
Urgent need for cloud standards in the EU
Lack of standards and
regulations around cloud adoption, data protection and sovereignty and cloud
exit strategies is making cloud adoption messy. Legal technology experts urged
users to be "wise" in their cloud adoption until such time that regulations are
developed. But regulators and industry bodies including the European
Commission, the FCA and Bank of England are inching closer to developing
guidelines and regulatory advice to protect cloud users.
Everyone's trying to get their stamp on the cloud
The more crowded than ever Cloud
World Forum saw traditional heavyweights (IBM, HP, Dell, Cisco) rub shoulders
with a slew of new, smaller entrants as well as public cloud poster-boys such as AWS,
Google and Microsoft Azure. Technology players ranging from chip providers to
datacentre cooling services sellers were all there to claim their place in the