Absence of Cloud Command & Control Center is a Barrier to Cloud Adoption in Bigger Enterprises!

Many enterprises are jumping into cloud adoption in their R&D, Marketing, CRM, Collaboration and Lower Tier Business Applications, but there are still several enterprises which are staying on the sidelines. The reasons for such a stance can be several (including lack of knowledge, skepticism about ROI, complexity of legacy applications, and lack of resources for migrations and transformations etc.) but one thing which stands out unfavorable in almost all cases is absence of central command and control center for cloud adoption. Do you think it’s a valid concern?

The sheer absence of having Service Catalogs for enterprise customers shows how big the gap is

In my view, technology to give cloud command & control to central IT is in primitive stages. The sheer absence of having Service Catalogs for enterprise customers shows how big the gap is. There are few solutions out there, to manage the spend with different cloud service providers but there are no comprehensive tools which can keep taps on technology approvals, spending approvals, pre negotiated SLAs (for reliability and security) and pre negotiated contract pricing (demand aggregation) etc. I think traditional datacenter management related vendors can fill this gap, as a neutral party.

In absence of these types of tools, cloud consumption experience can be a bitter one for many enterprises. Of course there are early adopters and technology visionaries working in these enterprises which are taking calculated risks and jumping into cloud consumption.

What are your challenges, when it comes to cloud adoption for your organization or your customers? Is central policy/command & control, one of these challenges?

Looking Forward: How will Cloud simplify lives of people involved in Enterprise IT?

As Cloud progresses towards more maturity, we will head towards ‘Policy Based Computing’ models, this will happen at ‘Infrastructure Level’ and ‘Application Level’.

I envision having a schema/structure (probably XML structures) through which we will be able to describe units of compute needed (in a standard way), network isolation level, storage grade where scalability policy and security policy will be sub components of main schema/structure. We will be able to get this infrastructure up where all provisioning will happen based on policy (comprising of sub policies). I also envision changes to infrastructure will be applied through “Change Policies”.

What are your thoughts?

Will volume of data cause Cloud stickiness?

I originally wrote this in response to a blog post by Rob Hirschfeld on his blog post titled “Why cloud compute will be free”. My take on this is that in general higher volume of data at a cloud provider less likely that client will move to another provider, but in some cases cloud usage can be compute intense (compute can cost more than data storage). For example for testing a microprocessor simulation you can spin up 200 nodes for 4 hours and bring these down, input data more or less will remain constant and outputs are not heavy either. In these types of scenarios cloud is a great fit, as it cuts down time of testing a microprocessor simulation from 4 days to 4 hours (for example sake).

I don’t think stickiness of clients will be due to their data volume, I think stickiness will be due a mix of several factors (of which data can be one) and these will differ based on verticals and use cases. Few things which are important to enterprises are: quality of service, consultative approach to service delivery, integration with existing enterprise infrastructure, vendor’s ability to innovate and vendor’s understanding of client’s requirements/challenges. Having said that, I strongly agree that cloud providers which throw out some free services (testing the waters) will do much better in attracting and retaining clients. After all, humans will pick which cloud to go to and if they are well versed in one vendor’s technology/process/offerings they will prefer that vendor over others. Technique of throwing a free evaluation licensing out there (for six months or so) was mastered by Microsoft and that was secret behind dominance of languages like VB in 1990s. Later this technique was copied by other vendors like Oracle and they are benefiting from it (SAP ignore it and see where they are now).

Another twist I would like to add here is; a vendor’s treatment of developer community which is closely related to my point on free service for limited time, vendors who will make it easy for developers to write code to their cloud services (from integration to new applications through programmable infrastructure and platform as a service) will win in the long term. Keep in mind; what makes data valuable is the processing of data which is done through applications which are written by developers at large. More love a cloud provider shows to developers more love they will get back…