Industry pundits are predicting cloud computing take-up will soar in 2010 as organisations continue looking for ways to reduce costs across their IT infrastructure and usage. But the technology remains steeped in confusion. MATTHEW SAINSBURY reports on the big issues cloud providers face in the new year.
Those getting into cloud computing were certainly vocal throughout 2009. News came from all angles and from some of the most unlikely places that organisations were taking it on, while Australian startups, such as Triple Cloud and firstservis, proudly announced it was the backbone of their business strategy.
But, as the curtain lifts on 2010, issues around adopting and migrating to the cloud continue to hinder take-up. For every customer diving in the deep end, there are many organisations sitting on the edge of the pool, wary of dipping their toes in.
And when it comes to migrating the converts into the cloud, there are a plethora of issues to be faced including incompatible infrastructure requirements, different compliance concerns and internal process changes. Yet it is dealing with these very challenges that cloud-friendly vendors and channel partners can approach potential customers with a valueadding proposition.
THE BIG ISSUE
For many organisations, the biggest inhibitor in adopting cloud solutions stems from uncertainty in dealing with organisations around a new technology. It’s an inhibitor that needs to be addressed before migration to the cloud can even begin to be considered.
In the middle of 2009, Gartner produced a report outlining a number of risks organisations faced when undertaking cloud migration. These ranged from concerns around where data is located, to the security of that data [see page 18]. Chief strategy officer at Melbourne IT, Bruce Tomkin, claimed these issues are persisting into 2010, with potential customers streaming question after question before considering cloud migration.
“It starts getting a lot more complicated when you use multiple providers and multiple applications are being hosted elsewhere,” Tomkin said. “Who’s responsible for shutting down all their accounts with all the service providers, who controls the passwords? What happens when the passwords get lost? That management of identity – what a person should have access to and when should that access be switched off – is an issue.”
Without a way to simplify access, Tomkin added, this kind of complexity can lead the end user to write sets of passwords and usernames on a post-it note, sticking it somewhere in plain view – effectively defeating their purpose.