Clouds in the Forecast


Not too long ago a major supplier asked us what we are seeing in the cloud space. We thought the interchange might be of interest to readers of the blog — so here are some selected questions and our responses.

What impact have you seen or expect to see Cloud will have on the CIO Agenda?
We’ve seen:

  • Some amount of talk, but not a great deal of action.
  • Some interest in internal IT deployment, especially for test.
  • Concern over multi-tenancy security, privacy and compliance concerns.
  • Interest in standardization opportunities but concerned about cost and other obstacles of converting all or segments of the installed base.

Expect but haven’t seen:

  • New apps that take advantage of Cloud fungibility and on-demand capabilities.
  • Movement of apps with high peak to average ratios from existing infrastructure to the Cloud. (Likely because the infrastructure capital cost is sunk).

What are you seeing with client adoption of Cloud solutions (what’s hype and what’s not)?
Plenty of hype from industry participants – not much hype from buyers. First level of maturity for most buyers appears to be cost reduction and maybe instant provisioning (although outside of test, we haven’t heard anyone say why they need this). Cost reduction not really dependent on Cloud (but it is a catalyst), more driven by software stack pruning and standardization. Clients are looking for lower unit operating costs for standardized images from services suppliers.

Where/ What are some of the pitfalls, shortcomings of Cloud and how might clients work around or be more aware of them?

  • “Scared Cloudless” – suppliers need vertical domain stories and solutions to begin to overcome this. Overcoming fear would be helped by actual, proven, vertical community Clouds.
  • A lack of understanding as to what the cost of getting the installed base from the As-Is to the To-Be Cloud. Until suppliers can show infrastructure portfolio stratification and outcome rules-of-thumb, buyers won’t seriously listen to suppliers on switching costs or the expected results and benefits.

What do you believe advisors should be doing to aid in understanding of the opportunities to switch from conventional infrastructure to solutions with Cloud underpinnings?
We need a much better understanding of the switching problem. Advisors need to know what it will cost to switch, how long it will take and what work the client will need to do. We need to be able to create models that can reasonably predict results in a tops-down fashion in a couple of weeks. Bottoms-up, months long studies are inconsistent with the sourcing process. We also would like to see the supplier community be prepared to step up to proposing the price and outcomes of transformations/transitions from As-Is configurations to the To-Be Cloud.