Struggling with Cloud Integration

    It may be cold comfort, writes Kurt Marko of InformationWeek, but almost everyone has cloud integration problems these days.

    InformationWeek released its State of Cloud Computing Survey. On one hand, cloud adoption is thriving. On the other hand, cloud integration is not.

    Forty percent of respondents say they use cloud services. Those who use it seem to like it: The report found 79 percent of cloud users use multiple cloud providers. When it comes to integration of cloud services, however, the percentages shrink:

    • One-third of SaaS users will not even try.
    • 41 percent do make the attempt to integrate with the vendor’s APIs, a process Marko describes as “the laborious, costly and error-prone path of custom-coding scripts or application stubs around each vendor’s API to bridge internal and external systems.”
    • Of those who rely on IaaS (infrastructure as a service) or PaaS (platform as a service), only 14 percent use any comprehensive cloud management software, although 22 percent predict they will…by 2015.
    • 37 percent of IaaS or PaaS users don’t automate or orchestrate cloud workloads, while…
    • 23 percent hand-code automation scripts using vendor APIs.

    “Manual coding is an obvious nightmare for application developers, but don’t underestimate the challenge it creates for IT operations teams trying to manage a hybrid infrastructure and deploy applications across multiple clouds while guaranteeing service levels,” warns Marko.

    I’m not sure what’s going on with the integration work. I can only assume it’s a by-product of companies adopting cloud as divisions, rather than an enterprise strategy. Whatever the reason, it’s bound to indicate companies learned very little over the past few decades when it comes to integration.

    Are people just not interested in taking on integration? Are there not enough infrastructure-specific solutions? Is the pain point too low? The price point too high?

    The InformationWeek State of Cloud Computing Survey is available for free downloading with the usual user information.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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