For Many Enterprises, Cloud Doesn't Offer Enough Control

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Last week I wrote about a list of seven rights and responsibilities for cloud computing consumers, released by Gartner's Global IT Council for Cloud Services, which a Gartner analyst suggested could encourage companies to accelerate their rate of cloud adoption.


Interestingly, there's lots of overlap between the council's list and a list offered on backupify, of 15 things that engender trust in a cloud service provider, contributed by members of a LinkedIn forum. (Oddly, though most of the items fit this description, a couple of them are best practices for customers to follow.)


For instance, while one of the rights on the council's list is the right to know what security processes a provider follows, the backupify list offers several more specific security-related suggestions:

  • Government/independent body certifications in data security.
  • Customer self-service for access to continuous monitoring for security/audit purposes and user identities/activity.
  • Encryption key management and identity/access management.
  • Willingness of the provider to make needed changes and the possibility to integrate the own organization's security processes with the provider's processes.
  • Protection guarantee in the event of data loss or breach.


Items on both the council's and backupify's lists fall under a few categories that relate to some of the most common cloud concerns: security, availability/uptime, reliability, compliance/regulatory requirements and risk management. You know what? All of these issues come down to how much control cloud consumers feel they have over their own destinies.


The control issue may present the biggest stumbling block for the public cloud. Krishnan Subramanian, writing on Cloud Ave, notes that Twitter will move from a managed hosting service to its own custom-built data center by the end of this year. One of the reasons for the move mentioned on a Twitter engineering blog is a desire for "control over network and systems configuration, with a much larger footprint in a building designed specifically around our unique power and cooling needs."


The Twitter post also mentions the ability to "define and manage to a finer grained SLA on the service as we are managing and monitoring at all layers," as well as increased flexibility to "more quickly make adjustments as our infrastructure needs change."


The public cloud can't offer that level of control, writes Subramanian:

This justification can come from any company moving from the cloud to their own data center too. If every successful consumer-focused company is going to demand full control over network and system configuration and they want to be the person defining the SLAs, it is big trouble for the public clouds. When consumer-focused companies are so obsessed with control and SLAs, there is no way enterprises are going to embrace public clouds any time soon. Either we need a change in mind set of the companies in both the consumer space and the enterprise space, or public cloud providers have to do more to lure them toward clouds.