“What’s old is new” . . . “What goes around, comes around” . . . tried and true expressions, to be sure, but it applies in many ways to the IT industry (some may remember when client/server computing appeared on the scene – didn’t we do this with mainframes?). In fact, I’ve heard the cloud referred to as “the mainframe in the sky”.
This is, of course, a simplistic view of the cloud – particularly since it is truly unique in some ways. First, depending on the choice of cloud, IT can meet its user’s needs with little or no capital expense. Second, financial and consumption models are changing – in favor of the consumers of cloud services. Anyone who has read Wood, et al’s “Consumption Economics” has seen how the rules are changing, with both cost and risk being shifted to the IT vendor.
This last point is particularly important for IT, where organizations have become used to working with vendors they know and trust – often paying for products and maintenance that they may never use to capacity. Cloud offers choice along a number of dimensions, including deployment options (public, private, hybrid, and variants of each), and financial and consumption models that offer various ways to increase the “pay per use” component of IT costs. Finally, cloud is all about delivering services. In fact, many analyst firms focus on sizing and forecasting cloud markets based on the value of the services delivered.
This is where reality sets in. It may well be that the traditional IT vendors you work with may not offer the best choice of cloud services options. They may be able to offer you the infrastructure components and consulting services for you to build, deploy, and manage your own cloud, or even perform those functions for you. They may help integrate datacenter resources with public clouds for workloads for which those options make sense. However, they sometimes cannot provide the specific cloud services an organization need to support the business.
In these situations, cloud service providers (CSPs) can fill the “cloud services” gap, offering a wide variety of choice. But they are not likely to be the vendors with whom IT is used to working. How does IT know whether a CSP can meet its service level requirements . . . whether its infrastructure is reliable enough . . . whether data will be adequately protected . . .or whether the provider will be there for the long haul?
The “new trick” here is to work with a trusted IT vendor who has implemented a quality cloud service provider program. “Quality” is the key word here – it’s not about putting the most partner logos on your website. It’s about choosing cloud service providers with experience and a proven track record. And it’s about arming them with proven cloud-enabled platforms and technologies so they can deliver the right services to required service levels and with high reliability and security.
Hitachi Data Systems’ new Cloud Service Provider Program dispels the myth that cloud services choice means risking success working with untried service providers. We choose, and work with, the best service providers so IT organizations can first and foremost focus on the services they need.