VMware Australia and New Zealand managing director Paul Harapin said that companies taking up cloud run the risk of ending up in a Hotel California relationship with US cloud providers — where you can check in, but never leave.
Local cloud provider Harbour IT's general manager for NSW, Michael Giusti, said that one of the clauses that his clients found the most important when formulating cloud contracts pertained to how the company intended to exit the relationship.
"The biggest pieces are 'what's my transition out'," he said.
With some American cloud providers, this can be difficult, according to Harapin, who said that many had a "Hotel California" mentality. "Amazon is a proprietary lock-in Hotel California," he said.
"You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!" the lyrics to the famous song run.
Standards are currently being worked on in the cloud space, with a number of groups stepping into the breach in the hopes of making clouds interoperable.
However, Telstra, which provides cloud services for organisations such as Visy, has said that such standards are years off.
Harapin said that using VMware cloud technology allowed companies to be able to transfer their data easily between public and private cloud, but he admitted that public to public was more difficult requiring a longer amount of time. He likened it to changing outsourcers, which in some large companies, such as banks, need to be carried out over a number of years.
Providers using VMware to provide cloud services will be able to transfer customers, Harapin said. However, when questioned on whether he was adopting cloud standards to aid customer transition, Harbour IT's Giusti said he wasn't aware that the company was considering such options.
VMware held an event yesterday to release the results of the survey from IDC, which it had sponsored. The research organisation talked to 326 IT decision makers across Australia about cloud.
Of those surveyed, 72 per cent had plans to adopt private cloud, while only 28 per cent said they had no plans for private cloud.
"The feedback from respondents demonstrates the expectation that private cloud will become the new 'normal'. With cloud computing being currently used, or a planned implementation in the foreseeable future, we believe that a cloud approach to IT infrastructure will become pervasive in Australia," IDC associate director Linus Lai said in a statement.
However, other analysts, such as Longhaus' Sam Higgins, believe that only very few organisations are disciplined enough with their processes to achieve true private cloud.
For private cloud, IDC found that most companies expected to achieve a return on investment within 1.8 years.
Security was cited by 62 per cent of respondents as being the most important thing a cloud platform needed, while even more wanted an in-country datacentre — only 14 per cent of respondents considered the location of the data unimportant.