One of the primary questions that IT has to be able to answer, at a moment's notice, is ‘what's going on?" This is the problem that will be plaguing cloud vendors and their larger customers for years to come. And it's one that that major service providers, such as IBM, HP, BMC, and others are trying to figure out how to approach.
The trick will be for cloud providers to be able to provide that window into their operations for the customers that need it. More importantly, they need to be able to provide an edited view of operations that shows only what a specific customer needs to see. Conversely, there will need for major cloud services to be able to follow their service delivery process down to the recipient.
This isn't quite as simple as extending Tivoli, or OpenView, or adding another module to Microsoft Systems Center, but from the services consumer perspective, it sort of needs to be. If I'm going to commit to utilizing your cloud service as a line-of-business part of my enterprise, I want to know what's going on, anytime I care to look.
There are a lot of vendors looking for a play in this space; IDC has reported that cloud management software is a growing business, with predicted revenues reaching $2.5 billion over the next 4 years. So with serious revenue streams a possibility everybody from Altiris to Zenoss is looking for their piece of the pie. Some of the vendors are looking at cherry picking parts of your infrastructure to report on, while some have a grandiose view of being able to provide reporting on any aspect of the infrastructure any customer needs.
But what any vendor has to first get is the confidence of the customer, and that is likely to be the toughest part. Security of systems and infrastructure is a big deal and a willingness to give up control over any part of that is not often found in IT shops today.