Queensland-based IT analyst firm Longhaus has taken stock of Australia's cloud providers, ranking companies based on their service offerings and local presence in its inaugural Longhaus Pulse survey. However, the results may have been different if an industry code of practice were implemented, analysts said.
The research put international cloud computing vendors IBM and Fujitsu in first and second place respectively, with Aussie providers Ultra Serve, Melbourne IT and Cloud Central rounding out the top five. Telstra was awarded the local top performer award, arriving in seventh place overall.
Longhaus research director Sam Higgins said that an industry code of practice for cloud computing would have changed the results, especially among smaller providers.
"If [a code of practice] was in place then the results wouldn't have been different at the top end, but there would be [fewer companies] who could be making [a claim to cloud]," Higgins said.
Higgins went on to say that there are plenty of smaller providers "cloud-washing" their offerings — pitching traditional web hosting services under the guise of cloud computing — adding that an industry code of practice would reduce the market noise for buyers.
"The Australian cloud market is kind of different. Because there aren't big providers [like Amazon, Microsoft and Google] here, it means that smaller players can get into the market. As a result, it's incumbent on the local cloud providers to stay squeaky clean so [the industry] can somehow raise itself up," he said.
A cloud code of conduct would be ideal for smaller providers, Higgins added, in order to level the playing field.
Fourth place provider Melbourne IT agreed with Higgins' calls for greater cloud regulation, with chief technology officer Glenn Gore saying that the industry needs to self-regulate as opposed to falling under government control.
"IT moves very fast and you don't want to not be able to leverage technology while you wait for regulations to change. We need room to innovate," Gore told ZDNet Australia.
Gore added that a separate security and standards bodies ought to be established by the industry, as well as a common code of practice. He added that Melbourne IT would fully support the development of such a code.
"As one of Australia's largest hosting providers we'd definitely take a role. A lot of these discussions are occurring behind the scenes but not in a formal manner," Gore said.
Longhaus' Higgins said that depending on market conditions, the survey would be revised annually.