TechLines: choosing partners

Success in cloud might be all about choosing the right provider, according to the TechLines: Cloud Control session held last month.

Success in cloud might be all about choosing the right provider, according to the TechLines: Cloud Control session held last month.

The panellists passionately discussed the issue of portability, with the fear being that companies could sign up to a provider, become unhappy with the service and then be unable to take their data and leave.

Microsoft director of Developer and Platform Evangelism, Gianpaolo Carraro, said that it wasn't exactly a new problem, with companies encountering the same issue when using a start-up company's software: the start-up could disappear.

What companies often did was get that start-up's code in escrow, so that there would be a fall-back if the fledgling company went belly up. It was necessary to "have a backup plan for [the] backup system", he said.

Deciding which company to go with was going to be a major skill for IT employees, according to IBM director R&D Australia and chief technologist, Glenn Wightwick.

"The IT professional is going to have to have a set of skills to advise the business on this is a risk in this company, I'm not comfortable with their level of maturity and the fact that they haven't agreed to standards," he said.

"Ultimately, I think we'll be dealing with organisations that put their hand on their heart and say we stick by the standards."

Questions to be asked when choosing a cloud provider, according to Wightwick and futurist Mark Pesce, were:

  • Do I trust them?
  • Do I know people involved?
  • Have they had security breaches?
  • What's their uptime?
  • What are their terms of service?
  • Are they active in the cloud standards space?
  • Where are they based? Do you want to end up with a legal battle with someone in Delaware?

Carraro thought that the staff who could carry out this sort of risk analysis for the company would be well compensated.

"I think the IT job is evolving from the screwdriver to the person advising the business. And as an IT professional I'm likely to earn more by advising the business."

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