Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Managing the Multicloud

CIO Jury: 75% of CIOs say cloud vendors are living up to their expectations

Find out what the enterprise thinks of vendors such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

Cloud computing network

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

IT pros consider multiple cloud vendors when they need cloud services. Some of the top vendors include Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and, of course, Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

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There are many factors to weigh when choosing a vendor, including cost savings, customization, security, and automation. Sadly, sometimes expectations don't meet reality. And sometimes they do. To find out which happens most often, we polled our CIO Jury and asked, "Are your cloud vendors living up to your expectations (in terms of things like ROI, ease of implementation, etc.)?" Six jury members said 'yes', and two said 'no'. 

This is a significant jump from last year, when only half of the jury said that cloud vendors were living up to their expectations.

Ed Diver, CIO of Digital Realty, said, "Our cloud vendors have enabled us to serve our employees and customers around the world with the digital services they need. Prior to the pandemic, we were largely transitioned to cloud-based services, so when the pandemic hit, we were able to easily and quickly work with our cloud vendors like BlueJeans to address the increased digital demands we needed to ensure business continuity for ourselves and our customers. We've optimized our hybrid IT strategy in the same way we encourage our customers to -- by building our architecture so that our data resides in close proximity to cloud providers, to enable access ubiquitously and on-demand. As the world becomes more digital and more data sets are created, we think hybrid IT will be the rule."

Some jury members were on the fence, but went with 'yes'. Dan Gallivan, director of information technology for Payette, said, "I would say 'that depends', but leaning towards a full 'yes'. Azure is definitely living up to the expectations with ROI and ease of implementation. AWS has been keeping up with offerings, but much more expertise is needed to take advantage of those capabilities. Either way, multicloud adoption is definitely expanding and critical to supporting the remote, distributed workforce."

Kris Seeburn, independent IT consultant, evangelist, and researcher, said he thinks the vendors are doing their best. "The challenge is not only ROI, but getting critical systems up at point of break and the cutoff and return of service. The challenge is having different platforms and being able to ensure that all parallel services are running, all data is as up-to-date to the split second."

Meanwhile, Emil Sayegh, CEO, Ntirety, said, "No, not yet. The large cloud vendors such as AWS, Azure, and Google still think of themselves as a monolith instead of an offering that is part of a greater multicloud solution. There are still many inter-operativity issues between cloud vendors. In an ideal multicloud world, the set of common features would be compatible or comparable. Security and compliance are one of the largest and most existential challenges for multicloud environments today due to lack of compatibility, followed by the ability to do effective cost arbitrage."

Another 'no' vote came from Fortinet CISO Phil Quade, who said: "The cloud remains too mysterious to most customers who are not cloud-native. And even those companies 'born in the cloud' don't pay enough attention to their enduring security responsibilities to the data and processes that reside there. The cloud is primarily about agility and scalability, providing large amounts of storage or access to high-performance computing previously unavailable to folks who couldn't afford to own it outright. So it's not a lower cost solution, or even a more secure solution; it's simply a flexible and agile way to get that data or compute power. It's a great opportunity for those who use it securely. But like the moon lighting the clouds above, cybersecurity must shine through cyber cloud solutions. If you're going to do data or computing in the public cloud, your own private cloud, or your dedicated data center, you need security and networking agility to access the cloud resources from anywhere, through any device, through any path."

Here are this month's CIO Jury participants: 

John Gracyalny, vice president of digital member services, Coast Central Credit Union
Dan Gallivan, director of information technology, Payette
Kris Seeburn, independent IT consultant, evangelist, and researcher
Phil Quade, CISO, Fortinet
Ed Diver, CIO, Digital Realty
Emil Sayegh, CEO, Ntirety
Steven Page, vice president of IT for marketing and digital banking for Safe America
Amy O'Connor, chief data and information officer, Precisely