Forrester just published parts I & II of its market overview of the public cloud market and these reports, written primarily for the Infrastructure & Operations (I&O) professionals, reveal as much about you – the customers of the clouds – as it does about the clouds themselves.
As discussed during our client teleconference about these reports, clearly the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market is maturing and evolving and the vendors are adapting their solutions to deliver greater value to their current customers and appeal to a broader set of buyers. In the case of pure clouds such as Amazon Web Services, GoGrid and Joyent, the current customers are developers who are mostly building new applications on these platforms. Their demands focus on enabling greater innovation, performance, scale, autonomy and productivity. To broaden the appeal of their cloud services, they aim to deliver better transparency, monitoring, security and support – all things that appeal more to I&O and security & risk managers (SRM).
For traditional managed service providers (MSPs), like IBM, AT&T, Verizon and Fujitsu, IaaS cloud is a relatively new offering for their installed base of I&O professionals, and thus these services look and feel a lot more like traditional managed services. Broadening their appeal doesn’t necessarily mean luring developers, and thus mirroring the offerings of pure clouds isn’t high on their list. Sure, they have to try to match the base IaaS functions of a cloud but their offerings nearly all come with the wrapper of managed services.
As a result these MSP-based solutions are actually quite different beasts that come at the IaaS market with a contrasting point of view. Their focus:
· Migration of existing applications to the cloud
· Mimicking the expectations and services traditionally offered in IT
· Offering higher levels of service and customization to meet enterprise I&O demands (managed services)
· Offering a greater wealth of capabilities on top of their existing platforms and services
· Offering a range of traditional hosting options and managed services (IaaS cloud being just one of these)
If you are an Empowered developer looking for fast and easy access to resources where you can build a new application fast and cost effectively, these MSP-based solutions may not be all that appealing on the surface. But your I&O team surely thinks they are a safer choice when they come from a vendor they already have a relationship with and where I&O can garner the same level of managed services (managing the OS, the middleware, disaster recovery, etc.).
Re-read that last sentence. If you are a developer it’s hard to see how safe, existing and managed translate into speed, productivity and cost effectiveness. Now re-read the first sentence in the same paragraph. As an I&O pro this sounds like chaos. Right there you have the core issue that divides the public IaaS market. Developers and I&O pros just don’t speak the same language.
How do pure clouds look at the market? Their focus:
· New-generation workloads – SOA, web services, App-Internet
· API-driven management
· More high-level application services; less infrastructure options
· Pay-per-use and self-service
Forrester analyst Frank Gillett pointed out the differences in mindset between Empowered developers and I&O pros, characterizing the differences in thinking between these two groups, portrayed as Formal and Informal buyers. And we see this difference in audiences playing out in spades in the public market.
What this means to you as I&O buyers is that you need to get the psychology of your company right before you select your cloud vendors. Are your developers more Empowered? Are they seeking out cloud solutions because speed and productivity are paramount at your company today? If so, as I&O professionals you need to select a cloud solution that best matches this psychology. Is your company more conservative where development stays within strict architectural guidelines and the SLA is paramount to speed and the delivery of new services?
Chances are your enterprise has a bit of both of these worlds, which means you may need relationships with multiple cloud vendors. While it may be tempting to sign a contract with an MSP that meets your I&O criteria, your developers, who typically don’t sign contracts nor have to manage services long-term may not find what they are looking for in the cloud that’s most appealing to you.
If you want to get your cloud strategy right, you must engage your developers – and not just the ones you already have good relationships with. Seek out those who are building your company’s future services. If you can’t meet their demands with a public cloud solution – forget about meeting their needs with a private cloud or other capabilities.