A generally accepted piece of wisdom about cloud computing is that when there’s a need to broker services across multiple clouds, a significant opportunity is created for IT service providers.
A new survey conducted by Technology Business Research finds that of the 318 IT professionals using cloud services who were surveyed only about 32 percent have actually adopted cloud brokerage services, though. The survey does find that another third are planning to adopt them, but what’s not clear is to what degree organizations are actually using these services. The reason for this is that while there is no shortage of cloud computing platforms, most of them are semi-autonomous.
Dominance of cloud service provider market
For example, applications running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) don’t tend to have much need to interact with applications running elsewhere. In fact, most organizations at this point are relying on only one or two external cloud service providers to process a very specific set of workloads. The end result, for the moment, is a cloud service provider market dominated by a relatively small number of entities, which naturally limits the need to broker cloud services.
More challenging still, as enterprise IT organizations move to the cloud, they are starting to show a marked preference for private clouds. Even though that may be a more expensive approach, the security of the cloud computing environment is clearly trumping all other concerns.
Limited cloud brokerage management
While all this may change in time, it’s clear that for the moment usage of cloud services is not all that dynamic. That doesn’t mean organizations won’t move workloads between clouds, but it does mean that brokering cloud services on demand is a capability that many organizations don’t have the internal processes in place to manage. As a result, either consciously or not, IT organizations seem to be making an effort to limit cloud sprawl as much as they possibly can in an environment where they may not be making every relevant IT decision.
Arguably, cloud computing has not yet changed the way organizations think about managing IT. For all intents and purposes, most of them treat external cloud resources as another stack of computing. The underlying infrastructure might belong to somebody else, but from the perspective of the internal IT organization those external sources of IT infrastructure are running a dedicated stack of software that needs to be managed much like any stack of software running inside their data centers.
In the fullness of time, that may change, but for now cloud computing has not yet had a transformative impact on the way IT is managed beyond making another set of outsourcing options available to the organization.
None of this means that cloud brokering services won’t be in much higher demand one day. But at least in the short term it would appear that a massive shift in IT management, enabled by the brokering of cloud services, is still several years away.