Businesses Need Clarity On Cloud Data

Public confidence in cloud computing will be significantly boosted if all cloud providers give customers full visibility of their assets and operational data. Regarding EMC’s announcement of its forthcoming DataBridge product, an integrated dashboard of operational data and resource usage, I would like to see similar real-time monitoring tools to become standard in the industry.

Although we have seen uptake of cloud services in the last few years, there is still a very sizeable proportion of the market that is proving resistant. My company’s research shows that some of the key concerns being cited about the cloud are reliability, losing in-house control of assets, ease of data migration (in and out of a service) and knowing where data resides.

These are all legitimate concerns, but the fact that they still exist suggests that the industry as a whole is not providing enough transparency about the services they provide. I am not criticising how cloud providers sell or market their services: instead, I propose that better, clearer and more detailed management information will allay many of the concerns expressed by those who have yet to move into the cloud.

The problem some people have with the cloud is that it seems nebulous and opaque to them. Some service providers give little or no visibility on the separate infrastructure components that make up a customer’s service; what country their data or software applications reside in; or precisely what they are being billed for each month.

Comprehensive, integrated dashboards can provide users with real-time information of what infrastructure or software assets they have, where they reside, how they are performing – and what exactly is being billed for.

A clear “single-pane-of-glass” dashboard or management interface is also an incredibly effective tool to demystify the cloud for potential customers, while fostering greater accountability and openness among existing users.

We are encouraged by each new step towards greater visibility for cloud users, and as such we look forward to EMC’s DataBridge dashboard and other similar products. However, we as an industry will not overcome customers’ Cloud concerns through piecemeal action; instead, we need to make this kind of visibility a standard across all providers.

Michel Robert is an expert in business development and marketing with particular expertise in the IT solutions sector. He has worked in senior roles across Europe and the US and has more than seven years’ experience in the IT industry. Before joining Claranet UK, Michel was the Solution Director at Dimension Data, a global IT services and solution provider. Michel was responsible for the business development and marketing of Dimension Data’s technology solutions portfolio across Europe, and had particular success in growing the company’s presence in the UK. Michel has also worked in senior consulting and marketing positions for Forward in London (now part of WPP Group), a contract publishing company specialising in direct customer communications, and The Rouse Company, a North American property development company. Michel joined Claranet UK as Managing Director in July 2007, where he uses his experience to drive the development of Claranet's business IT services and solutions offering in the UK.