Cloud providers fail to give IT the data it needs

IT is unhappy with the lack of useful information from providers, so third-party tools are stepping in -- at a cost

Cloud providers fail to give IT the data it needs

Cloud users made their feelings known in new research study by Forrester: Users say vendors must do a better job of assuaging compliance fears, build more support capabilities, and make customers feel wanted.

The survey covered 275 IT decision-makers in the United States, United Kingdom, and Singapore. Among its eye-opening findings:

  • 39 percent of U.K. respondents agreed with the following statement: "My cloud provider doesn't know me or my company."
  • One out of three globally stated, "My provider charges me for every little question or incident."
  • 45 percent globally agreed with the statement: "If I were a bigger customer, my cloud provider would care more about my success."

The important information that cloud users don't get from their providers include performance, operations, billing data, and workload profiles. Thus, cloud users risk financial or operational hits due to missing or hidden metadata. That's why they're crying out for cloud provides to furnish this data.

The management abilities of public clouds are insufficient due to the cloud providers' lack of capabilities. Although many public cloud providers offer nice features such as autoscaling, clients don't have much visibility into what these features are doing for performance -- or their growing impact on the invoices. At least, that's the IT perception, according to the study.

Public cloud providers have done a good job of building APIs to gather a lot of this data. However, APIs don't make for a customer solution. Thus, enterprises are looking to use third-party tools to fill in the gaps that the public cloud providers seem to leave unfilled, which raises costs and complexity. But it's clearly necessary.

As a result, there's a large growth market for third-party tools that provide performance management, governance, accounting, and security services for public clouds.

That's a good thing. I would rather see this problem solved by third-party providers rather than through a monolithic tool from the larger public cloud providers.

Competition will drive the best solutions -- eventually. But it will be a confusing world for the next few years. 

As more workloads are migrated to the cloud, the more these issues with the lack of metadata will bother enterprise IT. The best approach is to plan right now how to solve this problem. Be proactive rather than reactive.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.