Customers are the casualties in cloud war

Cloud SaaS

by Duncan MacRae| 25 June 2014

Survey highlights staggering failure rates across 'tech giant' IaaS implementations.

While tech giants fight cloud wars, customers are suffering from overwhelming cloud failure rates and multiple unexpected challenges.

These are the findings of Casualties of Cloud Wars: Customers Are Paying the Price, a survey conducted by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) on behalf of enterprise cloud infrastructure provider, iland.

The survey asked more than 400 professionals across Europe the US and Asia-Pacific to share their experiences with IaaS providers. The majority of respondents reported experiencing challenges and failures, though they continue to soldier on in the cloud. IT is moving forward with cloud because without it, keeping pace with the innovation needed to remain competitive in most industries is nearly impossible.

Dennis Drogseth, VP, EMA, said: "Stories about successful cloud implementations are captivating, but the reality is that cloud is more complex than many news headlines make it out to be.

"Companies must be self-aware. Unless they have an experienced staff that can manipulate the mass-market systems of the big providers, they should seek cloud vendors that take a different, personalised approach."

Lawrence Dixon, after sales business manager, EMEA at Leica Geosystems, said: "We didn't want to have to become cloud experts to get the benefits of cloud, and that's why we chose iland.

"From many locations around the globe, our customers need to be able to access our precise geospatial positioning service, SmartNet, in real time, and we rely on iland's cloud to help deliver that capability. We rest easy knowing iland provides us with 24/7 support, and we can quickly evaluate our environment's performance, usage and projected costs with the ECS portal so there are no expensive surprises."

Key findings from the survey include:

- Respondents used an average of three cloud vendors, indicating an ongoing effort to find the "right" cloud solution, risk mitigation policies that require the diversification of providers, department-level fragmentation, and no pressing need to standardise on a single vendor.

- In addition to commonly discussed cloud benefits like cost and rapid scalability, 49% of respondents view disaster recovery as a key advantage to hosting workloads in the public cloud.

- Customers of VMware vCloud-based service providers report the highest success (67%) and lowest failure rates (33%), defined as stalled or unsuccessful (tried but failed) adoption.

- Public cloud customers of Rackspace reported the highest failure rates (63%), followed by Amazon Web Services (57%) and Microsoft Azure (44%).

- 88% of respondents experienced at least one unexpected challenge. At the top of the list were pricing challenges stemming from complex pricing models and hidden fees that can rapidly counteract the cost-savings benefit of cloud. Performance issues, which can be experienced with some cloud platforms, were also concerning.


Based on the findings, it is clear those who have experimented with cloud have developed a keen understanding of where their teams need help and what capabilities are required to make cloud more accessible. Learning from their experiences, companies can avoid pitfalls by evaluating internal resources upfront -- including technology, personnel, expertise and budget -- and assessing how a cloud vendors' services, support and functionality address specific needs.

Dante Orsini, SVP at iland, said: "Every day, potential customers come to us with stories about their frustrating experiences with public cloud, and it's that close interaction that fuels our commitment to create more positive outcomes," said "We commissioned this survey to get quantifiable insights into the global reality of companies' challenges, successes and failures with cloud. Now, we are sharing these results to help inform others as they move to the cloud.

"While the 'big box' players often make cloud short lists, the relative success with VMware Cloud-based Service Providers points to keeping an open mind to the differentiated offerings of those outside the fray," said Julie Craig, research director, Application Management.

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