"Trough of disillusionment" over cloud not new...

Press comment: Managed Services Provider says concerns over cloud predates Gartner's latest 'Hype Cycle' report

Public disillusionment with the cloud, as expressed by Gartner's analysts in the firm's latest Hype Cycle Special Report, is not new and dates back at least a year, Claranet says.

Gartner's Hype Cycle gauges public expectations about emerging and maturing technologies, and charts their progress towards acceptance. In its latest report, Gartner placed cloud computing on the downward slope named the "trough of disillusionment" that traditionally follows the initial hype and inflated expectations that new technologies invariably generate.

Claranet's Managing Director, Michel Robert, said that public disillusionment with cloud is at least a year old, referencing independent research that his own company undertook in 2011 about users' concerns over cloud computing.

"The Gartner report is correct to place cloud in its picturesquely-named 'trough of disillusionment', but it's hardly news that the initial burst of expectation in cloud has subsided," said Robert. "Before we launched our Virtual Data Centre service in 2011, we conducted extensive research into users' concerns about the cloud. The poll of 300 senior IT decision makers found that there were still substantial worries about data sovereignty, security and reliability issues with the cloud computing.

"The first rush of enthusiasm for cloud seemed to peak early in 2011. By that stage, roughly half of the market was using some form of cloud service; however there remained a stubborn proportion of organisations that remained unconvinced of the benefits, or wary of the risks. Our research found that a third of respondents were delaying procurement of cloud services for an average of twelve months, and the list of concerns about the cloud showed why," he continued.

"People were getting disillusioned with the ubiquity of the word ‘cloud’, which tends to obscure the nature of the actual services. On top of that, the cloud industry as a whole was failing to reassure potential customers over some fundamental questions: where is my data held; how is it protected; how can you guarantee maximum uptime; and who is responsible for overall availability?"

Robert said the industry as a whole was improving, but that it needed more hard work to drag the name of cloud out of the 'trough of disillusionment' and into the 'slope of enlightenment'.

"Increasingly, service providers are realising that it is not enough to tag the name 'cloud' onto their services. Our industry needs to answer users' legitimate concerns directly: for example, we need to be completely transparent over where and how their data is stored, and ideally offer in-country data centres to allay data sovereignty concerns. Providers also need to start taking responsibility for overall service availability, including network uptime. For those providers that lack their own network, this will require closer partnerships with network operators so that they can provide a completely integrated service, from desk to data centre.

Gartner's report will, we hope, spur the industry on to improve their services and, just as importantly, to communicate them to the public. With this report, Gartner may well have marked the 'end of the beginning' for the cloud,” said Robert. “In fact, we hope that it marks the beginning of the end for the very phrase ‘cloud computing’, a vague term that fails to differentiate between different types of service, while preventing providers from communicating on actual business benefits," he concluded.

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