Business Computing World: Businesses need clarity on cloud data

By Michel Robert

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.

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