All: So it's a resources play? You save on staffing and access best practices that you may not have had in place in your IT organization?
Tisnovsky: Correct. But don't confuse it with staff augmentation. With staff augmentation, you provide bodies working on certain servers. What you provide with operations-as-a-service is an actual service which is charged directly per server, per terabyte of storage, per any measure of output. Its flexible and can go up and down, depending on how much you consume.
So it has all the characteristics of the cloud: pricing based per any measure of computing output; built so its easy on, easy off; it can scale up or down. If your provider can give you flexibility, it behaves like other cloud solutions. Hence we argue there is a cloud solution called operations-as-a-service that is largely missed by suppliers and buyers today.
All: Are any companies offering approaches you think come close to this concept?
Tisnovsky: We see some of it. Cognizant is one company that has modular solutions. Perot, before the acquisition by Dell, had modular solutions. The reason modularity is important is because thats what makes it easy-on, easy-off. But its not mainstream today.
All: What will it take to make the concept more mainstream?
Tisnovsky: Its contingent on the sophistication of the buyers. Despite the easy-on, easy-off nature of it, it will require management on the buyers part, and better governance. Theyll now have multiple suppliers managing the server, with maybe one providing a modular monitoring service, another modular problem resolution, a third one doing modular backup.
All: The report references five strategies employed by cloud providers: adviser, reseller, orchestrator, enabler and engine. Which of these are currently most popular? Do you think this will change in the future?
Tisnovsky: Everybody is an adviser. Some companies have more sophisticated systems, with intellectual property behind it. TCS has systems that help you test your applications before putting them in the cloud and identify cloud-ready applications in your portfolio. I do believe there is IP around it.
Engine is the least populated one. Amazons Elastic Cloud kind of has a retail spin on it. IBM and HP built clouds, which makes sense because they also sell hardware. OEMs are definitely interested in it. Former hosting companies are interested. There are a limited number of companies positioning themselves as engines.
I think the most valuable ones are enabler and orchestrator. Security needs to be orchestrated. If youre using multiple clouds, you need a comprehensive security solution. There are companies positioning themselves as orchestrators of security. They are companies positioning themselves as orchestrators of data. CSC is a good example. They have a data solution that I believe comes from their government legacy. Data is a nightmare in the cloud. Its not always easy to locate your data in the cloud.
Capgemini is probably a company that stands out as an enabler. They have partnerships with Google and with Amazon, and they actively resell and enable those solutions. The thing that not many buyers understand, if you go and get resources from Amazon, they do need to be managed.
All: You mention two drivers of adoption: technology-led (cloud interoperability and security are given as examples) and services-led (migration services and management/monitoring). Are suppliers addressing these areas simultaneously, or is one getting more attention than the other?
Tisnovsky: There are companies in the services space that move into cloud computing, and they definitely address both. For technology companies such as software companies or data center hosting companies, its much more difficult to move into the service area.
All: Most of the discussions I hear about cloud computing focus more on technology than associated services. Why do suppliers seem to be focusing more on technology?
Tisnovsky: Because thats where the value is. If you look at cloud computing and really simplify it, the No. 1 driver of value is utilization of hardware. You utilize your hardware better by sharing it with multiple buyers.