Sunday 31 July 2011

The Cloud Rush to the Bottom

Thanks to our twitter friend "datacentre" we understand that Digital Realty Trust has procured a redevelopment site in London for the pricely sum of £12.9 Million ($21Million).
Whilst we understand that land in London especially Central London is expensive we cant help but feel that the current rush by DC operators to build space is essentially flawed.
On one side we have IT manufacturers pushing cloud servers and co-lo's and other cloud services suppliers making expensive marketing campaigns promoting clouds in its three main forms, but is the market there?

I dont think so, I cant see established IT departments making wholesale moves into rented data centre space for the following reasons, IT infrastructure is expensive and represents huge investment in technology, if you've already bought it, configured and nurtured it to get to where you want it to be on your own site, why on earth would you even consider moving into a facility where security, access, energy and sevice level agreements are possibly flaky? Same with using SaaS, why would you consider using an application where you have no control?
The answer I fear is that some IT departments are not operating in a professional manner, and have in the past been slow to react to business needs, have poor user perception, cost too much for the service they are providing, and in effect have lost the board.
Which is why the cloud marketing push tries to address all these concerns, slow to react?, use server provisioning from Cloud Inc, we can have you online and working within 10 minutes, poor user perception? no IT staff involment, automation is the name of the game, onsite IT cost too much? Get servers fully provisioned for your needs at £9.99 per month ($10 per month in some places) all advertising targeted at the very people remote from IT but paying for it.
The only area of cloud I can see that anyone will be paying for is, start ups that have no reason to recruit IT staff when they can use cloud services, we'll see how they feel in a few years time when their organisation gets bigger and their cloud offerings start to fail (meaning that they need IT stuff that is not available in the cloud, or suffer a drastic and essentially company busting failure) or the use of cloud services on site, i.e giving the users what they want in an automated "on demand" type service, want servers yes go to the intranet portal and provision one yourself, (see how far that gets!) want IT support? go to the IT pages on the Intranet portal for information and self service (in every organisation I've ever worked in, users want an engineer to visit them at their desk no matter how useless they are! trying to fix it your self is a no no to them, after all if I wanted to be an IT engineer I'd be an IT engineer, not the clerical paper shuffler I am. Try playing that game with city based traders who can earn more in a minute that the IT operation costs in a year.

No, forget the push to the cloud, its not for everybody and can only really be used for commodity IT services, Email etc.
As for the rush for DC space, well currently it seems that some operators are in the mindset "build it and they will come", well maybe but not yet not yet.

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