infoTECH Feature

October 18, 2012

Despite the Promise of Cloud, Self-Service Often Not Attainable

Although the leading benefit of cloud is the nature of its purported autonomy, very few cloud service providers offer a “self-service” cloud that allows users to select and provision cloud IT services for themselves, according to a new industry study.

In fact, almost half (46 percent) of cloud services are manually provisioned by an IT administrator for the end user without automation, according to research by cloud software platform provider Abiquo (News - Alert). The study reveals a “worrying landscape” of technology rather than service-focused cloud implementations, according to Jim Darragh, CEO of Abiquo.

Image via Shutterstock

“The vision for cloud is meant to be simple, flexible and immediate – unfortunately, in reality this appears to be the exception rather than the rule,” Darragh said. “It seems that whilst cloud has certainly progressed from a technology and an infrastructure perspective, how it’s delivered to users and customers is still a decade behind.”

For cloud to reach its potential, the next step for IT decision makers is to get their arms around the complexity of the stack and plug it all into one interface that connects everything in the back end, with a straightforward interface for the user, he added.

“For a cloud deployment to be successful the end user should be able to deploy services in minutes. If that is not designed or built into the cloud then the value is diminished significantly. There shouldn’t be any need for manual intervention by the IT department,” Darragh said. “IT can retain control and governance without having to manually provision new services.”

The survey, which was conducted at VMworld Europe last week, found that despite 75 percent of delegates reporting that their company offered private, public or hybrid cloud services to customers, a mere 15 percent of these provide a “self-service” interface that allows the end user to select and provision cloud IT services for themselves – indeed the ultimate purpose of cloud computing. In addition, 39 percent of delegates revealed that there is no cloud management interface for customers to access services.

Another issue revealed by the survey is that bringing cloud services online is a lengthy process for most customers. According to the study, the most common SLA for provisioning a customer request is “within three days” for 37 percent of customers. Just 15 percent of IT professionals interviewed commit to providing virtual cloud services to customers within three hours, although a further 25 percent are able to spin-up services within 24 hours. This represents significant delays in the provision of new services into cloud environments, and a lost opportunity in terms of productivity and efficiency gains, Darragh added.

“Businesses should benefit from the same user friendliness and ease of use that consumers enjoy from cloud services like Dropbox (News - Alert),” he said. “The days of IT services built by an engineer, for an engineer are long gone and it’s time to adopt a different mindset to putting the power of IT in the hands of users.”

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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