Feeds

Gartner has its head in the clouds - and its numbers are WRONG

Less is more

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Open ... and Shut Gartner analyst Frank Ridder recently opined that "the number of cloud offering[s] is not at all at a satisfactory level today."

He made this assertion after canvassing a number of IT users at two Gartner summits. Unfortunately, he may have missed the message these users were sending him. It's not that we need more cloud offerings. Arguably, we already have more than any buyer can reasonably evaluate. Instead of more cloud vendors, we need better cloud vendors.

Not that every cloud vendor is selling shoddy solutions. In fact, I'd argue that very few are given the state of cloud computing today. In other words, given the somewhat nebulous market today, it's not surprising that many cloud offerings are similarly nebulous in their feature sets and quality. If we don't know exactly what we want the technology to do, how do we reasonably evaluate whether it's doing a good job or not?

Indeed, in a recent survey of Zenoss users, the company found that 38.4 per cent of respondents are held back from using an open-source cloud because of a lack of maturity in existing offerings.

Adding another 100 (similarly immature) offerings isn't going to solve that. Instead, we need existing offerings to mature and better define what it is that they do. Slapping labels on technology willy-nilly as we have - PaaS, IaaS, DaaS, BSaaS (I made that one up) - it's no wonder that customers suspect they need something other than what's already out there, as they have no idea what current solutions actually do.

And yet... the sad-to-indifferent expressions on Gartner's clients, suggest the need for more:

As mentioned above, I doubt this is truly a matter of dissatisfaction with the number of cloud offerings. It's almost certainly reflective of a problem with the positioning and maturity of existing offerings and, indeed, of cloud computing itself.

Throwing more options at people doesn't really solve the problem, as cartoonist Tom Fishburne illustrates.

Take OpenStack, for example. It has been criticised for marketing beyond its abilities. As Gartner analyst Lydia Leong posits: "Vendor marketing is leading IT managers to believe that OpenStack is a stable, mature platform ready for widespread adoption, when it is an early-stage project with code stability challenges and a minimalistic feature set." True? Perhaps.

It's certainly true that OpenStack has generated outsized expectations, many of which at a technology level it is still ill-equipped to handle. But it's also true that it has amassed an impressive community that, I believe, will help it to iron out technical deficiencies. I'm particularly bullish on OpenStack ever since Red Hat got involved in earnest. If Red Hat can replicate its success with the Linux kernel at OpenStack, then OpenStack will become a true, mission-critical cloud platform that gives Amazon Web Services a serious run for its money.

Do buyers need 10 more OpenStacks? No. IT buyers instead need OpenStack to become a robust cloud platform. Instead of wishing for more offerings, they should consider doing what early adopters of Linux did: get involved and contribute code and expertise to the community.

Perhaps that's the lesson for IT buyers: with the cloud being built on open source, the best way to direct one's future is to help create it by participating in open-source communities, rather than sitting around dreaming about thousands more. We don't have a problem with the number of cloud offerings on display. We have a problem making the existing offerings as robust and full-featured as IT buyers need. But there's a cure for this: it's called open source participation. ®

Matt Asay is senior vice president of business development at Nodeable, offering systems management for managing and analysing cloud-based data. He was formerly SVP of biz dev at HTML5 start-up Strobe and chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. With more than a decade spent in open source, Asay served as Alfresco's general manager for the Americas and vice president of business development, and he helped put Novell on its open source track. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). His column, Open...and Shut, appears three times a week on The Register.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
AWS pulls desktop-as-a-service from the PC
Support for PCoIP protocol means zero clients can run cloudy desktops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.