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Neither Snowden nor the NSA puts CIOs off the cloud, it's just FUD

And piddling little worries like vendor lock-in

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The Edward Snowden affair has not put CIOs off the public cloud, but only because IT professionals were already wary of the security issues and vendor lock-in, a Bloomberg tech conference heard last week.

A panel discussing the cloud and the enterprise at the Bloomberg Enterprise Technology Summit in London focused on the challenges facing the shift to “Cloud 2.0”.

Gilles Chekroun, a distinguished engineer at Cisco, identified CIOs’ fears over vendor lock-in as a key concern: “It’s important to be able to move the data and be able to delete the data at the previous vendor.”

He noted the EU was trying to legislate in this area, but “it’s complicated” and right now, there was little enterprise demand for the public cloud.

While the panelists identified security in general as a major brake on adoption of the cloud, or at least its public flavour, the NSA rifling through service providers' servers was not seen as exacerbating these concerns.

Vishnu Bhat, Infosys’ senior VP and head of cloud, said the Snowden affair had little effect on enterprise’s attitude to cloud,

“We don’t see a major change... security’s always top of mind. The questions we get are not that different.”

“It's only matter of time before these things are taken care of,” he added cheerfully.

Chris Moyer, CTO EMEA for HP’s Enterprise Service, said security was up there with data management as one of the top two questions enterprises ask.

He said “security breaches always cause problems in our industry” and were “the biggest threat from a public cloud perspective.” But he said it was breaches per se that were the issue, not whether it was a Snowden type effort or the failure of a credit card firm.

Gavin Jackson VMware’s senior director EMEA for cloud services, was dismissive about the potential impact of EU efforts to regulate the cloud in the wake of the Snowden affair.

“I’m pretty sure that before the EU got together post Snowden, that there was some laws…you can’t legislate for the spy stuff.

Jackson said the firm was supportive of legislation, but espionage - whether from the US or other countries - would always be an issue. “There’s things you can do and there’s things...you can’t legislate for.”

Panellists also said there was still plenty of hype around the cloud, whether around the extent of virtualization, or the degree to which companies were switching their entire infrastructure across.

Chekroun said that while there is much hype around server virtualization, in reality much of the focus was around workload virtualization: “There’s not a lot of server virtualization.” He also suggested the vast majority of servers were still bare metal.

Jackson, meanwhile, suggested that cloud boosters failed to appreciate how companies really ran their IT. “Companies don’t have luxury of scrapping their legacy systems... compatibility is very important.”

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