iland, the enterprise cloud hosting provider, has announced the findings of a new global survey conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of iland. The study reveals negative financial, operational and strategic impacts due to crucial hidden metadata and deeply flawed customer support models.
The findings are published in a study entitled, "Is Your Cloud Provider Keeping Secrets?" Focusing on lessons from experienced cloud infrastructure customers, the survey included in-depth responses from 275 IT decision makers and top-level executives throughout the United States, United Kingdom and Singapore.
"Buried in the complexities of today's clouds are crippling hazards," said Lilac Schoenbeck, iland's VP of product management and marketing. "Critical metadata is withheld, seriously dampening cloud growth; yet all the while, businesses are building growth plans based on an assumption of infinite cloud resources. This threat could take us back to the days of bargaining for your IT resources—a result that neither IT nor the business is prepared to face."
Cloud metadata—information about the performance, configuration and operations of each cloud workload—is critical to optimising cloud costs, maintaining performance and demonstrating compliance. While this metadata is typically available to cloud providers, survey respondents reported broad gaps in their knowledge about their own workloads—from billing data to compliance and performance information.
As a result, 100 percent of companies surveyed suffered a negative business impact, including outages, wasted resources, unexpected costs and challenges reporting to management. Further, more than 60 percent report they cannot grow their cloud footprint due to associated transparency, compliance and support issues.
"Companies aren't just using the cloud—they depend on it... Nevertheless, cloud providers fail to keep cloud users happy," according to the Forrester study. "As companies expand their use of cloud services, they need to be confident that their cloud providers aren't holding anything back, and are committed to their success."
"While smaller than the big box cloud providers, iland's unique market position enables us to be innovative, using Big Data to deliver transparency, and nimble, addressing customer needs like those illuminated in the survey with rapid product development," said Justin Giardina, chief technology officer at iland.
The survey findings highlight the relationships between cloud providers and users, and areas for improvement:
- Overall, cloud customer satisfaction is low, with a strong sentiment that providers do not respond to their users' needs. Over 50 percent of cloud customers report their provider does not understand their company's needs or care about their success.
- Lack of cloud metadata can drive up costs—and take down systems. One hundred percent of respondents said they suffered one or more negative impacts due to lack of transparency, ranging from performance problems or outages (43 percent) to unexpected bills (36 percent).
- Without critical data, compliance safeguards may fail. Compliance practices act as a proxy for safeguarding customer data, and 72 percent of respondents were bound by compliance requirements.
Yet the majority of respondents found critical data, available to cloud providers but hidden from users, creates challenges with implementing proper controls (55 percent), understanding the provider's compliance (51 percent), and getting documentation on the provider (51 percent) and their own workloads (42 percent).
- Inadequate support issues begin at onboarding and persist. The transition to cloud often requires advice and support from cloud providers. However, 51 percent of companies surveyed were not satisfied with their onboarding process, reporting it took too long (26 percent) or lacked human support (21 percent).
The issues continue after on-boarding, as 52 percent were not satisfied with support due to slow response times (22 percent), lack of expertise of the support personnel (20 percent), lingering support issues (19 percent), and higher than expected support costs (18 percent).
Select recommendations for cloud customers from Forrester:
- Get the performance, security and billing data you need to maintain stability and control costs.
- Evaluate the native tools delivered by the cloud platform to ensure they deliver visibility, alerting and analytics.
- Demand clarity about compliance data, on-call experts and straightforward processes from your cloud provider.
- Look for a cloud with onboarding and support teams staffed by experts who know who you are and who pick up the phone.
"No one should have to take on greater business risk or accept sub-par support in the quest to gain the economic and business agility benefits of cloud," according to the Forrester study. "Whether you are a first-time cloud user or are looking to grow your cloud portfolio, our research shows that your chances of success are greater with a trusted cloud provider at your side—one that gives you the technology and experts to solve your challenges."
"We commissioned this survey in order to better craft iland's own roadmap and strategy," said Schoenbeck. "The survey provides clear direction for cloud providers interested in driving tangible business success for customers. Through both our management tools and our business model, we are ready to address the market requirements for better transparency, compliance and support."
The results of the findings will be discussed at length on 22nd July, 2015 in an iland webinar featuring Dave Bartoletti, principal analyst at Forrester Research.