CIOs Fighting Cloud Gravity

CIOs Fighting Cloud Gravity

CIOs keep trying to defy cloud gravity

Fighting the Cloud Gravity

A new Brocade survey shows 83% of enterprises are shaking their fists at unauthorised cloud adoption (not consented by the CIO Office) within the business, the reality is, “Not using cloud is just like fighting gravity and bound to fail.” CIOs that are gate keepers will be the ones that fight ‘shadow IT’ the most.

“We are seeing departments within the business vote with their feet,” driven by the marketing leaders, and those feet are sprinting to the public cloud. Why? Well because “The business wants to play with technology that makes their life easier.” The CIO Office needs to stop being ‘the technology gatekeeper’ and become the digital enabler.

In other words, the public cloud dominates because it’s so much more convenient to get access to. Until CIOs can wrangle that same level of convenience into their own internal data centres (and private clouds), they’re going to be fighting gravity.

A new survey suggests CIOs still want to control the cloud, which is a bit like “fighting gravity,” according to AWS.

You’ve got to feel sorry for IT. Once the undisputed sovereign of the enterprise, lines of business often route around IT today to get stuff done. Their favourite accomplice? Cloud.

Indeed, while a new Brocade survey shows 83% of enterprises shaking their fists at unauthorised cloud adoption, the reality is, as Amazon Web Services (AWS) executive Glenn Core posts, “Not using cloud is just like fighting gravity.”    Doomed to fail.

Defying gravity

Redmonk analyst Stephen O’Grady once declared that “Convenience trumps just about everything” when it comes to cloud adoption. Small wonder, then, that developers tell Forrester they’re turning to cloud primarily because it’s “the fastest way for me to get things done.”


If anything, the preference for speed has accelerated since this survey was conducted. However, not everyone is happy about such IT-evading adoption.

Yes, according to a new Brocade survey of 200 global CIOs, 90% of the enterprises surveyed have cloud of some kind in place, but 83% of them also acknowledge unauthorised cloud adoption. This is despite a third of these businesses not allowing cloud adoption without IT approval.     Oops.

Of course, that same survey indicates that CIOs were more concerned with security than big data, so it didn’t seem to be tapping into the avant-garde of innovation. Or maybe they’re just concerned about having to take the blame when something goes wrong.

As Yarob Sakhnini, regional director, MEMA at Brocade, notes, unauthorised cloud adopters “are happy to circumvent IT so long as everything works. But chances are as soon as the performance and availability of these shadow IT services don’t meet expectations, it will be the CIOs who will get asked the hard questions.”

It’s a fair point. But it may simply not matter.

The irresistible force

After all, 83% of those enterprises don’t seem to care what their CIOs think. They just want to get stuff done and clearly see IT as more of a roadblock than an enabler. This needn’t be the case.

While projects originating within the line of business are on the rise, it’s still the case that most enterprises are finding ways for IT to play a key role in technology adoption.

They’d better. Cloud–and particularly public cloud–isn’t something that is going to wait on IT.

As AWS head of infrastructure, APAC Gore proclaims:

“Cloud is becoming the new normal, and not using cloud is just like fighting gravity. It is inevitable…. If you are not using it or looking at where it fits on your own strategy, you run the risk of being overtaken by others using the platform to increase their agility and scale…. The cloud is becoming the default position of customers looking to build new applications and services.”

Gore’s contention is backed up by Gartner analyst Thomas Bittman’s research, who finds that public cloud VMs have exploded by 20X, while private cloud VMs have grown just 3X during the same period. As he concludes, “New stuff tends to go to the public cloud, while doing old stuff in new ways tends to go to private clouds. And new stuff is simply growing faster.”

IT would love for things to be different and to have more control of its infrastructure. Hence, the constant drumbeat for private clouds.

This is one reason there’s so much interest–if lagging deployments–for OpenStack. Indeed, in a conversation with Mirantis CMO Boris Renski, he believes that “OpenStack [is] a datacentre operating system, not a VM orchestration engine,” one that gives operators or enterprises control over their clouds.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Because as much as we may want to talk about OpenStack adoption, the reality is that “We are seeing people vote with their feet,” as Gore points out, and those feet are sprinting to the public cloud. Why? Because “They want to play with technology that makes their life easier.”

In other words, the public cloud dominates because it’s so much more convenient. Until CIOs can wrangle that same level of convenience into their data centres (and private clouds), they’re going to be fighting gravity.

Who’s Cloud are You On

Who’s Cloud are You On

Cloud providers offer six-figure discounts to eligible startups

The Top three Cloud Players

If you want to find out what each vendor offers, and how to qualify for this promotional pricing read the text to the left. There will be many more areas where smaller SME customers can benefit but this is from the big three Cloud players.

The big three public cloud vendors are offering substantial discounts and usage credits to startups

In an effort to convince startups to adopt the cloud — and by extension, eventually be profitable customers — the big three public cloud providers are offering six-figure discounts to startups working with approved startup accelerators and incubators. Smaller discounts are available to independent projects or developers learning to work with cloud platforms.

Microsoft Azure and BizSpark Plus

Microsoft’s BizSpark program (the counterpart to the DreamSpark program for university students) offers $10,000 per month of Azure cloud services to BizSpark Plus for one year — for a total of $120,000. Eligibility is dependent on collaboration with a startup accelerator, with Microsoft partnering with over 150 startup accelerators in 47 countries, according to the announcement on Microsoft Developer Platform VP Steve Guggenheimer’s blog.

For smaller startups not aligned with a startup accelerator, the standard-tier BizSpark is available to privately-held companies less than five years old that earn less than $1 million USD annually. The standard tier provides up to $750 per month ($150 per month for up to five developers) for three years for a total of $27,000. Both tiers are eligible for free access to other software and services from Microsoft, including licenses for Windows, Office, and Visual Studio.

In an interview with Fortune, Mark Russinovich, the CTO of Azure, noted that “one out of five virtual machines hosted on Azure runs Linux,” which is an important consideration as part of Microsoft’s recent embrace of open-source software under CEO Satya Nadella.

Amazon Web Services Self-Starter and Portfolio packages

Like Microsoft, Amazon has different free tiers for startups. The Portfolio Plus package provides up to $100,000 of promotional credit for AWS for one year. The Portfolio and Portfolio Plus packages also offer up to $15,000 of promotional credit for up to two years, though the exact amounts and times vary between different startup accelerators.

The promotional credit can be applied to most AWS services (except for the Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform), some types of support, services offered on the AWS Marketplace, or upfront payments for Reserved Instances.

The AWS Free Tier is available to anyone without restriction for the first 12 months. It features 750 hours per month of EC2 t.2 micro instances of Linux (including RHEL and SLES) or Windows, which can be run as one instance at a time or as multiple simultaneous instances. The free tier also includes 5 GB of standard storage in S3, with 20,000 GET and 2,000 PUT requests and 25 GB of storage in DynamoDB with 25 units of Write and Read capacity each, which Amazon estimates to be sufficient to handle 200 million requests per month. It also includes one million free requests in

Lambda, and 20,000 free requests in AWS Key Management, and free access grants in one dozen other AWS services.

Google Cloud Platform for startups

Google’s initiative for startup access grants potential users $100,000 in Cloud Platform credit, which can be used for up to a year, and applies to all of the products offered by Google Cloud Platform. Like Amazon and Microsoft, applicants must be working with an approved accelerator or incubator. Google’s requirements stipulate that applicants must have less than $500,000 in annual revenue, and less than $5 million in funding.

Unlike Microsoft and Amazon, Google doesn’t have a free tier for smaller projects not aligned with a startup accelerator or incubator.

“Well I hope that’s as clear as mud”, says Craig Ashmole, Founding Partner of London based IT Consulting CCServe. “Not sure I will be basing my corporate recommendations on a credit system anytime soon, but it will probably get traction over time or go away all together”.