The panelists were members of the Enterprise Cloud Leadership Council (ECLC), the TM Forum 's first foray into active participation by enterprise companies in the standards process. (See TM Forum Brings 'Sanity' to SP Clouds.)
Much of what they said was predictable -- cloud services need to be secure, cost-effective, flexible and easy to use. Each of the speakers made it clear, however, that their organizations are well on their way toward outsourcing non-core computing and applications capabilities, and telecom operators need to catch up to their customers and offer specific business solutions to earn their trade.
For example, Lalitha Biddulla, general manager, Service Delivery Change Program, for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said security is a key issue but so is visibility, because of banking regulations.
"I cannot tell my regulator that I don't know where my data is, that it's somewhere in your cloud," Biddulla says.
Other key requirements include:
- Elasticity: Being able to turn services up and down with ease, and control costs in the process is a core element, said Alistair McLaurin, director, Domain Architect Cloud Computing, for Deutsche Bank AG.
- Security: While this one is an obvious requirement, multiple panel members said it needs to be comprehensive and built into cloud services from the ground up, not added in later or created separately.
- Ease of management and control: A single control interface, what two panelists called a "single pane of glass," giving visibility into performance and management of cloud services is another core requirement. IT managers want to see how their services are performing and be able to respond quickly. The interface needs to enable access to a broad range of real-time data and information and make it easy to access and understand.
- Portability: Standards need to be developed at least to the extent that enterprises can move their data or services from one cloud provider to another, without getting locked into to a service.
- Flexible application bundles: Biddulla cited the need to package applications for specific internal constituencies, such as road warriors, and wants the ability to do that easily and on the fly, reusing cloud service elements as needed.
- Value-added services: Enterprises are willing to pay for value, said Eric Pulier, chairman and CEO of ServiceMesh and executive director of the ECLC, but they also want elements that aren't high-value to be sold at commodity prices. The key to knowing value is understanding what is important to a specific business customer, he said.
- Willingness to move quickly: Enterprises believe they are out in front of telecom service providers on cloud services and understanding what assets they want to own and which ones are better outsourced, and they need service providers willing to catch up, said Alan Nance, chief technology staff, ING Bank N.V. Nance also urged fast development of standards, but warned against a standards process that gets bogged down by "everybody plugging their own stuff."
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading