In a rather ludicrously titled article (yes, even for me!) ‘Too big to fail’ cloud giants like AWS threaten civilization as we know it” the author nevertheless addresses an interesting point. While I almost entirely disagree with the final conclusions, they represent a valid, if extreme viewpoint. And if those conclusions are a little self-serving, this can be forgiven in light of my own issues with some Cloud Providers.
The basic premise is that traditional hardware (servers etc.) sales are dropping, while cloud-based and managed services are on the rise. With the corresponding drop in hardware related skills (no demand), eventually we’ll be dependent on one of the big providers (Amazon, Google & Microsoft).
This is apparently very bad, as: “If one of these goes down hundreds of thousands of other companies go down too.” This is the “interesting point” I referred to earlier, unfortunately the reasoning presented simply makes no sense. Two examples provided are:
- power grid failures or natural disasters – with the fallout propagated worldwide; and
- AWS’ hiking of its UK prices post-Brexit as an example of how quickly customers could be affected.
First, suggesting the Google, Amazon or Microsoft have a single point of failure that could take them down globally makes no sense. Second, with regard price fluctuations, this is likely the result of organisations choosing a provider based on price alone, and not performing adequate due diligence. In trying to save money by using US based provider and not writing mitigating language into contract, you are the ones leaving yourselves exposed.
I’m really not picking on either the subject of the article, or the author, I’m just using this to demonstrate my point. Cloud services, done PROPERLY, are the future. Or without the stupid buzz-phrase; outsourced services over the Internet are the future of infrastructure management. The issue is that a lot of Cloud services are abysmal, and the due diligence performed by many organisations nothing short of a disgrace.
But outsource they will, and they should. For example, how many organisation really want to hire dedicated teams to perform all of the following;
- Design operating system hardening guides;
- Build and maintain servers;
- Install and configure all relevant security software/application;
- Patching and vulnerability management;
- Data encryption;
- Access control;
- Logging and monitoring
- …and the list goes on.
Whilst finding a single cloud provider to take care of this is almost impossible at this stage, that’s where it’s going. Only the benefits of scale available to large providers can make these offerings cost effective enough to be a option for non-enterprise businesses. And frankly, the only businesses who actually care about how data is made available, are the ones being paid to make it happen for someone else.
The motivations behind the referenced article are rather simple to deduce; 1) they have a vested interest in selling hardware, and b) they can make more money through channel than Cloud.
Fair enough, but channel’s loss of market share, and their inability to pivot is entirely their fault. They are now suffering because they have never tried to put their products into perspective. The mad rush to maximise profit margins was at the expense of making themselves a truly valuable.
If channel had only put a consulting wrapper around their offerings, they could still be selling solutions, not stuck trying to flog pieces of metal and plastic.
Perhaps this article will make more sense now they they are feeling the pain; Attention Channels/Resellers, Don’t Forget Consulting Services!
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