(This article is part two of a two-part series on Cloud Computing and its usage by companies located in Richmond, Virginia)
A question that was fielded by the panel was what is the process when organization decides to switch between cloud providers. Mark Eichenberger of Microsoft responded by saying if a customer in the Public Cloud space decides to switch providers Microsoft will send the data to the customer. If the customer is on a Private Cloud, the data is sent to the customer and the drives that were used to store the data are shredded.
All the panelists agreed that both the provider and consumer of the Cloud service should plan their exit strategy on the front end of the Cloud services agreement. How the data will be transferred and the contract terminated must be agreed to up front to ensure that expectations are set and understood by all parties before the cloud service commences. Jason Carnes of VMWare stated that Cloud consumers should ensure that they avoid “vendor lock-in” to a specific cloud service. VMWare attempts to avoid this issue by only working (co-branding) with cloud vendors that meet VMWare’s support framework.
As for moving information from Cloud Provider A to Cloud Provider B, there are no standards or agreements in place amongst the big cloud players. There are are specific instances where a cloud consumer can engage a web services firm to move their data from one cloud provider to another, but this is a case-by-case basis. Mark Eichenburger stated that a standard protocol amongst cloud providers will be a long way off. As an example of lengthy industry standard development efforts, HTML5 has been in development for over a decade and is only now moving toward agreement and implementation.
The next topic posed to the panelists was the security of the Cloud. Mr. Eichenberger stated that this is one of the first topics that a customer talks to Microsoft about as they look to move toward the Cloud. It is Microsoft’s strategy to assuage a potential customer’s security concerns before they move deeper into developing a solution. If the client still expresses significant discomfort at the thought of their data in the Cloud, Microsoft will not pursue the relationship. [Read more…]