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Q&A: Interview with 2nd Watch Talking Cloud Services Brokerage and the Future Direction of IT

I've been keeping an eye on a cloud company called 2nd Watch, and recently had the chance to again speak with Matt Gerber, executive vice president of sales and marketing.  His company has been involved with building, deploying and managing Amazon Web Services (AWS) based IT operations, and they recently concluded a new survey, which revealed a high demand for Cloud Services among enterprise business units.  It also found that many of those organizations plan to create Cloud Service Brokerages to meet demand.  

VMblog:  For those who are unfamiliar with your company, please describe 2nd Watch and tell us what the company does.

Matt Gerber:  Plain and simple, 2nd Watch helps companies migrate their IT infrastructures to the cloud. In short, we build, deploy and manage Amazon Web Services-based IT operations for the enterprise. Since the company's inception, we have successfully migrated more than 2MW of enterprise data center capacity into the AWS cloud as part of more than 300 platform and data center migrations. We are particularly adept at assisting customers in evaluating the economics of moving IT operations into the cloud, and we can also design and build highly reliable and scalable AWS-based enterprise IT platforms as well as provide the tools to manage, maintain and optimize these systems.

VMblog:  I understand you recently conducted a survey, can you tell us more about it?

Gerber:  We were really interested to learn more about the experience, pains and obstacles associated with migration to the cloud. Recently, we conducted a survey that revealed an extremely high demand for cloud services among enterprise business units, but 100 percent of IT departments experience various challenges when trying to deliver cloud services to their business units. The survey showed that these challenges are the result of a myriad of factors, but chief among them were: lack of resources, corporate governance standards and security concerns.

VMblog:  What was the most surprising statistic that the survey revealed?

Gerber:  What was most interesting, or perhaps alarming, about the survey is that of the 93 percent of enterprise business units that indicated they use cloud services, 61 percent of them are choosing, funding and managing their cloud services without the help of IT departments. This tells us that in order for IT departments to retain their relevancy now and in the future, they must find ways to leverage cloud platforms that enable fast development and deployment of needed enterprise services.

VMblog:  What is a cloud services brokerage? 

Gerber:  According to TechTarget, the technical definition of a cloud services brokerage (CSB) is, "a third-party individual or business that acts as an intermediary between the purchaser of a cloud computing service and the sellers of that service."

So basically, when a company migrates to cloud services, a CSB will mediate and manage all of the technology in order to ensure optimum performance.

VMblog:  Can you expand on what kinds of hurdles your customers are seeing in implementing cloud services brokerages?

Gerber:  Of course many cite cost as a hurdle, but I think this is more symptomatic of a collective assumption within the industry that cloud services are expensive. But in fact, cost effective solutions are available, and it's just a matter of selecting the right service that makes the most sense for your business unit's needs.

Another one of the primary challenges is a lack of resources, with 22 percent of respondents reporting that they do not have sufficient staff or budget to keep pace with internal demand. Sixteen percent cite security as a concern. Lastly, 12 percent said a lack of corporate standards is a challenge.

VMblog:  What do you think this survey indicates about the future or direction of IT in large enterprises?

Gerber:  I think that if IT in the enterprise continues along the path that this survey indicates it is on, they will soon become irrelevant. If business units continue to implement and manage technological solutions on their own - what need does anyone have for IT?

But it doesn't have to be this way, nor should it. If IT departments can find ways to leverage cloud platforms that enable fast development and deployment of needed enterprise services, they will retain their relevancy.

VMblog:  What immediate advantages will companies whose IT departments deploy cloud services brokerage models enjoy?

Gerber:  Companies that adopt a CSB model will immediately see simplified management, easy upgrades with no downtime, customizable applications, single sign-on access, and high flexibility.

VMblog:  For IT departments planning to develop cloud services brokerage models in the near future, what is the most important thing they need to do right now?

Gerber:  The most important thing the IT department needs to do at this point is to develop a strategy for how to leverage the opportunity cloud presents, and yet at the same time determine how IT can assist in provisioning, managing and governing cloud deployments.  This means looking at both process and organization, and planning to change both so that IT stays relevant and is able to provision on demand cloud services within a corporate governance and compliance framework.

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Once again, thank you to Matt Gerber, executive vice president of sales and marketing at 2nd Watch, for taking time out to speak with VMblog.

Published Wednesday, January 22, 2014 7:05 AM by David Marshall
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