No matter if proprietary or open source: Public cloud providers try to attract business customers with all sorts of approaches and systems. And while the some consider the market to be already saturated and carved up, Steve Janata still expects plenty of disruption ahead. In an interview, the COO from Crisp Research explains why that’s the case and what a cloud provider needs to do to remain successful.
Mr. Janata, Crisp Research has rated cloud providers for quite some time. In your opinion, what makes for a good public cloud offering?
Steve Janata: That’s not so easy to answer. It depends on, among other things, the intended purpose, the companies and the workloads of a cloud. There are a variety of scenarios.
Steve Janata: Take the operation of a website: Customers are primarily concerned with the cost. But for complex IoT projects pricing is less relevant. Then it’s about questions like: Is there solution for managing containers? What role does serverless computing play? How is the network throughput? And what’s the global availability? Whether a cloud provider is the right choice for a customer depends much more on how many different types of workloads they can run on the cloud. Generally speaking, there’s no one cloud that can do everything optimally. You can see this in how the market share is distributed among various players. Each cloud has its own particular strengths.
Steve Janata: The strength of the Open Telekom Cloud is its price-performance balance. And when it comes to workloads dealing with restrictive data protection as well. Certain verticals, for example, from the public sector are particularly well suited for it. But we know from surveys and our client projects: No one has a pure single-vendor strategy when it comes to the public cloud. Multi-cloud environments are the product of choice to always have the optimal solution for every requirement. That means most of the Open Telekom Cloud users also have other cloud services from different providers.
The Open Telekom Cloud started in 2016, meaning it’s still relatively new on the market. Back then it appeared as if the market leaders had already won the loyalty of their customers. Did Deutsche Telekom manage to position itself as an alternative to the hyperscalers from abroad?
Steve Janata: I have to disagree here: In my opinion, the market is not yet decided. And it wasn’t back then either. The real allocation of the cloud market is just starting! Because we have come to a point when the big concerns are turning to the cloud with their massive workloads. This will likely cause big shifts in market share. Especially when you look at the global allocation, a lot is going to change. AWS, for example, will continue to lose market share. That means: The market is not yet determined; a lot will happen in the next two to three years.
Steve Janata: If you came to the market with that kind of offering today, it would definitely be too late. But it was different two years ago. The topic of cloud adoption hadn’t really gotten started yet in Germany. So the Open Telekom Cloud was there at just the right time. And in my opinion, it’s a real alternative, in particular because of its technological foundation OpenStack. There still isn’t parity among the large providers, but you’ve managed to establish a cloud on the German market. Many didn’t think that would be possible.
Steve Janata: That’s true, but to place cloud on the market that’s going to receive real consideration from users requires specific preconditions. This includes taking the technology seriously and having a clear roadmap.
Steve Janata: Picking a cloud provider is an expensive decision for companies and always involves a certain amount of risk. That’s why they have to be sure that a deal with a cloud provider will be a lasting one. We believed both then and now that Telekom together with its partners would invest for the long term. That is the foundation for the success of the Open Telekom Cloud. Plus, there is a good market for OpenStack and there is a good market for local variants focused on German data protection standards. That creates a reason for it to exist and means that the Open Telekom Cloud has already surpassed the biggest challenge out there. Now the time has come to fulfill the market potential created by the technology and platform.
Steve Janata is COO and Senior Analyst for the IT research and consultancy Crisp Research AG. He has advised leading technology firms on strategy, portfolio and channel management issues for more than 15 years. He is an expert on the cloud market and competition, cloud security and cloud ecosystems. Before taking up his current position, Steve led the Cloud Computing & Innovation Practice of the Experton Group together with Carlo Velten for eight years and was the initiator of the Cloud Vendor Benchmark.