Last week, I joined a panel discussion titled "Solving the Real-World Challenges of the Cloud-Enabled Enterprise" at the Cloud Connect Summit during Interop in Las Vegas.
The panel was unanimous in 'why' enterprises are adopting the Cloud (i.e. cost, scale, etc.) so the discussion focused on the 'how.' Predictably, the 'how' started with identifying the best platform to support workloads being moved from the datacenter to the Cloud, albeit private, public or both.
And there is a trio of platforms to contemplate. Consider that 451 Research, a division of the 451 Group analyst firm, is forecasting $21 billion in cloud computing 'as a service' revenue - SaaS infrastructure, PaaS and IaaS - by 2016 with a 39% CAGR expected through that year.
A common question is 'what's identity got to do with the cloud platform?' In one word: plenty!
Respondents to 451 Research's InfoPro Cloud Computing survey reported that security is the No. 1 pain point with cloud computing (37%) and the second most important selection criteria for public cloud (31%) on the heels of cost (41%).
From an identity perspective, solving for security in a Cloud environment comes down to three main components:
Directory integration, which ideally starts with not having your user names or passwords in the Cloud. That is followed closely by avoiding the burden or risk of managing the user names and passwords of partners and customers.
Inter-connectivity in a standards-based way - Enterprises will be more comfortable with Cloud adoption if they can minimize the vendor lock-in that they've experienced over the past 25 years.
Integration ranging from legacy on-premises infrastructure to private Clouds to public Clouds like AWS and Azure.
The most spirited part of the discussion was a differing opinion on the degree to which enterprises will invest in building their own private Clouds versus taking advantage of public Clouds. My opinion? Enterprises will use multiple Clouds in various combinations of private and public, only heightening the importance of standards-based inter-connectivity based on the identity of people and things.