Cloud giants have declared consumption-based models the new norm, however, the cloud market is still evolving as customer expectations expand beyond from cost and toward other areas of promise.
During a panel at Fortinet's global partner and user conference, Accelerate 18, this week, Carol Carpenter, Google Cloud's VP of product marketing, pointed out that customers who originally moved to cloud for savings and elasticity and shifted from CapEx to OpEx models are finding out it "wasn't quite the same equation they thought".
She said this has led the IT market to the era of the customer, where cloud users are expecting to be able to pay for what they use and use services like Database-as-a-Service and serverless options.
"Companies want to be able to predict and control those costs," Carpenter said, pointing to per-minute and per-second billing options Google has implemented to accommodate demand. "As we lower our costs and drive our infrastructure costs down we want to be able to convey that and give that to customers."
For solution providers, Buck Fannigan, senior director of platform technologies at Oracle, said that viewing IT as a utility will be commonplace and a key priority.
And while cost concerns remain a table stake in cloud conversations with customers, cloud executives say drivers for cloud adoption are evolving.
Fannigan said Oracle has recently been spotlighting price performance and predictability for enterprise-grade types of workloads.
"It's cost as well as differentiated services, not just the commodity renting of some compute and storage - especially at the top of the enterprise," he said.
IBM Cloud security senior product manager Andrew Guerra agreed there's now a "different tone" to conversations around potential savings derived from cloud technologies.
"Now you have the security teams in the conversation. What is the ROI for the strategic move to the cloud? You have compliance teams. You have a whole different conversation, which now leads to a different quantification if you look at just the economics of what we intended to promise to be, which is infinite scale of compute," he said.
In conversations with CISOs, CIOs, CTOs and CEOs, Carpenter is seeing more focus on using cloud as a tool in delivering better experiences to their customers. She said cloud users are looking to tech firms to help drive innovation with higher level services, such as data analytics and artificial intelligence, for competitive advantage.
"That's the promise we have to deliver to," she said.
However, where the channel is concerned the cloud can leave resellers feeling isolated or more distant from their customers. Srikumar Vaitinadin, architect of commercial software engineering at Microsoft Azure, said this has impacted Microsoft's bundling approach. He said the vendor looks to emphasise enterprise agreements among its sales teams and has bundled Microsoft's services, virtually all of which have a cloud component.
"Everything is bundled along with Azure so when you have a committed amount for a period of time that always helps you to reduce cost and… helps you to test and build your strategy across a wide range of products that Microsoft… has," he claimed.
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