Managing integration is second only to managing risk in terms of the issues facing companies looking to migrate to the cloud, according to Mark Hall, deputy CIO at HM Revenue and Customs, who was speaking at the Cloud Computing World Forum at Olympia yesterday.
Hall said the increased focus on integration means we can expect to see a big increase in demand for multi-service integrators (MSIs) in the near future.
These experts will act independently of suppliers and be separate from systems integrators, who would tend to own towers of service within the datacentre.
MSIs would manage integration of complete cloud services and manage the complexity inherent in any mixed cloud infrastructure.
Daniel Pass, enterprise architect at Cable and Wireless Worldwide, also spoke on the same panel, entitled Cloud: The Future, and added that the risks associated with moving to the cloud will be reduced if the technology industry can "untangle the mess and help with integration".
"The customer wants the move to the cloud to be simple, not a headache. They don't want to have to manage complexity. Buying a service from the cloud should be a simple process." he said.
However, risk remains the most important issue under consideration before a cloud migration, and the panelists agreed that the business model for apportioning risk between the buyer and supplier had not yet been settled.
Tim Cowen, partner at the Open Computing Alliance, was also speaking at the event. He explained that he felt that contracts around services would be renegotiated as cloud computing moved further into the enterprise space, adding that risk would be shouldered by parties on both sides of the contract.
"If you buy potatoes from a shop, the risk is largely taken by the consumer, and this was the same with cloud computing in the consumer space. But in the enterprise space, the risk and liability is more likely to be taken on by the supplier if something is faulty," he said.
"An example of this is the fact that electrical wiring within a business tends to be far better maintained and more recently upgraded than wiring supplied by the same company in public infrastructures. This is because upgrading mitigates the risk of failure for suppliers in their contracts with business."