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Telstra operates at least four clouds, says you use too many clouds

Corporate 'research' is a fine thing because it always proves the commissioner is right

The Reg ignores the bulk of corporate “research” because it's nearly always an attempt to make a business look credible rather than a sincere effort at discovering something new.

But we're making an exception in the case of new Telstra Global Services research titled “Customer-centric cloud: Hype or Hybrid?” and available here if you're willing to register.

Telstra Global Services is the billion-a-year enterprise services arm of Australia's dominant carrier, Telstra.

The research is unremarkable in most ways: it talks up the usual opex vs, capex, and “cloud elasticity = agility” arguments, and trots out the “working with people who won't leave you on hold listening to Greensleaves for a week when your apps are down” tale too.

But the bit that caught our eye is the assertion by Jim Clarke, Telstra Global's international director of marketing, product and pricing that “Three-quarters of decision makers want to procure cloud services from a single provider, yet the majority have purchased offerings from three vendors in efforts to rapidly respond to market needs.”

This turns into a press release proclaiming “Three's A Crowd: Businesses working with too many cloud providers”.

Which sounds Very Important, until one lets reality intrude in three ways.

For starters, different clouds offer different qualities and many businesses will therefore find entirely sensible reasons for consuming services from multiple providers. Indeed, The Reg regularly notices the same reference customers popping up at cloud gabfests: News Limited has put its name to case studies by Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, and has also gone on the record as a Google apps user. Plenty of other organisations will also be using multiple clouds for multiple reasons. It's not hard to guess at their logic: some clouds are stronger in some areas than others; some offer features others can't deliver; some may be present in useful and low-latency locations that others are not; and, working with multiple cloud providers could be a disaster recovery and/or resiliency strategy.

The second reality is Telstra's own, because it offers at least four clouds of which The Reg is aware. The company is an enthusiastic operator of hosted Microsoft Exchange, will soon become the Australian arm of VMware's vCloud Air, operates its own cloud (based in part on Cisco products) and is also known to offer servers-as-a-service powered by Parallels. It's not clear if Telstra offers unified account management across all of those offerings.

Thirdly, surely what's good for the goose is good for Telstra? If one cloud from one source is the right way to go, why the multiple products?

Telstra's research appears aimed at international rather than domestic readers: just 80 of the 675 interviewees were Australians. To be fair, Telstra Global Services' cloud offerings don't have same the overlap as Telstra's domestic offerings.

Even with Telstra's overlaps out of the picture, arguing that one cloud fits all remains an easily-contestible and shallow argument. ®

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