So, off I went to the 2014 Cloud Expo Europe show expecting it to be much like last year. I was wrong; a record breaking 5,000 people flocked to ExCeL with 500 exhibitors and hundreds of the world’s leading industry voices from the worlds of cloud and data centre technology were on show to us mere mortals.

I attended a number of the keynote speeches across both days. Some of the more interesting ones were by former Netflix CTO Adrian Cockroft, and Nebula CEO Chris Kemp, formerly CTO at NASA. But all had useful insights into the future of cloud technologies and services.

Some of the salient points from these speeches were:

  • The massive marketing engine has moved away from spouting about convergence of infrastructure, it is seen as old news. Basically, stop talking about convergence. It’s happened! Everything converged already.
  • No one is interested in just services. So differentiate yourself around enhanced services and not bells and whistles on the hardware
  • Orchestration and Automation is everything – It’s all about the workflow
  • With the continuing growth of “Everything as a Service” solutions, customers are struggling to manage and integrate the multiple cloud solutions

Some interesting comments from various cloud surveys during the conference suggested the Level of adoption and change of Cloud services is increasing and that nearly 50 per cent of businesses are planning to make big changes to their cloud(s) to accommodate planned growth in the next 12 months (no surprise there). However, more interestingly a new survey has found that more than half (53%) of UK businesses using cloud providers to run all or part of their IT infrastructure do not feel that a single provider is capable of meeting their requirements and only a quarter of organisations feel that their cloud provider really understands their business.

This has given rise to a whole new breed of provider “the cloud integrator” (a provider that can manage multi-provider services and platforms). With the increasing SaaS, PaaS, DaaS services being consumed from different providers it will become more beneficial for companies to work with these new cloud integrators instead of a single cloud provider in the future.

So what at the key takeaways for managed service providers in the upstream Oil & Gas industry like ISN? Well, in my opinion, we need to look at these trends and understand the feedback from customers. We must make sure we can provide the forward thinking, vision, solutions and services that fully align with our customers business needs.

In general the upstream industry is a slow adopter of full cloud services, mainly due to very large data sets and heavy security requirements. However, this will change as new technologies and offerings start to propagate through our industry (typically in hybrid cloud environments). We need to be prepared to work in these mixed cloud architectures both as a designer, solution manager and service provider.
The cloud based solutions which truly meet the business needs and offer tangible benefits to the oil & gas sector, e.g. remote geoscience workstations and technology agnostic Desktop as a Service (DaaS – Any desktop on any device) will be the catalysts for further cloud adoption in the industry. These are exactly the future developments we at ISN are working on.