Two Things I Want From Public Clouds

Public clouds are growing at a tremendous rate and many are moving at least some of their workloads to the public clouds. As I use these clouds – the plural being intentional - I continue to see more and more I would like out of them. This post contains two from that list with some details. I hope I'm not the only one looking for the same things.

Support!

When a company is spending millions – an all too common number – on a cloud service provider they typically want to have good support. If something breaks you might need to make a phone call. If you find a bug you might need a path to report it and find out the status on it. You may even want to have people to lobby for features.

Consider this, if a consumers cable Internet goes out they have someone to call. There they can find out status on things being resolved. They may even talk with a real person to help them with a problem. This is a consumer grade support.

Shouldn't a business grade service at least offer this level of support? It may come in different ways. For example, a status website with updates or someone online documentation explaining how things work. This isn't enough for business grade. There are still cases where someone has an issue with their account that's not common or they find a bug where they found an edge case. I've personally run into both of these situations across multiple major public clouds. For these cases there needs to be business grade support for those businesses.

This is a request because not every major public cloud does this well enough.

Standard APIs

Public clouds are more like operating systems than utilities in the way people interact with them. Consider this, in the US I get electricity at a standard voltage at a relatively standard frequency coming to my home. It doesn't matter who the electricity provider is. To work with that power I can buy appliances from many companies, switches and outlets from still others, and everything works interchangeably. I can even take pieces from one place and hook them up in another. The interfaces and interactions are all in common specs.

This common spec scenario serves customers.

Public clouds have their own APIs. Building applications for them can be as different as building a Windows and Mac application. They are different platforms. This helps enable vendor lock-in. It serves the vendors.

But, many companies have a policy of no single source providers. This isn't an IT policy but a company policy. Any major item in their logistics pipeline can't be sole sourced. That means many IT departments needs to work with more than one cloud provider.

This is, in many ways, a good thing for consumers. But, that's a story for another time.

Here's a common annoyance to prove my point. How annoying is it to write object storage integration for each major public cloud into apps? It's incredibly annoying. There are now at least 3 different APIs, and some would argue more, that need to be supported by numerous apps. Why can't we have standard APIs?