My last blog on Amazon’s cloud mishap was certainly not intended to scare off would-be cloud customers but the episode most certainly scared some off those enterprises directly affected.  The lessons learnt for this fledgeling sector should be invaluable especially to the relative new-comers in the form of CSPs offering IaaS, PaaS, CaaS and SaaS.

Carol Wilson, from Light Reading put it most eloquently when she wrote, “that telecom service providers also face a real challenge in defining what ‘cloud’ means and where it fits in the broader array of hosted and managed services that have been the cornerstone of advanced business data services in the past.

“Cloud services didn’t originate in the telecom world, which is weird when you consider how long the idea of network clouds has been, well, floating around.”

Whilst the telecoms industry has been treading traditionally cautiously into this new world, Amazon and other internet players have jumped in, boots and all – even beating established data center players to the punch. No doubt some CSPs will be using last week’s glitch at Amazon as good reason for being tardy, but it will not slow down the market’s appetite for the flexibility and cost savings that cloud computing offers.

Cloud, in all its permutations, is moving fast and that is something our industry is not accustomed to. The same can be said for the traditional business models that we hold steadfastly to. Carol also pointed out is that hosted/managed services offered by CSPs have been associated with long-term contracts and infrastructure deployed on behalf of the customer. “The beauty of cloud offerings, on the other hand, is their flexibility — resources can be turned up or down on demand, used as needed and paid for only when used.”

That may take some getting used to as well. Locking customers, particularly small to medium enterprises, in to long-term contracts may have been safer and more profitable in the past but it may not be acceptable in the pay-as-you-go world we find ourselves in today. Those Generation X and Y habits are entering the corporate world at an alarming rate and CSPs will need to be able to address those demands or see their cloud business swing to the OTT players like Amazon.

We are already seeing smartphone and tablet apps accessing cloud services. Even basic online storage products like Dropbox and Evernote are proving incredibly popular for our upwardly mobile society. CSPs will have to become as nimble and flexible as those players if they stand a fighting chance of winning the favor of their target enterprise customers.