The Snowden Effect on the Channel
It's pretty clear that Edward Snowden's revelations concerning the extent to which the National Security Agency (NSA) is snooping on users of cloud and telecommunications services are weighing heavily on customers' minds.
We may never know how many customers in the United States, for example, will now opt to build private clouds on their own premises rather than engage a cloud service provider. But we do know that many of the organizations outside the country that would normally deploy applications in a data center running in the United States are now looking for alternatives.
A new survey of 300 executives in the United Kingdom and Canada conducted by Peer 1 Hosting, a cloud services and management hosting provider with operations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, finds that a third of those polled plan not to store data in U.S. data centers.
Robert Miggins, senior vice president of business development for Peer 1 Hosting, said customers are clearly reacting to the revelations about the extent of NSA spying and concerns over the broad powers that the Patriot Act gives the U.S. government to seize data stored in the cloud.
The biggest impact is clearly going to be an increased tendency to move to a private cloud. Obviously, most customers tend to lean in that direction. In fact, even when they do move to a cloud service, most customers wind up buying what looks more like a traditional managed hosting service running virtualization software than what most people in the industry would consider a public cloud computing service, Miggins said.
Obviously, there's a direct connection between where data is stored and the ultimate performance of any application. But Miggins said a data center in Toronto, for example, is going to be able to serve the needs of most U.S. customers in the Midwest or Northeast as any other data center located in those regions. All things being relatively equal, customers with international operations that include the United States are increasingly asking to store their data north of the border, Miggins said.
Whether this is a temporary shift or a new cloud computing reality remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: In the coming year, more solution providers in the channel are going to be learning the words to "O Canada."
Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.