SAP: EC2 crash makes selling the cloud harder

Business applications provider SAP has warned that Amazon’s recent EC2 cloud service crash will make it more difficult for the industry to convince business to move to the cloud.

Talking to Bloomberg, SAP’s Global Business Solutions president, Sanjay Poonen, said that Amazon’s April shut-down and Google’s recent problems with its online productivity apps served as a reminder of the risks facing the $68bn cloud industry.

“The recent outages and challenges in cloud computing faced by and Google are an opportunity for the industry to team together to better define standards,” he said, adding that the industry would have to work harder to “make people comfortable with where cloud computing is.”

When Amazon’s EC2 service went offline in April, high-traffic sites such as FourSquare and Reddit went down with it. Google has, over the years, experienced several outages, the most recent of which saw some users losing data; the company’s contract to provide email and application services for the City of Los Angeles has been dogged by allegations of security issues.

SAP has had its own share of problems moving into the cloud: before launching in July 2010, the company had years of false starts and delays before finally getting its Business By Design SaaS offering to market. When the firm initially announced the product in 2007, it had a target of 10,000 users by the end of 2010. The reality has been less than stellar, with user figures currently somewhere around the 400 mark and a revised target of 1,000 by the end of this year.

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Hardly surprising, then, that Poonen believes tough times and security problems elsewhere might have an impact on his company’s efforts. Poonen told Bloomberg that SAP was working hard to modernise its image as it seeks to build an off-premise reputation for itself in the cloud market. “We’ve had to make it a high priority so that we tell the world we aren’t this old dinosaur company, with only on-premise,” he said. Poonen pointed to SAP’s recent appointment to a US Government commission focusing on developing standards for cloud technology as one way in which the firm could shake of its reputation as the “antithesis to the cloud.”

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