"But now we're seeing movement back to a hybrid environment or even fully back on-premise which is a huge change in direction for the industry. It all comes down to the maturity of the customer because there was an expectation that cloud was the panacea for every computing problem.
"That view of 'let's stick everything in the cloud' is changing because all businesses have achieved is moving the problem from one place to another."
Despite the wave of customer logos advocating a cloud-first - and perhaps cloud-only - corporate policy, the industry remains perplexed by what actually constitutes as a fully-fledged migration, creating market confusion as a result.
"At the pure infrastructure layer, I'm not observing too many businesses coming back because most never got into the cloud in the first place," Dimension Data general manager of data centre business, Nathan Vandenberg, explained.
"But what we are seeing is a sweating of the assets because organisations thought they could get into cloud and have spent the past few years trying. To some degree I suspect they are probably disappointed with the process given it's more experience and complex to operate than first thought."
Data centre criteria
Increasing use of big data, Internet of Things applications and analytics software, coupled with growing global mobile data traffic which is expected to increase at 53 per cent from 2015 to 2020, is seeing enterprises' demand additional bandwidth, data storage and computing power, as well as infrastructure and services for secure storage and monitoring of data.
Combined, these factors are driving demand and growth of the Australian data centre services market.
According to Frost & Sullivan research, the overall market reported annual growth of 18.3 per cent reaching $976 million in 2015, and is predicted to grow at a 12.4 per cent rate until 2022, with the market reaching $2.055 billion by 2021.
From a partner perspective, a changing market brings changing customer demands alongside, creating new criteria for vendors seeking to recruit new players within the channel.
"We work with vendors that align products and services so we're consuming and providing those in the same way as the customer is," AC3 CEO, Simon Xistouris, said.
"Quite often a customer asks for utility-based model as-a-service but as a partner, we're not getting the same from the back-end. So we're taking on the position of risk and harmonising it. Also vendors must come in at the right price to avoid competing with the channel because if they get it all right it works out well for everyone.
"But if not the partnership becomes very clunky and the person in the middle carries the risk."
For Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Weber said the vendor continues to ensure it "works more closely with partners" to ensure both parties align revenue streams in the future.
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