It is difficult to have an IT conversation with someone without the subject of Cloud Computing coming up at some point. The subject inevitably generates countless impassioned arguments, opinions, and observations from both sides of the debate. Oftentimes, there is some truth in every myth, but I would rank the following statements as the top myths in Cloud Computing.
- “I have been in IT for 20+ years, and this is the same thing I was doing in 1995.” Well, not unless you have a time machine. The public Cloud has been around for less than 10 years. The Cloud is something new and entirely different. Hosting, colocation, renting mainframe time, or leasing have very little to do with cloud.
- “We can’t go to the Cloud because of security.”
While security should be on every IT leader’s mind, the public Cloud providers have invested heavily to ensure online security of information. Numerous public data breaches have been in the news over the past year, and in every high-profile case, the customer was not using public Cloud infrastructure. Rather, their own networks and servers in their own data centers were breached. However, public Cloud doesn’t fix the issue of security either. Both models require diligence, and both have potential vulnerabilities.
- “Moving to the Cloud might be easy; but then they have me by the short hairs.”
Actually, an advantage to the major public Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services is the lack of long-term contracts. You can leave whenever you want. There are potential network charges to move large amounts of data out of their environment, and you will need to set up an alternative target environment. However, compare this to the “old” method of buying IT infrastructure. Moving off a system was not only complex, but it most likely would require taking a huge write-off for anything deployed within the last 3 years. Furthermore, moving an entire data center of physical hardware takes months of planning and significant capital. While still complex, moving applications and environments in the Cloud is much less complicated, especially with advanced toolsets.
- “The cloud is cheaper.” Actually, not necessarily. There are numerous factors to take into account before making this assumption. However, it is also important to consider the cost of not moving to the cloud. Cost is rarely the major reason to take advantage of Cloud Computing. Agility, Data Protection, Speed to Market, and Pay for Use are usually the driving factors.
- “Email is the best application for the Cloud.” It is certainly not a bad choice; who wants to manage a bunch of Exchange servers? However, a key advantage of the Cloud is the ability to scale rapidly- if you need to run 1000 servers in an hour, no problem! Another key advantage is the ability to pay only for what you use, making Cloud ideal for an application in which the usage could be highly variable. Email is actually fairly predictable. I am certainly not saying email is a bad choice for the Cloud- far from it! However, other applications and use cases are absolute “no brainers.” Large website promotions, online games or applications, test and development servers, disaster recovery initiatives, and big data projects are all likely even better use cases than email in the cloud.
In evaluating a move to the cloud, there are numerous variables to consider. But, the single most important question is “what will happen to our business if we don’t?”