As I continue to engage customers around cloud and DevOps, I am amazed at the percentage of customers where there is pushback against cloud computing. Even more interesting are the reasons and roles responsible for denying advancement in the use of cloud in companies. For example, one IT executive is caught between the business, where the board is pushing for use of cloud and the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) that is saying, “you can move processes out to the cloud, but not data.”
One thing is clear, there is a lot of misunderstanding going around when the word “cloud” is used. Many still immediately associate it with public, multi-tenant cloud solutions where their processes and data will be co-located with those from many other businesses. Security is still high on the list of reasons for businesses not engaging with cloud solutions faster. Those with cloudaphobia cite examples, such as Target and JP Morgan Chase as reasons against using cloud, which is hysterical when you consider that these are examples of breaches that occurred against privately managed data center systems.
There also is a fair amount of job security fears abound. After all, what is a storage or server engineer’s role in a business that is moving toward Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) without retraining? The business has concerns about frightening off this part of the labor force too quickly as there are many critical systems still under their management.
Finally, there’s those that still believe that because they have moved toward greater than eighty percent virtualization they are obtaining the same benefits as those who have migrate to cloud. This is another unfortunate misnomer. All virtualization has brought is a standard way to manage provisioning and deploying virtual servers across a set of resources. It still take a considerable amount of human labor to manage which physical resources will be allocated to a particular resource pool and which applications stacks will run on which resource pools without some form of cloud manager or Platform-as-a-Service (Paas).
The unfortunate downside to all this fear, uncertainty and doubt is that businesses are missing out on the positive aspects cloud computing has to offer, even if the business was to build its own cloud. For example, standardization of platforms, greater utilization of compute resources, and the ability to scale applications across resources more effectively all simplify operations, reduce overhead and shift cycles back toward innovation. However, its difficult to get these points across when the word cloud invokes, “talk to the hand”.
So, for those businesses that are adverse to the word cloud, I recommend you put away your bias and consider focusing on cloudy concepts. The cloud is an architecture, not a location or a product. Given the backlog of tasks and effort it currently takes to manage most IT operations in most enterprises, it behooves any business to consider the value that moving to a cloud architecture regardless if you build it yourself or acquire it as a service. There are so many options available to businesses today to suit their comfort level with cloud, and given it takes on average six to nine months for businesses to migrate their first workload to the cloud, holding off the decision is delaying a decision that holds vast potential to give the business much needed agility in today’s digital economy.