Cloud computing is changing the way IT operations are conducted in modern business. Whether you've heard about the cloud from the CIO next to you on a cramped flight, or from picking up any tech publication in the last two years, odds are you've heard at least once the raving, inconsolable rantings of a cloud advocate. It usually begins with an innocent, if audaciously informed, assertion: "You're not in the cloud? Do you know what year it is?" - or something like that.
The argument that follows will be some variation of this: The cloud allows applications, data, and email to be delivered to a business via the internet. Migrating to the cloud is a necessary measure for organizations to grow and compete with other businesses in the twenty-first century. The main benefits of cloud computing, according to cloud proponents, include greater agility, increased scalability of applications and file sharing, better business continuity, and increased usage of virtualization to reduce costs and streamline operations. Well, what's the downside? you might be thinking.
The allure of the cloud in terms of its most popularly claimed benefits - "cheap" and "efficient" - is actually unfounded for the most part. As an operational model, cloud computing is generally more expensive and less efficient than a hybrid IT model (with components on-premise as well as in the cloud). Confused? You're not alone.
The top four reasons why the cloud frankly, sucks, for most organizations:
1. Loss of Control
When an organization moves into a cloud environment, a certain degree of control is lost due to the environment being hosted rather than on-premise. In a hosted environment certain file types are restricted, such as XML files. Say your organization, a mid-sized Financial Services firm for example, receives a daily client report in XML format via email. Since XML files are prevented from being received in a shared environment, Exchange in the cloud (for example) is not necessarily an ideal solution for your organization.
Loss of control in a cloud environment will occur not only with hosted Exchange, but with other applications as well. Organizations that have a lot of interdependencies and integrations may want to avoid moving certain applications to the cloud; integrations like Salesforce and Outlook, for example, will have similar control issues functioning in a shared environment.
Highly collaborative environments, such as companies that share a lot of Word documents or Excel files via email, experience reduced performance in the cloud. A file is sent from User 1, routed to the cloud provider, and then routed back to the company to User 2, slowing down the data transaction. The addition of a cloud, in this case, ultimately slows business and may not give an organization the performance it desires.
Because all environments are unique, moving your environment to the cloud could prove more or less costly than an on-premise solution. Hosted Exchange, for example, will result in additional costs if resources in your organization other than employees are managed through Exchange. Resources like conference rooms or projectors are commonly managed through Exchange, and businesses rely on this built-in functionality for organization. If your organization manages these types of resources through Exchange, moving to the cloud will carry unnecessary expenses since each resource has a set monthly cost.
4. Increased Bandwidth
Some organizations, especially highly collaborative ones, will need to double or even triple their bandwidth after moving their environment to the cloud. More megabits can be costly, and an unnecessary expense for your organization.
Loss of productivity is also more probable in the case of internet being disabled. With an on premise solution, emails can still be sent and received internally with a LAN. For an environment in the cloud however, if internet goes down so does all email - internal and external. Many organizations find that they are forced to purchase additional services in order to insure email availability in the case of internet failure.
Even in a private cloud, most organizations will still experience the same pain points if attempting to migrate their entire environment. Private clouds can be more difficult to scale due to time and resource limitations, and they require a significant level of engagement to virtualize the business environment.
Hopefully what you've begun to understand by reading this post is that the cloud isn't always the right choice - it has its advantages, sure, but those advantages are not all encompassing within your environment. So the next time you find yourself at the wrong end of a cloud rant, remember some of the points you've learned here.
If you've seen the light and are interested in exploring your hybrid IT options, click on the link to our whitepaper below.