by Andy Jones
How many times have you heard the following about cloud computing?
- “The cloud can work for SMBs, but won’t scale for our enterprise needs.”
- “If I can’t track enterprise data in the cloud, then I won’t put it there"
- “The cloud is not secure.”
As IT consultants, MCPc hears and assesses “cloud myths” like these every day. We bust through them by leveraging the latest virtualization and cloud computing technologies to enable secure, mobile anyplace workspace environments for our clients.
are the top 10 cloud myths we hear — and the rationale that busts through them.
1. “The cloud is not secure.” Like a briefcase filled with hard-copy contracts, or a misplaced USB drive loaded with confidential documents, any public cloud solution purchased, or private cloud architected onsite, will ultimately be as secure as it’s engineered to be.
When evaluating cloud security, look both at the end solution as well as its individual components. Are you confident in the integrity of the software, firmware and networks on which your cloud relies?
Ask potential providers which security standards (such as those from NIST) their cloud is designed to meet or exceed. Also, how do management and control options show you any risks identified, and report on continual security?
2. “The cloud is not reliable.” No service level agreement (SLA) commits to 100 percent uptime or availability. Outages such as Amazon’s EC2 collapse in 2011 brought this concern to the forefront for many businesses.
However, a smart cloud will have backups in place to plan for downtime and improve overall reliability. For example, Netflix relied on the Amazon service, yet didn’t have as rough of an experience as other companies affected by the outage because of well-planned backups and redundancies. Does your cloud service rely on N+1 redundancies and other protections?
3. “There’s no way to keep track of where my data ‘lives’ in the cloud.” Given the by-design dynamic nature of the cloud, providers leverage complex and redundant infrastructures for improved uptime and reliability. Proper designs take all potential data locations into consideration, and clearly articulate these details to clients.
To ensure your businesses’ data remains compliant to industry regulations (and to maintain as much control possible), ensure your contracts and SLAs specify:
- Data center
and storage jurisdiction limits;
- Data ownership
at every stage of cloud storage;
- Details on
data access and security; and
- If/when data is disclosed to a third party.
4. “Deploying cloud applications is too difficult.” Deploying cloud applications is easy, especially for end users. It’s the back-end cloud enabling and setup that’s critical in delivering successful business outcomes.
When developing applications for the cloud or considering re-encoding existing applications for cloud enablement, think long-term in regard to centralization, automation and change management, vendor (or API) lock-in, and versioning to save headaches down the road.
5. “Low cost is the cloud’s chief attraction.” Many mistakenly think that implementing cloud-based technology is the end-all fix for expensive IT. While the pay-as-you-go model can show return, an on-premise cloud may be a major IT investment.
Overall cloud ROI has to examine both hard costs and soft costs. Hard costs include hardware, software, licensing, training, support and maintenance. Soft costs are intangibles like the productivity of a mobile workforce, IT security, business uptime, and quicker go-to-market timelines.
6. "Cloud computing is only a pay-as-you-go model.” Different payment models make more or less sense based on how your cloud will be used. Compare it to physically moving employees and office space from one area to another via plane. Is it more efficient for you to buy a corporate jet, rent a company charter, or commercially transport individuals and equipment from one place to another? Consider cost, efficiency, logistics, and whether a long- or short-term solution will better satisfy your overall objective.
Comparing this to the cloud: If it were important for your organization to own technology for internal use only, you’d likely opt for an onsite option. This would require a heavy upfront investment, but lower operating costs down the line.
If you’d like the benefits of continually upgraded technology, outsourcing your cloud in the form of a high-quality private model adds the value of a dedicated cloud solution.
In some cases, the pay-as-you-go model can be taken advantage of when it fits regulations and overall price point.
7. “I’ve heard that many applications cannot be virtualized.” There’s an entire industry centered on application virtualization — and pretty much any Windows 32 or 64 bit application can be virtualized. The older the app, the more difficult it can be, but that’s not to say it technically cannot be done. Ability aside, however, compatibility and licensing issues may present a roadblock.
The question isn’t really can it be virtualized, but should it be. End-user segmentation is the most important step in answering virtualization assessment decisions. Also, use tools such as App-DNA's Apptitude to determine which apps are compatible with different operating systems and virtualization technologies.
virtualization always requires a connection.” Historically, to stream or access
virtual desktops and applications required an always-on connection. Today,
IT triumphs by taking advantage of last-mile access.
True client-side hypervisors, such as Citrix XenClient, provide secure and flexible VDI access to the mobile workforce — and allow workers to use virtual desktops, even in environments with no network connection.
cloud means there is no role left for IT.” It’s rather the contrary. As it is now,
many IT teams are stretched far too thin; IT managers serve as “copier
maintenance crews.” Cloud adoption enables a more strategic,
business-focused role for the CIO — focused on process, management and
innovation, all backed by meaningful data. Not to mention, recent research from
IDC shows that the cloud is poised to
generate 14 million jobs in the next three years (Source: forbes.com).
10. “Cloud services are fine for small or medium sized businesses, but won’t scale to enterprise needs.” The cloud is all about large enterprises. It’s a similar concept to Costco’s or Sam’s Club’s: Purchase in bulk to receive product at a reduced price per unit, both for the customer and cloud provider.
Therefore, benefits are often greatest for enterprise-sized business. Simply think of the soft returns available to a small business, and multiply. Global companies can leverage the cloud to collaborate more efficiently; cut time in go-to-market strategy, R&D and testing; and take bigger chances with mitigated risk.
The key — for organizations of any size — is to find the solution that supports your needs from access, to security and compliance, and everywhere in between.
cloud computing moves through the hype cycle, it’s important to note that its underlying technologies have been around
for a while, providing a solid architectural foundation for anything you
may want to build or invest in. These technologies continually evolve and
improve, busting through the most common myths of the cloud.
Andy Jones is the senior vice president of sales at MCPc (Cleveland, OH). www.mcpc.com