The cloud is many things to many people. Justifying a move to a public cloud from on-premises or a private cloud can require you to address some misconceptions along the way.
The public cloud offers tremendous opportunities to drive modernisation and improve efficiencies, but some organisations underestimate its potential complexities. Consequently, they may not make the right decisions and may fail to realise the full value of their investment.
Here, we set out 12 everyday assumptions about the cloud which show a nuanced, rather than a simplistic view of the public cloud.
1.) The public cloud is more cost-effective than on-premises
There are significant cost advantages to be had by moving your on-premises data and workloads to the cloud, but there is a caveat. Without a public cloud adoption strategy, your migration plan may be flawed and neglect things like:
- Right-sizing workloads, so you only pay for what you need
- Leveraging cost-saving opportunities, such as reserved instances
- Implementing cost-management tools, e.g., Azure budgets
And atypical system configurations and misaligned system architectures could mean you pay more for the staff to manage it.
2.) It’s easy to set up and migrate to the public cloud
Setting up systems in the cloud is not the same across cloud vendors. Their processes differ, and complexity increases proportionately with the number of applications and clouds.
And there are crucial governance considerations, which in multi-cloud environments especially, can be tricky. Plus:
- Migrations are manually intense, and the time to migrate assets can be affected by bandwidth limitations between the source and the target
- Test plan and migration timelines can be time-consuming and experience project slippage because of the resources demanded
But by working with the right partner, you can both simplify and accelerate your migration to the cloud.
3.) Managing the public cloud is simple
Through the benefits of application modernisation, managing a single cloud app may well be simple. But running multiple applications across different cloud vendors, and managing how they interact with each other, is more complicated.
Factor in governance, monitoring, security systems and cost-control, and managing the cloud could call for expertise and resources you don’t have in-house.
An experienced and skilled cloud partner can take the burden from you, leaving your IT team to focus on value-add activities and innovation.
4.) Moving from one public cloud provider to another is uncomplicated
There are potential pitfalls, and it’s wise to prepare for them. Moving from one cloud service to another can mean starting from scratch. For example, an application may have been developed using a cloud provider’s technology stack, and it can get trapped in their specific architecture.
You can migrate IaaS virtual servers in many instances, but could face high costs building out the new cloud landing zone and disruption when migrating your workloads. It’s the same moving between private clouds; datacentre exits are complex.
And because features and services vary between public cloud platforms, there are copious considerations. These can range from reimplementation and the security and storage of operating systems to the platform’s high-level management and governance.
5.) You should use the cloud for everything
Countless organisations are embracing a cloud-first approach. The cloud is a tremendously agile environment, affording the flexibility to manage workloads with highly variable and unpredictable performance requirements.
But as with any business consideration or technology investment, there must be a concrete use case for leveraging the cloud.
Not all workloads or IT services are a good fit for the cloud. If you have vast amounts of data, maintaining and processing it in the cloud is costly compared to using storage at the edge and applying sophisticated analysis. And sometimes a hybrid environment is a more compelling proposition.
6.) You should mirror your on-premises environment in the cloud to save money
Many digital assets are overprovisioned in on-premises data centres by as much as 50%. If you plan to provision in the public cloud to match your current environment, achieving the optimal cost model and savings will be challenging.
Instead of using historical provisioning patterns, review and optimise your environment to align consumption with usage patterns.
7.) Server costs drive business cases for cloud migration
Some organisations ‘sweat their server investments’ throughout sometimes long but regular refresh cycles and could see a lower ROI with cloud adoption. The point here is don’t make server costs alone your reason for migrating to the cloud.
Factor in other expenses that support your business case, such as repeated service outages and facility costs.
8.) You should stick with one cloud vendor
For simplicity, you may want to procure as many services as possible through a single vendor, but few vendors supply all the services you might desire.
The cloud represents thousands of services and applications and your strategy should inform the choices you make. Adopt those that deliver the best outcomes and support your plan.
9.) Having multiple cloud vendors prevents lock-in
Reducing dependency on one cloud vendor may provide some benefits, but this won’t remove the potential for lock-in.
10.) Enterprise organisations are moving out of the public cloud
We rarely encounter an enterprise organisation that has chosen to restore their cloud workloads to on-premises. Investments in public cloud IaaS continue. Many organisations report moving, but this is from SaaS, colocation, and other outsourcers to on-premises environments.
IDC, the global provider of market intelligence, coined the term ‘cloud repatriation’. It describes organisations leveraging the considerable advancements in hyper-converged infrastructure for managing their critical workloads in response to security, performance, and cost challenges in the public cloud.
Microsoft recognises this requirement and offers impressive technologies such as Azure Stack and Azure Arc, providing synergy between on-premises and public cloud for hybrid operating models and blending the best of all worlds.
And there are cases where maintaining large volumes of data have necessitated moving to hybrid environments, or edge storage models.
11.) The cloud is less secure than on-premises
Historically, cloud computing was perceived as less secure than on-premises, despite the few public cloud breaches compared to on-premises. Most public cloud breaches involve bad configuration of the cloud services, not the platform itself.
Cloud providers invest heavily in security to minimise damaging breaches that erode trust and disrupt their business. But cloud adoption requires an understanding of the shared responsibility model. The model determines what you and your provider are responsible for. You are always responsible for protecting your data, whatever type of cloud it resides in.
Never accept the security of a cloud service without undertaking due diligence. Apply additional and appropriate controls where necessary.
12.) Once I’ve completed my cloud migration, my work is done
Benefitting from the enormous potential of the public cloud means that your migration is just the beginning. There are huge gains to be made from transformational activities, like modernising your applications.
As well as a cloud strategy and a migration process, plan for post-migration activity.