It’s been more than a decade since the launch of the first rudimentary cloud platforms. We’ve come a long way since then. Billions of people interact with the cloud every day. Many of the largest companies in the world run their IT operations on cloud platforms, and so do hundreds of thousands of smaller businesses. But there are still reasons for businesses to be cautious.
Many business leaders recognize how useful Infrastructure-as-a-Service could be to their company, but they are hesitant to make the leap from on-premises or colocated legacy systems to cloud hosting for business-critical applications. That is partly due to inertia: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But it is also in large part due to concerns about the risk posed by the potential for a botched cloud migration. We’ve all heard stories of businesses sinking millions of dollars into a cloud migration that didn’t work out, costing vastly more than it would have to do nothing at all.
No doubt cloud consultants think there isn’t much wrong with the way things are, but cloud vendors who take responsibility for helping their clients with cloud migrations would have a strong competitive advantage.
- Security and compliance
When I talk to businesses about moving to the cloud, their number one concern is regulatory compliance. How does a cloud user know that their applications and services will remain compliant with HIPAA or PCI DSS once they no longer control the infrastructure layer?
Certifications and business associate agreements go some way to solving that problem, but it would allay worry if cloud vendors were prepared to work with individual clients, including smaller businesses, providing the help they need to build infrastructure deployments suitable for hosting sensitive workloads.
Cloud server hosting is less expensive than buying, maintaining, and managing server hardware. Cost reduction is one of the major motivations for adopting cloud platforms in the first place. But maximizing the cost benefit isn’t a given; it is possible to mismanage cloud resources, spending more than necessary and undercutting any potential cost benefit.
Of course, it is not in the financial interest of most cloud vendors to stop their clients from spending more than they have to, but providing utilization monitoring services and consulting with clients on the efficient use of cloud servers would go a long way to helping them use the cloud as efficiently as possible.
The issues we’ve discussed can be reduced to a problem of complexity: mainstream cloud platforms are simply too complex.
Convoluted pricing structures, Byzantine management interfaces, and a lack of meaningful support from cloud vendors increases the chances that a cloud migration will go awry and decreases the chances that businesses will have the confidence to embrace a beneficial technology.
There is room in the market for a wide range of cloud vendors, from platforms that provide services and no support to hands-on service providers who are happy to help clients build solutions and achieve the full potential of on-demand, elastic, and flexible cloud infrastructure.
About Guest Author-
Karl Zimmerman is the founder and CEO of Steadfast, a leading IT Data Center Service company. Steadfast specializes in highly flexible cloud environments, robust dedicated and colocation hosting, and disaster recovery.