Cloud Service Debate
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Public or Private Clouds – The Big Cloud Service Debate

Business Drivers Towards a Cloud Service

As the public cloud model continues to mature and become better understood there have been a surge in the number of blogs that provide good evidence as to what the market is doing. These posts are suggesting that IT teams are thinking more closely at the implications of what to move when deciding on a public cloud service. They are planning a more diversified approach to public/private cloud use, based on their assessment of the risk to core services being affected by public cloud capabilities. These systems are better protected from disruption in a hosted private cloud in order to maintain and control the stability of the services.

The flip side of these decisions is that while making the choice to embrace hybrid cloud as part of their IT strategy for core services, they are routinely adopting public cloud for new developments and technologies. Such new changes are being introduced to the business to bring the development to market faster, or to test new technologies and access methods to services away from the core platforms.

This hybrid approach is further being fuelled by the increasing take up of Office 365 deployments which is freeing IT teams from the maintenance of inhouse exchange servers. It is giving them more time and resources to focus on transforming the business and developing new services. This allows teams the ability to collaborate and share files and folders using standard tools, for example, Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium licenses.

The speed and relative simplicity that extending these capabilities to a set of users includes mobile access and flexible working. The users have the same look and feel demonstrating to many companies that there are some parts of their business that need to be cloud based.

No more behind on delivery and over budget

Senior management and business owners are also discovering there is a completely new way of supporting investment in technology that all businesses need to embrace to remain competitive and relevant. The idea of a monthly cost rather than the upfront investment in equipment and licensing to get an idea off the ground is starting to resonate.  Spinning up an environment for a new application or service to test the idea prior to spending too much money is a revolution.

This is levelling the playing field for big and small businesses alike as the risk in “trying” something is the same regardless of size and it is this that is transforming the way investment is structured. The chance of project scope creep and uncontrolled costs being injected into the development or technology being test is vastly reduced by this method. Activity can be linked closely to key metrics and KPI’s of the project and the investment can literally be optimised around these key deliverables and outputs. Ultimately this gives accountability for project teams to the business units requesting them on cloud adoption.

Pay attention to deeper bits of information

But a note of caution, rushing to the cloud is fraught with minefields. Pushing services to the cloud when they are happily running on part depreciated infrastructure is mad both financially and technically. Running assets to the end of their depreciation can be accommodated in a hybrid model and will ensure the cost of service doesn’t attract a double whammy of asset depreciation costs. Although this does mean that public cloud service charges have to be allocated against the service just because moving to the cloud is the “in” thing to do.

A really important point to stress when migrating to a hybrid service, or the public cloud , is to ensure that all the bits of IT jigsaw line up. Ensuring that domains and access controls are planned and developed as you expect the service to perform at the end of the project and is not geared to simply getting to the cloud “as quickly as possible”. Some of the choices made at the start of a cloud migration project will have long lasting effects that may influence the analysis of whether the move to the cloud was the right one.

The success stories are everywhere not just the big corporates

Its not just the big guys that we continually read about that have moved to the public cloud that are indicators of cloud adoption.  In Europe, cloud adoption by SME’s are a better validation as to which way the cloud market is blowing. Any of these large corporates moved services to the cloud because of their size and the leverage they could make on public cloud providers to give them a good deal. A vast proportion of these services are storage based, which still makes up the biggest number in the public cloud adoption metric.

Smaller companies are taking a hybrid model and moving some of their compute as well as storage to cloud providers. The goal is to speed up new services to market, drive their innovation and increase their global reach. As a result, these successes have a higher ratio of compute to storage than some of the global consumers of cloud. Very few of them (large or small businesses) are ditching everything and just going cloud only – the reason for this is the importance of legacy systems stability vs better flexibility for that system is just not tangible.

Still too difficult?

Sadly, cloud adoption is still being held back, with the primary reasons being security and difficulty to migrate. In reality, the security question is an overarching one for all systems. Notwithstanding that security in the cloud has to be controlled differently and the migration concern is really one of not having enough good information to make an informed decision.

Small businesses need to be able to lean on cloud provider expertise and develop their plan with a cloud company that doesn’t have their foot in just one camp. These businesses need to look into a blended service to make cloud adoption a success.