A few years ago, the cloud was touted as the answer to our prayers. A handful of Public Cloud Hyperscale firms like Microsoft, Google and Amazon were going to take the world by storm, with all other providers left to pick up the scraps.
A recent survey by CRN however, shows that all is not what it seems.
While Australian organisations willing to be named are very thin on the ground – the survey reveals an alarming number of early adopters of public cloud services, who have backed away from the public cloud for a variety of reasons. What is clear is that in earlier times, some businesses jumped headlong into cloud services, in a classic “me too” trend setting, before understanding all the ramifications of the new technology. They implemented a “Cloud First” policy, without understanding the business benefits and risks.
The same is still true today, but at least most organisations are a bit better informed, and the smart ones get advice from independent specialists (like Strategic Directions may we say!) to develop a cloud strategy that is aligned to their business goals.
The main reasons for this reversal of public cloud usage include the following:-
a. Bill Shock (or Sticker Shock as some people call it) was by far the biggest reason for disconnecting from the public cloud systems. Most often, this is attributable to organisations not accurately estimating or understanding the entry, operations and exit costs involved in running services in the public cloud.
b. A realisation by customers that there is no “one size fits all” solution for ICT services (no magic bullet as usual!), which is why there is a strong movement towards a hybrid or private cloud approach.
c. In some circumstances, cloud benefits can dissipate as volumes and scale increase, the result often being reflected in dramatically escalating costs.
d. In a classic understatement by an Industry heavyweight – “not all workloads are ready for the cloud…” . As with any other IT solution – a customer needs to know and understand what they are buying and how the service will support their business priorities. In other words, don’t believe all the sales hype!
e. Retrieval of and movement of vast amounts of data has caught a lot of users off guard, some having to pay enormous fees to get access to their own data…? Organisations now know how quickly a few cents per hour or per gigabyte can add up! As the old saying goes – “it doesn’t sound much if you say it quickly…”
f. Other reasons given for reversal of cloud services include:- internet problems, access to cost effective and resilient bandwidth, underwhelming performance, project failures, a general lack of full functionality in the cloud, and the old hoary chestnut – data sovereignty.
The CRN survey included varying statements from Australian organisations, including “we are reviewing our approach to cloud services” – to “some of our customers have moved assets to the cloud, found it uneconomical and moved back to their own infrastructure.”
As one senior professional commented – “depending on scale and requirements, putting internal infrastructure in the cloud may not be as cost effective as running it in house.”
The bottom line is that any organisation considering a move to cloud based services, MUST first develop a CLOUD Strategy that aligns with the Corporate Business and ICT Plans.
A Cloud Readiness Assessment is a key component of the cloud strategy process. This approach should provide the same degree of diligence as would be required if you were looking to purchase and implement a completely new hardware and software solution, because in the cold hard light of day – the business impact of the wrong decision(s) is exactly the same.
Talk to specialists who are completely independent of any vendors you are considering for your cloud migration plans, and make sure you clearly understand the entry, operations and exit costs and services involved (not always an easy task!!)