Brian Ott, VP, Worldwide Cloud Program
Global Outsourcing and Infrastructure Services
You may be in sensory overload about cloud computing and, like me, trying to separate fact from fiction. If you can bear another opinion, I’d like to share nine myths and the related facts about implementing an enterprise cloud strategy -- and why the time is right for enterprise cloud computing.
Myth 9: Cloud Computing is Brand New – a Revolution.
If you're an enterprise CIO, revolution is probably the last word you want to hear. I prefer to call cloud computing an evolutionary revolution. From a business perspective, cloud computing is incredibly agile, it levels the playing field for startups competing with established businesses, it connects people in a fundamentally different way, and it's going to generate unique business models. In that sense it absolutely is revolutionary.
From a technology perspective, it's much more about inheritance and convergence. Inheritance in the sense that you can take the best of mainframes, distributed computing, and what we've done with the Internet and see these all converge in the cloud with the added benefits of newer, more widely available technologies such as virtualization, automation and self-service portals.
Myth 8: All Clouds are the Same.
The truth is there are many types of clouds that fit different needs: public clouds, with rented services, multi-tenancy and self-service; private clouds, which do everything you can in the data center with many benefits of a public cloud environment and a lower risk profile; and hybrid clouds, which are where most people are going to end up in the long run. In a hybrid cloud, from a “single pane of glass” you can decide what workloads go into a public or private cloud and manage them holistically. A combination of hybrid, private and public clouds is the best of all worlds for the enterprise.
Myth 7: Cloud Computing is About the Technology.
Cloud computing is really about business. It gives you agility to address the market in fundamentally different ways and, given the continued focus on costs in this economy, provides significant advantages in OPEX vs. CAPEX, cash flow and risk reduction.
Myth 6: Private Clouds Have No Benefits Over Virtualization.
Private clouds are about virtualization plus much more – automation, metering, elasticity and self-service – all for less cost than a traditional data center.
Myth 5: Cloud Computing is Not Reliable.
When architected properly with built-in redundancy, cloud computing is very reliable. If you're going to look at a public cloud, you’ll want a provider that has a good disaster recovery strategy, so you can trust that your data and workloads are protected.
Myth 4: Cloud Value is Only about Cost.
In this economy, it’s all about cost. Everybody is trying to figure out how to save money and do more with less. For cloud to take off and really resonate in the enterprise, however, it also has to be about business agility and the opportunities that agility creates.
Myth 3: Cloud is Not for Mainstream Business Applications.
Today, you can’t talk about enterprise cloud computing without talking about hosting traditional enterprise applications in the cloud. I mean run-the-business applications involving sensitive data such as customer, patient, employee and financial information.
An enterprise cloud can accommodate hundreds of applications – without rewrites. Today, with the right level of security, reliability and manageability, you can address most conventional business applications by combining a private cloud and an enterprise public cloud in a hybrid environment while keeping other core business applications as traditional IT service. That’s pretty impressive, because we’re only three or four years into cloud computing.
Myth 2: The Cloud is Inappropriate for the Compliance Needs of Regulated Industries
The truth is the right cloud can meet your regulatory and compliance requirements. If the cloud provider has done the leg work for you, you can actually be more compliant in the cloud than in your own data center.
Myth 1: My Internal Data Center is More Secure Than the Cloud.
Doing cloud computing correctly – making it secure, reliable and manageable – makes it easier to address security-related issues like data location and data and code portability. With good disaster recovery and backup policies in place, you can confidently move your code from the cloud back into your data center, or between different clouds. You can keep data secure in the cloud through a combination of technologies such as encryption and bit splitting for data-in motion and stored data-at–rest. When data looks like water just going through a pipe – with no one able to identify individual molecules – you've basically got a cloud that is enterprise-ready.
I leave you with this additional thought: Don’t underestimate the power of aligning IT with business. When this happens, you will have an incredibly agile enterprise powered by the cloud. Organizations that achieve this alignment will be around in five to 10 years. The ones that do not, will not.