It is widely held belief that the term ‘cloud’ is simply a buzzword that is applied to cases that utilise multiple technologies that have existed for many years. Whilst clouds have only been around for the past 6 years or so, the underlying components such as servers and storage networks have been around since the dawn of IT – the cloud term is simply applied in order to shift cloud services. And because everyone seems to be using the cloud, managers are insistent on incorporating it into their IT strategies without really understanding what it means, just because they think it will allow them to really remain competitive. The truth is that the cloud can only give an organisation a competitive edge when the underlying technology is truly understood because this allows for investments to be made in the components that will deliver the best performance benefits that the lowest cost.
Understanding the word ‘cloud’ in its true sense
In reality the concept that the term ‘cloud’ is applied to has been around since the dawn of servers. The term cloud is generally applied to any scenario that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet, whether this be a virtual infrastructure (IaaS), software (SaaS), or a platform (Paas); the issue with this term is that not many managers really understand what it means and what it does, rather many opt to migrate to the cloud because they’re fully aware that it is what competitors are doing. Although managers order this migration with the best of intentions, as they understand the cloud as being a way of saving money and increasing efficiencies, their lack of understanding could lead to large expenditure without fully realising the true benefits that the cloud could bring to their business.
Managers looking to consider the cloud should request a plan that focuses purely on the branch of cloud hosting that you want to consider, such as IaaS, PaaS or SaaS, as opposed to the cloud buzzword. This will place the emphasis on the technology itself and should provide an avenue down which more can be learned, enabling managers to gain a better understanding of what they are about to approve. The issue of whether a technology solution provides good value for money will also be given better consideration and so the overall result should be that technology are projects involving cloud technologies are approved based on their merits, not simply because competitors are embracing cloud computing.
Scrapping everything in favour of the cloud
A primary reason for the boom in enterprise hosting sales has been many businesses scrapping their existing infrastructures in favour of moving everything into the cloud. On one hand this could be a good idea because it can save them money in the long-term, but in situations where the existing infrastructure is doing its job absolutely fine and doesn’t necessarily require upgrading, this represents a massive waste of money. In order for cloud deployments to represent good value for money, infrastructures should be consolidated and migrated only when existing infrastructure elements can’t cope with demand anymore or reach the end of their useful lives.
Outsourcing of server infrastructure support
Many organisations have chosen to outsourcing their hosting needs with the cloud, placing the control of their information and resources in the hands of the company from whom they have purchased their cloud services. This has seen companies that are able to offer a high level of support with what are branded as fully managed services booming. By incorporating the infrastructure and the support for that infrastructure into one contract, organisations no longer need to rely on training their own IT staff in new technologies as they are introduced as instead the company from whom they have acquired the cloud services will be continually training their employees in order to ensure that they remain on top of their game. Overall a combined cloud and support contract can assist businesses with reducing IT costs without compromising on quality.
As a conclusion, buzzwords can help to drive the adoption of new technologies and concepts. However, with reference to the term ‘cloud’, buzzwords can sometimes lead to adoption without consideration being given to the direct benefits that are to be gained.