Opinion – What are common concerns about adopting cloud computing?

I am yet to be convinced that the current "Cloud Computing" wave is little more than vendor-driven marketing hype, driven by technologists that are chasing business revenue through the promise of "bottom line cost savings" – whilst conveniently ignoring business-critical issues such as Information (and not just IT) Security.

As a colleague highlighted to me recently, all Cloud Computing is, in reality, outsourcing IT to shared infrastructure – running your stuff on other people's kit via an internet connection. It is easy to see how the Outsourcing vision has rarely delivered the promised business value to the customer, as promised during the sales cycle from consultancies, offshoring shops and global system integrators. Whilst there has undoubtedly been costs savings in technology and skills acquisition; these savings have been negated by the increased overhead of "managing" the outsourced provider … re-insourcing is common even here in Australia.

The recent CA/Ponemon Survey around Cloud Computing Security highlighted some distribing issues – that the majority of Cloud proivders regard Information Security as the customers' problem and responsibility to deal with, rather than theirs: Gideon's blog is a nice summary at http://www.rationalsurvivability…. Sahil, this is in direct contrast to your Myth #8 (although to be fair SaaS != "Cloud" per se!)

One example is avaiability. Until CSPs increase the business value of their service through some sort of shared risk, shared reward model with the customer I can't see how businesses can justify the Cloud for anything above non-sensitive information. Look at Amazon EC2's compensation for its lack of availaility – 10 days hosting credit. Does this even come close to the estimated lost revenue for its major customers who were affected?

The Australian Government's Defence Signals Directorate have an excellent guidence note for organisations considering cloud. I would like to see CSPs review this – particularly para. 17 onwards – and if they can come up with a commercially viable answer to questions such as these, then the implementaiton of on-demand Cloud Computing may live up to the promise: http://www.dsd.gov.au/publicatio…

What are common concerns about adopting cloud computing?

  • John Jones

    Hi Simon,
    Good insight…I like the DSD document – thanks for pointing that out :)I used to share the view that cloud computing was just other people running your stuff but I’ve changed my mind. The real difference for me is the staggering difference in time it takes to set up an in house HA deployment (say) and one based in the cloud. It’s really about the tools available to create and manage these environments that’s the real value proposition. I’m talking IaaS here mainly I guess.cheers,    John

  • John Jones

    Hi Simon,
    Good insight…I like the DSD document – thanks for pointing that out :)I used to share the view that cloud computing was just other people running your stuff but I’ve changed my mind. The real difference for me is the staggering difference in time it takes to set up an in house HA deployment (say) and one based in the cloud. It’s really about the tools available to create and manage these environments that’s the real value proposition. I’m talking IaaS here mainly I guess.cheers,    John