Guest blog post by Gil Allouche
Like “Big Data”, the term “Cloud Computing” has given rise to a number of misconceptions concerning what it is and what it does. While many of these delusions have been sufficiently debunked, a number of mistaken beliefs about the cloud have managed to keep hanging around---attaining mythical status despite being laid bare on more than a few blogs designed to dismiss them once and for all. And so, culled from the blogosphere for your consideration comes this non-biased compilation of the top 5 cloud computing myths…that just won’t die.
Myth #1: There’s only one true cloud
This myth---the notion that there is only one cloud: the public cloud---has made the rounds on a large number of cloud myth busting blogs. Of the various IT experts who weighed in on the subject, the general consensus was that, although there is greater awareness of the public cloud, the private cloud is not only a reality, it is quickly gaining headway in the corporate landscape. Offered as evidence to refute the “one true cloud” mythology, reference was made to a 2012 Gartner Data Center Conference poll, wherein 9 out of 10 respondents stated that they were either in the planning stage, the implementation stage, or that their organizations already had a private cloud up and running.
Myth #2: Cloud use is all or none
Another myth that seems to be widespread among enterprise decision-makers is that cloud use is an all-or-nothing proposition. You’re either in or you’re out, with no options in-between. In dispelling this major misconception, a number of articles discussed the reality and practicality of a “hybrid” cloud infrastructure. Through the integration of public and private cloud applications, the hybrid cloud allows enterprises to customize and scale cloud use according to their specific needs.
Myth #3: Moving to the cloud is complicated
The idea that transitioning to a cloud database is a long and laborious process is a common misconception that is holding many companies back. While the thought of shifting from a traditional network to a cloud-based infrastructure can be daunting for any enterprise, the transition is typically easier and faster than expected. A strong case in point is found within the Federal Government. Recently the Department of the Interior (DOI) contracted cloud services with IQ Business Group to utilize its SaaS platform to capture, classify and store a whopping 75 million emails per month. The time it took IQ Business Group to get the DOI’s Enterprise Records and Document Management System up and running? A mere 45 days. Contracting with the right cloud services provider is the key to a quick and smooth transition.
Myth #4: Cloud computing is too expensive---no wait---it’s cheap
Both of these misperceptions regarding the costs of cloud computing are prevalent on the web, along with seemingly sound arguments supporting each viewpoint. In weighing both arguments, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Whether cloud computing is costly or inexpensive depends upon how enterprises go about it. For example, public clouds with pay-per-use features seem to be very economical for applications that are short-lived or those that have highly variable capacity requirements. However, for applications with long lifespans that have fairly constant capacity needs, fixed monthly or yearly costs appear more economical. Hybrid clouds could also be more affordable, depending on the needs of the enterprise. Although a switch to the cloud will necessitate up front costs, savings down the line should offset those costs. A nearly unanimous opinion on the subject of cloud costs was that cost-savings should never be the primary motivator for going to the cloud.
Myth #5: The cloud is not secure
Even staunch supporters of a cloud-based infrastructure admitted that the idea of storing and processing sensitive data off-site warrants a discussion of cloud safety. The private cloud is thought to be more secure than the public cloud, as the former is sequestered behind the firewall of the enterprise. However, the actual level of private cloud security is dependent upon the security resources and practices of the corporate data center. Enterprise-grade public clouds have seriously upped security by employing cloud security experts, staying fully compliant with regulatory and industry standards, conducting regular third-party security audits and conducting automatic hardware and software updates. Industry experts caution that enterprises need to understand their cloud provider’s security practices in order to access potential threats to security.
Myths, by definition, seem to have a life of their own, and the workings of the web can keep myths circulating indefinitely. Therefore, it’s essential for any enterprise considering cloud technology to practice due diligence, rather than being swayed one way or another by the myths and misconceptions perpetuated in the blogosphere.