“The cloud debate is over.” That’s what a CIO.com article reported almost two years ago now, quoting a major software company executive.
I’m not so sure it is, though. At least, not when it comes to the real decisions that many small businesses are making.
I had the chance to speak recently with a reporter doing a story about contracting businesses weighing the pros and cons of the cloud. We discussed a number of different aspects companies must consider when determining if they should move to the cloud, including: security, private vs public, the definition of the cloud, and the cost dimension.
The conversation highlighted what I think can be an overlooked point. For many companies–especially smaller ones–the decision whether to “move to the cloud” continues to be a very real debate. Perhaps it still is for your company.
As such, I thought it might be helpful to round up a few of the more useful articles I’ve encountered that tackled elements of the “cloud debate.” What better way to consider the issue than to evaluate the expert takes on both sides of the coin?
Nobody wants to be the person asking, what is the cloud? It seems so passe. But maybe more people should ask that question, since there’s no single agreed upon definition. For instance, Forbes.com covered the war-of-words between SalesForce.com CEO Marc Benioff and Oracle’s Larry Ellison on the topic.
According Marc Benioff we should "beware the false cloud:
We need to be thinking about something very important, and that point is: we need to beware of the false cloud! Because the false cloud, ladies and gentlemen is not efficient, it is not democratic, it is not economical, and it is not environmental!
The same article summarized Ellison’s criticism of the Benioff cloud definition this way:
Ellison, meanwhile, has ridiculed the architecture used by Salesforce.com as being a terrible security risk, and has said that Benioff’s company isn’t a real cloud provider because it offers only applications as opposed to apps plus the optimized cloud infrastructure that makes cloud computing possible.
Over at NetworkWorld.com, Dave Malcolm, Chief Technology Officer at Surgient, and Siki Giunta, Global VP of Cloud Computing & Cloud Service at CSC, debated whether companies are better off leveraging publicly available cloud services or building their own internally-hosted cloud options.
Siki Giunta stressed the time-to-market argument and how the public cloud can enable nimble deployments:
In a highly competitive, global marketplace, businesses with the agility to respond quickest to customers have the advantage, and public cloud services allow them to ramp up and ramp down to meet changing levels of demand in different geographies and markets.
On the other hand, Dave Malcolm discussed the advantages of the private cloud related to control and security:
When you add it all up, it is clear that enterprise and government organizations maintain high standards for security, privacy and cost management, while transforming their operations into a dynamic, flexible environment. The best solution for them is the private cloud.
Stuart Barr at HighQ.com did a nice job taking on the total cost of ownership element to the cloud decision. It’s an accessible take that decision-makers new to the cloud choice will appreciate.
The important thing to consider when looking at the financial side of the equation is to focus on the full five-year software lifecycle. In order to compare [the cloud] accurately against building your own software and hosting it in-house, you have to take into consideration all aspects of the development, infrastructure and operations teams that will be responsible for delivering, maintaining and running it over the full five years. There is also the lead-time it will take to actually deliver it, which can be significant in the case of more complex solutions.