Myths and misunderstandings around the use and benefits of cloud computing are slowing down IT project implementations, impeding innovation, inducing fear and distracting enterprises from yielding business efficiency and innovation, analyst firm Gartner has warned.
It has identified the top ten common misunderstandings around cloud:
Myth 1: Cloud is always about the money
Assuming that the cloud always saves money can lead to career-limiting promises. Saving money may end up one of the benefits, but it should not be taken for granted. It doesn’t help when all the big daddies of the cloud world – AWS, Google Microsoft – are doing are tripping over each other to cut down prices. But cost savings must be seen as a nice-to-have benefit while agility and scalability should be the top reasons for adopting cloud services.
Myth 2: You have to do cloud to be good
According to Gartner, this is the result of rampant “cloud washing.” Some cloud washing is based on a mistaken mantra (fed by hype) that something cannot be “good” unless it is cloud, a Gartner analyst said.
Besides, enterprises are billing many of their IT projects cloud for a tick in the box and to secure funding from the stakeholders. People are falling into the trap of believing that if something is good it has to be cloud.
There are many use cases where cloud may not be a great fit – for instance, if your business does not experience too many peaks and lulls, then cloud may not be right for you. Also, for enterprises in heavily regulated sector or those operating within strict data protection regulations, a highly agile datacentre within IT’s full control may be a best bet.
Myth 3: Cloud should be used for everything
Related to the previous myth, this refers to the belief that the characteristics of the cloud are applicable to everything – even legacy applications or data-intensive workloads.
Unless there are cost savings, moving a legacy application that doesn’t change is not a good candidate.
Myth 4: “The CEO said so” is a cloud strategy
Many companies don’t have a cloud strategy and are doing it just because their CEO wants. A cloud strategy begins by identifying business goals and mapping potential benefits of the cloud to them, while mitigating the potential drawbacks. Cloud should be thought of as a means to an end. The end must be specified first, Gartner advises.
Myth 5: We need One cloud strategy or one vendor
Cloud computing is not one thing, warns Gartner. Cloud services include IaaS, SaaS or PaaS models and cloud types include private, public or hybrid clouds. Then there are applications that are right candidates for one type of cloud. A cloud strategy should be based on aligning business goals with potential benefits. Those goals and benefits are different in various use cases and should be the driving force for businesses, rather than standardising on one strategy.
Myth 6: Cloud is less secure than on-premises IT
Cloud is perceived as less secure. To date, there have been very few security breaches in the public cloud — most breaches continue to involve on-premises datacentre environments.
Myth 7: Cloud is not for mission-critical use
Cloud is still mainly used for test and development. But the analyst firm notes that many organisations have progressed beyond early use cases and are using the cloud for mission-critical workloads. There are also many enterprises (such as Netflix or Uber) that are “born in the cloud” and run their business completely in the cloud.
Myth 8: Cloud = Datacentre
Most cloud decisions are not (and should not be) about completely shutting down datacentres and moving everything to the cloud. Nor should a cloud strategy be equated with a datacentre strategy. In general, datacentre outsourcing, datacentre modernisation and datacentre strategies are not synonymous with the cloud.
Myth 9: Migrating to the cloud means you automatically get all cloud characteristics
Don’t assume that “migrating to the cloud” means that the characteristics of the cloud are automatically inherited from lower levels (like IaaS), warned Gartner. Cloud attributes are not transitive. Distinguish between applications hosted in the cloud from cloud services. There are “half steps” to the cloud that have some benefits (there is no need to buy hardware, for example) and these can be valuable. However, they do not provide the same outcomes.
Myth 10: Private Cloud = Virtualistaion
Virtualisation is a cloud enabler but it is not the only way to implement cloud computing. Not only is it sufficient either. Even if virtualisation is used (and used well), the result is not cloud computing. This is most relevant in private cloud discussions where highly virtualised, automated environments are common and, in many cases, are exactly what is needed. Unfortunately, these are often erroneously described as “private cloud”, according to the analyst firm.
“From a consumer perspective, ‘in the cloud’ means where the magic happens, where the implementation details are supposed to be hidden. So it should be no surprise that such an environment is rife with myths and misunderstandings,” said David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow.