Three Myths of the Cloud

The Ole 100% Uptime Myth

Anytime someone promises anything more than death and taxes, I always take note! It’s a known fact that service providers offer 100% uptime guarantees. We coach our clients this cannot be the case and is a way of receiving some sort of compensation when there is downtime. Think : act of God. Nothing can be guaranteed and able to deliver without some sort of risk, whether it’s in the cloud, or on premise. I’ve never heard of a service provider that has actually been able to deliver on this 100% uptime promise for all customers, so this is simply a sales tactic that works more often than not. Some of you guys have CYA’ed and understandably so. As I’ve said before, your cloud servers will eventually suffer downtime, and you should be ready for it.

The Popular Security Myth

Another popular myth I see out there is cloud security and that the cloud is less secure than a private setup. The cloud by itself is no more and no less secure than anything else. On one hand, having services and data concentrated on just a few data centers makes these places much better targets; on the other hand, the concentration increases the likelihood that security patches and updates get properly applied to servers. Who is more likely to maintain updated servers with security monitoring: A Cloud Vendor or the thousands of businesses with Windows XP servers out there?

That is not to say that security shouldn’t be a concern. What cloud vendors need to understand is that in order to keep the cloud secure, they need to work together with their customers to establish the proper processes. And, in working together, responsibility needs to be shared for the security of the whole environment. Again, the equipment is the same only at a different address.

The Always Popular Cost Savings Myth

This one can be tricky and thankfully we have the marketing departments of various cloud vendors to keep things simple. Yeah right! Cloud computing will result in great cost savings for companies over the long haul. I haven’t seen it, but things are still young. What I have seen is a minimal up front capital investment and things purchased dynamically over time. There might be some business owners and CFO’s that challenge this by saying they are putting the freed up capital in other places thus making $$ elsewhere, but it’s still not a cost savings. Cloud computing is about the optimization of computing resources, not their reduction. You no longer have to provision servers based on your peak demands and can instead dynamically grow and shrink your capacity as necessary, paying only for what is in use. If your computing resource needs are fairly steady, there isn’t any real gain, only savings from future losses. Capiche?

One possible origin for this myth is the fact that by using the cloud, startups can avoid spending large amounts of money upfront on infrastructure or software licenses. They perceive this lack of upfront investment as cost savings, even if in the long run they may actually spend more.

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