Despite the best efforts of cloud vendors to extol the virtues of migrating to the cloud, CTOs are still reluctant to put their trust in large cloud providers, preferring instead to store sensitive data and mission critical applications in their own data centres. It’s a human control characteristic – if you can see and touch you are safe. Visualising that their data is ‘out there somewhere’ is frightening requiring the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy when it all goes pear shaped.
There is a common misconception that seeing is believing, but in an age of cyber hackers and security breaches, this is simply not true and virtual security is just as much a concern as physical security. Properly managing the migration of data to virtual storage systems can ensure that users enjoy all the benefits of cloud based storage without the headaches and cost of managing a physical data centre.
Recently Mike Lynch, the former Autonomy CEO said businesses with 95% IT functionality should move to cloud, however there are certain questions they need to ask before ‘taking the leap’. From my conversations with partners and customers, the general consensus is that cost savings are the main drivers for cloud adoption. However, there needs to be more collaboration between vendors and customers when discussing migrating to the cloud. It’s not a ‘one size fits’ all approach and the particular needs of the business must be considered, along with any plans for future expansion, to ensure any applications are scalable.
The sheer volumes of data being accessed by applications and/or users from anywhere and/or from any device are massive. The need for high availability drives resiliency, incurring overheads of mirroring data and monitoring. In the current landscape cloud usage and 24x7 storage access demand has simply exploded. In addition, the need to have anti-behavioural ‘sniffers’ on networks to facilitate BYOD and unknown IP devices continues to compound the burden of the network.
Exit and Entry to the cloud
Another key consideration for the storage of data is flexibility. Physical data centres require sufficient space and room for expansion to cater for future storage needs, trading off against the increased cost in providing cooling for more units. However, it is hard to strike a balance between paying for space which you do not need and finding you outgrow your existing premise.
Physical capacity management in the cloud is just as important as in a physical data centre. Again it is just a case of good planning to ensure continuity and efficiency. When a company decides to store their data in a virtual server they tend to increase the number of servers used as they are no longer restricted by physical space requirements.
In summary, the physical, on-site data centre will always have its place, particularly running processor heavy applications where latency is an issue, however the cloud boasts additional benefits, such as flexibility, easy access and improved capacity management. While there’s still a job to be done persuading CTOs that seeing is not believing, in time we’ll see the benefits of the cloud lead to widespread adoption. It just won’t happen overnight, as much as some vendors would like us to believe.
Tags: Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Security, Service Providers, Software-as-a-Service