Exposing three general cloud strategy assumptions

Cloud everywhere: according to GartnerPublic cloud spending is projected to reach $ 396 billion in 2021 and grow 21.7% to $ 482 billion in 2022. And by 2026, Gartner predicts public cloud spending will exceed 45% of all corporate IT spending, up from less than 17% in 2021.

But to what extent do companies fully understand the potential benefits of the cloud – and the potential limitations – in the rush to migrate? In a changing complex landscape, the current offerings of major cloud players may not allow the important combination of flexibility and control that today’s organizations expect. At the same time, as companies move towards digital transformation, the number of enterprise applications they use is growing across all departments.

This means that companies may need to reevaluate and reevaluate their overall cloud strategy assumptions, as well as rethink some of their investment decisions. For example, businesses are increasingly moving away from using one company’s software and are increasingly using open source software. A growing number of open source cloud software services offer competitive alternatives to public cloud infrastructure companies’ own portfolios.

As a result, the shape of cloud services and the issues that organizations need to consider are changing. Here, we’ll look at the general assumptions about the cloud strategy and what organizations need to consider in order to take full advantage of the cloud.

Assumption: Moving to the cloud will lower costs and increase security

The two main reasons for moving to the cloud are the ability to reduce overall IT costs and take advantage of improved security controls. However, while there is potential for cost savings, in many cases organizations pay extra for convenience and costs can add up. For example, off-the-shelf cloud services are typically more expensive than self-hosted on-premises infrastructure when managed in the same way as legacy IT infrastructure. In the cloud, companies pay for the flexibility to provision, disconnect, and scale quickly, and are able to leverage that flexibility to lower costs.

This led to the repatriation of the clouds: in 2019, IDC predicted that up to 50% of public cloud workloads will be repatriated to an on-premises infrastructure or private cloud to use the best fit for specific workloads.

When it comes to security, the cloud can have more complex controls that are easier to implement than on-premises infrastructure. However, the decentralized nature of the public cloud can create more complex security over which the organization may not have sufficient control. A recent IDC poll found that almost every company had a cloud data breach. This means that enterprises need to consider and evaluate the goals of their IT security environment in each area of ​​the cloud stack.

Assumption: Using a single cloud provider is best for business

While this can be convenient, many enterprise-level organizations are finding that the standard boxed model of one large cloud provider does not meet their flexibility needs. Sophisticated IT organizations can find opportunities to optimize cost and time to market by flexibly moving workloads between cloud providers and between the cloud and on-premises.

It is also important to understand that the “cloud provider” is not limited to the three big cloud infrastructure providers – over time, more and more ISVs are becoming their own cloud providers. For example, a power database user might rely on high performance, complex behavior, and advanced configurations not available in the cloud provider’s managed offerings. Also, if this advanced database user is using an open source database like PostgreSQL, they will most likely want this area of ​​their stack to be serviced by a vendor that is a core database company rather than an infrastructure company. that handles hundreds of other applications and services. Today, with the trend towards separation of cloud services, organizations can regain greater control over their database deployments in the cloud.

Finally, while hybrid architectures can reduce costs and increase flexibility, the data-driven nature of enterprises today poses additional challenges. Migrating data and databases is difficult and time-consuming, and it can be especially difficult to relax and abandon proprietary cloud data services. ISPs can help reduce costs by unbundling the cloud service provider, providing the freedom and flexibility provided by a cloud independent approach.

Assumption: clouds are a mature landscape that won’t change

The cloud is one of fastest growing areas of IT spending in different industries. But so far, research shows that 92% of IT environments are already at least partially in the cloudEnterprise cloud adoption remains an early stage in a process that will be a fundamental transformation for all enterprises. Unlike a mature static landscape, cloud computing is constantly evolving.

One of the significant technological advances in cloud computing over the past decade has been the continuing sharp decline in the cost of computing and infrastructure. Building development tools and using programming languages ​​has also become easier, allowing development tools to move beyond the exclusive purview of IT and spread to the rest of the organization.

Finally, as organizations prioritize taking back control of the convenience of a single public cloud, cloud technical expertise in different areas has spread across different service providers. These providers are getting more creative in creating a cloud service offering, such as database as a service, that decouples from the public cloud infrastructure and redefines a managed service.

Cloud Evolution: Balancing

Despite its incredible growth, tremendous amount of energy and discussion about the cloud, it is still at a relatively early stage in cloud evolution. What’s changing as organizations move out of the early stages of cloud adoption is that companies want to take back a higher level of control rather than remain dependent on a single cloud provider. This leads to a multi-cloud approach that involves more agile deployment between traditional on-premises and public clouds: according to the 2020 Gartner Cloud End User Purchasing Behavior Study. 76% of respondents reported using more than one cloud provider.

New ISVs are entering this nascent, evolving environment by reshaping managed services to reflect customer needs and offer more experiences in specific cloud domains and open source platforms. Ultimately, as cloud services go through this separation process and move away from a monolithic architecture, cloud strategy efforts are balancing control and convenience. Companies need to strategically think about which services from major cloud providers to use and what services ISPs with the necessary expertise can offer.

This article was produced by Insights, MIT Technology Review’s Custom Content Team. This was not written by the editors of the MIT Technology Review.

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