If cloud is so great, why is hybrid a thing?


Microsoft, Amazon, and Google are all telling us we don’t need our own data centers anymore. Heck, they’re even telling application developers that they don’t need servers anymore. The vendors will provide the underlying server infrastructure in a way that’s so seamless to the application, that the app can be moved around with ease. Bye, bye SysAdmins?


STOP. Time for a reality check.


It’s time to let loose on why the cloud is a bad, bad thing. I won’t even try to argue with you. I’ve worked in tech in a bank and for police and defense, so I know there are valid reasons. Here’s your chance to vent, I mean explain, why you’re throwing your eggs into a cloudy basket.


It’s more than just a question of OPEX versus CAPEX. Sometimes it’s cash flow. Sometimes it’s return on investment. Maybe the numbers still don’t add up to use 20TB + of storage in the cloud versus some on-premises storage arrays?


Banks, police, and defense aren’t the only ones bound by strict regulations. Do you have sensitive data or industry red tape that states that the buck stops with you and data can’t go outside of your walls (or your full control)?


Because data security doesn’t start with a C. Vendor X is a third-party so maybe we don’t trust them with our data. Do we believe that we can secure our own systems the best because we have a vested interest here? After all, it is our business on the line, our customer data, our reputation. Or maybe there is a chance that Vendor X is snooping around in our data for their gain?


Even if you did assume that Vendor X is better at security and data breach detection that you are (surely not!), they still have access to do stupid things like not manage servers and not have reliable backups. If it does all go horribly wrong, maybe your bosses legally need to have someone in-house to shout at (or fire) and can’t wave that off with a cloud services agreement? Do you have a locked down environment controlled by group policy that you can't replicate in the cloud unless you ran a full Windows server there, anyway?


Now I know enterprise people that laugh at this one, because surely everybody has great, fast, redundant internet. This is not always the case, especially in smaller organizations. Lack of network bandwidth or a reliable connection are the first roadblocks to going anywhere near the cloud. Add to that the complexity of VPNs for specific applications in some industries, and even Google, Amazon, or Microsoft might not be up to the task. Or maybe you need to add other firewall services, which makes the whole endeavor cost prohibitive. 


Another aspect to connectivity is integration with other systems and data sources. Maybe you've got some seriously complex systems that are a connected piece of a bigger puzzle and cloud can't support or replace that?


Concern about vendor lock-in
I don’t envy someone who has to make a choice about which cloud to use. Do you spread your risk? Can you easily move a server instance from one cloud to another? And we haven’t talked about SaaS solutions and data export/imports.


See what I did there?


So, go on. Tell me what’s holding you back from turning off every single on-premises server. I promise I’ll read the comments. I’m expecting some good ones!