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Public Cloud: All Aboard the Hype Train

Level 9

We’ve all heard it before.

“The cloud is the future!”

“We need to move to the cloud!”

“The on-premises data center is dead.”

If you believe the analysts and marketing departments, public cloud is the greatest thing to happen to the data center since virtualization. But, is it true? Could public cloud be the savior of the IT department? While many features to the public cloud make it an attractive infrastructure replacement, failure to adequately plan for its use can prove to be a costly mistake.

Moving past the marketing, the cloud is simply “someone else’s computer.” Yes, it’s more complicated than that, but when you boil it down to the basics, it’s a data center maintained by a third-party with proprietary software on top to provide an easy-to-use dashboard for provisioning and monitoring. When you move to the cloud, you’re still running an application on a server. Many of the same problems you have with your application running on-premises can persist in the cloud.

In a public cloud environment, the added complexity of multi-tenancy on the underlying resources can complicate things. Now you have to think about regulatory compliance? And after all, public cloud is still a data center subject to human error. This has been made evident over and over, famously by the Amazon Web Services S3 outage of February 2017.* The wide adoption of public clouds such as AWS and Microsoft Azure has also opened the door to more instances of shadow IT. Rogue devs, admins, and end users who either don’t have the patience to wait or have been denied resources opening cloud accounts with their own credit cards and putting corporate data at risk. And, we have yet to even take into consideration the consumption-based billing model.

Even with the above listed “issues” (I put quotes around issues as some of the problems can be encountered in the private cloud or worked around), public cloud can be an awesome tool in the IT administrator’s toolbox. Properly architected cloud-based applications can alleviate performance issues and can be developed with robust redundancies to avoid downtime. The ability to quickly scale compute up and down based on demand provides the business amazing agility not before seen in the standard data center procurement cycle. And, the growing world of SaaS products provides an easy gateway to enter the cloud (yes, I’m going to take the stance that as-a-Service qualifies as cloud). The introduction of cloud technologies has also opened a world of new application deployment models such as microservices and serverless computing. These amazing ways of looking at infrastructure weren’t possible until recently.

Is there hype around public cloud? For sure! Is some of it warranted? Absolutely! Is it the be-all and end-all technology of the future? Not so fast. In the upcoming series of posts I’m calling “Battle of the Clouds,” we’ll look at public cloud versus private cloud, going past the hype to dive into the state of on-premises data centers, what it takes for a successful cloud implementation, and workload planning around both solutions. I look forward to hearing your opinions on this topic as well!

*Summary of the Amazon S3 Service Disruption in the Northern Virginia (US-EAST-1) Region

Level 14

I'll concede that it's the future, but I do not think we will ever see 100% in 100% of the private sector.  I think it will always be a hybrid setup at best.  Thanks for the article.

Level 13

Thanks explorevm .  Looking forward to the "Battle of the Clouds"  series

Level 9

Thank you!


Ah the cloud aka "the fog".

It is definitely well embedded in the hype train as we shift back to the earlier days of IT and Time Shared contracts for spare cycles and the days of hosted web services.

It is nothing but the modern rebranded and remarketed concepts of yesteryear granted with newer systems/buckets/micro-services, etc.

Monitoring of this environment out on someone elses computer that you have no control of can be a challenge...and it shouldn't be.

Looking forward to seeing this series.

Level 12

I still don't feel confident in the security of proprietary data stored on Someone Else's Computer™ so I am reluctant to store valuable information outside my environment. This doesn't apply to backed-up data, which I encrypt before uploading, but is still a significant issue to contemplate before moving to an off-premises cloud.

The more opportunities for data to be stolen, the more likely data is to be stolen. That's a sad reality of networked data in today's world.

Level 12

Excellent take explorevm​! I'm looking forward to the rest of your series!

Level 12

thanks for the post. the cloud is really the future but in the company i work for they're worried about data security in cloud and prefer keep all inside in a old style datacenter.

Level 9

Fear and uncertainty are certainly factors that play into companies cloud strategies. I've seen it in my professional life as a consulting engineer. There are many ways to make sure that data is protected in the cloud, which ties into the need to properly architect the solution and plan accordingly. We will look at this a bit further later in the series. 

Level 12

The fears are real. Some can be addressed, and some are so pervasive that you may choose to not address them.

I don't want to steal from Paul's thunder as I'm really looking forward to the rest of his series, but I work for an Org that is also fearful of the Cloud. I tried to address some of that in my recent series: I'm Still On-Premises, Is That OK?


Thanks for the article.

Level 13

Thanks for the article. I think you need to go with what's right for the business. It's all about getting the fit right. No good putting something in just because it's all the rage. That sort of thing loses the company money and you your job.

Level 16

Thanks for the write up

Level 14

The decision to do anything in the cloud should be based on a business need that has been completely vetted by a solid risk analysis. More importantly, what has your company done to mitigate the inherent risks in the cloud.

Your dependence on the vendor means greater due diligence on your part, in particular with 3rd and 4th party vendors the cloud vendor employs.

Trust but verify!

Great start to the series explorevm​...  waiting for the next installment.

Level 11

Thanks for the article.