In my previous post, we looked at understanding the different adoption patterns – i.e. how customers are turning towards cloud. Some of the key reasons of the “why” are listed below
- Ease of deployment and management
- More flexibility in supporting evolving business needs (both from a technical and business perspective)
- Lower cost of operations
- Easier way to scale and ensure availability and performance
- Overall ease of use
While all of these are good, there are still many yet to get on to this cloud computing train. Let’s explore what are their key concerns or challenges why they are reluctant to jump in. The following are inputs that I’ve got from various analyst studies and resources on the internet.
- Security and Privacy- The top most concern that everybody seem to agree as a challenge with cloud is security. The data security and privacy concerns ranks top on almost all of the surveys. Cloud computing introduces another level of risk because essential services are often outsourced to a third party, making it harder to maintain data integrity and privacy, support data and service availability, and demonstrate compliance.
- Real Benefits / Business Outcome – Though we have several case studies showcasing the benefits arising out of implementing cloud technologies, some of the customers are still not convinced on the possible benefits. Their main concern is how to realize the investment to full potential and make cloud part of their mainstream IT Portfolio. Enterprises need to a good view into the real benefits of cloud computing rather than the seeing the potential of cloud computing to add value. The return on investment (ROI) on cloud needs to be substantiated by comparing specific metrics of traditional IT with Cloud Computing solutions that can show savings that demonstrate cost, time, quality, compliance, revenue and profitability improvement. The cloud ROI model should include things such as indicators for comparing the availability, performance versus recovery SLA, Workload-wise assessments, Capex versus Opex costs benefits, utilization, etc.
- Service Quality: Service quality is one of the biggest factors that the enterprises cite as a reason for not moving their business applications to cloud. They feel that the SLAs provided by the cloud providers today are not sufficient to guarantee the requirements for running a production applications on cloud especially related to the availability, performance and scalability. In most cases, enterprises get refunded for the amount of time the service was down but most of the current SLAs down cover business loss. Without proper service quality guarantee enterprises are not going to host their business critical infrastructure in the cloud.
- Performance / Insufficient responsiveness over network: Delivery of complex services through the network is clearly impossible if the network bandwidth is not adequate. Many of the businesses are waiting for improved bandwidth and lower costs before they consider moving into the cloud. Many cloud applications are still too bandwidth intensive.
- Integration: Many applications have complex integration needs to connect to other cloud applications as well as other on-premise applications. These include integrating existing cloud applications with existing enterprise applications and data structures. There is a need to connect the cloud application with the rest of the enterprise in a simple, quick and cost effective way.
I plan to discuss more on what are the perceived and real threats related to Security and Privacy in my subsequent posts. In my new role, as an Architect for IBM Security Solutions, I’ll like to discuss the details on what IBM tools and technologies you could use to overcome the issues.
Meanwhile keep those comments coming and I look forward to them to understand what other areas you think are key concerns to be addressed to accelerate adoption of cloud.