There’s a myth going around about the Cloud, luring companies in with promises like “Everything will just work,” “It will be so much cheaper,” “It’s absolutely reliable” and so on. “The Cloud is right for everyone,” it says. However, for every company lured in by that siren song, you’ll hear just as many moving entirely to the Cloud and crashing against the rocks. This can be devastating, especially to smaller companies, or startups with limited time and means.
Throughout all of my travels and discussions with customers, partners and industry thought leaders, I’ve noticed that the reasons why the Cloud has failed these companies may vary, but they often include no appreciable gain in efficiency, reliability or cost. That’s because cloud-only solutions will only deliver those benefits in very specific situations. Cloud-only solutions can be great for file storage, blogs and other uses that don’t require an immense amount of processing power. They also can be good fit for hyperscale and hyper-bursty applications like Netflix or Zynga. But for everything else? Well, let’s dig in and see.
When moving to the Cloud goes bad
Unfortunately, there is no shortage of examples when it comes to companies growing sour on cloud-only solutions. Take the case of Moz, a Seattle-based marketing software startup that famously moved off Amazon’s Web Services due primarily to AWS’s high costs early this year. Moz CEO Sarah Bird said using Amazon’s Web Services led to product instability, poor reliability and negatively affected margins. Not a very glowing review, to say the least.
In another example, massive online retailer Target migrated their infrastructure off AWS to move in-house in an effort to save money and gain more control over their environment. Target’s leadership saw their ecommerce site as strategically too important to be outsourced to Amazon Web Services. And since that move, Target has continually succeeded in managing hosting costs, gaining control and delivering the experience they were looking for but could not achieve with AWS.
Industry thought leaders have also commented on this trend, like entrepreneur and author Brad Feld. He recently detailed the growing displeasure with AWS, bringing to the forefront many of issues we hear from ex-AWSers everyday.
The truth about the Cloud
Those two cases and Feld’s article point out what many are starting to realize: The cloud doesn’t always deliver. The multiple promises of cloud that drew them in were never materialized. It has many wondering if all of the benefits associated with the cloud are a lie.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. That’s why we’ve written extensively on it with “Don’t believe the HYPE: Dedicated Hosting is 3x cheaper than AWS,” “Startups, It’s Time to Graduate from Amazon” and “The Flight From Amazon?”
Not a lie
Although the benefits of cloud have been overhyped, they are in no way a lie. Sure, white lies by certain cloud-only providers have cropped up here and there. But the cloud is still for everyone, just not for every application, and not always through the giant cloud provider (ahem, AWS) that everyone keeps looking to.
The pure cloud, cloud-only services, utility cloud – whatever you want to call it – is only right in certain situations. For the right applications, for the right workloads, the right audience, the cloud can be a phenomenal solution to deliver the savings, flexibility and scalability we’ve all come to expect. However, those are special cases, not even close to a one-size-fits-all.
You’re looking at the wrong Cloud
For everything else, especially big data applications, high I/O databases and enterprise ecommerce sites, the shortcomings of cloud-only providers will start to affect their bottom line, as it did with Moz and Target. You have business needs, compliance needs, you need room to grow and you need room to customize and control your environment. If you’re looking at these models, you’re looking in the wrong place.
For those who prize the scalability and flexibility of the cloud, but need processing power as well, a Hybrid cloud is the right option. That’s because an On-Demand Hybrid cloud is the only model that is flexible to what your needs are as an organization. Control, flexibility, performance, storage, costs and much more are all achievable with hybrid cloud because it’s something you control. We especially favor our hybrid cloud model as it is the only platform that is on-demand, making management and customization a breeze.
At the end of the day, know that the benefits of cloud are not a lie. It’s just that the public cloud most people are talking about has been overhyped, and many providers have under-delivered.