Public cloud: It’s not a technical decision
I ran across the GigaOM article “Cloud is a corporate strategy, not a tactical solution,”and it helped me clarify what I’ve been trying to say for a while about cloud service — it’s not a technical decision. It’s a business decision.
When you read the article you might not see the direct correlation of what I am about to say, but it covers cloud strategy planning very well. The connection is really in that concept of treating cloud as a strategic business decision, not just a tactical one to be left solely for the engineers to figure out.
I made a comment on the post that went something like this:
The difference between choosing XaaS vs. choosing other solutions for IT for a company or government agency is that it is a business (and legal) decision, not a technical one. Engineers only need to be involved to determine costs and confirm features to help the business side make an informed decision. There is no new technology in cloud. All cloud services are is a modern virtualized data center offered as OPEX vs. CAPEX. It’s a managed service, no different than managed services have been for decades. It’s just called “cloud” now.
What government agencies need to understand is that going external — or public — cloud should be analyzed from a business-benefit vs. risk perspective. Cloud computing service companies offer nothing any large IT organization can’t offer itself in its own data center — if it’s modern and virtualized. The reason to go public cloud is because of a cost or feature benefit.
The cost question is straightforward, yet not as simple of a calculation as cloud proponents try to make it (be on the lookout for a more detailed post on that topic in the future). An example of a feature benefit of public cloud services is making access easier for a highly mobile and non-centralized workforce. Another example is when an agency just isn’t ready to build out its data center right now and needs a stop-gap solution to continue its mission until the data center is completed and ready — a public cloud solution could fill that gap.
Don’t just rely on IT to make the call. Yes, their guidance and expertise is invaluable, but going to a public cloud should really be done only if it makes sense on the books. If you’re looking to find out more about how to make that call, leave a comment here, or let me know on Facebook or Twitter.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Victor1558