The term “cloud” has become one of the most commonly used and most often misunderstood words in IT today. According to Logicalis, an international provider of integrated information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and services, when a company doesn’t fully define what the cloud can do for it, it leads to a less-than-optimized strategy that underserves the organization. To help IT pros avoid common pitfalls, Logicalis has identified five mistakes companies make in their cloud strategies.
“If you ask 10 people to define ‘the cloud,’ you’ll get 30 answers,” says Steve Pelletier, cloud solution architect at Logicalis. “Cloud is a buzzword; you hear commercials and advertisements all saying ‘Cloud, cloud, cloud.’ But it’s not a well-defined term and that leads to people not fully understanding the enormous opportunities that cloud computing can offer their businesses today. When businesspeople – even the most experienced IT pros – have a limited view of this nebulous term, ‘the cloud,’ it’s hard for them to make the best decisions for their companies.”
Companies that fail to explore all the options may be leaving valuable services untapped and potential savings unrealized. Pelletier says there are five significant ways businesses today are missing out on the full potential of the cloud. And identifying and understanding these potential pitfalls is the key to avoiding them.
Click through for five common pitfalls organizations need to avoid when planning a cloud computing strategy, as identified by Logicalis, an international provider of integrated information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and services.
When developing a cloud strategy, many organizations only look at their short-term objectives – what can the cloud do for me right now? – instead of developing a longer-term cloud strategy. This limits their future capabilities and can lead to unintentional design limitations that could easily have been avoided with longer-term planning.
The “cloud” is really a generic term that condenses a broad spectrum of services and functionalities into a single word. Among these are platform-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, software-as-a-service, backup- and disaster-recovery-as-a-service – all of these functionalities and more can be a part of a well-planned cloud strategy. By looking at the cloud as a means to acquire a single service, people are pigeonholing themselves into an isolated strategy that may miss out on the myriad of additional untapped possibilities an expanded private, public or hybrid cloud option could offer them.
When businesses think of the cloud as an evolution in technology, they may miss out on the bigger picture; cloud, Pelletier says, is really more of a change in business strategy than in IT functionality. The cloud allows businesses to consume IT resources as a service, which has a lot more reach into process than into actual technology and requires a deeper connection between IT and a company’s business units as a result.
The cloud is not something that the IT department should implement in a vacuum. Getting end users – and that means the users inside a company as well as clients – what they want, when and where they want it in terms of IT functionality requires a new way of thinking on everyone’s part. Because the cloud means the company is buying the services it needs most, this is a solution that should be defined and designed by the entire business as a whole. IT pros need to know what each business unit needs in terms of services before they can build a cloud solution that will give users the what, when and where of IT services that they demand.
What to put in, what to leave out? Businesses often make the mistake of choosing inappropriate applications to move into public clouds. In a public cloud, businesses are taking their internal IT assets – oftentimes their users’ desktops, which are huge consumers of IT resources – and moving them into another provider’s service to save money. The problem is that they are moving the end-user experience farther away from the user. It may well save the company money, but at what price? IT pros must remember to consider the impact on performance and user experience as well as the bottom line in every cloud decision they make.