The problem with cloud

What barriers to cloud adoption are holding enterprises back?

Cloud has made headway but within most enterprises it is still confined to a minority of workloads.

A survey by RightScale (PDF) revealed that almost 70 per cent of enterprises ran less than a fifth of their workloads on cloud services.

Why is this the case?

Moving applications from each enterprise from legacy is not that easy, with most of these solutions not having been built with the cloud in mind.

The truth is also that the discipline around test management means that the test scripts are likely to be quite specific to the legacy infrastructure.

There is significant work in recreating test scripts to validate this on the new cloud platform. Perhaps the costs of migration outweigh the potential savings.

Decision making is split

To move the bulk of applications to the cloud will require business agreement — and this is not merely a decision for the CIO.Who pays? Answering this question is always going to a significant factor.

The way I see it is the only way is to take an enterprise approach and sweep all these into a single budget with a savings target to achieve. The decision making can be still business and IT but it is completed at a holistic level.

Unfortunately this is not the reality at most enterprises.

True commitment to cloud strategy

To be truly committed is to be ‘cloud first’. But who has really done this? From what I understand Suncorp, GPT and News Corp have been very aggressive with cloud adoption

Compared to many enterprises, however, they remain an exception. Many of the Big Four banks, for example, would not be considered to be ‘cloud focussed’ and perhaps at best ‘cloud explorers’, according to the RightScale methodology.

Cloud readiness in IT

Read more: How to design a CMDB in the cloud era

Are we ready for the cloud? For most teams there are new skills to learn and risks to consider.All current monitoring, security and reporting tools will need to be evaluated and perhaps a change required in order to manage a combined cloud and non-cloud environment.

There are usually staff reductions in the infrastructure teams and as a result a ‘go slow’ attitude.I’ve heard a story from a few good sources about a Big Four global head of infrastructure saying he “never wants to ever implement cloud”.

Quite a silly thing to say, given this was based not on logic but more personal preference and positioning to maintain power.But resistance both passive and active will have a slowing effect.

DevOps maturity

To get the true benefits of Cloud, we have to be able to integrate the whole process of getting code into production.Most enterprises are making progress with adoption of Agile. I’m not convinced that DevOps has progressed as quickly and more maturity that is required in these new processes.

Without this maturity, there will not be the same uptake as our appetite.

Cloud security

There is a need for new approaches to security to take an enterprise into the cloud world.It is equally important for cloud beginners, cloud explorers and cloud focused organisations.In the absence of this capability projects will remain stalled.

Unfortunately, security resources for BAU are heavily invested in existing projects and there is not that much capacity for cloud projects.

Legacy and cloud integration

This is still at a somewhat clumsy stage with the degree and ease of integration limited between the newer cloud applications and enterprise applications on legacy.

Having to navigate between non-cloud and cloud applications across a business process can cause frustrations.This is a problem not just for the architects; but what is needed is a new blueprint to take these a collection of new startup apps and figure out how this replaces and/or integrates with existing technology.

This creates a new level of architecture maturity and discipline.

My crystal ball:

Cloud adoption will never be 100%: This will only happen for new enterprises that have no legacy. The cost and benefits of migration will get in the path of this change. This will also be adversely affected by the earlier factors I outlined.

Industries that are moving to digital will be faster adopters: Yes, a no-brainer. New digital channels work better on cloud thanks to the ability to be able to scale swiftly.

Industries facing significant cyber security threats will be slower adopters: Unfortunately many that are moving to digital channels for opportunity are also going to be facing cyber security threats.This will create natural gravity and slow down any momentum.

Take away the choice: The problem with cloud is that we expect corporate IT to immediately embrace and move. But that’s not going to be the way it pans out.

New startups all embrace cloud as it their only choice.

While there is choice, there will be a slower uptake.That’s simple: Remove the choice and enterprises can move faster into the cloud and perhaps also compete on level terms with startups.

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