We all know the virtues of genuine cloud. NIST has defined five essential characteristics of every cloud, along with recognizing the public cloud and private cloud deployment models. But in plain English, a cloud enables you to focus on your outcomes, rather than the components within it. You no longer have to worry about keeping the cloud up-to-date (or be distracted by ‘feeds and speeds’ on components like network switches or storage arrays). You can avoid lumpy capex refresh cycles, reduce underutilisation, and more rapidly adapt to meet the changing needs of your customers.
But whereas genuine clouds have a “consistency” to them (in the way they are built and operated), there are still many examples of ‘cloud-washing’ – where vendors label things as a cloud even though they really aren’t. We call these ‘frankencloud’ – a monsterfrication of the essence of cloud. Here are five scare stories about the risk of frankencloud to your organization:
1. Bag of bits
Many IT vendors will be knocking on your door promising a ready-made cloud solution. Is this a case of ‘trick or treat’? We think so, and you’ll seldom get a treat! There is no silver bullet – or cloud in a box. Instead, you’ll have ‘cloud ready’ components that don’t actually give you the cloud experience you’ve been expecting. After years of broken vendor roadmap promises, you’ll be forgiven for being wary of vendors selling their newest shiny thing…
2. Dead on arrival
At the other extreme are the consultants and integrators that promise to build your very own bespoke cloud. These are complex cloud implementations that take so long to deliver actual value that they’re essentially dead on arrival
3. Morbid migrations
A common challenge we see is the slow pace of adoption of cloud. Quite often, organisations will have deployed a few new projects to cloud. But when it comes to migrating their existing environments they face a different set of challenges that stop them dead in their tracks. You see, there is a massive difference between developing new applications in the cloud (DevOps, Agile, Microservices, etc) versus moving existing applications to the cloud (security, availability, performance, etc). And so plans for cloud migrations start to gather cobwebs, whilst existing inefficient on-premises IT environments are maintained and refreshed…
4. Deadly digital chaos
The analysts at TechMarketView coined the term ‘digital chaos’ to describe the common scenario that the cost of digital projects are stacked on top of the cost of existing IT. This is far from ideal. The business case for digital often relies on the cost savings from ‘tombstoning’ existing IT systems which are usually inefficient and inflexible. But all too often, the existing systems keep running as well as the new digital systems. Hence, this leads to a world of digital chaos which is increasingly unsustainable.
5. Hotel California
Cloud is a democratizing technology. After many years of public sector organisations being locked-in to wholesale outsource agreements, which frequently delivered poor value and constrained agility – cloud enables organisations to take back control of their IT, aligns costs with utilization and enhances the agility of the organization to adapt to the changing needs of customers. But some global cloud providers advocate going ‘all in’ with a single proprietary platform. In our opinion, that’s the modern day “Hotel California”, as by allowing your developers to depend on the capabilities of a single cloud, “you can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!”.
So how do you avoid creating your own Frankencloud? We give you three top tips:
1. Focus on the outcomes, not on the infrastructure
You want to consume a service – whether IaaS, PaaS, SaaS or XaaS. Don’t get tricked into buying products (from IT vendors) and solutions (from Consultants) – treat yourself to a service (from Service Providers). And if you’re in any doubt, try out our Cloud Migration Calculator to compare the ‘hidden’ costs of Frankencloud with a genuine private or public cloud.
2. Keep your options open
At its heart, cloud is about flexibility, elasticity, adaptability. So, enforce a multi-cloud strategy where you are using a ‘pick-and-mix’ of cloud services rather than becoming overly dependent on a single cloud. Head over to our multi-cloud page to find out more.
3. Ask the experts
You don’t need to face the fear and uncertainty of digital transformation on your own. There are specialists like UKCloud that have helped public sector organisations (and those in similarly regulated environments) to deal with the challenges ahead. Take a look at our Cloud Migration solutions for more inspiration.