Six Cloud Computing Myths: Truths About Cloud Computing

Cloud computing myths abound: The cloud does everything better. The cloud will eat your application (and money) for lunch and spit it out, etc.

In the cloud computing world, most services – whether infrastructure, platform, or software – are managed for you. Service providers make sure that the services are as easy to use as possible and that customers should not have to deal with the complexity of set up or management. Hence, such services are abstract in nature. Abstraction is good as far as the end user is concerned but, along with all the loud hype that’s accompanied cloud computing, it can unwittingly feed some cloud computing myths – some claiming that the cloud will solve all the world’s problems, and others that it will mark the end of civilization as we know it.

I will try to explore some of those myths in this post. This will help us better understand the cloud environment and will lead to smarter decisions.

Cloud Computing Myths #1: The cloud will save me money

Marketing drives a great deal of this. Customers are always told about how cost efficient cloud can be. But there is actually no guarantee that the cloud will save you big bucks. There are several factors that contribute to total application cost, including operations, support, and infrastructure. So, for example, if your application doesn’t face variable demand or a dynamic workload and runs on minimal  servers, then you should think twice before moving to the cloud. In such scenarios it’s always good to do some cost comparison with the current setup before jumping to change. Certainly, the cloud approach can be cost effective, but that’s not always the case. Look here for another cloud truth about cloud computing salaries and where to earn the most for your skills.

Cloud Computing Myths #2: The cloud is not secure

Every time I talk to customers regarding cloud migration, they express deep concerns about security. This is one of the major reasons behind their hesitance to migrate. I understand there is risk involved when you hand your data over to a third party, but a good cloud provider  takes care of all the security/compliance related issues. Moreover, security is a shared responsibility and the issues related to security are almost the same we face in the traditional on-premise model. With multiple security tools like dedicated firewalls, strong encryption, intrusion detection system, monitoring, and OS hardening, a good cloud provider can achieve the highest possible PCI DSS, ISO and ISAE-compliant standards.

Cloud Computing Myths #3: The cloud will handle everything

Some people think the cloud is a place where, once an application is deployed, there is no need for manual intervention and everything will work on its own. That is NOT true. Even after deploying your application, there is still plenty for you to do, including monitoring and refining your automation. How hands-off you can be will also depend on the nature of service you are using. If the cloud provider is giving you Infrastructure as a Service, then it’s your responsibility to handle application configuration, deployment, and availability, on top of the provided infrastructure. I understand that the cloud will reduce the demands of some tasks, but it also introduces new challenges that need to be handled smartly with efficient design and automation.

Cloud Computing Myths #4: The cloud is not mature

Many feel that the cloud still needs to evolve before it’s really ready for worldwide adoption. If you still think that way, then it might be time for a bit of an update. Cloud computing is approaching maturity at a very fast rate. Next-generation applications are being developed with the cloud in mind. Today, if you see any new product hitting the market, you can be sure it has full integration capability with at least with one of the major cloud platforms. This image shows you who the active players are:

Cloud players
If you don’t want to be left behind, I would say that this is as good a time as any to invest in the cloud.

Cloud Computing Myths #5: Performance may degrade in cloud

Just because you are deploying your application outside your datacenter and accessing it over Internet, doesn’t mean it will affect your performance. I agree, of course, that a faulty application design/deployment in cloud can cause real trouble, but if everything is properly designed and configured, you normally shouldn’t see much of a performance difference. In fact, many times I observed improved performance because of efficient resource utilization and the finely tuned services available for things like database, cache, and load balancing. Nowadays, most of the cloud providers also provide seamless integration with various CDN providers, which can speed up your dynamic content delivery. Not only this, but through support for features like GEO location-based routing and latency-based routing, application response times can also improve. Hence, if you’re still not sure what kind of application performance you’ll get in the cloud, I would say give it a try and you will love it.

Cloud Computing Myths #6: Migrating to cloud is not complex

Migrating a simple three tier web architecture can be easy, but it doesn’t mean it’s the same for other kinds of applications. I mean, the challenges for a legacy application can be totally different and might require upfront infrastructure and application assessment. If the developed applications were written ten years back, then it’s going to take a lot of work to analyze and modify them for the cloud. Just consider the possibility that existing versions of some of your software may not be supported in the cloud, in which case a detailed analysis of equivalent versions need to be done. Licensing is another area that needs to be considered very carefully.

The best way to approach such scenarios is to start with a careful inventory and application assessment. Once the assessment reports are ready, you should create a small proof of concept application. This gives confidence to both you and your client that the project will be successful.

All of which is to say that things can sometimes be pretty tricky and complex.

There are many more topics we could discuss here, but I felt these are the big ones. The best approach might be to simply try it for yourself rather than believing what others are saying. There’s value in listening to the voice of experience, of course, but your actual results may be unique. I hope this blog was helpful!

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