As we head toward a new decade and a new era in business, many organizations have reached an inflection point when it comes to how they will manage their networks over the next several years. But the question many tech leaders were asking five years ago — whether to continue to grow in their on-premises data centers, move into the cloud or both — has changed.
Today, the issue is no longer about whether or not to move into the cloud. It's about how much of an organization’s tech enterprise to move there, which particular workloads (if any) to keep on- premises, whether to adopt a multicloud approach or standardize on a single vendor and how to make the best use of the advantages of cloud computing.
To that last point, examples abound of companies doing some amazing things in the cloud. For example, at the Google Cloud Next ’19 conference in San Francisco in April, BizTech heard from a regional food distributor that succeeded in moving most of its employees onto the G Suite line of business collaboration and productivity tools, despite some initial resistance. Today, more than 80 percent of its employees use G Suite, which is saving the company money and improving collaboration.
In retail, businesses are using the cloud to deploy AI-powered visual search engines that make it easy for shoppers to find what they’re looking for without knowing a product’s name, call centers equipped with a previously unseen level of natural language processing capability and smarter recommendation technology based on consumer preferences. They’re using the cloud not only to better analyze data but also to acquire better data to analyze — for instance, with advanced cameras that provide insights into shoppers’ foot traffic.
What the Cloud Makes Possible
The computing power of the cloud is what makes all of this practical for businesses that can’t build massive data centers.
Meanwhile, businesses are continuing to adopt cloud-based software services at a rapid clip. According to research conducted by IDG for “The Modern Infrastructure Insight Report” by CDW, 57 percent of organizations expect to increase spending on cloud services over the next two years.
So, is the cloud right for every organization? Perhaps not, but the vast majority of businesses of every size are turning to cloud solutions on some level, if not moving whole workloads off-premises. As “The Modern Infrastructure Insight Report” notes, “virtually every enterprise considers some form of cloud computing an integral part of an IT strategy, and cloud spend is expected to exceed $270 billion by 2020. At face value, cloud computing promises to eliminate the large capital expenditures required to build and maintain a data center. Others prefer the flexibility and scalability of on-demand IT.”
It's Time to Forget the Myths About the Cloud
I think that’s because the advantages of the cloud are becoming more obvious while the old objections are melting away. Is the cloud secure? Yes. Some security considerations are different in the cloud than on-premises, but that’s a reason to understand cloud security, not to shun it.
Is latency a problem? It can be, depending on the workload in question and the cloud of choice. But latency can also be a problem for on-premises data centers — and for the same reasons. That’s why it makes sense to consider which workloads to move and which to keep.
When it comes to cloud vs. on-premises data centers, the question isn’t which is better but rather which is better for each organization and for each workload. That requires some careful analysis, preferably with the help of a trusted third-party adviser.