There are arguments about what’s in The Cloud or, said another way, what constitutes Cloud Computing. Some purists vociferously deny that there is such a thing as a Private Cloud. Others say the only reasonable way for large corporations to migrate to cloud computing is through the use of both external, or public clouds, and internal or private cloud services.
No matter what cloud computing sellers say there are practical limitations to moving existing business technology to cloud platforms. Most often when this is discussed the issues of establishing the target platform, testing and configuring, establishing management practices covering change management, service quality, security and access and the like are central to the discussion.
The so-called mythical man-month and the related issue of how to use scarce IT funds is also central. Cloud computing proponents rightly will tell you that cloud operating costs are somewhat lower than comparable in-house costs. Cloud providers are operating at scale and usually pricing on the margin. It’s a big cost advantage… if you don’t examine the switch-over costs.
The switch-over costs are not limited to the dollars or Euros involved in migrating applications to Das Kloud, whether public or private. The act of migration is distractive. It means the halt to the development of any new function, today, while legacy applications are migrated to a lower-cost platform tomorrow. That’s a bad thing.
Smaller companies with smaller applications portfolios may feel this pinch less than medium and large firms do. But for most, the time and opportunity costs of migrating the out-of-sight, out-of-mind legacy is too high for the benefits. It is often best to move those applications as they age to the point of replacement or major re-engineering.
New systems or major bolted on enhancements are a different matter. Provided there is a reasonably current interface available these new functions can be designed, developed and deployed in a cloud environment and linked through the web to the legacy.
New uses of IT, like social media technologies in Marketing 2.0 applications, tend to be cloud-provisioned. Instead of coordinating and helping, old-schoolers often try to block corporate access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the other places where the customers are learning about and discussing your products.
Companies must be involved in those conversations. This drives marketing people to external clouds and creates gratuitous governance issues for IT. IT needs to get on board. “Resistance is futile.” Whether that cloud is Private, Public, or a hybrid, for most of us a cloud, by any other name, is how you Tweet.