Businesses are moving to the cloud. That’s not news.
What is interesting, according to a new IDG survey, is “nearly 40% of organizations with public cloud experience report having moved public cloud workloads back to on premises, mostly due to security and cost concerns.”
The survey, “Data Centers in Flux: The IT Optimization Challenge,’ commissioned by Datalink, a data-center company, clearly has its own ax-to-grind. After all, if everything went to public clouds, data-center companies wouldn’t be in business for long. Keeping that it in mind, it is interesting to see that a substantial number of cloud users are having buyer’s remorse.
True, as the survey found, it’s not easy running a data center, cloud or no cloud. Only 9% of those surveyed report their data centers are optimized. More than 60% say defining a data center platform strategy is one of their most challenging decisions.
Why wouldn’t it be? The survey found, “the average enterprise today has 376 applications in use and expects that to grow by 13% to 426 applications in use in 2 years on average.”
Shifting that load to the cloud mitigates, but hardily removes, that problem.
Still, make no mistake about it, corporations are moving to the cloud. IT infrastructure and application workloads that reside in corporate-owned data centers are expected to shrink from 59% today to 47% in two years on average. Most of that will be going to public clouds such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). Google Compute Engine and Microsoft Azure.
That said, all three kinds of cloud — private, hybrid and public — will continue to grow.
The workload on public clouds is expected to grow from 14% to 23%, from 2016 to 2018, the survey found. At the same time, IDG also expects workloads to go from internal data centers to co-located facilities. In other words, enterprises are turning to a shared off-premises data center that houses a client’s own server hardware. The client leases the raised floor, but the servers are entirely owned and managed by the client.
The problem that companies face — and it seems many have not done a great job of solving — is in determining exactly what they want from a cloud. Sure, it sounds easy. Move to a cloud, save money. But it’s not that easy.
“Every IT platform decision today should begin with a thorough analysis of workload-related business requirements. However, with the increase in the number of advanced platform options, assessing each option is often time-consuming and overwhelming for internal IT organizations,” said Paul Lidsky, Datalink’s president and CEO, in a statement. “Faced with limited resources and time, many organizations forgo conducting a holistic, workload-related assessment and instead focus on technology specifications like speed and service levels. Limiting due diligence in this way overlooks critical factors like IT process, staffing, business requirements and budget.”
The top issue is security. 62% of IT decision makers cited security requirements as a critical factor in their decision making. Nonetheless, there are all those businesses now backing off from the public cloud in large part because, you guessed it, security concerns.
So what can you do as you face your IT challenges?
Well, for starters, you’re still going to a cloud. But, you need to do your due diligence. If you can’t do it in-house, look for a partner to help you. You don’t want to end up like those companies that took a flier on the public cloud and then decided to pull back. That’s a waste of money, and depending on how your board and management see it, it could be the end of your IT career.