For years, we’ve been told that migrating to the cloud is a positive move for your organization, and it’s true that cloud computing offers myriad advantages. However, cloud computing also comes with some weaknesses and downsides that you need to account for, potentially requiring you to have a physical footprint as well.
Cloud Migration: Adjusting for Weaknesses
One option for mitigating the weaknesses of a cloud migration is using hyperconverged infrastructure. This essentially hybridizes cloud operating with an on-premises or cluster appliance. It’s a way of taking advantage of self-contained appliances, while still tapping into the benefits of the cloud. Maintaining the server, storage, and networking components of your hyperconverged infrastructure is also relatively easy if you have the right partnership in place – either a robust in-house IT team or a managed IT services provider.
Pros and Cons of a Cloud Migration
Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of full cloud migration, so we can understand why more companies are adopting a hybrid approach.
These are some of the benefits:
- Speed. The cloud lends itself to faster data transmission, assuming you’re paying for sufficient resources. This isn’t always a guarantee, but many organizations that migrate to the cloud instantly benefit from faster speeds.
- Security. Some organizations want to migrate to the cloud so they have more control over their security and better protection from certain types of threats. Because you don’t need to worry about the physical storage or security of your own equipment, you can lean on the best practices from some of the most secure cloud providers in the world.
- Scalability. People also appreciate cloud computing because of its scalability. Whether your business is small, large, or growing from small to large, there’s probably a cloud service package that will fit your needs. You can easily invest in more resources as you grow, contrasting with the challenges of expanding in a physical environment.
- Lower costs. Though not a guarantee, most companies find that cloud services are less expensive than comparative physical services. They require less initial investment, less overhead, less maintenance, and fewer costs in many other areas.
- Accessibility from anywhere. With cloud hosting, you can access your data and apps anywhere. You don’t need to be tied to a network’s geographic location.
These are some of the drawbacks:
- Dependency on the internet. If you want to access your cloud-hosted apps and data, you need to have an internet connection. As most of us now live in a constantly internet-connected world, this may not be a huge concern. However, if there’s a major internet outage at your place of business, or if some of your most important employees lose access in their remote environments, your organization may come to a total productivity halt if all its apps and systems are hosted in the cloud. This excessive dependency can be crippling in some situations.
- Contractual requirements. There are many cloud service providers out there, and most of them are interested in securing long-term, reliable contracts. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but it can be somewhat restrictive or prohibitive for the companies that seek them. To secure cloud support, you may be required to make a multi-year commitment, and you may be practically forced to make significant compromises. On top of that, migrations between providers can be challenging, so you may be locking yourself into using a single provider for some time.
- Security reliance on external parties. Cloud-hosted systems and platforms have many security advantages, but those advantages are contingent upon the practices of your vendors. You’re going to be entirely dependent on the security practices of external parties, which means you need to practice thorough due diligence to ensure you’re making a wise investment. One lapse in the security of a vendor could put your entire organization at risk.
- Less overall control. Similarly, when you work with a cloud provider, you lose some control. Instead of having the physical systems fully customizable in your geographic location, you’ll only have access to configuration settings and controls that your vendors allow you to have. Though configuration and customization options are usually pretty forgiving, this is still a drawback you need to consider.
- Startup and migration headaches. If you’re getting set up in the cloud, or if you’re migrating to the cloud, you know that the initial process can be rough. There are many variables to consider and many things that can go wrong, presenting a significant barrier to entry for even the most enthusiastic cloud proponents.
For some organizations, a full cloud migration makes perfect sense. The benefits far outweigh the weaknesses, and some of the downsides may not even apply. But for most organizations, it’s important to have a plan in place to mitigate the drawbacks so you can better enjoy the full advantages of a cloud-based strategy. Hyperconverged infrastructure may be an ideal solution, but it’s important to explore all of your options and find the best fit for your needs.