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10 misconceptions concerning “cloud computing”

By Tassos Christides , Software Development Manager , e-On Integration

One : The “cloud” concept is another name for the former “Application Service Provisioning” (ASP) model . So it will also fail soon.

False: The “cloud” has some features that ASP never had. For example:

Virtualization technologies that allow to balance various requirements in computing power per unit of time: At each time I use as much as I need. The rest is available for someone else.

Multi-tenancy: Many users from various companies, addresses, locations, etc. use the same system and perhaps the same database. Of course, they view and access only what each one is authorized to view and access.

Cloud does not belong to anybody unlike the previous ASP applications. You only obtain the right to use cloud applications. You have proprietorship of your data which are stored in infrastructures that you don’t own.

Two : Cloud is not secure.

False: Trustworthy service and software providers pay particular attention to security issues on the cloud.

In fact, since the software was never designed for exclusive use and custom applications, it is reasonably certain that it contains all the essential (and probably more) safety mechanisms, such as very strict policies of user rights, secure access (even over the public internet) like SSL, etc.

All of the security measures are more specific and defined since various levels of certifications are required from suppliers of cloud applications, certifications which an internal IT department would never be able to comply with. Tthe security level is well above any that you would be able to design internally, to meet your specific needs!

Three : I do not want cloud applications because I can not trust Internet stability.

False: The quality of the internet is already quite satisfactory in Greece and it is constantly upgraded.

This statement does not apply to electric power! Consider how many times these last years we had electricity failures and how many times internet failures. It seems clear that electricity fails more often. And in this case, either you work with cloud applications or not, the problem for your IT is exactly the same: you can not work!

Four: Cloud is not reliable.

False: Your supplier certainly has many customers like yourself on the same platform. So the application you use has been also used and tested by others with different requirement and in various conditions.

Therefore, statistically, we can say that (many of) the logic errors ("bugs") have already arisen and have been solved. In terms of infrastructure (hardware) be assured that your supplier has done a good job, since this is his source of revenue, and therefore he cannot risk an infrastructure that falters. On the other hand , within privately owned IT departments there may be problems which persist either because of financial difficulties or lack of internal knowledge. Besides, your supplier has a binding contract with you and other customers so he can not afford to have a non reliable infrastructure that will result in not honoring the agreements!

Five : A Cloud application will bind me to one supplier (“vendor lock-in”).

False: It the cloud itself that does not oblige you to purchase anything.

If you try the service and you do not like it or it does not fit you, you can quit any time, as you would quit a rental house with a ceiling that drips! Of course, you will incur the cost of transferring your data to a new system, but you will not loose even a euro for the initial investment (because you did not ... ever make an initial investment!)

Αν δοκιμάσετε την υπηρεσία και δεν σας κάνει, μπορείτε να την εγκαταλείψετε οποτεδήποτε, όπως θα αφήνατε ένα νοικιασμένο σπίτι που στάζει το ταβάνι! Φυσικά, θα επιβαρυνθείτε με το κόστος μεταφοράς των δεδομένων σας σε ένα νέο σύστημα, αλλά δεν έχετε χάσει ούτε ευρώ από την αρχική επένδυσή σας (διότι… δεν κάνατε ποτέ επένδυση!)

Six : My data are not secure on the cloud.

False: On the cloud IT professionals are managing your data.

They want to make revenue by deploying their services. They didn’t make large initial investments on the provision of software services with an objective to “steal” your data. On the contrary one would think that you are more vulnerable in “internal risks” such as dissatisfied employees or unintentional damage by your IT personnel etc. Eventually, the fact that the data are residing in a server “there beside you" does not mean that they are more secure.

Seven : Cloud applications are difficult to integrate with my existing systems.

False: The cloud software providers are well aware that you have your own systems and that these are not going to be replaced soon (or never).

Therefore to be able to penetrate your market they are willing to work on integration or interfacing issues. Probably they already have tools that help in this direction like ready interfaces, API technologies, SOA, web services etc.

Of course if you have such requirements you must state them during the selection stage to the provider to get more specific answers.

Eight : I like the cloud. I will get everything from there. I may and I must.

False: Nothing is a cure for everything in this life. And certainly not the cloud!

There may be specific needs of your business which you have covered with a lot of internal pain developing highly customized applications in recent years. You need to do a full list of your applications and to rate how critical is each one of them to your business and in what level can a cloud provider cover it.

Nine : Cloud requires new skills and increased management on my part. I don’t know if I can deal with it.

False: Cloud is more than software. It is a full concept of provided services by your supplier.

For example, all the tasks relative to the software are provided by the supplier, such as updating with new versions maintenance of servers, new versions of the system software (windows or other), the daily backups, health check of all individual systems etc.

Even more, when you have new requirements for development you do not have to do it yourself. You may ask from your supplier to do it for you. During the selection process, discuss how receptive is your supplier on requests for changes, adjustments and new development. And how much it costs!

Ten : In fact cloud does not reduce my costs.

False: Cloud applications providers are able to offer low subscription prices because they exploit economies of scale to reduce their costs.

You need one server to serve five employees / users, but your supplier, in a similar infrastructure will accommodate 10 or 50 users. Certainly, there is a fixed monthly cost or subscription fee but think that you have zero initial investment to purchase software and hardware and there is no annual maintenance costs. Also you will not have any costs for IT personnel. It is without doubt that the economic benefits from the adoption of cloud applications are significant.


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