Dyn’s Senior Product Marketing Manager, Mike Kane, spoke today (June 11, 2015) at Cloud Expo about barriers to Cloud Adoption & The Role of Internet Performance in the Cloud. This post gives a summary of his speech for those who could not attend:
Using cloud services are more popular than ever. IDC reported that cloud services and infrastructure grew by 25 % over 2014 reaching $100 Billion. Yet, there is still hesitation in the marketplace to make the move to the cloud.
Although there are many capitalization and speed-to-market benefits of using cloud services, there are 5 fears that are preventing companies from really going all in on cloud infrastructure:
- Losing Control
- Increased Security Threats
- Weakened Data Protection
- Poor Performance and Uptime
- Fear of being tied to one vendor
Whether real or perceived, there is a measure of truth in all of these issues. Let’s examine the fears and give guidance as to how to overcome them, because the cloud is here to stay.
1) Losing Control
By their very nature cloud providers obscure some of the details of their operating environment. One, services are geographically centralized and, therefore, remote. Seeing the actual operations of the cloud service center is rare.
Two, infrastructure is shared. HVAC, systems, network operations, network connection, etc. are shared across many clients. This of course is why cloud providers are cost effective and customers are allowed a certain amount of configurability. But this lack of detail and specificity makes it so companies are, in a sense, “trusting” the cloud provider to deliver services to your expectations.
2) Increased Security Threats
Security risk is closely associated with the fear of losing control. By advertising cloud locations and centralizing customers, cloud service sites are clear targets for security threats. Once breeched, many companies are made vulnerable to attack. There are over 1000 domain hijacks a day and many of them are happening with cloud providers. Security threats can result in downtime, loss of reputation, loss of customers, and lost and stolen private custom data.
3) Weakened Data Protection
Perhaps the greatest fear of all is combining lost control, security threats, and lost data in a single nightmare. Often, going to the cloud means exposing access to data to the Internet edge at a place you don’t control. Stolen company and/or customer data can mean millions of dollars in litigation.
4) Poor performance and uptime
A recent study commission by Dynatrace, “The Hidden Cost of Managing Apps in the Cloud” has the following findings:
45% of respondents to this survey worried about loss of revenue due to downtime, poor performance, and time to resolution of problems. 51% were concerned these problems would result in brand and customer loyalty erosion and 64% were concerned that cloud performance bottleneck would result in a poor end-user experience. These finding point toward a belief that slow is the new downtime and concerns that cloud implementations might contribute to poor(er) performance.
5) Fear of being tied to one vendor
The early experiences of many companies is to begin with basic services from a cloud provider and then, slowly over time, as improvements are desired, adopt more cloud “add-ons”. These add-ons can be based on development services, performance levels, increased storage, etc. Then, one day the company realizes that all their services are within a single cloud vendor. This is unfortunate because many cloud companies specialize and provide best-of-breed solutions in niche areas such as PaaS, SaaS, CDNs specializing video streaming, etc. Companies need to figure out ways to create independence from a single cloud vendor.
But there is hope for those hesitant to move to the cloud; hope in the form of tools. Tools such as Application Performance Management and Network Performance Management tools, some of which are sold by the cloud provider themselves. In addition to these, there are Internet Performance tools, a critical component to help companies monitor, control, and optimize their infrastructure assets.
When companies “go to the cloud”, the cloud provider becomes your Internet presence for your customers. How your customers reach your selected cloud instance is in large part a source of these 5 fears. Internet Performance tools can help you monitor all of the paths that your customers take to get to your cloud assets. They can see outages, redirects, performance problems and security risks. If there is a man-in-the-middle hijack on a route from one of your key markets, you can see it and mitigate for it immediately. Even though you do not own these routes (they are the routes going to your cloud provider) you can never-the-less see the problem and reroute your customers to a secondary destination.
When you combine this type of Internet intelligence with DNS control, it becomes a powerful combination that enables you to optimize your infrastructure. Not only can help you see problems earlier and more distinctly but you also gain the independence to measure your cloud partners more completely and choose multiple cloud service destinations based on performance. A cloud instance from one provider might be your best choice for Southeast Asia, while another for Latin America. Making that routing choice before sending a customer to a cloud provider gives you the control by geography, by performance, by SLA, etc..
So don’t fear the cloud…embrace it, and manage so you can make the myriad of ever-changing cloud choices work for you.