Don't believe the hype: Common cloud misconceptions

Cut through the cloud washing and hype when considering a cloud-based solution

Despite the fact that many cloud services have become mainstream, there’s still a tremendous amount of cloud washing and cloud hype in the marketplace. According to research firm Gartner’s “Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2012*, a sizable portion of cloud technology is just over or quickly approaching “the Trough of Disillusionment.”

One of the reasons for the hype, according to industry experts: IT buys into everything it hears and perpetuates the myths, some of which can get in the way of a successful implementation. Below, find four common statements that you might have heard in industry networking groups or said yourself at one point or the other.

“The cloud fixes everything.” Although it might seem as though the cloud is the answer to all of an organization’s budgetary, IT and management woes, in reality cloud computing is simply a way to deliver applications and infrastructure more quickly and flexibly — nothing more and nothing less. In fact, there are plenty of applications and data that should never leave the confines of the agency’s data center. Knowing which is which will help IT avoid some of the dramatic cloud failures that are starting to bubble to the surface lately. “Underneath there are still hard disks and applications and networks, and the cloud is highly dependent on the network,” explains Beth Cohen, a thought leader at the Advisory Council. “The cloud just doesn’t work, it takes work to appreciate its benefits.”

“You can buy anything in a cloud format.” Voice-over-IP-as-a-Service. Networking-as-a-Service. Video-as-a-Service. All of these things have been sold as cloud services, and yet none of them truly fit the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s definition of cloud computing: “A model that allows access to shared resources online that is convenient and available on demand from anywhere a user has access to the Internet.” When users get caught up in the hype of buying everything as a service, they are disappointed when they can’t become more agile or save money. Something to ask any potential cloud provider: Is this a shared resource, and is it elastic?

“The time has come for cloud storage.” This statement is true — but it’s not. Although it is possible to store data in the cloud in an infrastructure-as-a-service offering, only a mere 1 percent to 5 percent of the target audience for the service is actually using public cloud storage, according to the Gartner report. The research firm suggests evaluating cloud storage “as an alternative for non-mission-critical storage services such as archiving, file sharing and backup. These noncritical use cases provide allowance for shortfalls in [service-level agreement] compliance by service providers and facilitate expectation setting by clients.” It can also be viewed as a viable alternative for data protection environments at branch offices and for mobile users, according to Gartner.

“You save money immediately by moving to the cloud.” The cloud is an excellent alternative to on-premises equipment, servers and applications because it helps reduce maintenance, staffing and capital expenditures. However, there are some applications and services that might cost more in the cloud, and agencies might have to make investments before they can see a return on investment.

*Gartner, Inc., Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2012, David Mitchell Smith, August 1, 2012. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

About this report

This report was commissioned by the Content Solutions unit, an independent editorial arm of 1105 Government Information Group. Specific topics are chosen in response to interest from the vendor community; however, sponsors are not guaranteed content contribution or review of content before publication. For more information about 1105 Government Information Group Content Solutions, please e-mail us at [email protected].