Public clouds are suspect—irrespective of whether or not the suspicion is justified or otherwise. Hence, the adoption of the public cloud has been slow. But, the change is becoming visible, as more and more concerns about the public cloud are addressed, and the public cloud assumes its rightful place as a mode of computing that adds value to the business.
What is the value add that is to be obtained from public clouds? The value add from public clouds is in direct proportion to the commitment the organisation feels towards managing the cloud provider and employing the cloud solution responsibly and effectively. In other words, the responsibility for the success of the public cloud rests with the organisation and not with the cloud vendor.
If this seems to be counter-intuitive and contrary to all that you have heard about the cloud, it is the truth. Public clouds do decrease costs and do deliver all kinds of benefits to the end user. But, it brings with it a number of responsibilities:
- IT professionals within the organisation must stay with the cloud and its implementation. They must make the effort to understand the terms and conditions of the contract and enforce any remedies that may be built into the contract to ensure efficient performance of contact by the cloud vendor. If the public cloud performance is poor, the IT personnel within the organisation are to blame.
- The objective of the public cloud is not just backup and recovery. There is a whole gamut of activities that happen in between. Establishing the metrics and monitoring performance is a business imperative for IT managers. Unmonitored public clouds can cause untold difficulties for end users. Latency, seek time issues or even backup and recovery issues may plague the organisation and make the whole experience of the cloud unpleasant.
- Availability and security are promises of the cloud vendor. But, untested security can be dangerous. IT managers will have to repeatedly test the security systems and run disaster recovery exercises to ensure that everything promised is deliverable and can be delivered at the appropriate time and at the pace required.
- Nothing can be managed without appropriate tools. IT managers need to ensure that the cloud service provides the managers with the right tools for the right tasks. There should be tools for scheduling backups and recoveries. There should be tools for managing users, stores or archives. There should be tools for generating and analysing reports on user activity or system activity. Finally, there should be tools for verifying service level agreements (SLAs) and implementations.
It should be remembered that Cloud service providers do not understand your business. They only understand their own business. It is up to you to make sure that their tools are used to your benefit.