It’s a well-known adage, "Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water." These days we generally don’t toss our bathwater out the window, nor do we make a baby take the last bath–but we should probably still heed this advice. Especially when we consider adopting and transitioning to new technologies.
Benefits of Moving to the Cloud
For companies moving their services or their infrastructure to the Cloud there are some obvious benefits: often the costs are lower, data can be accessed from desperate locations, and less maintenance is required.
Features "Thrown Out" in the Move to the Cloud
For the Cloud, like most innovations, there are some features that were missed in its development. In most cases the features were not missed intentionally, but they were missed none the less. So as businesses and individuals, we need to be aware of the absentee features as we transition to the Cloud and work to ensure that eventually the missing features are made available.
Missing Feature 1: Unpredictable Costs
Generally speaking, hosting data on the Cloud is less expensive than maintaining that same data locally. However, because Cloud costs are accrued by use, and not at a flat rate, spikes in usage equate to spikes in costs. While not usually an issue for the individuals or group managing the Cloud infrastructure, this can be a challenge for financial managers and those responsible for making and meeting budgets.
Missing Feature 2: Performance is Not Equal
Because architectures in the Cloud were not developed in the same way as architectures in local servers, moving from one to the other often involves unseen complications. These differences, when not mitigated, can cause a system to not perform as expected.
Missing Feature 3: Security is Not Human Proof
There is security built into the Cloud which better protects data against unauthorized access than the security of most local storage. However, this added security does not protect against human errors. And, because Cloud systems are built for ease-of-use, there is more access to features, which can result in more accidents. When there is less friction involved in performing an action in the Cloud (creating a machine or standing up a server) it becomes much easier perform the wrong action (deleting a production server). Ease-of-use and access are powerful tools when an action is positive but can be highly detrimental when the action is negative.
What Does This Mean?
The problem is not just that there are pieces of functionality missing from the Cloud, but that the people expect that missing functionality to have moved to the Cloud with their data. In the short-term, we all need to be more contentious of the features that exist in the Cloud and those that don’t–and tread lightly when taking 'permanent' action.