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Three misses that cause cloud failure

The number of organizations moving data and applications to the cloud is rising, but so is the number of cloud failures. Here are the three leading causes of cloud death.

So, you want to move your applications and data to the cloud? You've done the core requirements; you understand...

the business case, covered security and governance, and perhaps found cloud providers that fit your needs and performed initial testing. Then, you realize that cloud projects are tanking -- a lot. Research suggests that cloud projects report staggering failure rates. Why are there so many cloud failures?

Unexpected challenges arise with most cloud implementations, and it takes a lot of unbudgeted resources to overcome these issues. Therefore, many of these cloud projects fade away into the IT abyss. To avoid the risk of cloud failure, you need to identify the leading causes of death.

Misinterpreting the value of cloud

The cloud is not always cost effective. Complicated pricing structures and unexpected costs often remove any savings from cloud computing. Adopters need to understand total cloud costs, total company savings, and current and future pricing structures. Disclose any risks or potential changes to these items during the project or after implementation.

Many organizations deploying cloud services get the business case wrong. In some instances, they use data points from cloud providers and ignore their specific problem. Enterprise IT typically chomps at the bit to get the cloud going and doesn't consider all of the capital involved. Thus, they misinterpret the value.

Misunderstanding cloud use cases

There needs to be a better understanding of the technology tradeoffs when moving to the cloud. Cloud computing may not be a good fit for things like chatty applications due to the increased load on the network. However, if you're willing to spend the money, you can change apps specifically for cloud-based platforms. This is just an example of technology issues that arise when moving apps and data to the cloud. Organizations deploying the cloud often don't consider these issues until after implementation, when the complaints begin to flow in from the user base.

Miscalculating cloud security needs

The cloud is polarizing. Cloud security is a hot-button issue because some users think it's more secure than it actually is, while others -- the majority -- think it's less secure. Neither approach is good for your cloud. You'll either spend too much money on security or, conversely, not enough.

Find a balance for cloud security, beginning with your requirements and working up to the technology. Properly planned and deployed cloud environments have very effective security.

As system migrations to the cloud continue, we'll learn a lot about what works and what doesn't. Huge and avoidable mistakes are being made right now. While we seem to be learning from our mistakes, these patterns of failure will continue for the near future. Arm yourself with more knowledge and you'll find that failure doesn't have to be an option.

About the author:
David "Dave" S. Linthicum is senior vice president of Cloud Technology Partners and an internationally recognized cloud industry expert and thought leader. He is the author or co-author of 13 books on computing, including the best-selling Enterprise Application Integration. Linthicum keynotes at many leading technology conferences on cloud computing, SOA, enterprise application integration and enterprise architecture.

His latest book is Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise: A Step-by-Step Guide. His industry experience includes tenures as chief technology officer and CEO of several successful software companies and upper-level management positions in Fortune 100 companies. In addition, he was an associate professor of computer science for eight years and continues to lecture at major technical colleges and universities, including the University of Virginia, Arizona State University and the University of Wisconsin.

Next Steps

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This was last published in October 2014

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