Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Peter Galvin, Sanjay Zalavadia, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Take Care To Mitigate Business Risks When Moving to the Cloud

Resisting change in an era of innovation is a risky choice; but watch out for how the cloud can undermine app performance

While the adoption of cloud computing in the enterprise offers all sorts of benefits, too many organizations are forgetting about risks. Yes, the benefits of cloud computing are very real. I’m certainly not a cloud denier (and they, like Flat Earthers, do still exist), but one costly misstep as you move to the cloud could quickly eliminate all of those benefits you were hoping for.

I’m not talking about security risks. Those have been dissected almost as thoroughly as the cloud’s benefits. Rather, I’m talking about business risks. If you move a mission-critical application to the cloud, what happens if you don’t have enough available bandwidth to meet demand? What if your headquarters now must suffer with the poor performance that your branch office managers have been complaining about for years?

What if your Internet service provider’s network is compromised? The service provider will invariably tell you that redundancy and failover capabilities are built into their systems, but should you trust them?

Recently, two severed fiber optic cables in Sprint’s network grounded Alaska Airlines for much of a day. What are the chances that two different fiber optic cables in two completely different regions of the country accidentally get cut on the same day? The chances aren’t great, but they obviously were greater than zero.

The risks don’t have to be that severe, however. Access to critical applications is essential to knowledge workers. If your ERP, CRM or SFA application performs poorly because you’ve moved it to the cloud, what have you gained other than headaches?

Legacy apps drag down cloud efforts

Even as we’ve started the full-scale migration to a cloud-centric world, most applications aren’t ready. Most applications were not designed to reside away from your office, outside of your firewall and in the cloud. Even newer versions of software that has “cloud ready” slapped on it are often not cloud ready. Sure, the software can be hosted in a cloud environment, but can it perform at a high level in that environment?

Remember, cloud-based apps must now perform over the chaotic public Internet, rather than over your tightly controlled, high-throughput LAN. Latency, dropped packets and congestion can all seriously degrade app performance – routinely.

To overcome this problem, deep-pocketed organizations invest in expensive MPLS lines, WAN optimization equipment or CDNs. These solutions aren’t cheap. Remember all of that money you hoped to save when you moved to the cloud? How quickly it can evaporate.

If this has you thinking that you should just go back to the on-premise status quo, I have more bad news for you. It’s not going to be possible. Many software providers are moving to a services model, meaning you won’t be able to host your own versions even if you want to, and, meanwhile, organizations of all types are becoming more and more decentralized.

Outsourcing is no longer a trend, but a mundane reality. Telecommuting is on the rise. Even traditional office workers often work a day or two a week from home. The workforce is becoming more and more mobile. And newer businesses, in order to compete with incumbents, are avoiding the overhead of big office spaces, instead opting for small headquarters, smaller branch offices, and many mobile and work- from-home employees.

In other words, the cloud is shifting the cost center away from apps (which will be consumed on a pay- as-you-go model) to networks, which are consumed on an overprovisioning one.

Putting your head in the sand and hoping that the old ways will suffice will simply let more nimble competitors catch you, pass you, and pick your carcass clean during your bankruptcy.

The cloud may be the problem, but it’s also the solution

Fortunately, cloud computing is not a static innovation. If applications can be delivered as pay-as-you- go services, why can’t network services be delivered the same way? Why can’t you avoid purchasing expensive WAN optimization equipment or signing up for expensive CDN contracts, instead consuming each as needed?

The answer is simple: as in any other established space, the incumbents resist change. WAN optimization vendors make money off of that expensive equipment. MPLS providers want you to buy those expensive links. CDN providers thrive on those expensive contracts, which are all the more juicy when you under-utilize the services.

However, that doesn’t mean that change isn’t coming.

These services will move to the cloud – they already are starting to – and the incumbents know it. Many will even tell you that they are actively preparing for this new reality, but until they face enough competition from either startups or some underperforming incumbent needing to shake up their business model, the market leaders will be slow to move. It’s just the way these things work. After all, Saleforce.com, AWS, Dropbox and NetSuite weren’t overnight hits, and they faced serious skepticism on the road to success.

How to prepare for the future

In an economic climate as cut-throat as this one, where a startup in India could just as easily threaten you as one in Silicon Valley, it’s not enough to simply embrace change. The winners will help drive it.

If your cloud-based applications are underperforming, don’t believe the experts when they give you a limited list of options, all of them expensive, all of them more suited to yesterday’s technologies and work patterns. Network virtualization is happening. It took a while for server virtualization to mature and move out of the science-project phase. Now, every business under the sun understands the importance of server virtualization. Fortunately, the adoption phase for network virtualization should be much shorter. After all, it’s a heck of a lot easier to be the second group traveling over the Oregon Trail than the first.

So, the first thing you should do is simply not accept the status quo, and distrust anyone who tells you there is no other way.

Second, if vendors try to sell you expensive hardware or lock you into inflexible contracts, push back. Remind them that everything from expensive CRM suites to engineering testing and development has moved to the cloud.

Why haven’t application delivery services? Why haven’t network services? Why haven’t WAN optimization and CDN services?

Chances are the vendors you’ll work with already have these things on their roadmaps anyway. Why not force their hand?

Finally, negotiate for a win-win. In the end, embracing these new delivery models will not only be in your best interest, but in theirs too. After all, if they drag their feet and insist on stale business practices, you won’t be working with them for very long because they simply won’t be around to work with.

Resisting change in an era of innovation is the risky choice. It’s a cutthroat, winner-take-all economy we’re in, and those who are too risk-averse are actually the ones who end up courting risk. It’s a cruel irony, but your less risk-averse competitors won’t have much sympathy as they steal your market share.

More Stories By Ajit Gupta

Ajit Gupta is the Founder, President & CEO of Aryaka, the leading provider of WAN Optimization as-a-Service, Network as-a-Service and Application Delivery as-a-Service.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
SaaS companies can greatly expand revenue potential by pushing beyond their own borders. The challenge is how to do this without degrading service quality. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Adam Rogers, Managing Director at Anexia, discussed how IaaS providers with a global presence and both virtual and dedicated infrastructure can help companies expand their service footprint with low “go-to-market” costs.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
The pace of innovation, vendor lock-in, production sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and managing risk… In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, discussed how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He also discussed how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors ...
Digital Initiatives create new ways of conducting business, which drive the need for increasingly advanced security and regulatory compliance challenges with exponentially more damaging consequences. In the BMC and Forbes Insights Survey in 2016, 97% of executives said they expect a rise in data breach attempts in the next 12 months. Sixty percent said operations and security teams have only a general understanding of each other’s requirements, resulting in a “SecOps gap” leaving organizations u...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, a Developer Advocate with IBM Cloud Data Services, discussed...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
"SpeedyCloud's specialty lies in providing cloud services - we provide IaaS for Internet and enterprises companies," explained Hao Yu, CEO and co-founder of SpeedyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discusse...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....