Cloud is ubiquitous: according to Gartner, spending on public cloud services is predicted to reach $396 billion in 2021 and grow 21.7% to $482 billion in 2022. And by 2026, Gartner predicts public cloud spending will exceed 45% of all enterprise IT spending, up from less than 17% in 2021.

But how much do companies fully understand the potential benefits of the cloud—and possible limitations—as they race to migrate? In an evolving, complex landscape, the current offerings by major cloud players may not allow for the important combination of flexibility and control that today’s organizations expect. At the same time, as companies go down the path toward digital transformation, the number of enterprise applications they use is growing across every department. 

That means that companies may need to reconsider and reevaluate common cloud strategy assumptions as well as rethink some of their investment decisions. For example, enterprises increasingly may not want to be locked into using one company’s software, and are more and more likely to use open source software. A rising number of cloud software services with open source expertise are offering competitive alternatives to the proprietary portfolios of public cloud infrastructure companies. 

As a result, the shape of cloud services—and the issues organizations need to consider—is changing. Here, we address common assumptions around cloud strategy and what organizations should consider to fully reap the benefits of cloud.

ssumption: Migrating to the cloud will lower costs and boost security

Two of the biggest arguments for migrating to the cloud are the opportunity to reduce overall IT spend and to take advantage of better security controls. However, while there is potential for cost savings, in many cases, organizations are paying extra for convenience, and costs can pile up. For example, out-of-the-box cloud services are typically more expensive than self-hosted, on-premises infrastructure if they are managed like legacy IT infrastructure. In the cloud, companies pay for the flexibility to rapidly provision, deprovision, and scale, and have the opportunity to use that flexibility to reduce costs. 

That has led to cloud repatriation: in 2019, IDC predicted that up to 50% of public cloud workloads would be repatriated to on-premises infrastructure or private cloud in order to leverage the best option for specific workloads. 

As far as security, the cloud may have more sophisticated controls that are easier to implement than on-premises infrastructure. However, the decentralized nature of public cloud may open a more complex security posture—one over which the organization may not have sufficient control. A recent IDC survey found that nearly every company has experienced some kind of cloud data breach. That means enterprises need to consider and assess the goals of their IT security environment in every area of the cloud stack. 

ssumption: Sticking to one cloud provider is best for business

While it may be convenient, many enterprise-level organizations find that the standard box model of one major cloud provider does not meet its flexibility needs. Sophisticated IT organizations can find opportunities to optimize both cost and time-to-market by flexibly moving workloads between cloud providers, and between the cloud and on-premises.

It’s also important to understand that “cloud provider” isn’t limited to the big three cloud infrastructure vendors—over time more and more ISVs are becoming cloud providers in their own right. For example, an advanced database user might rely on high performance, sophisticated behavior, and advanced configurations not available in the cloud provider’s managed offerings. In addition, if that advanced database user uses an open source database such as PostgreSQL, they will likely want that area of their stack serviced by a provider that is a database company at the core, not an infrastructure company that handles hundreds of other applications and services. Today, thanks to a trend toward unbundling cloud services, organizations can regain more control over their database deployment in the cloud. 

Finally, while hybrid architectures can mitigate costs and increase flexibility, the data-centric nature of enterprises today presents additional challenges. It is difficult and time-consuming to move data and databases, and it can be

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By: MIT Technology Review Insights
Title: Dismantling three common cloud strategy assumptions
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Published Date: Tue, 02 Nov 2021 16:00:00 +0000