Jad Jebara, CEO at Hyperview, explains the cloud boomerang effect and whether or not we can avoid it.
In recent years, organisations have hurriedly embraced cloud technology to meet the rapidly changing demands of customers and the market. However, the lack of careful planning, particularly evident during the pandemic-fuelled cloud boom, has led to a missing piece of the puzzle: a comprehensive cloud strategy.
This oversight has triggered unexpected expenses, challenges in resource management, and a failure to tap into the cloud’s full potential. Businesses now realise that the cloud is falling short of their earlier expectations, as the once effective ‘quick fixe’ are losing their effectiveness over time.
This has set in motion a new trend where businesses pull their applications and workloads away from the cloud and back to their premises. This phenomenon, known as the ‘cloud boomerang effect’, is unfolding because businesses initially adopted the cloud without considering crucial aspects like skills and security.
That isn’t to say that cloud computing is devoid of benefits for businesses; quite the opposite. The scale of innovation that cloud providers bring is unmatchable, with key benefits ranging from scalability, flexibility, disaster recovery, resource optimisation, and faster deployment of applications and services. Cloud’s success is evident, with Gartner projecting public cloud end-user spending to surge to nearly $600 billion in 2023.
However, the shift acknowledges that the cloud doesn’t necessarily provide the initially envisioned benefits. Businesses are now taking a step back to formulate more careful and deliberate strategies for cloud adoption. It underscores the importance of a more comprehensive approach by carefully assessing workloads and making well-informed decisions about which environments best suit their requirements.
Map your journey to avoid getting lost
The allure of the cloud is undeniable, offering many advantages, but it also comes with its share of challenges if not executed properly. One such challenge is the trade-off between relinquishing control while gaining access to unexplored features. The cloud, though easier to deploy workloads in, presents complexities that demand thoughtful planning and execution.
Similar to planning a holiday, moving to the cloud requires a clear destination and a thought-out roadmap. It’s not enough to say: “Ok, I’m going to Italy”. Rushing into cloud adoption without a thorough assessment can lead to costly mistakes. The cloud hype has often fuelled impulsive decisions, overshadowing the need for functional and technical considerations. Hence, being specific and intentional about cloud deployment is crucial.
The pandemic brought about unprecedented changes in business operations virtually overnight. This rapid shift greatly expedited the adoption of cloud-based IT models. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella remarked that the company witnessed two years’ worth of digital transformation in just two months, reflecting the accelerated uptake of cloud solutions among its customers.
Amid the urgency to establish robust remote capabilities, ensure scalability, and explore innovative ways to engage with customers, businesses embraced a ‘lift and shift’ strategy. This approach involved swiftly relocating existing applications to the cloud with minimal alterations.
As the post-pandemic landscape emerged, businesses began to recognise the merits of strategic cloud strategies, with a more thoughtful evaluation of workloads suitable for on-premises or cloud environments. Consequently, the emergence of a hybrid IT environment has garnered substantial popularity.
From talent shortages to regulations: What’s driving the hybrid model?
The scarcity of skilled IT professionals has significantly driven the increasing move to the cloud. Highlighting the severity of the IT talent shortage, the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology recently published a report revealing that about half of UK businesses lack the personnel required for basic cybersecurity tasks. In response, smaller companies, competing against tech giants for talent, turned to cloud services as a seemingly easy solution to their staffing woes.
However, an over-reliance on off-premises solutions has compelled businesses to confront the IT skills shortage in new ways, especially when managing their cloud infrastructure effectively. As significant upgrades become due, the absence of the right IT skills becomes a bottleneck. Striking a balance between on-premises and cloud solutions is essential in overcoming this dilemma.
In the current business landscape, there is a noticeable shift towards a strategic blend of cloud, on-premises, and colocation solutions. This trend is primarily driven by the ever-evolving regulations that organisations must navigate. As businesses recognise the importance of the location of customer data, they are maturing in their decision-making process, making a clear distinction classification of the type of workload and where it should reside.
Recent years have amplified the significance of critical infrastructure, prompting a surge in security requirements and regulations for businesses and the providers they rely on. In response to these developments, businesses are embracing a hybrid approach, carefully blending various infrastructure solutions. By striking a balance between cloud, on-premises, and colocation, companies can tailor their environments to meet specific regulatory requirements and optimise operational efficiency
Advice for businesses moving forward
Clearly define your objectives, classify workloads appropriately, and make decisions aligned with your business’ demands and long-term goals. This intentional approach ensures efficient resource allocation and future scalability.
Invest in expertise
Amid the allure of cloud solutions, it is important not to succumb to marketing hype. While cloud providers offer cutting-edge features and services, it is important to invest in internal expertise, especially around DevOps, to manage and work around any potential deficiencies that may arise. Building a skilled team capable of harnessing the full potential of cloud technologies ensures the long-term success of cloud initiatives and maximises the value derived from cloud adoption.
People, process, tools, measures
To guide any future cloud adoption choices, employ the ‘people, process, tools, measures’ framework. Ensure that the team is dedicated to the project, a comprehensive understanding of the decision-making process, clarity on the tools involved, and a well-defined measure of project success.