There has been a lot of buzz and confusion about cloud computing, so we asked Dr Werner Vogels, the Chief Technology Officer for Amazon Web Services to bust the four most common myths about cloud computing.
Cloud isn’t secure. For any cloud provider, security is always the top priority. Most companies don’t have the luxury of dedicating resources on security, unlike cloud providers which have been doing this for years. Cloud uses all the same security tactics and strategies that enterprise data centers have used for the last 30 years, and in fact invest a lot more. Companies found that when they put their infrastructure on cloud platform, their security actually improves.
Cost is the only cloud advantage. The reality is cost is just one of them; the more important advantage is the ability to move more quickly and accelerate time-to-market. If you ask software development engineers at enterprises how long it takes to get a server if they want to do an experiment or just expand a project, the answers range from four weeks to three months just for a server. That is frustrating for engineers and it stifles innovation. With a cloud you are able to spin up large amounts of server capacity in minutes to expedite development work.
You should move all infrastructure to the cloud in one fell swoop. If you are a startup, that is what you should do. It makes no sense to build on top of the old world model of buying infrastructure that you may or may not need. For companies that have new developments, it is easy to build it on top of the cloud and quickly take advantage of those benefits. For those with many legacy applications and systems, it is not advisable to move everything at once. Most enterprises move more methodically by picking a diverse set of initial applications to try as proofs of concepts in the cloud. They run them from a few weeks to a few months to see how the cloud is different and understand how to operate in the cloud before moving more of their applications. This will be followed by a 12-to-24-month migration plan.
I can get all the benefits of the cloud with my own private cloud. The reality is when you really dig into the details of these private or internal clouds, they are usually very expensive fixed cost, private installation of infrastructure which lacks all the key benefits of the cloud. Companies that build these types of internal clouds still own all the capital expense at the data centers and incur ongoing high maintenance costs. Companies should consider the notion of what really is private cloud because it is a term with ‘cloud’ in it but lacks all the key benefits of the cloud.
Traditionally, SMEs have been constrained by the availability of resources and infrastructure to develop their products and services. Amazon Web Services has enabled hundreds of thousands of companies around the world to free up their precious engineering resources to focus on work that truly differentiate their business. Companies incur no up-front expenses or long-term commitments, turn capital expense into variable operating expense, and pay only for what they use. This has helped level the playing field for startup companies and SMEs to leverage the web services to build their businesses, move quickly to roll out their product without infrastructure constraint, and leverage the benefits of the cloud platform to compete in the global marketplace.