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Companies that successfully deploy public cloud platforms have brought together the right blend of cloud & technical expertise

Understanding Cloud Complexities and Avoiding "Cloud Fatigue"

We're seeing an emerging trend in the cloud computing world. I've been referring to it as cloud fatigue, but it's more commonly known as repatriation, or moving workloads from the cloud back to on-prem locations. According to a recent 451 Research report, over 21 percent of organizations have plans to pull back from the cloud and return to an on-prem infrastructure in 2017. Considering the vast growth of cloud adoption over the last several years, what's behind this trend?

We believe cloud fatigue is the result of deployments going awry. It usually happens when companies quickly adopt one of the leading public cloud platforms (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, etc.) because they're attracted to the promises of ease-of-use, flexibility and low computing costs. What happens next depends on a myriad of factors, including the technical depth an organization has in-house or the partner network it has in place, as well as a strategic plan for digital transformation.

The companies that successfully deploy these public cloud platforms have typically brought together the right blend of internal and external cloud and technical expertise. But, increasingly, we're hearing about situations where the promise of the public cloud has failed to come true, or costly disruptions occur (e.g., last year's AWS outage that affected Netflix, Tinder and other well-known organizations). To provide further clarity, below are two fictional scenarios that illustrate this growing occurrence.

Scenario #1: Astronomical Consumption Costs
A promising software provider decides to launch its new cloud-based application across global markets. The product launch goes well and demand quickly grows. Yet so do the cloud bills. The fee increases from $20,000 in November to $58,000 in December. By January, the consumption costs soar to $70,000 and a monster bill in February of $98,000 results in negative profit margins.

The reason for the soaring costs? A lack of internal expertise to configure and manage the company's public cloud environment in a way to keep performance high and costs consistent. Choosing the right service, applications and features can be overwhelming. And interfacing with a computer screen instead of a human, which is the norm for public cloud providers, doesn't help the process. The complexity was underestimated.

The company considered shifting its cloud infrastructure to on-prem, but decided it needed a consultant before moving forward. Executives enlisted a cloud services provider that rewired the cloud configuration to eliminate unnecessary instances and server sprawl. Eventually, the company's costs were reduced by half and became more predictable.

Scenario #2: Poor Performance and Reliability Issues
Consider an upper mid-market organization that deploys a new healthcare ERP solution on Microsoft Azure. The company experiences poor performance and reliability issues. Unable to determine if the problems stem from the application or the platform, the company's executives contemplate pulling the plug on the entire system.

With the help of a cloud services provider it is determined the servers had been misconfigured - a kind of "worst practice" scenario. The team ends up configuring a hybrid solution that combines the public cloud's scale and power with the security and compliance capabilities of a private cloud platform. The company's healthcare ERP now works flawlessly.

Conclusion
The take-away from the two scenarios outlined above is that it's worth embracing cloud services for all the benefits they promise. But organizations shouldn't underestimate the complexity of the public cloud and the skills needed to gain its benefits. You also need to evaluate and determine if your organization can handle on-prem configurations, which can be costly and time-consuming. Whether in-house or through a cloud services partner, having access to a bench of cloud and technical experts who can help determine the right mix for your current and evolving business needs - as well as optimize that mix as priorities change overtime - is essential for efficiently achieving success in the cloud.

About Greg Pierce
Greg Pierce specializes in helping businesses understand, select and deploy innovative cloud solutions that leverage the best features of on-prem, hosted, third-party and hybrid models.

Prior to founding Concerto, he held management positions in Tribridge’s Cloud, Security and Infrastructure, and Managed Services practices. Before joining Tribridge in 2008, he owned and operated two companies that provided a variety of IT managed services and cloud computing solutions for customers throughout the U.S., including platforms for the delivery of ERP and other core business applications via private cloud since 2004. He has also served as a CIO.

Greg is an avid speaker for Fortune 500 enterprises, industry conferences and user groups. He serves on the Advisory Board for the University of South Florida (USF) College of Business, the Advisory Board for USF’s Executive MBA Program and on the Executive Advisory Council at the Donald R. Tapia School of Business at Saint Leo University. He is a member of Microsoft’s Infrastructure Partners Advisory Council and that organization’s Cloud Economics Subcommittee. He holds an MBA from USF and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Eckerd College.

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