December 27, 2010

Cloud without really thinking about it

Top things IT shouldn’t do just to do them:
1. Cloud
2. Reduce costs
3. Architecture
4. Itil
5. Security
6. Business alignment
Now my boss, Dan, was out at DreamForce the other week along with thirty thousand of his closest friends, so he’s going to cringe when he reads this list. If our CFO reads this list, he’ll have some questions too about why I think we shouldn’t reduce costs. I’ll get to that soon, but there are some things that we in IT rush into when we shouldn’t.
I doubt I’ll make it through these six in this post but out of respect for DreamForce I’ll start with the cloud.
Now we do a lot in the cloud, Salesforce.com, BigMachines, even our email gateway is in the cloud, but never did we decide to do it because it was in the cloud.
When we decided to go to Salesforce many years ago, it wasn’t because it was hosted. It wasn’t because we didn’t have to buy hardware. It wasn’t for a monthly subscription model, or because it was opex instead of capex. We went to Salesforce.com because the application was so much better than the one we had. It fit our needs. The fact that it is hosted in the cloud really wasn’t part of the equation.
Now there are many times we didn’t go to the cloud too. We looked at storage in the cloud 18 months ago and looked at the major players at the time. They all claimed a reduction of 30-50% in our storage costs by going to the cloud. It sounded like a great idea. We can grow on demand, reduce costs and avoid big capital expenditures.
That is until I asked about bandwidth charges. As it turned out we had to pay each time we did a read/write per Mb. The real kicker was that they didn’t backup the data. So we would have to pay to copy all of the data over, pay to copy all of it back, still pay to back it up and pay for any usage. It quickly killed any cost savings so we didn’t do it.
There are a lot of business reasons to go to the cloud. People rave about the cost savings, ease of use, speed of execution and if you really get those benefits the cloud is the way to go. But going to the cloud just because something is in the cloud makes no sense.
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