This week I attended Computing's Data Centre & Infrastructure Summit 2015. Overall an excellent event and really good content and speakers. A must attend event for anyone involved in DC or Infrastructure provision.
As a panel member we discussed some of the challenges and lessons learned for organisations considering a move to using cloud services to deliver all or part of their IT requirements.
As the maturity of all forms of cloud offerings continues to improve some of the earlier challenges, perceived or otherwise, have been removed. Barriers to adoption included data sovereignty, security and availability all of which have now been addressed in some way as cloud offerings have evolved.
Psychologically however we still face organisational challenges when introducing services where the data does not reside on premise. There is still a perception amongst some that the cloud is insecure. At the event I commented on this and clarified that I would still not be comfortable placing all of the organisational data in the cloud as we are not yet in a position to provide cast iron guarantees that its secure - however, we cant do that regardless of where it resides! Many cloud based providers have in place far better security and controls than many organisational based solutions.
I also discussed how colocation might increase your opex costs by 15-20% when compared with on premise based approach. The reason for this is obvious and the use of colocation, in my opinion,should not be driven by cost savings (maybe Capex savings if you need to build a new data centre for example) but co-location can improve the service - as colo providers do this for a living, have 24x7 support, multiple internet connections, backup power and purpose built secure facilities - worth the extra money if that's what your business needs. Therefore, I would argue that its a commercial decision and not one for IT who of course will advise. Ultimately like moving to a cloud service a risk based approach is needed.
As recent research has shown a hybrid approach is a more common place for organisations to be at this time. A mixture of on and off premise services. A good toe in the water approach for anyone considering cloud for their organisation.
Where a public cloud service is available to meet a business requirement it will almost inevitably be cheaper than a private cloud or colocation solution. This is simply based on economies of scale. Any decision to do this must include a robust contract and significant up front and ongoing due diligence.
To summarise, horses for courses when it comes to making the decision between public, private, hybrid, colocation or on premise.