Beware of the Dark Side of the Cloud

A little bit of legwork at the outset to find a vendor who utilizes a low-code platform and gives you choice of deployment saves you from a headache in the long run and helps you avoid the dark side of the cloud.

Jarod Greene is VP of Service Management Strategy for Cherwell Software.

Cloud computing offers tremendous advantages and has spurred the continued growth of the as-a-service market. In fact, a recent McAfee report found that 93 percent of organizations utilize cloud in some form. Earlier this year Gartner predicted the public cloud services market would grow nearly 20 percent this year to $246 billion. This is largely due to the fact that many organizations are trying to lower their capital expenditures (Capex) by offloading on-premise solutions hosting, management and maintenance needs.

The perceived advantage of any-as-a-service model is that someone else can take ownership and responsibility, so you’re able to sit back and concentrate on other business drivers. It’s the same reason why many of us opt to pay for Spotify and Pandora to stream our music, rather than having music eat up storage on our computers.

But for all its benefits, there is a dark side to the cloud that you might not have heard about unless you’ve experienced it firsthand. The thing about any as-a-service model is that the goals of any subscription is to facilitate recurring revenue. From that perspective, the minute you trade ownership for convenience, you are beholden to the provider, and doing business on their terms, not yours. You can hope the provider continues to deliver services at the same price tomorrow that they did today, or expect them to continue meeting their SLAs, but that probably won’t be the case. Few, if any providers, are going to willfully admit if or when they underserve you. For all these reasons, once you’re in the cloud, getting out is easier said than done.

Again, the the goal of any subscription service, cloud included, is to get you to buy more of it; this holds true for any as-a-service model. The more you customize your product with your provider, the further entrenched you become in your vendor’s platform and the more control and leverage they have. This is particularly true for vendors with code-heavy platforms; you give up much of the control. This dynamic might work well in the short term, but when the time comes to renew your service, don’t be surprised when you see a 20 percent price increase. In many cases, you have no choice but to re-sign with your existing vendor rather than attempting to move everything over to a new provider – most times, in as little as eight weeks. Moreover, you’ll often have to start from scratch, making it more daunting of a task. Of course, many customers don’t even want to think about starting over on such short notice, and thus, they are forced to pay up.

We’ve established some of the reasons for the dark side of the cloud, which begs the question, “How do I avoid it?” It’s simple, really; find a vendor that has a low-code platform and allows you to deploy it how you want (and where you want).

When I say ‘low-code platform’, I’m referring to one that allows you to customize and configure to your liking without ever touching the underlying code. Most of the time, it’s a simple drag-and-drop, and any customization doesn’t impact your future ability to upgrade to newer versions of the platform, unlike code-heavy platforms.

Another key piece with avoiding the dark side of the cloud is working with a vendor that lets you deploy on your terms, whether it be vendor-hosted or on-premise via licensing fee. This flexibility enables the customer to start out in the cloud and, if they so choose, move to an on-premise setup relatively easily. This is likely preferable to being stuck in the cloud with a highly-customized solution that makes it nearly impossible to get out or move on-premise.

Similar to any subscription service, you should know what you’re getting into upfront and find out if a vendor’s offering (and price points) might change once they’re in a position of power. A little bit of legwork at the outset to find a vendor who utilizes a low-code platform and gives you choice of deployment saves you from a headache in the long run and helps you avoid the dark side of the cloud.

Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Informa.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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