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Is your data strategy being hurt by these 3 cloud myths?

Marketing, IBM Data Warehouse Offerings, IBM

For years, the virtues of the public cloud have been extolled from the highest mountaintops across all industries. It seems that most businesses have heeded the advice take advantage of what the cloud has to offer.

Aberdeen reports that nearly 80 percent of businesses in their study are now using public cloud. But that still leaves more than 20 percent of businesses that are not availing themselves of its benefits.

Some may look upon this with a certain level of shock, given how prominent the push to add cloud into enterprise environments has been. How did these businesses resist the siren call of the cloud?

Some intelligent data professionals who are aware of the cloud’s benefits are encountering hurdles that have stunted their enthusiasm or blocked their ability to move to the cloud at all. But the cloud landscape has changed from what it once was. Some of these hurdles have been mitigated or eliminated completely.

A few of these are listed below, along with notable considerations that should help any organizations in the remaining 20 percent more accurately assess if the cloud is finally right for them. A short assessment is also available to help you determine whether your data is ready for the cloud.

Fear of hidden fees

One of the most prominent concerns as of late has been cloud pricing’s potential to spiral out of control. Executives and employees alike have heard horror stories from friends and colleagues about being surprised by an unexpectedly high (or ‘astronomical,’ depending on the vendor) cloud bill, in many cases due to exorbitant data movement fees. These fees have the potential to offset the attractively low capital expenditure associated with cloud services. 

However, there is good news. Not all cloud databases and data warehouses charge data movement fees. If you or others in your business have been avoiding the cloud because of unpredictable fees, it may be time to take another look with an eye toward solutions with upfront and transparent pricing. One good example is IBM Db2 Warehouse on Cloud, which alleviates concerns about surprise fees by not charging for data transfers. Why would we charge for our clients to transfer data for the most basic of tasks? The concept of transparent billing also extends to our elastic compute and storage capabilities where we show users the estimated pricing as they shift compute and storage resources. This stems directly from IBM’s philosophy that each company’s data is theirs alone to own and use as they see fit; we want to make that as simple and transparent as possible.

Lack of integration and skills

Even if the price is right, the cloud still needs to be the right fit for the organization. Cloud isn’t an all-or-nothing decision and should often be integrated as part of a hybrid approach that fits the unique needs of the business. That means a database that’s on the cloud should work well with the broader, existing data environment and not require users to undertake an undue amount of additional skill building or costly new hires. While the perfect fit may not always be possible, there are a number of ways to help increase its likelihood.

Choosing cloud technologies that are built on the same technology as their on-premises counterparts and share a common analytic engine will help make transferring workloads between deployments easier. A good example of this is the IBM Db2 and IBM Db2 on Cloud pairing which both operate using the IBM Common SQL Engine. The Common SQL Engine not only supports integration among all members of the Db2 family, but also works well with non-IBM deployments. For example, its Oracle Application Compatibility layer means that typically more than 98 percent of existing Oracle application code can run as-is.

Companies will benefit from choosing cloud solutions which can integrate well with the open source or proprietary solutions they’re already using through techniques such as data federation. In this way, they avoid a complete overhaul of their environment and retain the ability to continue using the skills with which they are already familiar. This makes adding cloud capabilities much more palatable, representing a manageable addition rather than a wholesale shift in how business is done.

Security concerns and regulatory requirements

Concern over cloud security has also held some businesses back from moving their data to the cloud. This is understandable given the regulatory atmosphere in many industries and the level of publicity that any security failure receives. However, those concerns are rapidly becoming outdated.

In “Hybrid IT is the New Normal for IT Infrastructure,” Aberdeen notes that 42 percent of surveyed respondents have experienced increased security thanks to hybrid IT. Having cloud and on-premises solutions working together bolstered security rather than harmed it. In addition, since the inception of cloud solutions, vendors have worked hard to address the increasingly complex regulatory environment. Cloud options designed to help meet current regulatory requirements exist and are worth seeking out if that has been one of the considerations holding your organization back.

Hidden fees, integration, and security are all serious concerns for any business and should not be taken lightly when considering a cloud deployment. Yet, the reality of most companies’ cloud readiness may be very different than what the common narrative around some of these blockers would have you believe. If you’re considering cloud, but not sure whether the unique situation of your business would support that decision, take our assessment to see if your data is cloud-ready.

Keep in mind that introducing cloud isn’t an “either-or” decision. Technology partners such as IBM can help you determine and implement the right amount of cloud for your business as you start to build out a hybrid environment.

Schedule a no-cost, 30-minute consultation with IBM thought leaders and distinguished engineers who have worked with thousands of clients to build winning data and analytics strategies.