5 Public Cloud Myths

The public cloud is one of the hottest trends in the entire IT space today and has been for many years. Cloud offerings such as AWS, Azure and Google cloud have made it “en vogue” for many companies to get into.  Many times, board members will think they are missing out, if their company isn’t using the public cloud and jump into it without really understanding it. Once they learn more, they are surprised by what they find.  As an MSP provider, servicing public clouds like AWS and Azure, we see this almost weekly. So, to help you avoid the surprise factor after digging in, here are 5 public cloud myths you should know:

Myth #1: Public Cloud is Cheaper

The AWS/Azure public cloud “pay-by-the-drink-model” was a huge change from the “pay for all of your resources regardless of what you use model” that existed with hosting providers then and now. The assumption is that this model automatically means it will be cheaper. A couple of scenarios change that logic very quickly. First, many times High Availability (HA) environments usually come out cheaper with a hosting provider rather than a public cloud option. When you start adding multiple regions and transferring data across them on top of the overall environment structure needed for HA, it can get much more expensive in the public cloud. Why? There are 2 main areas that people get surprised with when it comes to most public cloud pricing: data out transfer costs and dedicated resource costs. Since both play into an HA, it can get very expensive quickly in the public cloud. Companies with applications or site with huge databases churning large amounts of data on a regular basis. Many companies in this scenario that initially went to the public cloud have gone back to baremetal/dedicated resources in a managed cloud where the spend is far more reasonable and fully consistent.    

Myth #2: Everything Should go to the Public Cloud

The public cloud was initially built and still is largely utilized for Dev and Test environments. More and more companies are moving some, but not all, of their environments to the public cloud, but very few are moving everything there. This is because those that have learned what it takes to tailor your application or site to the public cloud can be very time intensive and not all applications are really built for the cloud/virtualization, much less the public cloud. Always ensure you have someone on your team or a trusted partner who can lead you through what it takes to move things to the cloud and what is really meant for the public cloud. This will help you avoid making the mistake of moving applications that won’t work well there and lead to a bad user experience.

Myth #3: Full Security/Compliance Comes with Cloud Infrastructure

In previous articles I have preached that security is much better in the cloud today.  The only thing is that many companies see public clouds like AWS and Azure offering HIPPA or PCI compliant solutions and assume that will make them compliant once they move there. Sounds correct, right? Unfortunately, it’s not. The infrastructure they provide you is fully compliant to those standards, but once you configure your application on top of it, it becomes a completely different story. Don’t get me wrong, what they provide gets you most of the way there. However, if you get audited, you will likely fail unless you have re-certified your compliance after putting your application on top of the infrastructure. If you don’t have anyone on your team to do this, simply find a security and compliance focused MSP that can help you and ensure you maintain compliance from end to end.

Myth #4: Moving to Public Cloud is Simple

I will preface by saying, there are some things that you can setup that are small and simple through great tools in the public clouds. However, if you have an application or site you have tailored and configured prior to moving to the public cloud it is NOT simple. Public Clouds, like AWS or Azure, are essentially a bucket of Lego blocks you dump out on the floor. It takes time and expertise to put together that Star Wars destroyer exactly as you see it on the box. If you don’t have people with the right expertise and experience it can get very complicated quickly and without a solid structure it will be very hard to make your application work correctly on top of it. Find the right Lego experts for you and let those experts do the heavy lifting!

Myth #5: Managing the Public Cloud is Simple

Once someone has architected, built and migrated your application to the public cloud, it should be simple to manage from there. Right? This is not the case! Have your IT team’s networking specialists dig into how networking is configured on AWS or Azure and let them tell you how different it is from traditional networking. Have your resources try to figure out how to handle auto scaling configurations even after they have been pre-configured for you.  Again, with all the “Legos” having to fit perfectly together, even maintaining them when they break or optimizing their performance is not simple. It takes experts who have been there and done that. The simple suggestion here is to let the expert’s architect, build, migrate and manage it for you. Cutting corners in the public cloud will come back to bite you. Don’t let that happen to you or your customers!

Did any of these surprise you? If not, you probably already have stuff in the public cloud. If they did, please realize these are just 5 examples. There are more out there and the only way to avoid getting bit by them is to ensure you have guidance from those who have been there before. Even though the public cloud is technically 10 years old, it is still very young and developing at a rapid pace. Keeping up with all the possibilities and potential pitfalls is time consuming, but don’t let it consume you. Find the right advisors and create a solid plan to avoid falling prey to these or other cloud myths!