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cloud computing confusionMost of the focus for the past few years has been on making the transition to the cloud. As it turns out, though, many IT organizations are experiencing significant challenges once they get there. The top one is, of course, cybersecurity. But, a new survey of 300 C-level and IT decision-makers conducted by SoftwareONE, a provider of a cloud management platform and IT services, finds 37 percent of respondents listed unpredictable costs as their second biggest cloud pain point.

Another third also cited lack of transparency into cloud resource usage. In fact, that lack of visibility into cloud usage has led to a significant disconnect between C-level executives and IT decision-makers. More than half (56 percent) of C-level executives believe their organizations have migrated workloads to the cloud, compared to only 35 percent of IT directors who believe the same.

On-premises impact

Regardless of how many workloads are running in the cloud, the survey also makes it clear that on-premises IT continues to be highly relevant. Nearly half (45 percent) of organizations are either increasing or maintaining their on-premises investments in the coming year. In fact, the majority (53 percent) of companies are committed to hybrid cloud computing.

The survey shows that on-premises IT in one form or another is still very much part of the strategic mix, says Lawrence Schwartz, chief marketing officer for SoftwareOne.

“On-premises IT is here to stay,” says Schwartz.

Beyond the unpredictability of cloud costs, Schwartz says there are still plenty of instances where performance requirements coupled with cybersecurity and compliance concerns will result in many applications workloads continuing to be deployed in a local data center.

In addition, Schwartz notes that recent changes to the U.S. tax code make it more financially attractive to acquire IT equipment because the full cost of equipment is now a tax write-off.

In fact, in some cases an application developed in the cloud may wind up being moved on premises once the time comes to deploy it in a production environment, or vice versa.

Reimagining cloud-first

One big reason cloud computing often winds up being more expensive than anticipated comes down to culture. It’s not uncommon for a developer to forget they fired up multiple virtual machines. When that occurs on a local server it’s a waste of resources worthy of a verbal rebuke. But when a developer forgets to turn off virtual machines running on a public cloud, it results in a larger monthly bill. Rather than risk incurring those costs, many organizations still prefer their developers to build applications on a local server unless, of course, that application is simply too large to run anywhere other than a public cloud.

None of this means there’s a backlash building against running application workloads on public clouds. But, it does mean more organizations are being cautious in their interpretation of a what a “cloud first” IT strategy means. That increased understanding of how and when public clouds make sense creates a significant opportunity for managed service providers. The more application workloads become distributed, the more likely an organization will be to rely on external expertise to help them managed those workloads. The good news is that the number of organizations taking a more mature approach to cloud computing appears to be increasing rapidly.

Photo: PATARA/

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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