cloud, aws, migration, devops, cloud adoption,

Cloud is not for us

Hussain Mansoor Hussain Mansoor Follow Apr 01, 2022 · 4 mins read
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For some Cloud is an apparent truth. For others it is unknown territory which is yet to be matured or explored by them. We as humans are always afraid of unknowns and when the change impacts hundreds or thousands of people where majority of them are not exposed to the destination then it really is scary.

This post by computerworld from 2014 discusses about fear attached to cloud computing. Concerns like transparency, absolute dependency, hidden metrics about compute processes and costing. Here’s another one post from 2015 talking about five fears about Cloud. The post shares valid points like Data Security, Accessibility, Cost, Losing Control and Migrating back in case of failure.

But even in recent times the perception has not changed. It has improved but still many organisations fear this latest technology paradigm. A blog by Atlassian written in 2021 discusses issues like security, visibility and decentralized access, subscription costs, right tooling and controlled workflows.

I have seen many other issues like

  • Scarcity of experts
  • Dependency on 3rd party AWS partners, vendors or AWS support
  • Democratization of decisions
  • Time

Out of the issues above, time is the most critical one. Quite a number of times, large organisations (through their employees) become comfortable in what they know. They don’t want to go extra mile and explore new areas of advancements. In such organisations, Cloud is always an after thought. Some IT leader in management thinks that world is moving to cloud and we also should. And that’s how many organisations start their cloud journey. Soon realizing that cloud is not mature enough, can’t manage their load, is too costly, etc., etc. The issue here is the mind set changes rather than technical.

Time is also critical in a way that the migrations and post-migrations improvements should be completed in months. Rarely that’s the case. Large organisations approach this like: Cloud Discovery, Cost/Feasibility/Other Analysis, Business Use-cases, Solutions Intents, Business buy-in presentations, budget approvals, security approvals, etc. All this luggage of past era is what cloud is NOT suitable for.

Cost is another very scary part of cloud computing. Especially in third world countries which are late majority or laggards Ref on terms. The issue here is that of approach and learning from the industry. You don’t have to start every project on EC2 & after maintaining it for x years realize that it should be serverless. The team has to be made up of passionate people who like to explore, join meetups, read blogs, etc. They’ll be the ones who will be coming up with ideas eventually bringing the cost down.

The final fear according to me is how to manage the cloud. This is a genuine issue and should be really given deep thoughts. To start with cloud is really simple but to master it is the real challenge. It’s the same as playing Flappy Bird game. It is super easy to start & even a 1 year old can play it. You just have to tap the screen to play. But to master it, yeah that’s a totally different level of complexity.

Cloud is somewhat similar. Everyone can create an account and you’ll find thousands of blogs and videos on how to do something on EC2 instance. Well Cloud is much more than EC2s, with AWS having more than 200 services (at the time of writing this post). A better approach is how to use the building blocks and make them work together to solve a product problem. This is much harder then it seems. Managers prefers AWS Marketplace solutions or AWS Partners to manage the cloud for them.

I’ve also seen Cloud Ops team which kills the whole cloud idea. You have to raise a ticket which has SLA of 7 days. Then an EC2 is created and passed to OS team to harden it. Then Security team examines it, then network team sets the paths and budget approval and 4 levels or approvals and then the question is why are you even moving to cloud?? Stay in the good old data-center with 3 months lead time on a VM.

There could other considerations in your organisations as per the local context. But all of us at this point should consider that cloud is not something in future, in fact it is a living truth. So maybe update our perspective and look at the positive reasoning of why so many world level organisations have moved to cloud. There must be a good reason that they followed that path. Still if cloud is not the solution, then maybe you’re the few niche organisations for which Cloud has to update itself.

Hussain Mansoor
Written by Hussain Mansoor Follow
Certified AWS Architect & Developer with MS in Software Engineering. Working on Cloud & Agile for more than 10 years.