Get over it: The #Cloud is always someone-else computer.

By | June 1, 2017

I read another article on a popular geek site on how the Cloud is the new normal and how odd you are if you have something against it.
My take on it is that an intelligent IT professional is not to take this things lightly.

There are several topics one has to consider when deciding about “The Cloud”

How easy is to start the online presence

Pros: Using the cloud (MS, Amazon, Oracle, Google etc.) it is now very easy to start your online presence. All this cloud providers pride themselves that takes minutes to setup a virtual server and start providing content.
Cons: At this point the hosting software is so developed that it is extremely easy to setup a web server or an application server environment to cater for your needs yourself. You can set up a secure web-server (use LetsEncrypt + Apache) , buy your domain and set up a WordPress server in minutes. For more complicated application server environments may take some days but that is the same amount of time you need also if you want to set up a more complex Cloud based environment.

The hardware cost

Pros: A big selling point of the cloud providers is that you disconnect from the hardware issues. You see hardware as a black box and you do not care about initial costs and maintenance.
Cons: The cost of hardware is not what it was. You set up a very strong, low cost under $2000, two nodes cluster setup that has lots of storage space in RAID disks setup meeting all the needs of a highly available environment. For the same extra amount you can even have an identical environment to which you replicate data on a second location. Basically this days you can end up having under $5000 a highly available, two sites environment that 20 years ago was accessible only to big corporations.

The scalability cost
Pros: Using Cloud you can scale fast at any point. This is again a selling point for the Cloud providers.
Cons: It is true that using the cloud you can scale faster but this has an added cost. I heard of start-ups that died because they were two successful and they scaled to fast. Scaling in the cloud is fast but also takes your cash faster. If your money flow cannot keep up with the increasing cost of the Cloud you may end up having a huge issue. Majority of the successful businesses at some point tend to wean themselves from the cloud at some point. Funny thing is that even the today big cloud providers actually did that. They got read of the 3rd party hosting services and created their own data-centers (Amazon and Google). So why should I believe their propaganda and do exactly the opposite of what they did.

Reliability
Pros: Cloud is more reliable and geographically distributed so is not failing
Cons: The above statement is not actually true. In the last months I have seen lost of major incidents that lest the renters of the Cloud without service. We just have to remember the big AWS east cost black-out The Amazon S3 Outage Is What Happens When One Site Hosts Too Much of the Internet. My self hosted environment seems to have almost the same reliability as any cloud provider. If you use in fact a hybrid Cloud + own servers setup you can get even better reliability of service.

Security
Pros: Cloud uses latest security standards.
Cons: The above is true also for your own servers if they are properly set up. Here we also give extra meaning to the affirmation “The cloud is always someone-else computer”. By putting the your data in the Cloud you have to trust someone else with the security of your data. I can tell you that there are companies from fields of finance, banking or defense contractors that never in a million years are going to use the public Cloud for their operations.

Privacy
Pros: None
Cons: Everything. By entrusting your data and your company secrets (products, source code, financial data) to the Cloud you are asking for it. There is privacy only if you have 100% control of your information.

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