The Challenges of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing Technology Challenges

With every transformation comes a set of underlying challenges. Today, each and every industry is becoming even more technology driven than ever before… and it is believed that most innovative technologies are revolutionising data centres, modernizing the digital workplace and building bridges into the world of Hybrid or Multi or Serverless Cloud which are the next-generation cloud computing platforms.

Cloud technology platforms are creating ever-growing business opportunities – And this is not solely limited to IT. Generally, this normally means, either you ‘Transform or Die.’  The thought process has to be transformational and revolutionary which is typified in the transportation industry by Uber and Grab or Airbnb in the hospitality industry.

The IT is in the midst of its ‘twenty year tectonic shift’ …and the most recent was in the 1990’s transition from the Client/Server computing to the Internet which is now being supplanted by the transition to ‘Cloud Computing.’ This disruption is far-reaching and its impossible to stop the revolution of the way we store and access data. Even though businesses are aware of the incredible value which cloud computing brings, a smooth adoption of any new technology is not free from issues. Let us understand some of the most significant challenges which are essential on the path of this next major shift:

1. Legacy IT Infrastructure:

Many businesses have the potential debilitating problem of existing ‘Legacy IT’ infrastructures and strategies which weren’t built to adopt or leverage new and advanced technologies, provide adequate control for remodelling or to support new business models. Conventional data centres were created in a siloed manner for maximum capacity and peak loads. They were not designed to be flexible, integrate or elastic. Moreover, to make matters worse, the siloed service does not communicate to others and might have been developed to differing standards. Integrating them could become difficult due to incompatible standards, database design, authentication, or communication protocols.

2. Security and Privacy:

One of the most significant challenges in the technology world is ‘Data Security and Privacy.’ The adoption of Cloud Computing depends upon how it tackles general data security and privacy concerns of businesses… and the also fact that valuable enterprise data will be stored outside of corporate firewall… which  raises serious concern for companies. With growing cybersecurity crimes, attacks on the cloud infrastructure would affect numerous clients who have stored their valuable customer’s personal information. The cloud service providers will have to develop robust security applications, encryption systems and other security software for averting any security breach and provide SLAs that guarantee the protection of data security and privacy.

3. Interoperability and Portability:

Organisations cannot treat the cloud environment like their on-premise data centre. Hence, the organisations will focus on total cost of ownership (TCO) before considering the migration. Businesses should have the flexibility of switching providers and migrating in and out without having a vendor lock-in period. Cloud computing services should have the capability to integrate with ease to the on-premise IT.

4. Infinite demand for Data Centers:

The hyperscale and cloud computing innovations are displacing traditional enterprise systems and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets pose an ever-growing pressure on IT departments and Data Centers. The evolving growth and importance of ‘Big Data Analytics’ – the resultant of data coming from the ‘Connected Devices’ and Internet of Things (IoT) have led to the rapid growth of data centres. With organisations undergoing a digital transformation, every business today has become mission critical, and every company will become a data company. You already see many industries gathering more information to analyse data about their customer.

The data deluge will challenge the future of the data centre community’s scaling ability…. and its ability to keep pace with the ever-growing demand for computing and storage capacity. The most significant outburst will happen when the pioneered innovators like Amazon, Google, Microsoft or IBM will have to chart strategies when their data centres max out in capacity and physical infrastructure. Apart, from that, the other critical challenge which the Cloud Providers are already facing is power consumption. Organisations spend more on cooling their data centres rather on powering and operating their IT equipment. The increase in usage of electricity is impacting the environment and world around us, whereas today; we are talking about conserving energy and creating a green environment. It becomes mission-critical to address the data centre strategy around capacity and power usage effectiveness (PUE).

5. Performance and Bandwidth Cost:

Organisations should periodically monitor and review the established key performance metrics or indicators and take necessary actions to manage any potential and real deviations from what is planned. Businesses cut hardware costs, but they still have to spend on the bandwidth or high-speed internet. Bandwidth cost might be a low cost for smaller applications, but it can significantly increase for the data-intensive applications. Delivery of intense and complex data over the network requires sufficient and high-speed bandwidth. Cloud providers will have to be able to offer continued and high performance for the applications running on their cloud, while businesses also need to analyze the TCO before adopting to any new technology.

6. Service Quality:

Cloud providers very much lack the round the clock service support to their customers, resulting in frequent outages. It becomes crucial for the companies to monitor the service being provided by the cloud vendors using either internal or third-party support and maintenance teams. It is critical to have plans to monitor SLAs, usage, robustness, performances and business dependency of these services.

7. Cloud Subject Matter Expertise:

Organisations cannot assume that their existing IT staff are capable of handling a leap to the cloud. AWS, Azure, Bluemix and all other cloud platforms are radically different and companies need to invest in training their IT staff to ramp up their skills. There are hundreds of millions of mission-critical and sensitive business data being exposed on the public internet, of which, organisations have no idea… and if a malicious hacker gained access to the data, the vast majority of entities might have to face complete internal network compromise. Hence it becomes extremely crucial for businesses to avert this potential disaster by spending on building a team who have sufficient knowledge about the technology and possess the industry experience for handling such critical responsibility.

To summarize, organizations cannot believe that the cloud service provider will handle everything for them. All these challenges are probably not to be considered as the roadblocks in the pursuit of adapting to ‘Cloud Computing’ platform. Every transformation has challenges that come with it, but it is for the cloud vendors to provide solutions for circumventing these challenges… and this will determine the roadmap ahead.

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