Cloud is great, but when you know what you are doing, think about alternatives (Blippex, 2013).
What is Cloud?
“The cloud” is a term given to pay as you go – or pay monthly – off premises computing services that provide either hosting or storage to it’s user base. These services are created, maintained and wholly operated by a cloud computing provider.
Instead of purchasing and managing your own infrastructure, many opt for a cloud based model where you simply pay for the amount of resources you require at a given time.
Ever since cloud computing was born in the mid 1950’s when John McCarthy first came up with the theory of time-sharing (John Patrick Pullen, 2015), there have been unmeasurable bursts to what we now know today as “The Cloud”.
Advantages to cloud
There are definitely benefits to using cloud services, such as:
- Pay as you go pricing
- Add and remove machines and services as needed
- Low initial investment for a product you are trying out
Disadvantages to cloud
Apart from the few pros mentioned above, there are unfortunately even more cons when it comes to cloud and countless reasons why it is not always a great idea, such as:
- Vendor lock in / platform dependencies
- Data is stored off site
- Different laws govern your data, due to data centres not always being in your own country
- Security & privacy (Sudhi Seshachala, 2015)
- Downtime, which is entirely out of your control
- Limited control and flexibility
Amongst the most powerful and well known cloud computing services of them all, lives AWS (Amazon Web Services); a cloud services platform that offers computing power, database storage, content delivery and many other functionalities to help businesses scale and grow (AWS, n.d.).
While AWS (and others) have found favour with many online businesses, there are as many customers that have tried them and have left with either their pockets empty or just generally unhappy with the power, speed and control they were looking for.
The largest (Walmart) as well as the second largest (Target) discount store retailers in the United States have been moving away from AWS in order to use on-premise servers and services due to various concerns (Christina Farr & Ari Levy, 2017).
The retail giant Walmart has also urged it’s developers and developer partners to stop using AWS to host their cloud apps (Shaun Nichols, 2017).
Infrastructure monitoring service, Server Density, decided to move away from the cloud due to volume, control, price and many other internal reasons (David Mytton, 2009).
The human curated search engine Blippex made the decision to move away from cloud to dedicated servers in order to be able to control what they were paying and gain 4-5 times faster speeds.
The cloud has assisted some businesses, but it has also created many unrecoverable problems for others. Data loss can be extremely costly, as shown in the Healthcare industry, with 495 breaches, 21.12 million records lost with a total cost of $4.1 billion.
On top of all of this, it is reported that since 2007, about 568 hours of downtime have been logged (Bill Kleyman, 2015) by the major cloud carriers.
Blippex (2013) Why we moved away from AWS [Online] Blippex Blog, Available from: http://blippex.github.io/updates/2013/09/23/why-we-moved-away-from-aws.html (Accessed on 24th September 2017)
Sudhi Seshachala (2015) Disadvantages of Cloud Computing [Online] CloudAcademy.com, Available from: https://cloudacademy.com/blog/disadvantages-of-cloud-computing/ (Accessed on 24th September 2017)
John Patrick Pullen (2015) Where Did Cloud Computing Come From, Anyway? [Online] Time.com, Available from: http://time.com/collection-post/3750915/cloud-computing-origin-story/ (Accessed on 24th September 2017)
AWS (n.d.) Cloud Computing with Amazon Web Services: What is AWS? [Online] AWS.Amazon.com, Available from: https://aws.amazon.com/what-is-aws/ (Accessed on 24th September 2017)
Christina Farr & Ari Levy (2017) Target is plotting a big move away from AWS as Amazon takes over retail [Online] CNBC.com, Available from: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/29/target-is-moving-away-from-aws-after-amazon-bought-whole-foods.html (Accessed on 24th September 2017)
Shaun Nichols (2017) Walmart tells developers to stay away from AWS [Online] TheRegister.co.uk, Available from: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/06/21/walmart_tells_devs_to_avoid_aws/ (Accessed on 24th September 2017)
David Mytton (2009) Why we moved away from “the cloud” to a “real” server [Online] Blog.ServerDensity.com, Available from: https://blog.serverdensity.com/why-we-moved-away-from-the-cloud-to-a-real-server/ (Accessed on 24th September 2017)
Bill Kleyman (2015) Security Breaches, Data Loss, Outages: The Bad Side of Cloud [Online] DataCenterKnowledge, Available from: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2015/03/16/security-breaches-data-loss-outages-the-bad-side-of-cloud (Accessed on 24th September 2017)