Deep dive into cloud computing issues and benefits

A recent special report on cloud computing in iWeek outlined some of the key challenges and benefits attached to cloud computing. They are worth reviewing as they give an ‘unclouded’ view of virtualization technologies which are reshaping the way web hosting companies deliver IT resources to SMEs and SMBS over the Internet.

Generally, a company with a legacy IT department needs to carefully consider which cloud services to launch first, before undertaking a complete migration. There are issues with cost, timing and management structures.   Cloud computing, in tandem with the coming Smartphone revolution, are considered two of the biggest upheavals in the IT industry since the conception of the Internet.

The following presents a broad overview of the pros and cons of moving towards a cloud-based IT Model.



Standards and protocols governing cloud computing are still in a state of flux. Some of the management tools are only now reaching maturity while others still have some ways to go.


Many argue over the true meaning of cloud computing including the terms private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud. Other models include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

Software Licensing challenges

Licensing by processor or user for terms of one year and more does not sit well against a service whose payment premise is pay-as-you-go.

Calculating true cost of service

Since cloud computing or on-demand clouds completely upends the traditional on-premise model there may be growing pains estimating the true cost of savings when moving away from upfront capital investment scenarios to a model where volumes and usage directly dictate costs.

Data Access

It’s snap to initiate a cloud service, but there are concerns on what happens when you need your data back.


If companies are starting their IT on a blank sheet of paper, cloud computing is a relatively easy choice. But, the dead weight of legacy systems makes cloud migration much trickier to handle for IT managers

Green IT

How remote web hosting companies comply with Green IT will become a key consideration over time with regards the success of cloud computing.


Faster provisioning times

Hours are reduced to minutes when provisioning new servers, applications and system environments. It’s generally cheaper too.

Reduced CapEx

The pay-as-you-go model, including IaaS platforms, reduces the overall capital investment in hardware and software.

Try Before You Buy

IT managers and web development teams can test drive new products and services in much more elegant, sandboxed manner via the cloud. Users can ‘taste’ the cloud before committing to larger projects.

Test environments reduce costs

The ability to create an on-demand sand box for testing and developing both business and enterprise products, allows IT teams to pursue massive scales of agility at lower prices. Maintenance costs are reduced through this utility cloud environment.

Reduced datacentre footprint

Hybrid cloud deployment models allow an IT team to transfer peak loads outside the internal datacenter. This means lower costs.

Enhanced architecture and design

An on-demand cloud-computing model allows an IT team to reduce user dependence on legacy systems, which are often complex and costly.

Centralized administration

Cloud computing elegantly wraps a management screen around core applications using elegant on-demand dashboards, which allow departments to scale resources up and down, as they need it. This gives a company greater control over application development and IT sprawl.

Green IT

Since on-premise datacenters often include under-utilized capacity and other energy inefficiencies, a cloud model allows a company to precisely control its output, including carbon emissions. A smaller IT footprint is by definition a key to lower emissions and environmental stability.

Better Security

Web hosting companies have spent decades fine-tuning security models to keep data, applications and user identities safe. This knowledge is being used to lock down cloud services and provide the safest possible operating structure for companies deploying cloud services.

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24 Apr 2012, 1:17 p.m.

The lists in the article above are fine as far as they go but they start too far down the line in the journey to cloud computing. There are many things which need to be considered before you even get to the stage of deciding if cloud computing is a good idea for a company. To use project management speak, there are many issues in establishing the ‘Current State’ before you can even think about a ‘Future State’ or how to get there. These issues have got to include establishing the actual extent of BYOD, the actual extent of Shadow IT and current data collation and usage. If you go into the cloud without having ascertained these then you’re not going to get the benefits that you’re looking for