Store, Regret, Repeat
The still-fresh outage of Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram gave a timely reminder of what can happen when so many are dependent on so few. A great number of companies, who are reliant on those online platforms, lost valuable hours of trade. This shows that there should be greater democratisation and less “single points of failure”.
Similarly, just a few giants within the cloud storage industry can end up having the final say so over a huge volume of content. Media companies frequently find themselves backed into a corner regarding what they can (or cannot do) with their own content and data.
A recent report by Gartner brought a few of these tendencies to light, noting “heavy handed sales tactics by some of the cloud’s biggest players”. The report went on to explain that, while the key public cloud giants have displayed a fast pace of innovation and continued revenue growth, it may be at the expense of the customer experience. Technical complexity, aggressive sales tactics and post-sales dissatisfaction, all feature in the list of downsides when consumers become dependent on public cloud platforms.
It has been estimated that by 2025, 80% of enterprises will have cloud-based infrastructures. As a customer of cloud storage, you should be completely happy that data is not stuck, that data repatriation is considered and that non-reliance on individual companies is prioritised.
Cloud Cost Concerns
It’s your content, so you should be able to access it however and whenever, right? That will not be possible in the cloud with many public offerings. Data access fees for your own content are both complex to calculate and can add up to be far more expensive than the storage fees themselves. So, you may frequently find yourself paying to access your own content. Data movement fee structures make it easy to move your content into the cloud, but retrieving it is not so easy – companies are increasingly concerned about data repatriation issues. The whole set-up feels a little like being charged for your drink, then charged for moving to sit down with it in the pub, and then being charged even more to leave the pub!
Cloud Provider or Technical Partner?
Surely though, once you know your way around your public cloud providers’ offerings it should be plain sailing. Not so much. Customisations (e.g., to workflows) are basically left in your hands and that requires expensive and complex devops. With public cloud providers they typically aren’t going to do any devops work for you. So, we see in the marketplace a number of companies springing up, to perform security audits, to perform workflow integrations: the list goes on but unfortunately so does the expense. Buying individual parts of a solution set from multiple providers can become logistically complex, costly and time consuming. It’s not a new argument to suggest that technical partners who know and understand the industry and who can provide a thought through, but open solution set have a strong place to play.
Cloud First or Hybrid?
Going back to 2020 “Cloud First” became a boardroom mantra – perhaps because the boards felt that it made their companies seem more modern and therefore gave value to the company. But the reality was always going to become cloud where cloud fits and on-prem where on-prem fits – artificially forcing a company down a single route was only ok if ultimately the benefits outweigh the costs! But there is of course another option – hybrid. Working partly with cloud and partly on-prem. It’s much talked about and where it is implemented well it really does provide the best of both worlds.
The combination of both means you can scale up and down as required, but with the additional security of having full control of your data. You can access the full range of the benefits of the public cloud, without having to wholly depend on them – freeing you up to create your content and distribute as you need.
In my view, cloud is an amazing tool that can and must be utilised, but at the same time the cloud honeymoon is over: the challenges of using it are now well-understood and provide us with parameters that show it has its limitations along with its benefits. We need to be Cloud Smart rather than Cloud First.