Anyone who has made significant moves to the cloud can tell you the same thing: When it’s good, it’s very, very good. But for every cloud success story, there are plenty of stalled, failed and underwhelming projects, too.
But you wouldn’t know that from the coverage you see of cloud benefits. It’s presented as a cure-all solution that will eliminate problems, cut costs and improve efficiency across the board. Then, if things go wrong, IT winds up looking like the party at fault.
According to a survey by Enterprise Management Associates, failure is anything but rare, however. When asked which cloud providers they had considered, IT pros reported that they had projects stall or fail on:
- Rackspace (63%)
- Amazon Web Services (57%)
- Microsoft Azure (44%), and
- VMWare providers (33%).
Where projects went wrong
Failure didn’t always look the same.
The report highlights six key problems that IT pros faced on their way to cloud migration.
Any one of these can be a huge barrier. And 88% of respondents were surprised to face at least one of them.
1. Pricing (38%)
In most cases, the cloud is sold as a cost-saving measure. And that is often the case.
But determining just how much you’ll pay for the services you acquire isn’t always easy. Contracts are rarely straightforward, and you may find yourself dishing out more than expected for what you’re getting.
Do your best to nail down an actual dollar amount. Don’t just account for the amount you’ll need to get up and running. You’ll also want to determine what the costs will be if you need to add or remove users and accounts later on (more on that later).
2. Performance (38%)
Public clouds are often at the whims of “noisy neighbors.” These are other companies or users of a cloud service whose applications drain resources from the provider.
While you may have been able to isolate the source of high-traffic demands in-house, when you’re in the cloud there’s little you can do except try to get the provider on the phone and file a complaint.
3. Support (36%)
Closely tied to cost. Many customers only find out after they’ve selected a cloud provider that to get truly comprehensive support, they’ll have to pony up extra cash. Lower tier customers may only be able to file help desk tickets or email requests, according to the report.
Make sure you know what kind of support you can expect before signing on with a provider. It’s best to have one point of contact (or a main point of contact) who knows your systems, your needs and will be available to assist you if you run into a problem.
While shelling out for support may not seem feasible, consider how much the lost time spent trying to fix outages could cost your organization.
4. Downtime (35%)
As we’ve discussed before, most companies don’t think they’re suffering much downtime. Then again, most companies don’t actually test that theory out, either.
Make sure you have an accurate idea of what your typical downtime event is now. Consider not only how much downtime you have a year, but also how many separate incidents make that up – and how often they falls during peak business hours.
Then compare that to the levels of uptime you’re promised by a provider. The difference may not actually be all that great in their favor.
5. Management (33%)
Once you have all services you want migrated to the cloud, you may find that management of those services wasn’t as easy as expected. In fact, 53% of those surveyed by CMA said they wished they had a better management dashboard, the top complaint for cloud services.
Make sure you take the management system for a spin before committing to anything. If it’s clunky or difficult to navigate, you may find that you’re better off with an alternate provider.
6. Scalability (33%)
Scalability is seen as one of the best selling points for the cloud. Most people think it’s easy to add storage or users without having to make space and invest in additional equipment at your facility.
But that’s only in theory. Many companies that need to expand or even contract their cloud services will often find that it comes at a steep cost.
Know before you buy what the range of users and services you’ll need to support will be. Make sure you get pricing from the low- to high-end of that range, rather than investing at one amount and finding out you’ll need to ask for more financial support later.