8 Reasons IT Pros Hate The Cloud - InformationWeek

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8 Reasons IT Pros Hate The Cloud

We sense a simmering level of vitriol whenever we speak with IT professionals about the cloud in our daily conversations, at industry conferences, and in other settings. Here's why.
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(Image: Alois Wonasheutz via Pixabay)

Hate is a powerful word. Yet, it accurately describes how IT professionals feel about cloud computing. They're not screaming it from the rooftops, or starting protests in social media, but there's a quiet level of vitriol we hear whenever we speak with IT professionals about the cloud in our daily conversations, at industry conferences, and in other settings.

Yes, cloud computing can cut costs (if done properly). Yes, cloud computing can improve economies of scale. And yes, cloud computing can streamline IT processes. Despite these and other clear-cut benefits, there are many infrastructure administrators who find enough problems with cloud computing that they end up loathing the whole concept altogether.

Why do IT pros hate the cloud? Some find it hard to believe that cloud computing is only continuing to gain popularity. Some object to the purely technical issues that pose problems for IT pros who are used to maintaining data and applications in-house. They feel the cloud creates more work for them. Oftentimes, the issue is rooted in the difficulty that IT admins are having transitioning to new roles. With cloud-based infrastructure, platforms, or software, hands-on technical skills aren't needed as much as they once were in IT. Instead, many enterprises seek professionals who can act as systems architects, bringing a high-level vision of end-to-end infrastructure.

With time, these and other pet peeves will be resolved. For now, though, cloud hatred is a serious problem. So serious, in fact, that it can distort the roadmap for many IT organizations. If the cloud is ignored, it can cost businesses time, money, and productivity. While some IT shops can get away with avoiding anything cloud-related today, this won't be an option for most of us in the future.

That's why it's so important to air these concerns and discuss them now. In all likelihood, the cloud is here to stay, so it's important that we identify what's causing the hate, so it can be addressed and we can all move forward. Once you've reviewed this airing of the grievances, let us know how you feel about the cloud. Have you found workarounds to lessen the pain caused by cloud implementations? Have we missed anything about cloud computing that you simply cannot stand? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

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vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
5/26/2015 | 2:34:42 AM
CYA
In any IT role I've played in any company I've always been taught to cya so no blame gets placed on my shoulders. The cloud makes cya virtually impossible. If you're responsible for the show then you don't duck out at halftime. That is easy to avoid when things are within your control. But once the level of control is outsourced to a third party you use the ability to maintain control of the outcome. And if that outcome is bad, the users may accept that the fault is a third party's. But your boss isn't going to. And neither is the CIO.
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
5/26/2015 | 7:13:54 AM
Re: CYA
Yeah I think that CYA is the big company mantra in general. I don't think you can ever completely CYA as an IT person though. Even the best IT person for example, with the most bullet proof disaster recovery plan, has to wait for a disaster for the common folk to realize the benefit of their genius. And even then the most common fold can't differentiate between the disaster that occurred (not our fault) from the excellent plan that recovered from it.
Pablo Valerio
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Pablo Valerio,
User Rank: Ninja
5/26/2015 | 8:07:24 AM
Difficult To Move Out
Andrew, I agree with you that "Difficult To Move Out" is probably the biggest issue for IT professionals. 

The other reasons are mostly vaild, except fear, whcih can't be justified now. But the ability to move your cloud storage easily should be one of the first items on a checklist before choosing a cloud provider.
itsofficialleon
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itsofficialleon,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/26/2015 | 8:38:38 AM
Difficult to leave?
I think there needs to be a bit of perspective on the 'difficult to leave/move' argument regarding the cloud. It's arguably technically easier to move from one cloud provider to another than it was to move from one on-premises solution to another, given all of the API resources. The main difference is that IT professionals probably feel like it's less in their control.

But this will change soon as more and more cloud-based migration services emerge e.g. IAM Cloud's Active Directory Migration tool. Once there are more MaaS (Migration as a Service) providers for mail, storage, CRM, MIS, ERP etc, moving from one provider to another will be incredibly easy. This will pose SaaS providers an interesting challenge, and undoubtedly increase competition, which can only be a good thing for consumers.

The idea that moving to the cloud will 'lock you in' is completely unfounded. Automated cloud-based migration services will be a huge growth area over the next 2-3 years.
Andrew Froehlich
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Andrew Froehlich,
User Rank: Moderator
5/26/2015 | 2:06:22 PM
Re: Difficult to leave?
@itsofficialleon - I both agree and disagree. Saying that cloud lock-in is "completely unfounded" is a pretty bold statement. As it stands today, there are countless IT admins that can attest to their issues with lock-in. It's a very real issue. After all, if there is no truth to vendor lock-in, than why do you think that migration services will be so popular in the next few years?

Where I completely agree with you is in the fact that cloud providers will begin to adopt migration services. It's not that the service providers want to offer migration services, but they'll have to since customers are beginning to demand it. They'd much rather you stay locked in.
ANON1247502484691
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ANON1247502484691,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/26/2015 | 9:45:58 AM
A provider's perpsective
As the CTO of a Fortune 200 company said to me, "If the network is down for 5 minutes, if our EDI systems are not available to receive orders, that man (pointing to the CEO's window) kicks this butt through that window!  Anything that might interfere with our principal functions is an unnecessary convenience."

That anecdote may be simplistic and a bit dated.  Nevertheless, it explains the attraction of cloud provided SAAS.  Specialized providers offer best in class services that are secure, nimble, cost effective, and segregated from the core business functions that keep IT's hands full.

 
The IT Pro
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The IT Pro,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/1/2015 | 5:22:22 PM
Re: A provider's perpsective
Best reply on this topic. The cloud enables Org's to focus on core competences with limited resources that are better utilized elsewhere. The cloud makes financial, technical, and strategic sense in numerous areas and it is here to stay. Legacy models are clearly outdated, slow to adopt to a real time customer experience (internal & external), and keep control with the few IT professionals who can navigate the overly complex platforms that are not suited for the agile economy of today. Adapt or die...
KerryLB303
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KerryLB303,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/16/2015 | 1:34:27 PM
Re: A provider's perpsective
Sorry if this isn't placed correctly, but I'm stuck between too tired to focus and a need to vent that's been brewing for years now.  Knowing I'm not at my best, I'll limit my comments to one specific part: lack of search limiters.

 

Cloud's nice if you're not quite sure what you're looking for (especially if you don't know the proper spelling or term).  But once you start getting a clue, it would be nice if boolean operators like NOT or the find-specific-string operation actually worked!  It's like you're looking for someone, and every answer is "Oh, yeah, that's John Smith from New York".  Not exactly a limiting factor (even if someone bothers to say whether they mean the state or the city.)  Try and tell Google "John Smith" NOT city, and most of the results tend to actually include the word CITY.  (Not to mention, practically everyone named John OR Smith... OR Jon, OR Smythe, OR Schmidt...)

 

Does anyone still do comparisons of how fast different searches compare to each other?  If so, they ought to make sure to include not just how long it takes for the software to produce a list of results -- they need to wait until the human using the search decides they've found the specific answer they wanted!
abrantley
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abrantley,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/26/2015 | 10:28:32 AM
There's a difference between a fact and a possibility
"the fact is that a properly run cloud service provider likely has better resources, and a more robust security infrastructure."

Now there is a sentence that hangs on contradiction. What's the "fact,", what is "properly run,", and what is "likely."

If the "fact" is that a CSP with perfect reliability, perfect security, and certified better resources than some random organization, that's true. Please define perfect reliability, perfect security and better prices than an "average" organization. Just one name is all I need. Oh, and a contract that says they are responsible for all liabilities, both direct and consequential, that result from such failure.

I'll wait for the call....
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/26/2015 | 6:58:50 PM
Re: There's a difference between a fact and a possibility
@abrantley: if you ever want to change careers, let me know, there's a future for you in editing copy.

You're right that the sentence would have been more clear without the word "fact" in it.

 
Ron_Hodges
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Ron_Hodges,
User Rank: Moderator
5/26/2015 | 10:31:35 AM
Not just "cloud" hatred...
If you have been in this business a while, you have seen the hype cycle many times for alleged "silver bullets".  One learns to question proponents who also happen to benefit directly or indirectly from the adoption of the tools or technologies being hyped.

If you do a careful TCO/TBO analysis, sometimes the hype bears out, and sometimes it doesn't.  The same will be true for cloud.  As with any solution or technology, it is not an unalloyed benefit for everyone.  There are tradeoffs that one must accept -- in transparency, control, and yes, even performance.
WalterSokyrko2
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WalterSokyrko2,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/26/2015 | 10:41:38 AM
Private Cloud
This article assumes that cloud = public cloud. Most of the problems are alleviated or disappear if enterprise uses private cloud. This web page compares Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud (an expensive private cloud option) with Amazon Web Services (one of the cheapest public cloud option). 

Quoting from the article:

"For developers utilizing at least 200 virtual machines, Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud costs less than public cloud services from Amazon Web Services but adds the benefits and control of a private cloud offering" ...

"Cisco's bundle is upwards of 40 percent cheaper for heavy users compared with AWS"

Most enterprises probably use more than 200 virtual machines. OpenCompute hardware running OpenStack would be even cheaper. The only enterprises that can cost justify public cloud are small (less than 100 employees) or seasonal (eg. christmas tree sales, tax preparers). Many enterprises are moving from public cloud to private cloud. Smart enterprises are moving private cloud directly.
erobert
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erobert,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/26/2015 | 11:13:11 AM
the way to go when you really don't want to know what IT does for your company.
this article simplifies the concept of the cloud and the structure into the necessary collection of buzzwords selected to convince management that cloud in not only the best answer, but the ONLY answer to the question: "What should I do with my IT?". If the end goal is to sign a check and assume that all things IT are going well, then fine. Any 'architect' can tell you that the components and structure matter. Maybe as things are dumbed down further and further, we'll get to that point where a buzzword-based solution is all management looks for. I think a lot of IT pros hate articles like this which are patronizing and presumptive as well as demeaning to those working in non-cloud environments.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
5/26/2015 | 1:10:07 PM
The other side of Cloud
Andrew, I think you would have struggled to find 8 reasons to go to the cloud. It's strictly a scale issue. Either startups who can avoid hiring core IT people and implementing data centers (and who really don't know how big they will grow up to be), or mostly consumer facing internet businesses (or e-commerce for their brick and mortar) who need scale for things like Xmas. Anyone else, it is not going to save you much money and certainly not going to improve your business.

One commenter talked about "enterprises mostly have 200+ virtual servers now". I would maintain that is way off the mark for manufacturing companies. You don't implement 200 servers to run an ERP system. And God help you if you put 200 different applications on 200 different servers because you are a SaaS guy!

This market serves these mostly do nothing companies like Facebook, Twitter, etc who live in the internet world. There are still plenty of us who actually still make the products you use to get thru life with. Cloud does very little in that world.

I'll pose the same question I always throw out in these "run your business from cloud" discussions: If you make products on your shop floor, do you really want that ability dependent on your internet connection? And if you say "private cloud", is that really any difference than traditional data centers? The user plugs his computer into wall (or connects to Wi-Fi) and all these services become available to him. So the cloud changes this how in their perspective?
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
5/26/2015 | 2:50:27 PM
Re: The other side of Cloud
@TerryB - you make a lot of great points.  It is much like when the mom and pop shop decides to hire a bunch of employees instead of doing the work themselves.  Usually the business takes nose dive.  Why?  Because no one cares for it as much as the owner.  And in the case of a cloud-based service - the shepard has thousands of sheep in the flock to look after and your business is just one of them.  Same story as a homeowner versus a renter.  I could go on and on with analogies.

The same care and consideration is just not put into looking after something that's not your own - it's that simple, I think.  
Andrew Froehlich
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Andrew Froehlich,
User Rank: Moderator
5/26/2015 | 10:05:21 PM
Re: The other side of Cloud
@vnewman2 -- I see your point...but to me, the infrastructure is starting to look and feel more like a utility as opposed to something vastly unique from one company to the next. And if that's the case, what's the difference between maintaining you data center in-house, or having someone else do it for you? The one place I conceed here is in the area of data security. That's one place that needs consistent oversight on the customers part.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
5/27/2015 | 1:17:15 AM
Re: The other side of Cloud
@andrew froehlich - but not for security the cloud would be the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. For me and for our organization that's the deal breaker. We deal with big bank info as well as intellectual property. It's just not worth the risk. Our clients would never go for it. They won't even let us have access to gmail and web based email for fear someone would send confidential information inappropriately.
Andrew Froehlich
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Andrew Froehlich,
User Rank: Moderator
5/27/2015 | 9:33:45 AM
Re: The other side of Cloud
And that's fine. Your org made an evaluation, and decided that things like cloud computing and webmail were too risky today. But I have to assume that someone is continuously re-evaluating these decisions as time goes on.

The concept of perimeter security, where we keep all of our data behind iron doors, seems to be going away. Security vendors are focusing attiention on things like MDM and DLP to address data security when it's outside of the corporate peremiter. And as these security technologies mature, your company may reach an acceptable comfort level and actually give cloud computing a try. 

Thanks for the comments!
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
5/27/2015 | 2:16:58 PM
Re: The other side of Cloud
>>...but to me, the infrastructure is starting to look and feel more like a utility as opposed to something vastly unique from one company to the next.

Andrew, that is an interesting comment to make. Could you explain your definition of "infrastructure"? Surely you aren't getting into o/s, databases and applications on that comment are you? Even within the Windows camp, are you Win 2003, Win 2008 or Win 2012? Not every application runs on every version?

And there are still a few of us (thousands) who use things like IBM servers and databases for our mission critical ERP systems. To say this world is now like electricity is pushing it unless I'm missing your definition of infrasturucture.
larryuxc
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larryuxc,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/27/2015 | 2:03:05 AM
Re: The other side of Cloud
I work for an SAP SI and we are rapidly scaling up our Cloud business due to demand (Public and Private). We are definitely not seeing this as a scale issue. We have 'traditional' B1 customers (SME) up to large scale enterprises and government agencies moving SAP environments to Public Cloud bypassing Private Cloud. Given SAP's success in the manufacturing sector guess where we are seeing significant interest?

There are a myriad of technical, commercial and organisational reasons for going down the cloud. Cost savings was once touted as the primary reason for moving but this is not the only driver we are seeing. Seeking organisational flexibility via reduced reliance on internal IT staff and traditional vendors is becoming common.

The growth of AWS (more than 1 million active customers) and the diversity of organisations utilising their services demonstrate that Cloud is simply not just serving do-nothing companies like Facebook or Twitter. For example, ""Rio Tinto is on an ambitious journey to a world-class information systems and technology (IS&T) delivery model that is innovative, adaptable and cost-effective, fully supporting our business priorities and group operating model," said Simon Benney, CIO at Rio Tinto Group."

You only have to look at where the "traditional" enterprise application vendors like Oracle and SAP are seeing growth to realise the massive transformation that is well and truly underway in the IT market.
hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Ninja
5/26/2015 | 1:45:50 PM
I hate it
It takes away security, hardware problem but it creates new problems.

1) Tools they provide are terrible.

2) Need to learn new things/tools. We are on our own. Each cloud provider has their own tools.

3) Security. How do we know their security is good?

4) When there is a problem. Then the cloud provider blames the ISP. The ISP blames the router.

5) Open too many ports for the cloud. It makes us feel unsecure for our internal network and more load on the bandwidth.

 

 
Stratustician
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Stratustician,
User Rank: Ninja
5/26/2015 | 3:31:30 PM
Re: I hate it
For me, working with end customers I find 2 issues keep coming up when it comes to their perceived risks or reluctance towards cloud.

1) expanding perimeter: How do we know where our perimeter really ends, and how can we better ensure our entire environment is protected?

2) Security: Not only are we still finding many organizations are barely putting security on their internal/private cloud networks, but when it comes to offsite (public/private/hybrid) cloud, they are putting a lot of security responsibility in the cloud providers hands without ensuring the SLAs are going to protect them.

It causes a large, messy situation in many cases for sure. 

As for vendor lock-in, i don't think it is such an issue now as we are seeing more standardization in cloud providers, so it should be fairly flexible to move around.  That being said, depending on the SLA and how data is perceived from an ownership perspective, there still might be hiccups in how data is transferred and ensured that any copies remaining with the old provider are deleted and proof shown.
Midnight
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Midnight,
User Rank: Strategist
5/26/2015 | 4:12:51 PM
The Problem is "Public" Cloud for business
I come from that legacy collective where computing is just an extension of (dare I say) electronics. Back in the day, the millitary followed a set of IT guideline documents referred to as the "Rainbow Books." Dig out a copy, there is still greater than 90% relavance to issues we face today.

My beef with cloud computing focuses specifically on the outsourced cloud technology. SAAS outside of your brick and mortar generally means you are putting private critical business processes and more importantly Intellectual Property in a third party's hands. Thanks to good ol' Snowden, we now know for a fact that ALL of the major data warehouses are PRE-COMPROMISED. I don't care who has the feed, the fact it exists at all means it Will be exploited in time. So lets see... I am going to put the profitability "crown jewels" of the company I am responsible for keeping safe in someone's vault that is known to be unsecure and will never be secured because of governmental intrusion. A hole that it is just a matter of time before a criminal element will find the exploit and get a massive feed with my crown jewels in it. Hmm.... Does not sound like an even vaguely an intelligent plan.

Early adopter like say, the U.S. government had this very problem but due to data center out-sourcing. I think IW even reported on it. It was when SECRET (and higher) information ended up outsourced to India who outsourced the data warehousing services to China. I mention this to illustrate that the risks are not theoretical, they have already and continue to happen.

I agree the benefits of leveraging the power of todays insanely overpowered computing to build in-house private cloud solutions just makes sense for many medium to large enterprises, however the caveat is In-House.
To many cloud providers and data warehouses are saying they can manage your IT better than you can, but that alone flys in the face of reality. Their people are trained the same as staff you can acquire or contract, and the hardware/software is the same as you can acquire/lease. Thus the only argument left is Cost vs Risk.

A simple ruler to follow is; should a computing function or collection of data become disclosed to my competitors and the world at large, what would be the damage to the profitability of my company. If my client lists, vendor rate cards and market strategies ended up in the hands of competitors (foreign or domestic) how many people in my company would lose their jobs. I believe this is what the boardroom is not hearing clearly.

The battle cry of IT needs to incorporate: OWN YOUR DATA! (or someone else will)
Sacalpha1
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Sacalpha1,
User Rank: Moderator
5/26/2015 | 6:29:45 PM
What You Should Really Be Asking Yourself
Instead of asking yourself what's holding you back, you should be asking what's the business case for moving to the cloud.  Asking yourself what's holding you back assumes cloud is the right answer.  It can be, but it's not always the right answer and making this assumption is a bad practice.  May sure you are using cloud to solve the right problem and make sure it is a cost effective solution.  There are still many situations where internal solutions are the better choice.

Let's also be practical.  Cloud solutions are attractive to small and mid-market businesses in places where infrastructure is mature.  These solutions are significantly less attractive in developing markets and to the Fortune 1000 who have the scale and capability to build internal IaaS and deploy whatever apps they chose, usually at a cheaper cost.  Virtually all of the external cloud deployments at the Fortune 1000 have been fringe deployments to sales, marketing, and HR, where these functions took some non-core capability to the cloud outside of corporate standards.  
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
5/26/2015 | 6:50:31 PM
Re: The Problem is "Public" Cloud for business
>The battle cry of IT needs to incorporate: OWN YOUR DATA! (or someone else will)

Or encrypt it. Sadly, many companies can't afford massive data centers. The cloud is great for when you need 1000 CPUs for three hours, but not for the remainder of the year.
ClassC
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ClassC,
User Rank: Moderator
5/29/2015 | 12:28:03 PM
Re: The Problem is "Public" Cloud for business
@Thomas   Good point.  My only concern is that this data be fully vented and cleared.  I don't see that as the case more often than not.
mdortch570
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mdortch570,
User Rank: Strategist
5/27/2015 | 12:20:21 PM
Where You Stand Depends On Where You Sit
A great and timely journalistic effort here – and some very interesting comments!

Whether you "love" or "hate" "the cloud" (as if there were only one!), enterprise adoption of cloud computing is more of a reality than a threat. A recent enterprise cloud adoption report from a company called Cloud Sherpas found that 75 percent of enterprises worldwide are using or implementing at least one cloud-based application, and an additional five percent of enterprises surveyed are "kicking tires" in the cloud. And if that's not convincing, I suggest taking a look at the customer success stories proffered by companies such as ServiceNow, and the growing enterprise adoption of solutions such as Amazon Web Services.

As Andrew's fine summary hints at in the last slide, a lot of IT antipathy about cloud computing is perception-driven. If you're an IT person who thinks that your value to your enterprise is measured accurately by the number of servers you manage or "control," you're probably not a cloud computing fan. You're also probably not likely to retain your position indefinitely.

IT's actual and perceived value is increasingly determined by user experience and effects on enterprise agility, resilience, and trustworthiness ("ART"). While these are often related to more granular, insular, "inside-the-silicon-beltway" issues such as server uptime, but the focus is increasingly and should be on how the business perceives its ability to do business effectively. The smartest IT and business decision makers I've met and worked with consistently look at cloud computing and other technological options through this lens. Those that do not are the ones who are still mired in what I see as an increasingly irrelevant debate about whether or not cloud computing is sufficiently secure, robust, or whatever to be worthy of consideration.

Or as my sainted mother liked to say about opinions in general, "where you stand depends on where you sit."
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2015 | 3:06:05 PM
It's simple Econ 101
IT despises the cloud simply because no one who spends thousands of dollars becoming certified for this or that alphabet soup tech cert wants to be reduced to tech support that can be just as easily and effectively performed by employees who didn't spend the money on tech certs.  Suddenly, that $35.00/hr. gig you secured for obtaining a CISSP has been reduced to $12.50/hr. courtesy of the cloud.  And that's only IF your job hasn't been outsourced to an imported H1B Visa holder or performed remotely by serfs in Bangladesh hired by your employer. 
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2015 | 3:17:10 PM
Re: It's simple Econ 101
@asksqn    You are telling it like it is !   I agree completely.  Everything else is marketing.
_jaduenas
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_jaduenas,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/3/2015 | 2:38:31 AM
Birthing Pains
I do get where this is coming from, personally my main issue with The Cloud is the lack of control over it because of its very nature. However, issues in this particular article are notable but I think the main issue is the feeling of comfort and security transitioning into this new system. Great article and thank you for your insights! :)
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