Moving to the Cloud? Everyone’s doing it. If it’s right for so many organizations, why wouldn’t it be right for your company?

Here's some good advice and clarification in the form of the “Top 10 Cloud Myths” from a recent Forbes post by David Mitchell Smith, a Vice President at Gartner Research. The article speaks about what “cloud” actually means and the importance of having plan in place for migration, implementation, and security. David offers up some smart advice to counter all the cloud misperceptions and myths out there.

Cloud myth #1: Cloud is always about money

Saving money should not be your only reason for moving to the cloud. There are many other reasons to do so – flexibility, agility, speed to market, etc.

Advice: Don’t assume that moving to the cloud will automatically save you money. Do your due diligence with a true TCO analysis and market comparison – look at current costs and planned growth to determine what solution is the best fit.

Cloud myth #2: You have to be cloud to be good

Don’t call something “cloud” just to be like the cool kids. While some of this is accidental and the result of legitimate confusion, don’t go there just to meet corporate objects or get funding.

Advice: Call things what they are. Not everything needs to be "cloud washed" to benefit your company.

Cloud myth #3: Cloud should be used for everything

It doesn’t make sense to move all legacy applications to the cloud. Use for applications that are flexible, and scalable, and cost- savings are associated with putting that application in the cloud.

Advice: The cloud may not benefit all workloads equally. Use only where it makes sense. 

Cloud myth #4: “The CEO said so” is a cloud strategy

Have a solid strategy that you put some thought into. Just because the CEO wants to move to the cloud, doesn’t mean that you should make this transition. Planning is the key to success.

Advice: A cloud strategy starts with identifying business goals and mapping potential benefits of the cloud to those goals, while mitigating the potential drawbacks.

Cloud myth #5: We need one cloud strategy or vendor

Cloud computing is not one thing and your strategy has to be based on this reality. 

Advice: A cloud strategy should be based on aligning business goals with potential benefits. Hybrid solutions are very popular for a reason. A single cloud strategy makes sense only if it makes use of a decision framework that allows for and expects multiple answers. 

Cloud myth #6: Cloud is less secure than on-premise capabilities

Cloud computing is often perceived as less secure, however most breaches tend to involve on-premise data center environments.

Advice: Don’t make any assumptions about security. Cloud providers should have to demonstrate their capabilities. Be smart about your selection process as well as your security plan, discuss with a security expert at the cloud service provider or hire an external resource if needed.

Cloud myth #7: Cloud is not for mission-critical use

Cloud computing is not an all or nothing type of solution. Most organizations adopt in phases and make an educated decision with each specific case.

Advice: Mission-critical can mean different things. If it means complex systems, use a phased approach to implementation.

Cloud myth #8: Cloud = data center

Making a decision to move to the cloud shouldn’t be synonymous with shutting down all your data centers. In general, data center outsourcing, data center modernization, and date center strategies are related to implementing a cloud solution. You don’t need to completely replace one with the other. A hybrid approach can give you the best of both worlds.

Advice: Look at cloud decisions on a workload-by-workload basis, rather than an all or nothing approach.

Cloud myth #9: Migrating to the cloud means you automatically get all cloud characteristics

Cloud computing has unique attributes and characteristics. Many migrations are a “lift and shift” rehosting, or other types of movements that don’t offer scalability and elasticity. Other types of cloud migration (refactoring and rewriting) offer more characteristics. The most common use case for the cloud, however, is new applications.

Advice: Distinguish between applications hosted in the cloud from cloud services. There are “half steps” to the cloud that have some benefits (there is no need to purchase hardware) and these can be valuable. However, they don’t provide the same outcomes.

Cloud myth #10: Virtualization = private cloud

Virtualization is a commonly used enabling technology for cloud computing. However, it is not the only way to implement cloud computing into your organization. Not only is it not necessary, it is not sufficient either.

Advice: Use the right term to describe what you are building. It doesn’t have to be cloud to be good. Avoid mis-setting expectations and adding to the confusion around "cloud".