The cloud has really taken off over recent months, and has fast become one of the most talked about initiatives in the world of technology. However, it is still not quite mature or capable enough to completely replace traditional IT infrastructure, and a number of significant obstacles prevent it from doing so anytime in the near future.
The main issue stems from the fact that business people and IT people have completely different cloud outlooks. The business department has - understandably - been quick to embrace the cloud, since it can speed up the rate of innovation, boost agility and improve financial management. Because of this, business people tend to push for expanded cloud access, sometimes even opting for 'guerrilla adoption' – informally moving data to the public cloud without the IT department's prior approval.
By way of contrast, the IT department has treated the cloud with supreme caution. CIOs are fully-aware of the cloud's potential benefits, but are also concerned that it can simultaneously give birth to security, management and efficiency complications. What IT ideally wants to pursue is the accomplishment of business goals without any additional risk.
If business throws caution to the wind in the cloud arena, the IT department will lose control of its processes. Similarly, if IT keeps the cloud at arm's length, business could lose its innovative edge.
As a result of this, organisations are reacting to the cloud at vastly different speeds. This cloud maturity disparity means that companies need to really think about their specific needs before adopting the technology. Often, enterprises will opt for a particular set of availability, cost, time and security requirements – no one model fits all.
Virtualisation itself can lead to massive problems, in some cases causing even more issues than it solves. Virtual sprawl – the ability to spawn multiple virtual machines from a single physical one – can lead to quick, flexible provisioning but also to massive complexity. The fact that some companies approach cloud computing in a fragmented, piecemeal fashion, cherry-picking tools to satisfy immediate needs, can add even more fuel to the raging fire.
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