Considering the Cloud? (How to Tell a True Cloud Solution from a Fake One)

It seems around every corner there is data that suggests growth in cloud solutions is staggering. In their most recent report on "state of the cloud", June 2015, Bessemer Venture Partners, who invest in and have a significant portfolio of cloud solutions, indicated a tipping point has been reached where cloud CRM usage, for example, has surpassed on-premise CRM for the first time in history (more than 50% of CRM is now provisioned as cloud solutions).  RightScale, a cloud automation vendor, published a “State of the Cloud” report in 2016 that states 95% of organizations are running applications in the cloud or experimenting with infrastructure-as-a-service.  That said, the study also observed that 82% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy, up from 74 percent in 2014.  The data on cloud growth is undeniable but so too is the fact that companies are not just looking to the cloud.  They are looking at the cloud as a deployment option in their broader technology strategy.

As companies consider cloud technology many are introduced to solutions that are portrayed as cloud but are really on-premise solutions trying to market themselves as "cloud" solutions even though they really are not. Customers I have spoken with lately have indicated there is a lot of confusion around what really constitutes a cloud solution a "true cloud" and what is not. Many on-premise solutions have been aggressively marketing their offerings as "cloud" when really all they are doing is hosting the system(s) for the customer elsewhere or through a 3rd party vendor. But that system is still the client's (with all implications that come with it) and the full benefits of a "True" cloud solution are far from being realized.  While hosting is also a viable deployment option, customers must be able to tell the difference.

Luckily, for this purpose -  the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) published a Cloud definition. That definition states that "cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction." In addition, a "True" cloud solution should meet the five essential characteristics of cloud computing:

  • on-demand self-service;
  • broad network access;
  • resource pooling;
  • rapid elasticity or expansion, and;
  • measured service

The NIST also defines three service models - Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS), Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS), Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS); and, four deployment models - Private cloud, Community cloud, Public cloud, Hybrid cloud;

Any Cloud based solution could be validated against the above. So customers in all industries that are in the process of evaluating software solutions or planning to do so, should ask the right questions and not be shy to unveil the true nature of the vendor's offering. With a bit of knowledge, and perhaps with the help of their IT team, one can very quickly identify solutions utilizing the "True Cloud" and make an informed decision accordingly.

Learn more about how the benefits of the Cloud can empower your organization today:

Download our white paper titled “Empowering the Life Science Organization” to learn about where the cloud can take your life science organization.

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