3 issues the cloud can't solve for you

Cloud computing can do a lot, but it's not a cure-all for any problem you may have

Cloud computing is a step in the right direction for many enterprises and government agencies, with strong patterns of success that demonstrate its value. But given the hype these days, you'd think that the cloud can do anything. Clearly, cloud computing can't fix everything, and it's worthwhile to review that "can't fix" list before you begin your journey to the cloud.

1. Cloud computing won't fix bad application design. Some people believe that porting applications to the cloud automatically corrects programming design deficiencies. They're half right. Cloud platforms' ability to mask inefficient applications means that application behavior and performance does improve, but those inefficiencies will show up in the bill from your cloud provider, due to the excess consumption of resources.

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Make sure you correct any issues with the application design as you port from on-premise systems to the cloud. This includes the user experience, the database, and the efficiency of all underlying code.

2. Cloud computing won't eliminate silos -- it may even create them. IT organizations that always try to break down silos of data, processes, and services may find that the use of cloud computing services (whether public, private, or hybrid) may move them in the opposite direction.

Organizations that use cloud computing typically create new items that live in the clouds. Thus, they become silos of data, services, and processes that have to be integrated into the on-premise systems. It's not a huge problem if you do advanced planning, but most organizations deal with this issue as an afterthought.

3. Cloud computing won't reduce the number of employees. I'm often told that the movement to cloud computing will "normalize" (business-speak for "reduce") the number of human resources required to maintain core business systems. However, cloud deployments are systems, and they need people to monitor them during production.

If the end game is to migrate systems from on-premise into a cloud and you actually shut down your on-premise systems, perhaps you will need fewer employees to maintain them. However, the trend has been to build new systems on the emerging cloud computing platforms, so the need for human resources rises. After all, you're doing more.

None of these are reasons to delay or avoid cloud deployments, but warnings of rabbit holes to avoid as you adopt cloud computing.

This article, "3 issues the cloud can't solve for you," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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