Get ready for the post-pandemic run on cloud

Weeks of lockdown may cause a temporary economic downturn. After the pandemic is behind us we may also see a run on cloud computing

Get ready for the post-pandemic run on cloud
Gremlin / Getty Images

“Cloud-computing providers are emerging as among the few corporate winners in the coronavirus pandemic as office and store closures across the U.S. have pushed more activity online,” as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Those who pick stocks are betting on cloud growth due to the crisis, thus we’re seeing this first reported in business journals. Most likely, after the crisis has gone and business hopefully returns to normal, there will be a mad rush to move to public cloud-based resources.  Here’s why.

Business seems to change around pain. In the past weeks companies that had already migrated to public cloud had a strategic advantage over those still operating mostly in traditional data centers. 

Traditional data centers are the responsibility of enterprise IT, and as such they are run by human employees who have to deal with mandatory lockdowns or even self-quarantine and may not be able to operate remotely.  

I have a CIO friend of mine who has a down physical storage system and a direct replacement sitting next to it, shrink-wrapped and ready to be installed. So far, he can’t get enough qualified staffers physically in the data center to make the swap. As a result, a major system is not operating, and they are losing millions a week.

Those who have migrated to public clouds don’t have to deal with such things. The virtual and ubiquitous nature of cloud computing that scared so many IT pros during the past several years is actually one of the major reasons to move to public cloud. The weakness for enterprise IT recently has been the inability to support a physical set of systems that need physical fixes by humans.

As a result of all this, enterprises are feeling a great deal of pain, to the point that some may not survive. We’ll see in the back half of this year a more aggressive turn towards the use of public clouds as a result of this pain.  

I suspect that cloud projects will move from strategic, focused systems such as data consolidation and process integration, to more pragmatic uses for business-critical systems such as inventory and logistics.  

Of course, there are downsides to a mass movement to the cloud that exceeds current predictions, which is what we’re likely to see.  

The biggest challenge will be finding qualified cloud architects and cloud developers who are able to select the right cloud platforms and services. This for both net-new applications, as well as those that are quickly migrated. Most of the cloud fails I see are due to picking the wrong technology for the wrong reasons. This is most often traced back to inexperienced architects. 

The organizations that offer cloud solutions will likely be saturated, from the consulting firms to the cloud providers themselves. The good news is that enterprises finally understand another dimension of the value of public clouds. The bad news is that it will create a demand that will be difficult to supply for now.    

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.