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Once again, the IT landscape is shifting. While nine out of 10 organisations in Australia and New Zealand use some form of public cloud service, our research also suggests 44 per cent have moved data or applications out of public cloud.
Enter edge computing and newer versions of private cloud, where an organisation can have its own single-tenant cloud platform in the data centre of its choice, all consumed in an as-a-service commercial model. These contemporary infrastructure options are helping change the decision-making lens.
Indeed, the market has moved on from the cloud-first mantra and is now far more judicious in choosing platforms. We call it a workload-by-workload playbook where the outcomes being sought are far more important than the destination platform.
Yet, despite these shifts, some myths or misconceptions remain.
The first misconception is around cost. One mindset noted by Tech Research Asia (TRA) is treating private cloud investments with a different (older) commercial lens than public cloud. In TRA's view, it makes more sense to use a hybrid IT environment coupled with the new private cloud options that offer similar pricing and consumption models, because they use a like-for-like (or a standardised) commercial lens.
The myth that arises when using a different lens is that public cloud will save you money versus private cloud. The underlying premise being that moving to public cloud means moving away from investing finite capital in IT equipment, data centres, and the people required to manage it all. The perception is that this shift to operational spending on cloud services will result in cost savings overall.
There is some truth to the idea that an organisation can generate some cost savings by moving to the cloud, and this is especially true if you have an inefficient IT or data centre environment with considerable amounts of technical debt.
However, things are never this simple. The overused consultant’s adage “It depends” is appropriate here. And the change doesn’t have to be towards public cloud — especially if you consider the like-for-like commercial models available with new private clouds. Reducing costs in either cloud is reliant on multiple factors, and not just whether it is public or private.
The next myth relates to modernisation and legacy. Modernising shouldn't mean just lifting and shifting applications to a public cloud, or adopting a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering. An application doesn't have to be cloud-native or born in the public cloud to be modern. Yet, in my experience, this is a frequent refrain heard: anything not in a public cloud is the old way of doing things. This is simply not true.
Indeed, we need to move beyond the idea that a solution or application is legacy just because it's not in a public cloud, or it utilises older technology, and therefore it's antiquated or a debt that needs to be removed. Real modernisation happens at the business (employee, customer, or partner) service or experience level, and can be enabled by any underlying platform, including both public and private infrastructure. For the large majority of cases, the same tools, capabilities, commercial agreements, and results are just as feasible in a private cloud as a public cloud.
The final myth to touch on is innovation. There is a lot of innovation happening in public cloud platforms (both from providers and those using them). This is something I’d heartily agree with, but it's incorrect to confuse innovation with your organisation being in a public cloud. Your level of innovation is not predicated by the underlying platforms. A contemporary private cloud can offer just as much space for innovation as a public cloud can, and you are more likely to be hindered by other factors than by the infrastructure you use.
As we continue to move into a hybrid IT world, with edge computing through to new private clouds and then onto hyperscale clouds, it will be prudent to focus on the outcomes via a standardised commercial model as well as application modernisation and innovation.
There are, after all, more options available to every organisation, and new private cloud offerings can deliver, in many cases, the same outcomes as a public cloud.
Carl Bashford’s experience and expertise is in optimising cloud services and helping customers to reduce their business costs. He leads teams to provide technical guidance and input into customers’ pricing and commercial models.