Cloud – The “C” Word

In talking with a number of organizations about the current industry state of “Cloud” and how it might add significant value to their business, I have encountered a surprising amount of push back to the overall concept. Some clients have even cautioned me to avoid that “C” word! While I’m fine taking the conversation in any direction that they would like to go (or not go), this reluctance at times to even investigate the concept of cloud computing has surprised me.
After gently pressing this a bit with a few clients, I’ve learned that this push back has several roots:

  • Loss of control of their infrastructure and, implicitly, their data and applications.
  • Concerns around the overall security of their data (the highly publicized recent data breaches don’t help any here).
  • A lack of understanding on how to reverse course (pull applications back out of the cloud).
  • An incomplete understanding of Cloud.

The last bullet above is actually causing the first three as it seems that many clients assume that “Cloud” is synonymous with “Public Cloud.” Therefore, in an attempt to change the conversation for these clients, I ask some of these questions:

  • Would you like to be able to virtualize all of the infrastructure in YOUR data center to significantly improve overall utilization and, ultimately, reduce costs?
  • Would you see benefit in a self-provisioning capability for your users, where they can allocate their own compute, storage, networking, and application resources on demand from the virtualized pool of YOUR infrastructure?
  • Would you see benefit in the users’ ability to easily “de-allocate” resources when they have finished with them, returning those resources automatically back to the virtualized pool for your other users to use?
  • Could your business benefit from a significantly reduced application deployment time, moving from a days-to-weeks cycle to an hours-to-minutes cycle?
  • Would your IT resource planning efforts benefit from a comprehensive charge back or look back capability?
  • Would the above benefits be appealing to you and your business if they could be realized while maintaining your data totally within YOUR datacenter and YOUR security control?


All of the above benefits can be realized through an Internal Cloud implementation. Changing the conversation slightly to one that highlights potential benefits (and avoids the “C” word) can help the client focus more on how it can help them and their business and less on any cloud stereotype that happens to be top of mind for them.
Oh, and once the client sees the internal cloud clearly for what it is and what it can do, it should be safe to then mention the Internal Cloud’s ability to also broker services out in the public cloud and become a Hybrid Cloud (or maybe not….).

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