Cloud Computing Disadvantages: 6 Major ConcernsThis article reflects on the role of cloud computing in the ICT and Business World; its pros n cons, but focuses majorly on its cons, its disadvantages and what a lot of people didn't know about it.
NO DAMAGE MEANT HERE, but sometimes, we need to think twice before deciding to switch to cloud computing.
Cloud computing disadvantages? But, it’s the Cloud!
It’s the latest buzzword that’s tacked on to every online service these days. If it’s on the web, it’s suddenly also on the cloud.
But what does that really mean?
We’re being told left and right that the solution to all our problems in this new and latest offering– in the cloud!
The ‘Cloud’ isn’t a magic bullet.
It’s a great platform, and makes online computing easier in many ways, but to really understand what you can use it for, you also have to understand its limitations.
There’s a plethora of Cloud Computing disadvantages that you have to take into consideration before you plan any serious deployment.
What Is The Cloud?
Before you can understand the inherent Cloud Computing disadvantages, we have to clear up some terminology.
Cloud Computing has been constantly redefined by everyone trying to sell their online platforms and services. If we ignore the hype surrounding the word, what is the Cloud all about?
There are typically two primary schools of thought that come up in Cloud Computing.
Software as a Service (SaaS): Rather than just being the software equivalent of outsourcing, SaaS offers mobile access, and stores your data for you.
Examples include Gmail, Salesforce, many online billing and payment services.
Utility Computing: This isn’t a novel concept, it’s been around for a long time.
Purchasing time or computing power on someone else’s hardware to run your applications. These offerings are on-demand, and bill for exactly the resources you use.
Examples include Amazon EC2, Google AppEngine, Force.com.
Clouds provide Utility Computing, and there are two kinds of Clouds.
Public Clouds: These are sold to customers, and are typically pay-as-you-go, with the cost of storage and processing time being passed on to the client (you).
Private clouds: Are internal, and typically get budgeted into mysteriously large “operating costs.”
Okay, you say. Thanks for ruining a perfectly good explanation. What am I supposed to take away from this?
Most SMB users are going to be utilizing SaaS, or hosted solutions.
So What Are The Cloud Computing Disadvantages?
Since we’ve nailed down what the Cloud really is, we can talk about Cloud Computing disadvantages. To writ, what are the obstacles that we face when we try to use it?
1.) Availability: What do you do when there’s an outage at the datacenter? If your business relies on someone else’s machines working correctly, you need to know your rights as a customer and have an iron-clad SLA.
2.) Bulk Data Transfers and I/O Bandwidth: Bringing a lot of data into or out of a cloud instance takes a good deal of time. Without a high-capacity connection, it could take days to load all that data.
If you need to transfer a few terabytes, or even a couple hundred gigabytes, consider sending a physical copy to the datacenter. Most providers can help you load information from a disk into your instance and cut down on your startup time.
3.) High Latency: Latency is the time that it takes for your request to go to the target server, be acknowledged and a reply sent back to you.
With your datacenter being in another state, or even another country, your connection might be spotty enough that you’re looking at problems with latency.
If there’s a sudden surge in use of the particular Cloud that you’re working from, the latency could spike as well.
4.) Data Lock-in: If you’re using proprietary systems, Data Lock-in can become a problem when you want to use that data elsewhere, or move to another provider.
This can be combated by standardization of data. For the most part, this is a back-end item, but as the customer, you should only look to use SaaS that offer Import and Export of data.
5.) Data Confidentiality: When you work with sensitive data (your customers’ information!) you don’t want it to be accessible to people you can’t trust.
Your provider has access to anything you don’t encrypt, so be sure that you’re working with people you can trust, or you have systems in place that protect your data from unauthorized access.
6.) Software Licensing: Possibly the thornieset issue of the bunch, nobody has really caught up with licensing for virtual machines in the cloud. Prices could be too high, or the mechanisms that prevent piracy might not be able to handle overseeing virtual instances of the same machine.
Cloud Computing disadvantages are rampant, and its general adoption and use by everyday users suffers from this, but there’s a great deal of potential for those that can overcome these issues. These problems arise because the datacenter hosting your Cloud is in a separate location from your business.
What Should I Be Leveraging It For?
Despite current Cloud Computing disadvantages, as an SMB, you’re going to be using the Cloud in places where you can’t afford to host your own infrastructure, or need to cut hardware costs. There’s some applications which are perfectly suited for the Cloud, regardless of the size of your business, or what your other requirements might be.
Email!: Look to Google’s GMail, and Microsoft’s Outlook Web App, and every other online email service.
Everything they do is done ‘in the Cloud,’ and their email applications can be accessed from any computer, any time.
Consider porting your email to the Cloud to make it more accessible and to free yourself from the restrictions of using a single workstation.
Office software: Microsoft has its own Office 365, which is a cloud-based version of the classic Microsoft Office productivity software. Google Apps offers a robust alternative
So, are current Cloud Computing disadvantages enough to keep you away from them? Not really.
SaaS is already an extremely solid platform, and its offerings work for all tiers of business.
Utility Computing is primarily for Enterprise businesses that are looking to offload their server computational time, but has been making entrés into SMB as a tool for virtualizing redundant servers and creating “self-hosted” solutions for Exchange and Sharepoint.
Have you suffered at the merciless hands of Cloud Computing, or you have any good information to share regarding it? Tell us your story by commenting below!