The Cloud According to Daryl

ORLANDO -- If you’re trying to come up with a comprehensive, overarching cloud strategy, you’re making a big mistake, according to Gartner cloud guru Daryl Plummer.

Speaking at the Gartner Symposium on Wednesday, Plummer offered a twist on Yogi Berra’s famous line, ``When you come to a fork in the road, take it.’’

``When you come to a fork in the cloud, take both,’’ said Plummer. In other words, there is no one cloud computing strategy or cloud computing adoption rate that works across an entire company. ``Having a cloud strategy is like having a food strategy,’’ he added.

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What companies can and should do, however, is build a cloud decision framework, and methodically apply that framework to specific workloads. The applications that might be in that first batch could include email, development and testing, Web servers, social, collaboration, consumer-centric applications, then maybe human resources or CRM.

Gartner cloud guru Daryl Plummer

In the next phase, you might think about help desk or account management or product design. Core, mission critical applications might never go into the cloud.

Plummer pointed out that while interest in cloud is high, moving to the cloud is a long, slow journey for large enterprises. According to Gartner research, 90% of respondents to a recent survey said they are doing some form of cloud computing. And 78% said they plan to increase cloud spending through 2017. In fact, one-third of IT spending on services goes to cloud-based services.

But cloud is only 4% of the total IT spend, which means companies are dipping their toes into cloud, but aren’t diving in by any means.

Plummer dismissed concerns about cloud security. ``Most clouds I run into are more secure than most enterprises I run into,’’ he said.

He also cautioned customers about vendor lock-in and he emphasized the need for a backup plan. What if there’s a vendor you don’t want to do business with, and your cloud service provider gets bought by that vendor? Do you have an out clause in your contract? What’s your exit strategy, he asked?

He also said it’s imperative to have a backup cloud vendor for disaster recovery. In fact, Plummer suggested flipping your main cloud provider and your backup every six months.

Finally, he pointed out that there are many types of cloud computing: private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, infrastructure-as-a-service, software-as-a-service. Private cloud is a good place to start, but it’s a bad place to finish. In other words, the goal should be to ultimately move as many workloads as possible to the public cloud.

This story, "The Cloud According to Daryl" was originally published by Network World.

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