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Cloud Expo: Article

Ten Myths of Cloud Computing

A Q&A with Rex Wang, Vice President of Product Marketing at Oracle

Cloud computing is transforming the way businesses think about and leverage technology. As a result, the general understanding of cloud computing has come a long way in a short time. However, there are still many misconceptions about what cloud computing is and what it can do for businesses that adopt this game-changing computing model. In this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan, Rex Wang, Vice President of Product Marketing at Oracle, discusses and dispels some of the common myths about cloud computing that still exist today.

Cloud Computing Journal: Why do you think organizations often misunderstand cloud computing?

Rex Wang: Overall, the understanding of cloud computing has come a long way over the past few years. Cloud technology is being embraced by a growing number of organizations each year, while others are experimenting or in planning stages. There are still some organizations out there whose understanding of cloud computing is influenced by various misconceptions. Confusion about cloud is due to how broadly the word is used. For many consumers, cloud means the entire Internet, including their personal email, online shopping and iTunes. Even for businesses, cloud can mean very different things ranging from applications to platform and infrastructure, and from public, private, hybrid and managed clouds. It's easy to understand how common myths about cloud have continued to linger even though as a whole, cloud computing has already become mainstream for businesses and within the IT community.

Cloud Computing Journal: What are the biggest misconceptions that are hindering wider adoption of the cloud?

Wang: There are a few misconceptions that are holding back cloud adoption. They also happen to be three of the myths that I talked about during my ‘10 Myths of Cloud Computing' presentation earlier this week at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley.

The first myth is that everything will move to public clouds. Whether it's IT policy, regulatory limitations, or any other reason, many organizations are not willing or able to adopt public clouds and therefore pursue private clouds and continue to deploy in traditional architectures as well. In fact, there is greater adoption of private clouds than public clouds, but the rate of increase is higher for public clouds.

The second myth is that public clouds are still not secure. The truth is that many public clouds can be more secure than in-house IT environments because of the significant investment and vigilance that public cloud providers put forth to ensure data and system security, compared to what's possible in-house.

The third myth is that cloud computing is one-size fits all and won't offer the choice and flexibility that organizations need to run their businesses. That may have been true in the early days of cloud computing, but it's no longer the case. Today, there are different deployment models (public, private, hybrid, managed), service models (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS), and operating models (customer owned/operated, provider owned/operated, and customer owned/provider operated) to choose from. In fact, Oracle offers products and services across all of these different options.

Cloud Computing Journal: What are some of the other notable myths that still exist?

Wang: Some of the other common myths I presented include:

  • Virtualization = cloud - virtualization is an important enabler for IaaS, but PaaS may not require virtualization and can deliver greater value
  • Clouds run on commodity components - clouds can run on systems ranging from commodity to engineered systems that deliver higher performance and TCO
  • Clouds will lock you in - it's important to look for standards-based solutions that provide portability of applications and data
  • Cloud is only pay-per-use - clouds offer many pricing schemes, including utility and subscription models
  • Multiple (public) clouds are needed to run a business - using multiple best-of-breed clouds for each service can result in data and process fragmentation, integration challenges and inconsistent user experience
  • Cloud computing is all about cost reduction - cost savings is an important driver, but increasingly organizations are motivated by faster deployment and greater flexibility, agility and elasticity

Cloud Computing Journal: What steps can major cloud vendors, such as Oracle, take to rectify this situation?

Wang: Continued evangelism and education through various forums, including conferences like Cloud Expo, are a great way to clear up misconceptions about cloud computing. Cloud industry leaders have the opportunity to influence and shape the understanding of cloud within many organizations. At Oracle, we provide the industry's broadest and deepest portfolio of cloud solutions to give customers complete solutions with complete choice. And we focus on helping our customers learn about the advantages that cloud computing can offer their businesses, how to go about achieving success in the cloud, and the most common pitfalls to avoid.

Cloud Computing Journal: The security issue still remains a concern among IT decision makers considering shifting to cloud-based services. How will this change in the next year or so? Any other predictions you forecast for 2014?

Wang: Security will likely continue to be the top concern and barrier to adoption of public clouds, although it seems to be gradually diminishing over time. In addition to concerns about data loss and privacy, regulatory compliance within certain industries and countries is also a big issue. Organizations must gain greater clarity about regulations, as there is significant "cloudiness" (if you'll pardon the pun), speculation and misinformation about this.

Cloud Computing Journal: Some people still have the mindset that cloud computing is simply about virtualization. What's your view on this?

Wang: Virtualization is an important enabler for cloud computing because it enables consolidation, hardware sharing and flexible application deployment, but the following points should be considered:

  • Managing virtual machines and clusters is quite complex process, especially where self-service, multi-tenancy, metering for billing/chargeback, and other requirements of cloud computing is involved. Therefore, to reap the full benefits of cloud computing, enterprises must choose a comprehensive cloud management solution that spans the full cloud lifecycle and the full technology stack from applications, application platform, database, operating systems and hardware, not just the virtualization layer.
  • Virtualization enables the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) layer of cloud computing, but for many organizations, even greater cost savings and agility advantages are possible by using Platform as a Service (PaaS), which abstracts away the details about the underlying virtual and physical machines.

Cloud Computing Journal: On the other side of the coin, what is one element of the cloud that is best understood by the business landscape? What is one universal truth about the cloud?

Wang: I think an idea that we can all agree upon is that cloud computing is here to stay. Long gone is any talk of cloud just being a fad or trend. It has become pervasive technology and for many organizations the de facto computing model for new business applications. I'll add that cloud computing will continue to evolve and mature in the next few years. We are still in the early phases of the cloud computing evolution. As soon as you think cloud technology has reached steady-state, new concepts like social, mobile, or Big Data appear in the cloud and change the equation all over again.

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