An article has gotten some heat this week titled “IT’s Losing Battle Against Cloud Adoption” (http://readwrite.com/2014/01/31/it-losing-battle-cloud-adoption-enterprise#awesm=~ouZIMj5VXqNMOF) which is spurring lots of conversation regarding the accuracy of the source numbers.
While we can’t confirm specific numbers of implementations, it takes only a few Tweet questions and a you will quickly find that there are over 100 implementations of VMware vCloud out there today. Effectively there are a lot of folks that are calling FUD on this one, but the challenge comes with how we can accurately rebut this type of an article.
Me and my Shadow…IT
We hear the classic reference to “Shadow IT” which is a great way to highlight one of the challenges within organizations. But we have to be careful when we define exactly what it is that is considered Shadow IT when we talk about it.
Is it really fair to consider that there is an organization out there, regardless of what they do, that has their entire IT portfolio controlled? Can any company really say that it has a total awareness of what products are being used by their workforce in their day-to-day activities?
If anyone were to tell me that they have every application environment known, approved, and documented, I’m going to call Bravo Sierra on that. It isn’t a reality, but is that really a problem?
The Private Cloud misnomer
This one is even more of an issue, which is part of what Matt Asay’s article highlights. The generally accepted criteria to define a cloud include: Self-Service, Elastic, On-Demand.
The long-running argument by many public cloud advocates is that private cloud is not cloud, simply because it cannot meet the requirement of being truly elastic. Again, this is semantics in a lot of ways because the elasticity is only a concern if the business consumer is outpacing the IT organization’s growth strategy for compute and storage.
The article specifically talks about the lack of a true Self-Service model in many organizations, and to this I have to agree, but there is a caveat. The real question is “Does a complete Self-Service IT organization really exist in a public or private cloud?”, though I doubt that the answer exists, because we will never have a 100% acceptance on either side.
I would challenge that even the most advanced IT organizations and fully engaged DevOps teams will still have some straggling business consumers that find they have to go outside the lines a bit sometimes.
I also agree that we have to tread carefully when we throw around the term Private Cloud because there are implications, and simply having a bunch of virtual servers is definitely not a cloud infrastructure.
Running Salesforce isn’t a failure of Enterprise IT
One of the popular apps that calls the validity of Enterprise IT into question is Salesforce.com with their popular SaaS offering that owns a significant chunk of the CRM marketplace.
Does the fact that Salesforce gains adoption by Enterprise customers signal the failure of the IT organization? Personally, I don’t think this is the case at all. What Salesforce is to me, is a viable answer to a specific business need, and it can be well accepted by Enterprise IT as a part of the overall portfolio of managed services. We have to be careful when we get roped into the broad brushed statements about cloud products marking the end of Enterprise IT.
The many truths of statistics
One of the challenges that we face in finding the “true answer” to any question, is that we use statistics and surveys to derive the answer, but the source information is both perfect and completely flawed at the same time.
“It has long been recognized by public men of all kinds. . . that statistics come under the head of lying, and that no lie is so false or inconclusive as that which is based on statistics.” – Hilaire Belloc
In politics, the statistic is king: “54% say that they would vote for <candidate A>” and similar stats are flashed in front of us, and then the opposing party will spend their day creating a new result from the same statistical results, or they will simply tear down the validity of the survey based on the participants.
Paul Barsch has a great article on statistics here which gives an insight into the potential pitfalls: http://paulbarsch.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/do-you-speak-statistics/
So what am I saying here?
What I’m saying here is that you should form your own opinion of how successful your IT organization is, and what the appropriate products are. I am in the business of debunking FUD claims in the market as I assess technology for my company, and in doing so I have learned that even the “wrong” solution based on somebody’s statistics, may in fact be just right for my organization.
A beautifully worded portion of Matt’s article is as follows:
“If anything, it seems like IT needs to shift away from its role as gatekeeper to instead being an enabler, one that finds different ways to deliver security.”
This is something that I think we can all agree on, and hopefully we can all work towards the greater good which is to service our business consumers by enabling them with IT solutions, whether it is public cloud, private cloud, or something as simple as a well crafted Excel document 🙂
I don’t agree with much that is being said in the article just knowing that the 100 vCloud versus 200 CloudStack/OpenStack doesn’t sit well with me as a true representation of the current deployment numbers, but I applaud Matt for creating some great conversation around this just the same.
The TL;DR for this is “don’t always believe what you read” and when someone says “the numbers don’t lie”, they are right; The numbers don’t lie, it’s the people that use the numbers that do.