Joe McKendrick| Healthdatamanagement

Many enterprises are rushing headlong into cloud computing, responding to its compelling value proposition related to incremental costs and on-demand expertise. However, at least one voice out there is advising that business and technology executives look before they leap.

Mark Thiele, EVP of data center technology at Switch, squashes advice to simply shut down and move applications from on-site centers to the cloud in an attempt to gain infrastructural efficiency.

Factors complicating a move from on-premises systems to cloud include the introduction of big data, which opens up a Pandora’s box of security and migration issues. Plus, there is increasing the diversity of enterprise IT infrastructure, meaning “that many applications will be locked to specific hardware, network and storage,” Thiele warns. “Legacy applications and infrastructure can take years to migrate off of.”

Thiele is especially concerned with the use of cloud data centers for resiliency and backup. Instead of moving everything lock, stock and barrel over to a cloud data center, he advocates a hybrid strategy that still leverages on-site resources:

“There are many out there that are trying to sell you a solution to a problem you don’t have. When you consider the entire picture of what a data center is, where it fits, and how it’s best utilized, it becomes clear that distributing your critical systems around in some cheap widgets isn’t necessarily the best approach. A hybrid approach to applications, locations, and data centers is likely to provide the best combination of cost, performance, agility and protection.”

The bottom line is that on-premises approaches still have their advantages, along with processes and skill bases that have been built up over the years. It ultimately may be more expensive to attempt to move these assets to the cloud.


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