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The shift to cloud computing has been one of the most significant tech trends of the last 10 years. Organizations that have shifted to the cloud have found several benefits, including reducing time to market, increasing flexibility, scalability and security, and potentially enabling innovation and developing new capabilities.   

Cloud provides tremendous opportunities for organizations in an evolving digital landscape. Many organizations have already realized the potential. In fact, a study by Gartner predicts that by 2025, 95% of new digital workloads are expected to be deployed by cloud-native platforms.  

However, choosing the right cloud deployment for your enterprise is not a decision to be taken lightly. This decision can impact your enterprise's technological direction. Because of this, you may be asking if the public cloud is right for your organization. 

The public cloud has become a critical enabler of success for many organizations because of its scalability, swift time to market and low up-front investment. But some potential barriers may prove too great to overcome. Whether you're in the public cloud or considering it, you need to weigh the pros and cons to make sure they won't negatively impact your business.  

The pros of public cloud 

The public cloud can be particularly enticing, especially for new organizations that may not have existing IT infrastructure, because the public cloud could help deliver increased flexibility and scalability and drive significant cost savings. In addition, there are several other pros involved in the adoption of public cloud, including: 

  • Rapid deployment without having to invest upfront
    Cash flow can be challenging for new organizations, so using the public cloud instead of creating a private cloud can result in significant cost savings. 

  • Availability of new services to support modern applications 
    The public cloud provides consumption-based access to services, such as analytics, step functions and serverless computing. The services allow modern applications to be deployed without needing dedicated servers. Plus, building a conversational application in a private data center would require substantial investment compared to the public cloud's access based on usage.  

  • Global infrastructure access 
    The ability to rapidly enter global markets can enable rapid market share acquisition. For example, Netflix was an early adopter of the public cloud and, in 2021, owned more than 50% of the worldwide streaming market. 

  • Flexibility to scale up and down as business needs change
    New startups significantly benefit from scalability since market share for a new business is difficult to predict. 

  • Ability to completely exit the infrastructure 
    The reality is not all new businesses will succeed. If an organization does exit the market, there is no remaining infrastructure liability to the company or investors if they use the public cloud. 

The cons of public cloud 

Organizations must also consider the cons of public cloud deployments — especially those already invested in IT infrastructure, as transitioning to the public cloud can be fraught with surprises and even failure. 

Key inhibitors to moving public cloud include: 

  • Unexpected cost
    Existing companies already invested in IT infrastructure know their baseline costs compared to the unpredictable cost of migrating large applications into the public cloud. While the ease of spinning up new instances and the relatively low per-instance cost in the public cloud can be attractive, they also can be deceiving. Many non-obvious fees when using the public cloud, such as I/O charges, often kick in at a threshold that can easily be breached without warning, causing charges to multiply. 

  • Orphaned applications
    Often the business case for organizations to undergo the public cloud journey assumes data center costs will disappear. But, if applications cannot be moved to the public cloud due to security and privacy concerns, organizations will still have to pay for the data center costs in addition to the public cloud bill.  

  • Undocumented dependencies
    Some applications depend on data and processes from others to perform business functions, which is common in established companies. For example, ADP® requires input from Oracle® timecards for the human resources management software to pay employees. These dependencies are frequently discovered when a migrated application fails to perform or gets stuck in a wait state. In addition, applications left in a private data center sometimes cannot interact in real-time with migrated applications since the applications are no longer on the same local network. 

  • High input/output (I/O) applications
    The public cloud model of large numbers of commodity systems and disk drives is not designed for some high I/O applications, which can result in unacceptable application performance or expensive bills for the I/O rates.  

  • Software licensing costs
    The licensing impacts when moving to the public cloud are often overlooked. For example, some databases require twice the number of licenses for the same number of threads compared to a rack-mounted server or a virtual machine (VM) on a private cloud platform in data centers. Other licensing impacts can also occur, including changing licenses when your organization moves from a private to a public cloud platform. 

Is the public cloud the correct answer to meet your IT business needs? 

Organizations must consider many factors when debating moving to the public cloud. This decision is complex and can be pivotal in your organization's success.  

When considering cloud deployments, consult with a partner that understands public, private and hybrid cloud infrastructure and can present all sides of the equation to your decision makers. 

If you are interested in exploring your cloud migration journey options, contact Unisys