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Debunking common myths about cloud computing

Cloud computingIt wouldn’t be remotely accurate to suggest that cloud computing is the “next” big thing. I had my first email address in 1993 and Salesforce, the golden child of cloud apps, was founded in 1999! However, there are still a number of misconceptions that we encounter when we mention that Seamless has been designed and built as a cloud-first integration solution.

When we say Seamless was built “cloud first”, we mean that it was built using capabilities that have only become available in the cloud-era (i.e. microservices delivered within a cloud computing platform – more about that later). We do not mean that it will only connect to other cloud based applications – Seamless can absolutely connect on-premises software to cloud applications.

To make sense of it all, we’ve debunked some common myths about cloud computing.

Myth: Cloud computing is Salesforce
There can be no doubting that is one of the most recognised cloud providers, but it’s far from the only one. Salesforce was one of the first providers of a cloud-based line-of-business application. In CRM, Salesforce chose an application category that is broadly applicable to most businesses. These facts, coupled with an aggressive growth strategy, means that Salesforce is one of the most recognised cloud applications in the market.

Over time, a vast number of cloud delivered enterprise class business applications have become available. By “cloud delivered”, we mean that the user typically accesses the application inside a web browser. In the CRM category there’s Dynamics 365, Freshsales, Pipedrive, Infusionsoft, Zoho, and the list goes on. Other categories well served by cloud solutions include ticketing/incident management (Autotask, Freshdesk, Zendesk …), financial management (Xero, Quicken…) and collaboration tools (Slack, Asana, Jira, …).

Myth: Cloud computing is all about new fangled applications
The wealth of cloud-first applications doesn’t mean the “old guard” of application providers have been resting on their laurels. Most, if not all, providers of business applications have released cloud versions. In some cases these are complete rewrites, in others they are evolutions of the existing software wrapped in a cloud accessibility layer.

As part of their Digital Transformation campaign, Microsoft have completely transformed the approach to buying enterprise software. Office 365? Well, that’s “just” email services delivered through the cloud (admittedly with a vast range of additional features that could hardly have been imagined by an Exchange administrator 10 years ago). Dynamics 365? The evolution of Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX (ERP) systems which are slowly being re-released having been re-architected for cloud delivery.

Myth: Cloud computing is all about applications
So far we’ve focused on the provision of applications delivered on the cloud. By applications, we mean a piece of purpose built software, typically designed for a specific purpose. As well as delivering complete applications, cloud computing also offers the ability to rent access to tin and wires, i.e. rent some computing muscle. The biggest players are Microsoft’s Azure offering, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google’s Cloud Platform.

For the purchasing company, you’re buying “capability” without having to worry about the headache of managing a server infrastructure. Hardware obsolescence, power provision and network distribution are no longer your problem. The cloud provider is looking to smooth out demand across a massive group of customers to sweat the server assets as much as possible.

Myth: Cloud computing is either about applications or infrastructure
Also not true. Somewhere between cloud delivered applications and cloud provision of infrastructure lies cloud delivered software services. The big 3 (Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud) provide a smorgasbord of services which can be used to build bespoke applications of varying degrees of complexity. You can access a breadth of technology services that you’re unlikely to be able to build in-house (e.g. AI) as well as scale your consumption up-and-down as your business cycle ebbs and flows.

In fact, Recursyv’s Seamless integration service is a great example of this principle. Seamless is built on top of a set of services within Azure, specifically service fabric services and service bus (using some other bits and bobs within Azure, e.g. Key Vault, Database, etc.).

Myth: Cloud computing is unreliable
The idea of relying on someone else’s infrastructure can often make people uneasy. Ultimately this should boil down to one question: who is likely to deliver a more reliable infrastructure? Is it the in-house server team, typically operating with some significant limitations on spend? Or is it the guys whose business is a function of reliability and who are operating with a scale and budget likely to attract the most talented engineers?

Microsoft promise 99.9% uptime for the vast majority of Azure services, AWS promise 99.99% and Google promise 99.95%. Seamless operates as a service within Azure taking advantage of the 99.9% service uptimes. Additionally, the monitoring tools available for these services are built at a scale that is often not achievable with in-house server infrastructure (Azure, AWS, Google).

Any IT manager worth his or her salt would jump at a 99% uptime commitment.

Myth: Cloud computing is all or nothing
The fear of starting an entirely new infrastructure in an entirely new paradigm can be unnerving. It doesn’t have to be this way. Transitioning to the cloud can be part of a long-term IT delivery strategy which looks to deliver cloud enabled applications/services over time. As with any project, start with the requirements which offer the richest pickings – either in terms of new business capabilities or in terms of cost and risk reduction.

Integration services, such as Recursyv Seamless, can help bridge the gap between cloud delivered applications and pre-existing on-premise applications by synchronising data across applications. Traditional applications which are tightly coupled to in-house servers can be migrated to cloud delivery by moving the underlying servers to the cloud (either through a cloud hosting company providing connected servers or by subscribing to services within Azure, AWS or Google).

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