A post on this blog last week asked the question: Is adopting the cloud a money-losing mistake?
After all, a McKinsey & Co. study called "Clearing the Air on Cloud Computing" concluded that adoption of the cloud model would be a money-losing mistake for most large corporations and that outsourcing a typical corporate data center to the cloud would more than double the cost.
This week, Google fired back in a post titled: What we talk about when we talk about cloud computing, a direct response to the McKinsey study. The Google post looked at four areas where they see cloud computing as offering benefits: Hardware infrastructure, Software infrastructure, Applications and Innovation. In part, the Google Enterprise team wrote on its blog:
There's quite a bit of talk these days about corporations building a "private cloud" with concepts like virtualization, and there can be significant benefits to this approach. But those advantages are amplified greatly when customers use applications in the scalable datacenters provided by companies like Google, Amazon, Salesforce.com and soon, Microsoft. In this model, customers can leverage hardware infrastructure, distributed software infrastructure, and applications that are built for the cloud, and let us run it for them. This offers them much lower cost applications, and removes the IT maintenance burden that can cripple many organizations today. It also allows customers to deliver innovation to their end users much more rapidly.
So can the cloud offer instant savings? In some cases, as McKinsey tries to emphasize, that answer is no. But, in other instances, a cloud strategy can deliver some overnight savings.
In this economic climate, there is no true black-or-white approach for businesses - at least not yet. The "new ways" are still being tested. Companies still have questions about the security of their data, the access to the data and the true costs involved. Those are legitimate questions.
In the previous post, my colleague Andrew Nusca put up an update after hearing from IBM, which wanted to counter the McKinsey study with its view on mixing public and private clouds. In that post, IBM wrote, in part:
IBM believes this view neglects to consider that large enterprises are not going to outsource their entire data center operations to a public cloud like Amazon’s. Different workloads demand different support, and as such, there are certain applications that shouldn’t be moved to a cloud model. Rather, IBM is seeing that many clients are taking advantage of their existing resources through a mix of both public and private cloud models to more cost-effectively support specific applications like business resiliency and information protection services, as well as collaboration services.
I like the IBM approach. Move to the cloud for some operations but keep the on-site system in place for others. Try a few new things and watch for cost savings.
I know I've become somewhat of a cheerleader for the cloud approach. And while there may not yet be a one-size-fits-all approach for all types of businesses, there's definitely savings of some sort in those clouds.