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09/02/2011

4 Downsides to Cloud Computing

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Cloud computing is hot.  I cannot seem to look at any sort of technical website or magazine without hearing about it.  There are a lot of very good benefits to cloud computing for project management and project management software.  In fact, I am a big fan.  However, let's not forget about the flip side.  No solution is 100% perfect.  There is always an upside and a downside to everything.  I thought it prudent for us to consider the downside of cloud computing.  Here are four of them.

1.  You'll Love a Good Internet Connection.

This should be obvious, but has to be mentioned.  Cloud computing means that you only have access to your system(s) if you have a good connection to the Internet.  Is that a big deal?  In many cases no.  Good bandwidth is everywhere these days - in the office, at home, in the coffee shop.  But this is not the same as using a Word on your laptop.  If you are on an airplane without fast wifi, you go to a cabin in the mountains, or take a trip to another country, you could be out of luck.  If your power goes out, you're out of luck.  Personally, if I go to a cabin in the mountains and cannot work, that's a good thing.  But I digress...

2.  You Lose Control.

We can spin this any number of ways, but you cannot go to cloud computing without losing some measure of control.  You no longer decide when to upgrade your system.  You no longer have access to backups of your system.  Even if a vendor provides you with access, what are you really going to do with that backup file?  You also give up a lot of responsibility for security to the vendor.  You trust them to keep your information secure.  You may not even know exactly where your data is physically stored (although a good vendor will tell you).

3.  The Hodgepodge Effect.

I just made up that term.  It is easy to sign up for a cloud service for this, or a cloud service for that.  You can easily wind up with all kinds of cloud-based applications that your organization is using with no coherent strategy to use the systems together in a strategic fashion.  There is a certain innovative attractiveness to groups finding the solutions to get things done.  But it is also important to strategically use technology to accomplish organizational objectives.

4.  You Marry Your Vendor.

Your vendor becomes a partner.  You rely on them.  Once you have your data and processes in place and have used your system for a while, you are reliant on them to perform.  You rely on them to enable you to get at the data you need.  After all, you can't just have someone run a quick query to pull data from the database anymore.

What happens when the vendor updates the product?  Is it a good update?  You probably will not have the option of simply not installing the update.  Is training provided?  Do you have to pay for it?

There are many things for which you will be reliant on your vendor, more so than with an installed system.

 

As I said, there are many benefits to cloud computing, but let's not forget about the downsides or pretend they don't exist.  What downsides have you seen?

 





Comments

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Limits, thresholds set by the vendor are also a downside. The limits exist since the infrastructure and/or software is shared and therefore has to meet acceptable service levels. There are limits for example on transactions, transactions timeout limits, transactions accumulated, transaction payload size. Your software may have to adapt to limits to avoid service interruptions. Some thresholds are fixed, some can be modified for an incremental fee.

Good point George. Would you say this is more prevalent in transaction-based cloud systems as opposed to perhaps collaboration type of systems?

People always talk about it!

Thank you for sharing this, for months now I've been wanting to host on cloud but now I think I have to re-plan.

Cloud computing is one of the best developments in the field of technology in recent times. However, yes, it does have its shortcomings, which we tend to forget. Thanks for discussing these negative points of cloud computing and making us aware.

Wow, very nice post! Welcome here phdworks.org!
Michael
desiist@yahoo.com

Thanks for sharing your ideas on cloud computing. It was interesting to read them.

I second that! No matter how convenient it can be to keep your files over the internet, it can still pose danger to your identity.

It is true. Your cloud provider will be stuck with you so long as you keep the cloud. Like marriage, I am sure you can work something out.

It is really hard to find any downside to Cloud Computing but you managed to find a few. Great job. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

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