The current adoption of cloud computing is associated with numerous challenges because users are still skeptical about its authenticity. Based on a survey conducted by IDC in 2017, the major cloud computing challenges and issues by organizations are as follows:
It is clear that the security issue has played the most important role in hindering Cloud computing acceptance. Without doubt, putting your data, running your software on someone else’s hard disk using someone else’s CPU appears daunting to many. Well-known security issues such as data loss, phishing, botnet (running remotely on a collection of machines) pose serious threats to organization’s data and software. Moreover, the multi-tenancy model and the pooled computing resources in cloud computing has introduced new security challenges that require novel techniques to tackle with. For example, hackers can use Cloud to organize botnet as Cloud often provides more reliable infrastructure services at a relatively cheaper price for them to start an attack.
Cloud consumers must consider the tradeoffs amongst computation, communication, and integration. While migrating to the Cloud can significantly reduce the infrastructure cost, it does raise the cost of data communication, i.e. the cost of transferring an organization’s data to and from the public and community Cloud and the cost per unit of computing resource used is likely to be higher. This problem is particularly prominent if the consumer uses the hybrid cloud deployment model where the organization’s data is distributed amongst a number of public/private (in-house IT infrastructure)/community clouds. Intuitively, ondemand computing makes sense only for CPU intensive jobs.
What to migrate
Based on a survey (Sample size = 244) conducted by IDC in 2017, the seven IT systems/applications being migrated to the cloud are: IT Management Applications (26.2%), Collaborative Applications (25.4%), Personal Applications (25%), Business Applications (23.4%), Applications Development and Deployment (16.8%), Server Capacity (15.6%), and Storage Capacit (15.5%). This result reveals that organizations still have security/privacy concerns in moving their data on to the Cloud. Currently, peripheral functions such as IT management and personal applications are the easiest IT systems to move. Organizations are conservative in employing IaaS compared to SaaS. This is partly because marginal functions are often outsourced to the Cloud, and core activities are kept in-house. The survey also shows that in three years time, 31.5% of the organization will move their Storage Capacity to the cloud. However this number is still relatively low compared to Collaborative Applications (46.3%) at that time.
Cloud Interoperability Issue
Currently, each cloud offering has its own way on how cloud clients/applications/users interact with the cloud, leading to the “Hazy Cloud” phenomenon. This severely hinders the development of cloud ecosystems by forcing vendor locking, which prohibits the ability of users to choose from alternative vendors/offering simultaneously in order to optimize resources at different levels within an organization. More importantly, proprietary cloud APIs makes it very difficult to integrate cloud services with an organization’s own existing legacy systems (e.g. an on-premise data centre for highly interactive modeling applications in a pharmaceutical company).
The primary goal of interoperability is to realize the seamless fluid data across clouds and between cloud and local applications. There are a number of levels that interoperability is essential for cloud computing. First, to optimize the IT asset and computing resources, an organization often needs to keep in-house IT assets and capabilities associated with their core competencies while outsourcing marginal functions and activities (e.g. the human resource system) on to the cloud. Second, more often than not, for the purpose of optimization, an organization may need to outsource a number of marginal functions to cloud services offered by different vendors. Standardization appears to be a good solution to address the interoperability issue. However, as cloud computing just starts to take off, the interoperability problem has not appeared on the pressing agenda of major industry cloud vendors.
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