A tremendous amount has been written about the Cloud and how it’s going to revolutionize all of IT. This conversation goes back several years, and while the Cloud is a major driver in consumer-oriented business, (think Apple, Photo Sites) the enterprise has been a little more cautious in it's adoption. Many “greenfield” workloads have been set up in Amazon and other public Cloud providers, however wholesale migration to the Cloud has been lagging.  

There are several reasons for this, all of which speak to the challenges that any major paradigm shifts can run in to. With that said, the time is now for entire departments and environments to move to the Cloud. The drivers here may be server refresh, equipment coming off lease, M&A or data center consolidation. Net/Net the same things that have been driving infrastructure change in the past. The major issues that will need to be addressed to facilitate this change are the following:

  1. It’s hard to move/migrate existing workloads to a Cloud. Luckily, new tools and techniques are addressing this brownfield migration issue, and it's a brand new, explosive market.

  2. Hardware and software manufacturers still want their customers to buy expensive equipment. These companies make a ton of money through equipment sales and will scare their customers with network and security concerns to ensure they build their Clouds in-house. For a large enterprise, this makes sense for their primary servers/applications, but for small or midsize businesses, it generally will not make sense economically. Soon, the economics will win out, as they generally do.

  3. The service providers themselves make more money selling co-location services than they do selling the Cloud. With Cloud pricing coming down every month, many service providers have to cannibalize their current higher margin business in order to survive. Many of these companies will have the window dressing around the Cloud and derive much of their revenue and profit from their legacy business. However, those that don’t adapt quickly may be in serious danger.

  4. Security concerns about the Cloud. I understand some of the argument here, although many people have their most sensitive customer data up in Salesforce.com and other SaaS oriented platforms. Ultimately, this argument will begin to diminish.

Although there is some general unease regarding brownfield migrations into Cloud environments, these concerns will begin to dissipate once the benefits of the Cloud are taken into account.  Cloud storage is the future of IT, and with companies creating new tools and techniques to simplify both the migration process and the Cloud experience, adoption should begin to dramatically increase in the near future.