When is migrating to cloud not the best choice?

With all the new technologies emerging for cloud migration, there is a wide acceptance that cloud services are the cheapest, and best way to manage some kinds of infrastructures. Nevertheless, on the decision on wether we should migrate into cloud must still be analysed in other ways.

That's why the current Milk-as-a-Service analogy is great, as it illustrates the downfalls of moving to cloud, and the exact situation on wether you need a migration or not.

CEO: I got this proposal from SuperCloudHosting for moving our entire IT infrastructure over to them, it seems good since from what I see and what they say its cheaper and saves us the hassle of an entire department's worth of resources.

IT Consultant: But is it really the best fit for the company, its true they possibly can provide all that service to you and probably cheaper but is it good for the company?

CEO: I don’t have a really good grasp on the technology they are offering but it seemed pretty thorough and they explained the cost effectiveness as a by product of economies of scale, the exact quote was something like "IT is like electricity, why buy your own generator when you can just use the powergrid?"

IT Consultant: I wouldn’t exactly use that as a good way of explaining cloud computing solutions. A better example would be to imagine IT services as milk and IT infrastructure as a cow.

CEO: Milk, cows?

IT Consultant: You use milk every day in your tea or coffee but where do you get it. You can get a whole cow and just use that to get your milk but its far cheaper and more convenient to go buy milk from a store for that. Now if you have a large family, say a wife and five kids then it’s still cheaper to get your milk from the store even if it’s a bit more than just for yourself.

But if you are talking about a whole village then owning your own cow or herd of cows suddenly seems better than buying store bought milk, the cost may still be lower for store bought milk but you have to ensure a large supply of milk consistently over relying on a store or external supplier who may suddenly shutdown or decide that they want to sell bread or something.

CEO: I see… so how does that apply to the cloud and our company?

IT Consultant: Right now you are the village, you can afford to keep your own cows or buy the store bought milk but remember you have no control on the store milk beyond buying it. Their cows could die, they could decide to water down the milk to save costs, increase price, etc and you could do nothing or little about it except trying to yell at the store to bring your milk. And leaving that store to a new one who can supply the same quantity is sometimes lengthy or impossible.

With your own cows you have your own people milking them, caring for them and you know exactly what you have and the fate of your milk is entirely in your hands. My job is to analyze and recommend whether its safer to rely on your own herd of cows or rely on the store always being able to get you milk even though the store is cheaper.

CEO: I see, so outsourcing our IT infrastructure is cheaper but has considerable risks than keeping it in house since it hands our business continuity fate to an outsider beyond our direct control? Kind of like putting all your eggs into a basket you don't even own since you want to save on buying your own basket?

IT Consultant: Exactly.

It is specially interesting to consider that the scale of your operations is something to take into consideration when evaluating cloud services.

I want to give props tu /u/the_walking_tech from reddit for coining the term MaaS.

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