IOUG Insight: The Future Has Arrived—and It Came With the Cloud

The future has arrived, and it’s not about technology anymore. DBaaS, PaaS, IaaS: What do all these acronyms mean? Cloud technologies are depriving me of much-needed sleep. Moving infrastructure, databases, or software into the cloud is no longer a bleeding edge decision. Many organizations have implemented this successfully with great benefits, and more continue to do so. It was not that long ago that we started learning about cloud technologies and capabilities. Technologists listened to webinars and read about the possibilities of such a paradigm shift with cynicism. It sounded great, but what about the practicalities, cost, and risk? The only organizations that seemed to embrace this new landscape were technology companies, while the rest of us stood on the sidelines watching and, on occasion, snickering. We thought nothing would ever replace our data centers. It appears we were wrong … it’s time to embrace the paradigm shift.

The one question that keeps playing over and over again in my mind, and is the major cause of my insomnia, is how risk-tolerant I am. As someone who has been in various roles as an IT professional, having my databases “floating” around in the cloud brings out my cautious side. How will I know they are secure? How does disaster recovery work in a situation like this? How do I deliver to my service level agreements? There is no doubt that cloud technologies have matured, and it is time to consider making that leap, if you have not already done so. What I appreciate about the maturity of cloud technology, especially for database and infrastructure technologies, is that it is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Some organizations will be prepared to move many or all of their databases and infrastructure into the cloud, while others will look for a hybrid solution of keeping some systems on premises and moving others into a private cloud.

The most important consideration, as I alluded to earlier, is one of risk. Identifying what the risks are in your organization of moving to cloud technologies is of the utmost importance. In tandem with that question is how you will mitigate any risks identified. More than ever, technology road maps, as well as clear, concise strategies for where you want your infrastructure and database environments to reside now and in the future, are essential—they are no longer “nice to have” documents left to collect dust. Without a solid understanding of the benefits and consequences of cloud technologies, as well as creating a clear strategic direction within your IT organization, these projects become the ones you read about that have failed miserably.

Cloud technology has definitely been a disruptive force in the IT world, but in a good way. It has forced us to think differently about how to deliver IT services to our partners, and it has provided us with new options to scale when demand is high. It is time for us to seriously consider how cloud technologies can benefit our organizations, both from a technology and business perspective. What configuration will best suit your organization? Adopting cloud technologies requires us, as IT professionals, to think critically and strategically. User groups provide a neutral platform to share information and stories about this journey we’re on with each other. Opportunities like this to learn from each other are immensely valuable. It truly is not about technology anymore—the future has arrived!