Public Clouds Have Internal IT Beat for New Projects, and It’s Slowly Killing off Enterprise IT
For departments in organizations that need to get an application deployed, the fastest and most effective option is renting IT resources on a public cloud such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), rather than working with the internal IT department. As a result, cloud providers like AWS are slowly killing off enterprise IT, as on-premise IT staff and hardware are needed less and less.
This ease of application deployment on a public cloud comes from the democratization of the application deployment process: Anyone with a credit card and a few hours to watch tutorial videos can make an application available publicly. Moreover, departments often find that public clouds not only offer instant gratification but also rationalize costs with pay-as-you-go billing, remove project startup costs and allow for accelerated deployment schedules.
Internal IT Departments are Slow, Cumbersome and Costly
Internal IT departments are usually built as shared services models. Data center space is rented or constructed, and then, hardware and technical staff are brought on to run the IT department. This department services an entire organization with ticketing systems to fix issues with existing infrastructure and planning processes on new projects that occur only on a quarterly or yearly basis. These processes quickly get bogged down, making reaction times slow from the IT department. Moreover, as new projects involve additional overhead, stakeholders from around the organization must lobby internally, or go through a lengthy approval process to gain access to IT resources. This process is tedious and can be costly. Worst, the lag times from the budgeting and planning process may impact the launch date for a new project.
Public Clouds offer Instant IT Gratification
For project stakeholders that don’t want access to IT resources to slow down their initiatives, public clouds offer a cheap, fast alternative. Anyone with a credit card who follows the instructions can quickly launch a virtual server and deploy an application or begin developing on a public cloud. This is nearly instantaneous compared to the weeks or months needed to with IT department. Better yet, there’s no approval process and no need to speak with anyone, just an API to hit. Of course, there are security and compliance needs that may not be met by a cloud provider. However, barring those requirements, the public cloud will almost always beat the internal IT department for making available resources for a new project.
Public Clouds Have Better Short-Term Economics
Departments in an organization that contribute budget to their IT departments will see a public cloud as cheaper. For starters, (Source: Wired) the cloud eliminates the need to rent out more data center space (or build a new one), buy expensive servers, network and storage, and possibly hire in more help before any actual work on the project even begins. Much of this would be footed by the department before a single line of code for an application was written. A developer can instead rent infrastructure on AWS with zero dollars needed up front. Moreover, the pay as you go nature of many cloud billing plans, make clear what was rented and thus make spending more transparent. Not only is it cheaper to start, but trading capex for opex is very attractive for new product or experiments.
Clouds Enable Faster Development and Deployment
Because clouds democratize access to deployment, anyone given access by the project administrator can issue an update at any time. This is different from the usual waits that are needed for a ticket to an IT department to be processed. Moreover, AWS, Heroku, and other IaaS and PaaS vendors have enabled an ever-growing ecosystem of “fill in the blank” as a Service vendors. These solutions are not only plug-and-play, but also, they do not require maintenance and come in all shapes and sizes to uniquely fit the needs of a project. In on-premise enterprise IT, the IT department would need to either purchase an off-the shelf component and integrate it in manually, or home-grow which would add more time and complexity to an IT project.
Clouds are not an IT Elixir, But Make it Easy to Start Projects
While clouds offer faster deployment, rationalize spend, may be cheaper and are universally available for access to IT resources, choosing that infrastructure option is not without some possible setbacks. An application run on a cloud is at the mercy of a third party. If the public cloud goes down or has an issue, so will that application. Further, monitoring and understanding the performance of the cloud and the many services that are used within an application requires specialized skills and tools to ensure that an application is working the way that it should be. Departments deploying an application on a public cloud may not at first realize that when they choose to go outside of their internal IT departments, they are going to have to become handy, if not expert, in many aspects of running an application on a public cloud. And long-term, large-scale economics of cloud deployments differ drastically from their traditional counterparts, and create new management challenges.
Yet, because these possible issues are usually not enough to balance out a long wait for an internal IT department to address a new project’s needs, the added complexity of running an application on a cloud will not likely dissuade most project stakeholders from using this infrastructure.
New projects are the gateway drug to public clouds. Thus, the move to cloud hosting providers is slowly but surely killing internal enterprise IT.
By Olivier Pomel – Co-Founder and CEO
Prior to founding Datadog, Olivier Pomel built data systems for K-12 teachers as a VP, Technology for Wireless Generation, growing the development team from a handful to close to 100 of the best engineers in NYC until the company’s acquisition by News Corp. Before Wireless Generation, Olivier held software engineering positions at IBM Research and several internet startups. Olivier is an original author of the VLC media player and holds a MS in CS from the Ecole Centrale Paris.