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No… the cloud is “not just someone else’s computer”

Author by Nathan Lasnoski

There is a common laptop sticker or underhanded tweet that says “the cloud is just someone else’s computer”. This is a defense mechanism against modernization and seeks to state that the existing environment is sufficient. It is often paired with the comment, “we have a private cloud”. The reality however is very different. 100% of the time I’m finding that these on-premise environments are not sufficient for solving the modernization of the legacy workloads or the serving of truly modern workloads like data or modern applications.

The Cloud Adoption Maturity Curve

Here is a shot at a typical maturity curve of an organization, showing the stages of cloud adoption. The first stage, “legacy” is where many companies sit on the maturity curve, which is neither innovating nor creating new opportunity. The second is where the business starts going around IT, the third is where the cloud is “business ready”, fourth is where the business is building modern apps / DevOps, and fifth is the integration of tech into the business fully.

Expectations for Migrated Workloads

The expectations I have for migrated workloads is not just “move to another computer”. It is to move the workload as far up the maturity curve as possible. We know that legacy workloads, such as Windows-DomainJoined-VMs will only move so far up the curve. BUT… they can move a LOT further than where they are now. I expect a commoditized cloud datacenter environment which includes the adoption of modern traits, not just the same VM experience I operated in the on-premise environment. For instance, in the security space, I expect all VMs migrated to have micro-segmented implemented. This is a core reason for migrating to the cloud and you do not want to miss the opportunity to do it. In the graphic below you can see many of the other desired states that a legacy VM should have once migrated. If companies only did this they would significantly mitigate the major security and platform failures many on-premise datacenters experience.

Supporting Modern Workloads

To be frank, your on-premise “private cloud”, unless you are running some level of stretch-edge environment, is not prepared to support modern workloads. The lack of support for cloud workloads by IT is the primary reason I see time and time again that the business simply goes around IT and builds their own un-governed cloud environment. Don’t think for a minute they won’t, or aren’t doing it. They are not interested in waiting for you to get your stuff together. They will do what is right for the business and adopt cloud technology where necessary to make it happen. Your “private cloud” is not positioned to support modern container, serverless, app service, or data workloads. This is the point of the top of the maturity curve. The business yearns to drive economic change through new revenue or operational savings and the cloud facilitates that transformation.

BUT! You say… “my cloud can do containers!”. Trust me… they don’t want to do that in your private cloud. They want the flexibility, access, and ownership that the public cloud, or edge-enabled clouds provide. Your job is to enable the transformation below the line, then press the transformation above the line, like in the graphic below.

Get with the program, or get out of the way.

The best thing for your business, your customers, and YOU is to move to the cloud and leverage the rich capabilities both public and edge that facilitate transformation. BE the Change Agent that is pressing the transformation in your business, not holding it back. I earnestly want to see every person understand the value of the cloud and use it to advance their own career, as well as the outcomes of their business. Do not be the blocker that prevents the business from achieving its best outcomes.

Nathan Lasnoski


Nathan Lasnoski

Chief Technology Officer