The Challenges of Public Cloud Deployment

Posted on May 6, 2015

For public cloud providers 2014 was a record year. Leading public cloud companies such as Amazon World Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, IBM SoftLayer and Google continued to enjoy growing demand. What is certain is that more traditional IT services will move to the cloud, and public cloud will be a large portion of that rapid growth for a plethora of reasons.

A recent study from Computer World had some interesting data that compelled me to explore the public deployment side a bit deeper. That 2015 Forecast predicts that there will be a 46% increase in Security Technologies spending and a 42% increase in Cloud Computing.

One of the most interesting results from that forecast: 32% of all new IT spending will be geared toward the ”Internet of Things” ( This creation of a virtual “Orwellian society” is one of the top IT initiatives for the near future. It also has created significant challenges for those responsible.

Another key statistic from the forecast is that 22% of all new IT spending would go towards high Performance Computing (HPC). The study also showed that 16% of all enterprises surveyed stated that Cloud Computing is their most important initiative for the year, the most of any group.

So cloud computing is growing, and the public cloud providers are leading the charge. But what are the challenges for today’s enterprise to quickly and, more importantly, secure & deploy new cloud infrastructure? This paper will look at some of the drivers leading public cloud demand, the challenges facing enterprises to adapt to public cloud, and ideas to deploy both faster and more securely.

Some of the key business drivers leading to Public Cloud Adoption:

The Internet of Things (IOT) Gartner recently stated the Internet of Things Installed Base will grow to 26 billion units by 2020. That is quite a leap from where we are today. The IOT will, theoretically, allow companies to operate more efficiently, better serve clients and improve service level agreements (SLA’s).

Business Analytics The Computer World study found that Business Analytics are most relied upon to give insights gained in generating new revenue streams and increasing sales within existing channels. In a nutshell, George Orwell (coincidentally, born an Englishman named Eric Blair) had it right when he wrote the classic novel “1984”. Our lives are being focused on 24/7/365 by analytic engines gathering data from our mobile devices, computers, IP –enabled television, your new car, and seemingly just about anything else you are using that is manufactured after 2012.

I don’t watch much television, but one of my favorite characters of all-time was “Ron Swanson” (played by Nick Offerman) of the recently concluded show “Parks and Recreation”. This segment explains why.
In reality, we’ll never have that simple, “off-the-grid” life revered by Ron Swanson ever again.

Instant Infrastructure Many traditional enterprises are leading adopters of public cloud services, but you wouldn’t typically think that based on their business model. One large public corporation explained that what used to take us six months to plan, test and deploy now takes us a few days or even hours”. The example given was a promotional/seasonal website for a national ad campaign that was to be run during the Super Bowl. In the past, the company would have selected personnel, created a project plan, evaluate and purchase infrastructure, and then begin work. Now, the same company spins up new devices in the cloud and they are ready to go instantly.

These are just a few of the key drivers and there are many more, but let’s take a look at the challenges in deploying in a public cloud environment.

Key Challenges:

Speed of Deployment– a panel of CIO’s that I informally surveyed recently stated that speed of deployment is the number one challenge. In 2015, it’s no longer “whether to go to the public cloud” but rather “how fast can we go live?” Capacity to connect legacy enterprise systems internally to interface with the public cloud is not something that IT personnel have planned for nor been trained to do.

As a matter of fact, one of the key findings in Forrester Research’s June 2013 Cloud Study was that 76% of respondents stated that they needed cloud administrator training and 71% needed cloud operations training.

Security: Accessing public cloud infrastructure means utilizing the internet for transport. The model is filled with risk of an attack, hack, or data loss much in the same way an enterprise or hybrid network . With many critical applications being pushed to public cloud, this is an area of concern for CIO’s and CISO’s alike, and one that did not exist just a few years ago.

Many of the respondents to my informal survey cited this as an area of great concern, with several stating that it was the highest priority.

Risk & Compliance: Accessing the public cloud involves a lack of visibility into the rented infrastructure that an enterprise enjoys within its own environment. This could present risk and compliance obstacles for companies that must adhere to certain industry-specific standards.

The lack of visibility on a continuous basis means that a portion of the enterprise “assets” are at risk.
In my informal panel of CIO’s, this was the single biggest concern of those who responded.

These are just a few of the major concerns of public cloud utilization. So how do we get past those?

Ways to Improve Speed, Security and Compliance:

Speed to Deployment: Most organizations use public internet or a private MPLS circuit or Point-to-Point to access the leading cloud providers. This involves a traditional hub and spoke network typically with primary operations occurring at either a private in-house datacenter or at one of the enterprise data center operators.

One idea to consider is taking a small footprint at a “carrier hotel” type of datacenter operator with the intention of getting directly connected to the cloud providers with whom you wish to do business with. Typically, this would involve taking a cabinet (at minimum) at a carrier-neutral facility and then buying a direct cross-connect to the cloud providers that you want to connect to. One of my partners, Equinix, offers a 10G cross-connect for $200/month to their cloud exchange which can be partitioned to different providers. The benefits here are numerous. Among them, it offers an enterprise freedom of choice among cloud providers, much in the same way that freedom of datacenter choice allows your company to not be married to a particular telecommunications company. It is important to consider the number of cloud providers in such an environment for this particular reason. I partner with several datacenter providers and their primary growth strategies all revolve around the proliferation of public cloud users.

Further, public cloud infrastructure can be spun up instantly through self-administration portals with such providers. The speed, in terms of latency, will be much improved. This, in turn, has been another area that enables companies to give better SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) to their customers. In other words, everyone wins.

Security: Accessing the internet, simply stated, is putting your infrastructure at risk. One of the main benefits of housing the “public cloud infrastructure” (in a cabinet, etc….) is that the direct connect eliminates the internet. Problem solved.

Risk & Compliance: So, it’s been established that moving into a “cloud exchange” solves both the speed and security issues, but what about the visibility of assets for risk and compliance considerations?

The aforementioned solution alone will not mitigate that situation. In order to do that, there is a very unique start up that is changing the way the game is played. That company, Cloud Passage offers a cloud security solution that works in any cloud: public, private, and hybrid. The solution, Halo, which is offered as SaaS, provides instant and continuous security/compliance visibility into all cloud deployed assets. They, basically, consolidated all traditional security solutions (Firewall Orchestration, IDS, FIM, Vulnerability Scanning, Key management, etc..) and re-engineered how security is delivered , making it well suited for cloud environments. Utilizing this service will provide your organization with the tools needed to bring your public cloud environment into the same standard as the rest of your assets.

Final Thoughts In conclusion, I hope that you have found this article helpful as you look to the public cloud to increase productivity, boost efficiency and time to market and increase your revenue stream.
I thank you for taking the time to read this article and look forward to seeing each other again in the near future.

About the Author:

Eric Blaier is the founder of Integrated Business Services, Inc. an Atlanta-based IT consulting firm established in 2001.. He has held sales and sales management roles for such companies as Allnet, Teleglobe, ATT and Equinix, and his firm partners with the leading cloud and infrastructure providers in the marketplace to maximize the efficiency and productivity of his clients.
He can be reached at or

Leave a Reply