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How SMBs Can Avoid Being Cloud Washed

How SMBs Can Avoid Being Cloud Washed

Being a SMB entrepreneur you must have often been pestered by cloud service solicitations but how you would know which cloud partner to bond with. Cloud washing is rampant amongst cloud service providers and especially, the targets are often small and medium businesses. The list of cloud washers is long and includes names of high profile cloud hosting service providers, small mushrooming firms as well as cloud resellers.

Cloud washing is when something similar to a cloud service is offered to the user. But it doesn’t render the complete advantages of cloud computing. As cloud hype is continuing every new service and product in the market is marketed with words like “cloud” and “cloud enabled.” In actuality, the service providers tweak their existing infrastructure slightly before slapping it with “cloud” phrase. But these services are far from being cloud and only resemble it to some extent.

It has become possible since confusion regarding definition of cloud is raging and with the increasing availability of many other as-a-service solutions the area is becoming murkier. Service providers are using a number of synonyms to define a particular type of service, which is causing further confusion among buyers. As a result, they are falling prey to marketing gimmicks–spending important resources in shifting their business to cloud but not receiving exact benefits.

Telling True Cloud From Pseudo Cloud

Cloud hosting service providers are often benefiting from the lack of awareness among buyers and it is therefore quintessential to understand what it means by cloud before you implement one in your small business setup. A true cloud computing solution will differ from a pseudo cloud in the following aspects:

  • Self provisioning by user: It refers to assignment of resources on-demand. It enables the user to acquire computing solutions, storage, network and applications whenever required. It allows users to request for resources on run time. Often provisioning of resource is almost immediate.
  • Anywhere network access: Applications and data hosted in cloud are accessible from anywhere. Cloud is ubiquitous, which separates it from traditional forms of data hosting and storage models. It is not attached to a device and can be accessed on any internet enabled system. It requires no infrastructural setup on behalf of the user.
  • Resource pooling: In cloud resources are accessed from a central place. The cloud application service provider builds an infrastructure which is then accessed by the tenants. Often services offered through cloud are indiscriminately available to all the users but can also be customize to some extent.
  • Linear Elasticity: Scalability is one feature that distinguishes a true cloud from shams. Cloud computing offers an environment where automatic spawning happens and the capacity of cloud server increases with increase in demand. It often happens automatically and without interventions from user or vendor’s side. Cloud provisioning is sensitive to usage and readjusts with the change of demand ensuring lower IT expenses.
  • Flexible subscription model: Unlike traditional server models cloud applications do not bind the user in long term contract with service providers. Often the duration of these contacts is short term–quarterly, half-yearly or yearly; means that the user can change his service provider easily if not satisfied with the quality of services offered. Services are often charged depending upon the numbers of users.

Understanding cloud is extremely important to prevent being cloud washed. Small businesses are often resource strapped which lead them to settle down for budget options. Unscrupulous vendors take advantage of this in selling them diminutive forms of cloud.

This can cause serious harm in the long run. Widespread misuse of the term “cloud” can put the future of the entire industry in jeopardy. As we expect businesses to become more dependent on cloud in the future it is important that cloud hosting service providers device an improved delivery model that will help SMBs experience the true advantages of cloud computing.

Excerpt: Cloud washing is when the service provider fabricates an existing service to term it as cloud but it doesn’t meet the attributes of a true cloud model. Cloud washing is affecting large and small enterprises alike. But SMBs in particular are mostly affected since they are often resource strapped to afford expensive cloud models and settle for less than optimum solutions.

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Manash Chaudhuri

CEO, Corelynx, Inc.
Specialized in Cloud computing and CRM customization
Manash is the CEO of Corelynx Inc., a Cloud based Enterprise Software Product Development and Services Company. He is actively involved in next generation Mobile technologies and bringing solutions to Cloud Computing Architecture. Prior to that, Manash worked as Principal ...