Cloud Mythos & Deception: The 5 Biggest Fibs Told By Providers


This report looks at common fabrications perpetrated against consumers of cloud services. We will proceed with the following sections:

  • Introduction: Fantastical Sales Messages
  • You Can’t Trust Anyone These Days
  • 5 Biggest Cloud Lies
  • Conclusion: Cloud Without Confusion

Introduction: Fantastical Sales Messages

Many cloud service providers (CSP’s) have taken advantage of the confusion surrounding the cloud to build a bogus mythos around the technology.

That’s clear sometimes in misleading marketing strategies, but it’s most obvious in the way that salespeople talk directly to potential customers. As we all know, when a 100% commission sales guy has to eat, he will say the darndest things! Of course, lies proliferate in seedy environments characterized more by cash-grabbing than relationship development.

You Can’t Trust Anyone These Days

Here’s the funny thing: our source material – the place where these top lies were initially suggested – is itself a hotbed of deception, where we must always watch our footing so that we don’t sink into the quicksand of marketing blather.

I have made fun of Forbes​BrandVoice in the past for watering down the credibility of the Forbes brand, making it difficult to differentiate between subjective marketing articles and objective news reports. However, Forbes is just one of many news outlets that has become fuzzier in recent years, providing both straight information by journalists and biased information from representatives of companies (and to further complicate matters, these are often the same people: freelance writers performing different roles).

I guess I think that the particularly offensive, disingenuous aspect of BrandVoice is that it shows up in the Google News feed as if it’s standard Forbes material. Compare that to a business blog like this one: clearly someone will read the comments and opinions stated in this context more skeptically than they would coming from a trusted news source, which maybe shouldn’t be trusted after all.

However, sometimes in sorting through the dumpster of “You know, I can’t think of anything bad about our service,” you can find a gem. We went dumpster diving, and we found an article by Afshin Shams of SungardAS. It still smells, but we’ve cleaned it off and think it has some value for your provider search, so here are its tips:

5 Biggest Cloud Lies

Shams (awkward name given the topic) offers the following five lies:

1. Cloud SLAs (service level agreements) are all about the numbers.

Typically providers will promote an uptime number that is close to 100% (or even 100% in our case), such as 99.95%. However, service level agreements are often complex, and the percentage guarantee may apply to meeting certain parameters listed in fine print. As Shams puts it, it’s similar to when you “[buy] a car because of a great advertisement, only to discover that the little asterisk next to the interest rate [nixes] the deal for you because it required a huge down payment.”

In other words, just because two providers offer the same SLA uptime guarantee, it doesn’t mean the same reliability protections are in place. Read the entire contract to know what you’re getting.

2. Virtual servers are simpler than physical servers.

There is actually one aspect of virtual machines (VMs) that make them more user-friendly than the physical variety: setup. Shams notes that when setting up a virtual environment, it’s not necessary to “go through the typical procurement cycle and racking and stacking” that was mandatory in traditional infrastructures. Plus, the operating system is almost immediately available.

Regardless of those initial benefits, all you really have with a virtual server is a container – the same as any PC. Once you have the machine itself ready for use, the process of installing and configuring applications within the environment is just as time-consuming as in a dedicated setting.

3. Everybody is converting everything to cloud.

Shams notes that 100% cloudification is typical of small companies but not enterprises. Although the cloud market is still growing astronomically, large individual companies have much more complex, differentiated systems – “numerous business units, legacy systems, mainframes, existing data centers, and third-party integrations” – so it’s not usually a reasonable or savvy choice to virtualize everything in an external setting.

Shams notes that hybrid clouds – typically composed of external public clouds and internal legacy systems, often along with private clouds – will become increasingly common, a point that is backed up by numerous industry studies.

4. You have no idea how much money you will save.

Can an organization typically reduce costs by choosing cloud? Absolutely. But it’s not just about money. There are many other reasons why companies are interested in cloud (bear with me):

  • much greater scalability
  • better performance and reliability
  • more flexible to adapt to changing market
  • substantial reduction in development time cycle
  • general transition to opex from capex

Usually cloud is more affordable, but “sometimes… the company’s costs will actually go up in the process,” says Shams. The firm must look at the options and do a cost-benefit analysis, just like anything else.

5. We do it all for you!

No, they don’t. Get the provider to send you a document detailing their specific responsibilities. Compare it to your expectations, and make sure you aren’t going to get frustrated once you have signed on the dotted line.

Conclusion: Cloud Without Confusion

Some cloud providers spin yarns. We don’t.

As Louis Gualtieri, Jr., described his experience with us, “Very responsive, and the action taken to prevent any damage to the server and/or network under a DDoS were superb!” Spin up a cloud server with us today.

By Kent Roberts