DevOps: Without PaaS, a Cloud Transformation is just Expensive Hosting 2.0

Awesome image by Anthony Tori

Damon Edwards had a session recently where he said claimed that Without Self-Service Operations, the Cloud is Just Expensive Hosting 2.0. There is much in his session that I completely agree with, and have been concerned about for quite a while. I see it more in terms of the adoption of Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings.

I spend most of my consulting/mentoring time in larger organizations, many are large financial organizations. In every one now, there is a person heading up a "Cloud Transformation" project, but none of these companies mean the same thing when they talk about these types of projects.

In so many companies, all they are doing is taking their virtual machines and networks that are hosted in some existing hosting provider, and moving them into a public cloud.

Let's be clear: those companies are not making a cloud transformation.

They might be replacing existing infrastructure that's difficult to work with, with dynamic and configurable cloud infrastructure. They might also be outsourcing many of the functions of their difficult-to-work-with IT support teams with the public cloud ones. This can particularly apply to many offshore or offsite IT management providers.

But there's no real transformation going on. In so many cases, they are missing out on the real beauty that can be offered by cloud-based services.

Companies like Microsoft started pushing PaaS services heavily at first, but then realized that many companies just aren't agile enough to be able to start to use them. They now seem to focus on getting the customers into the cloud as the first step (aka lift and shift), then later focusing on getting them to use it properly.

If you aren't putting PaaS services in place, I don't think you're really making a cloud transformation. You may just be upgrading to the Expensive Hosting 2.0 that Damon mentioned. 

That may be better than where you were but you shouldn't confuse this with a real transformation.


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