Are you Cloud first! or Cloud first?

It’s funny how something as simple as punctuation can fundamentally change an idea, an approach or a strategy.

Looking back a few years ago then it definitely felt like most companies strategy was Cloud first! I think there were many reasons for this

  • Everyone was talking about the Cloud, it was truly moving up toward what Gartner’s Hype Cycle likes to call “The peak of inflated expectations” and we all know what comes after this
  • The Cloud would solve everything, it would reduce costs, it would allow companies to focus on their business rather than the IT to support their business
  • It would be more reliable, more SLA driven

Yes everything looked great with the Cloud so we had these bold statements about we are moving everything to the Cloud, or we’re going Cloud first for anything new that we do.

Then several things started to happen

  • Companies started to embrace SaaS offerings and all was good, however there became a realisation that the enterprise data protection capabilities that companies had engineered into their own systems were not quite as comprehensive with some of the SaaS offerings and it made people pause for thought
  • In many cases it is not cheaper to use the Cloud. The Cloud to me is more about finding new capabilities and possibilities that you simply didn’t have before. When you consider the TCO you have to factor these new capabilities in else you’ll often find that you’re doing exactly what you did before and probably paying more to do it.
  • Some workloads simply do not belong in the Cloud, it’s not to say you shouldn’t have a strategy to consider whether there’s a different Cloud App that you could be using, or whether you significantly re-write the one you have so that moving it makes sense. But just taking any app and dumping it in the Cloud is not a Cloud strategy.

Enter Cloud first?

With the lessons learnt over the last few years I’ve definitely seen a change in the way people talk about their Cloud strategy. Cloud first has become a question, and it’s a great thing to challenge people with, we should go Cloud first but are there any very good reasons as to why this isn’t the right thing to do?

For me Cloud first! Isn’t a strategy it’s a mandate that can often force the wrong decisions to be made, whereas Cloud first? Still indicates the preference but it opens the discussion to form a strategy.

I think this has also forced people to consider how they develop a ‘Data Fabric’ strategy as a way to ensure that their Cloud plans have the flexibility to adapt to changing needs and demands. If I look at the emerging models building from the traditional Data Centre then it becomes clear that workloads will evolve through different stages, some will remain, some will move to SaaS and with the significant growth in Container based development then this fluidity across Clouds will increase.

The essence of a Data Fabric is essentially to ensure that you have consistent data services for data visibility and insights, data access and control, and data protection and security across a hybrid and multi cloud environment. Get this strategy right and you give yourself the freedom of choice and flexibility to make decisions about how your environment needs to evolve for the future.

Data Fabric has been the blueprint that’s guided our strategy and product development, could it also be the strategy that enables your Cloud future?


  1. Wise words but far too politically correct! Why do we as providers accept that our customers don’t know:

    What they own
    When they bought it
    What it talks to
    What they want to achieve

    And that’s just the start……

    Then they dare to say “but we need to see a ROI”

    1. I always enjoy a comment or discussion with you Mark. It’s true though that many people form a strategy without any real understanding of what they currently have, how do you truly work out where you could be without knowing exactly where you are now


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