Whilst the cloud obviously confers strong advantages in terms of reduced capital expenditure and flexibility, some IT leaders still prefer to keep their data and applications where they can see them.
If you're starting a new business today, the chances are that you would host all of your data and applications in the cloud, and have little or no IT infrastructure.
Many larger, existing business are going that way too, binning infrastructure and moving wholesale into the cloud. But not all.
There was a split in cloud strategies at a recent IT Leaders Forum event from V3's sister title Computing, with some IT leaders advocating a cloud-first, cloud-only strategy, and others stating that they are keeping well out.
One of the cloud proponents was Nick Ioannou, Head of IT at Ratcliffe Groves Partnership.
"We're 80 per cent in the cloud," said Ioannou. "We store files locally, then backup to the cloud. We're about to refresh servers and storage because Server 2016 been released. We're now looking at hybrid systems and other options, and whatever we use we'll need for the next three years."
Ioannou added that his business, a firm of architects, creates a lot of data.
"We create a lot of data. Every time we go on a construction site we take lots of photos. Also, our data is changing constantly."
He explained that every time an architect makes any kind of change on a plan they're designing, the software automatically saves it as a new version. That also happens for every single mouse click. That ends up being a large volume of data.
"One of the issues I have to address is versioning. The architects will accidentally trash a file and they won't notice until four or five generations on. Then they need us to go back x number of versions, so I have to backup to cloud because I know it works.
"The bulk of my recovery is the users accidentally saving when they meant to hit 'save as'. And it can go back a year sometimes. Our projects last two to five years, and they can come back to life 20 years later because someone wants to expand the retail park we designed because they've bought the land next door. It's a real challenge, but the cloud lets me do that."
Earlier at the event, the panellists had complained that data volumes have outgrown the capacity of networks to move it around the world at an acceptable rate.
On the other side of the argument was Phil Durbin, Head of IT Systems at the Salvation Army.
"We're completely on-premise using our own infrastructure, we don't use cloud," began Durbin. "Our storage needs are doubling every four years. We're finding we need to store lots of unstructured data, lots of video, audio, and pictures, and that will only increase."
A further problem for Durbin is the need to store data indefinitely.
"We keep our data forever. I often say to people we are the mountain in [backup vendor] Iron Mountain. All tapes are used once and never again, unless we need to read them later. That creates lots of issues, and we're looking at that data retention model. So we're looking at a doubling of our data in the next few years, and I'm looking to see how we can do it," said Durbin.
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