What is Cloud Washing

The concept of “cloud washing” isn’t a new one. Cloud washing has been around for over a decade and is directly related to the software vendors offering cloud computing services for business-as-usual IT facilities and virtualization efforts. As this practice has been used by some of the biggest brands in the industry, are you sure you haven't been cloud washed?

Sounds confusing? Well, this blog aims to give you in-depth details about cloud washing, how to identify it, distinguish between an actual and fake cloud application, and finally, how to escape such frauds. But before that, let's start with the cloud computing concept itself.

A Brief Introduction to Cloud Computing

In layman's words, cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing servers. It comprises storage, servers, databases, software, networking, analytics, intelligence, and more, over the internet. It offers flexible resources, rapid innovations, and economies of scale. With cloud computing, companies only pay for the services that they use. Therefore, it helps reduce operational expenses while running the infrastructure smoothly and efficiently.

"Cloud" has also been a buzzword in the IT industry since 2006. Although the concept has been dominating the market for over a decade now, some users aren't well aware of the strategies and strategies available for their company regarding cloud computing.

Lack of appropriate knowledge about cloud computing services often results in cloud washing. Many software vendors take advantage of this situation to relabel their services as "cloud-enabled" or "open cloud." However, as per the interview conducted in 2009 with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, some vendors aren't sure about the concept of cloud computing services.

According to the reports, Oracle and Ellison became the first recipients of the tongue-in-cheek award, known as the “Washies." The award was given to the worst cloud washing offenders. It was presented to alert the consumers about the practice of providing the name of cloud-enable services to the non-cloud computing services.

However, the gimmick didn't succeed in achieving its objective. As per the reports in 2012, Forrester reported that around 70 percent of the claimed cloud computing services offered by IT administrators aren't exactly cloud-based.

This confusion might be attributable to the IT administrators working in highly virtualized environments. They seem to believe that their on-premises infrastructure is private clouds.

However, Forrester claimed that this confusion arose due to cloud washing, as most users aren't still clear about the core concepts of cloud computing. Due to a lack of general cloud knowledge, the IT admins started assuming that the virtualized infrastructures consisted of the features of a typical private cloud, thereby calling them the same.

What is Meant by Cloud Washing?

Cloud washing refers to software vendors' purposeful and deceptive attempts to rebrand their old services or products by associating them with the buzzword "Cloud" with it. Marketers seem to randomly use the term "cloud" while speaking about technology, unaware of whether it fits the true-cloud-native apps or not.

Many users still know the exact differences between cloud-native software and virtualized systems. So, a few companies tend to port their legacy software to the virtual environments within the centralized data centers while slapping their cloud labels.

Honestly, the cloud word can be ambiguous. So, you might find that companies often use the term cloud computing while referring to services delivered over the internet. Also, the terms cloud computing and cloud are constantly being utilized interchangeably. Whenever even a tiny component of the entire product or facility relies on the internet for its function, the vendor feels it is justified to adopt the cloud computing label for marketing purposes.

Differences Between Cloud-Native and Cloud-Enabled Solutions

If you are keen on identifying cloud-washed services, it is essential to distinguish between cloud-native and cloud-enabled solutions. Cloud-native tools work seamlessly for businesses that need an uninterrupted online presence 24*7.

Such systems are known for offering various web-centric features that can strengthen customer service while engaging their audiences. In addition, it effectively provides server scalability during fluctuating traffic, allowing hassle-free experimentation with promotional and new technologies.

In a nutshell, the cloud-native technologies offer:

  • Seamless interconnectivity
  • Robust functionality
  • Optimize business continuity

So, what does it mean to be cloud-ready? Is it similar to a cloud-enabled system? Cloud-native systems refer to the ones constructed within the cloud right from scratch. These can harness the power of famous public cloud environments like Azure or AWS. So, these systems enable the developers to use advanced deployment tools to allow the speedy evolution of the enterprise's global architecture.

Cloud-native environments enable companies to streamline complex infrastructure in administration and design. So, these systems are not only the advanced technical fad but also offer you the next and most innovative generation of online service delivery. In simpler terms, the concept of cloud-native solutions ensures the breakup of company services into small elements known as the "microservices".

A few examples of microservices:

  • Customer information retrieval API
  • Process for checking the validity of a credit card
  • Shipping orders tracking API
  • Process for age verification
  • Process for photo upload

In the case of the data management experts, each service is designed and implemented individually as a unit. As these microservices are small, they also have a lesser impact on the overall system, even if one of them goes down.

Cloud-enabled solutions refer to the cloud-native systems, but these are modified to accommodate the company's specific requirements. It is not necessarily dependent on the business structure. Here the company's application is deployed within the public cloud. However, this one will require a physical server to manage its operations.

Let’s take a quick look at the differences that exist between cloud-enabled and cloud-native systems.

1. Design

Engineers design the cloud-native apps for hosting them as multi-tenant instances, with a microservice that can host more users or businesses simultaneously. As these apps can divide the system’s total expense among different users, these are excellent cost-effective solutions for organizations.

However, the cloud-enabled solutions are constructed using the in-house servers, so they lack multi-tenant capabilities. Therefore, it is an ideal solution for companies where data privacy is of utmost concern.

2. Pricing

Cloud-native solutions are the cheaper ones that do not require any software or hardware investments. So, these are readily available for the companies, while the cloud-enabled ones are slightly costlier. That is because these cloud-enabled apps need to go through the manual upgrade processes to accommodate the evolving business requirements along with the emerging technical demands.

3. Origin

Cloud-native solutions always use the cloud infrastructure's power in different ways that the legacy system cannot do. For example, these apps can get access to more processing resources as these are deployed within the cloud environment.

4. Implementation

Implementing cloud-native apps is easy and hassle-free. These do not depend on the in-house software or hardware configurations, making seamless implementation ideal. However, in the case of cloud-enabled apps, it can be time-consuming and complex, as these need to be customized as per the company’s specific installation environment.

5. Ease of Use

As already highlighted, the cloud-native ones do not require any manual upgrade and are highly scalable. In the case of individual modification of separate modules, these won't cause any service disruptions to its associated apps. However, cloud-enabled solutions will always need complicated manual upgrades. These upgrades are time-consuming and can also influence business continuity negatively.

Before you hire any cloud-computing services, it is essential to understand these distinctive critical points that create massive differences between the cloud-enabled and cloud-native systems. The more aware you are, the better you get at identifying the cloud washing alarming signs.

What are the Cloud Washing Trigger Signs?

Now that you are pretty clear about the core concept of cloud-native and cloud-enabled applications, here are some of the things to know for identifying the essential cloud washing trigger signs:

  • A cloud-washed app will never support multi-tenancy or resource pooling
  • Such an app will require special hardware, custom integrations, or software system
  • The application will have a complicated pricing structure
  • Primary operations will be cumbersome and pretty slow
  • App improvements and updates will be few and far between
  • Will lack on-demand self-service facility
  • The entire configuration and setup of the application will be complex and require special
  • The application won’t be easily configured or customized or even sold training or assistance Security, performance, and usability will remain inconsistent among the devices and users

Apart from these, engage in meaningful conversations with your vendor before purchasing. Generally, the cloud-washed vendors will be overusing the terms like "cloud," "cloud-enabled," and more to convince theirs about the authenticity of their offerings.

How to Avoid Cloud Washing Traps?

The practice of cloud washing isn't prevalent as it was a few years before. However, some software vendors still relabel their old products and facilities as "cloud" and offer them to clients who aren't clear about the core concepts of cloud computing. So, here is a brief attempt to help businesses from being cloud washed as given by the National Institute of Standards and Technology:

  • Refer to the broad network access with facilities that can be easily accessible by the standard mechanisms like smart gadgets
  • Look for the availability of accessible, automatic on-demand self-service that requires no human interaction with the specific service provider
  • Availability of resource pool that can be seamlessly shared between the users and can be reassigned multiple times as per the consumer demands
  • Rapid elasticity to enable the users to release the resources in any specified quantity as per need at any time
  • Appropriate parameters specified and available for measuring, controlling, and reporting the service as and when required

Final Thoughts

Whether you want to migrate to the cloud today or sometime later, it is crucial to understand the basics of cloud computing services to avoid such frauds as cloud washing. Understanding the concepts will help you select the appropriate facility per your business requirement. We have the best migration experts here if you need more assistance or wish to hire the best brand for migrating to the cloud.

DCGears bridges the global gap between consumers and cloud computing service providers. We have some top brands listed with us to offer you incredible cloud computing services at pocket-friendly prices. We also provide on-site services to help our clients to deal with cloud infrastructure issues 24*7. To know more, get in touch with us today.