How to convince upper management NOT to move to public cloud

You know the scene, your CFO, CIO, CEO, Chief Whatever, just got back from the latest event hosted by a management consulting firm, and she is all excited about public cloud: “If we don’t move to public cloud today, we’re a dinosaur”.

You, being the informed IT manager or professional know full well, it is a much more nuanced picture, and most likely, you are better off with an on-premises solution – classic or private cloud based.

Here are the reasons you’re most likely to hear, and how to show the CxO, it ain’t so:

1. Cloud is cheaper.

This. Is. False. When it comes to IaaS and PaaS, public clouds like AWS and Azure are 3-4x more expensive than a well-managed VMware or Hyper-V environment. We have analyzed more than 40.000 servers and found that in almost every case, the on-premises solution is cheaper. This has many reasons, one is better utilization of hardware – Azure instances are mostly based on 1 vCPU = 1 physical thread – almost no one runs at this low level of resource commitment on-premises. Another reason is that in Azure and AWS, when you’re using the provided Microsoft licenses, they are SPLA licenses, which are 2-4 times more expensive than traditional licenses, and there is no easy way to license the entire host and run (near) infinite VMs on it.

2.That’s ok, they only charge for what we use, when we use it.

Hmm, more complex answer. True, you only pay for Compute when it’s turned on. But, honestly, how many of your systems could you even technically shut down at night or over the weekend. Using OS-agent back-ups? Then probably none. Dependencies? Plenty to consider.
You still pay for the allocated storage – not used – all the time, that’s true for the IP addresses etc. All in all, you’ll be paying for most of it, all of the time.

3. If we move to cloud, we can upgrade from Windows Server 2008 to 2016 with the push of the button.

This is one of the latest misconceptions. Unfortunately, it isn’t the case. There is no magic fix in the cloud for your technical debt. You still need to move your application, certify it on the new OS, create an OS image with your agents, configurations etc.
There are no shortcuts.

There are many other good reasons why Cloud is not the magic silver bullet the marketing engines seem to present it as. We think the discussion needs to be more nuanced. These answers will help get you started on that discussion.