Cloud and Data: What goes Where?

Geoffrey Moore presented the keynote at a recent SPS Commerce event I attended. He wrote Crossing the Chasm as well as a new book, Escape Velocity. With millions of copies sold, Crossing the Chasm is a must read for those in emerging technology markets or other early adopter areas. One of the areas Moore addressed during his presentation was the differences between private and public cloud – and what goes where. I found it very interesting, because it is a question I get asked a lot.

We’ve Gotten too Technical

There are, of course, a number of different cloud options, and the choice has led to more confusion in the marketplace than ever. In fact, a recent poll by 451 Research showed that of companies that go to a public cloud, 50% leave within a year and move to a virtual private cloud (VPC).

That left me wondering why the heck half of all companies that move to a public cloud make the wrong choice right out of the gate. Imagine the pain they go through to decide on the pull back plan? I think it’s because the market in general has done a pretty poor job explaining which workloads go where and why in the cloud. That's why I really liked Moore's explanation. It was a simple, nontechnical way to break it down. More importantly, it's right.

Systems of Record, Systems of Engagement

Moore broke IT/Cloud systems down into two categories: Systems of Record and Systems of Engagement.

For area of focus, systems of record are transactional, and systems of engagement are behavioral. For structure, systems of record are organized around the data, and systems of engagement are organized around the end user experience. As far as the value attributes, systems of record must be secure and accurate, while systems of engagement must be charming and easy to use.  

Moore explained that systems of engagement belong in public clouds. Systems of record (ERP, for example) should be in a private cloud due to security, accuracy and the proprietary data companies do not want to share. It’s important to note that systems of record in a private cloud cannot exist without systems of engagement in a public cloud, and vice versa.

So there you have it. Systems of record = private clouds. Systems of engagement = public cloud. This clear model can help companies make the right choice the first time, and I believe it’s the right deployment segmentation for workloads. Who's with me?

For a more on the distinctions between cloud platforms, download our free Infographic: Which Cloud Type is Right for Your Solution, a decision tree to help you choose the right cloud type for your application.