The business case for moving a lot of your data, applications and workflow to the cloud is compelling. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, or even right. A cloud migration should be planned carefully. Be careful about cheerleaders who would move too much, too fast. Invite your biggest technology skeptics to be part of the team.

One surprising skeptic is Raghu Kulkarni, CEO of iDrive, an offsite storage provider. He recently published a somewhat self-serving (but still interesting) post, “Four Things to Consider Before Moving Your Data to the Cloud.” They break down to:

Security: Is your data protected against unauthorized access, tampering and loss?

Infrastructure complexity: Does it make your architecture simpler?

Location: What’s the likelihood of a disaster befalling the cloud provider’s data centers?

Cost: Can you budget it, can you control it, and how does this stack up against on-prem services? What about future price changes?

Of course, Kulkarni’s list was written to demonstrate that cloud services, specifically his company’s services, win on all four counts. Even if you discount the marketing agenda, he does make good points. However, he doesn’t go far enough. There are other things to consider:

Reliability: What’s the uptime, what’s the performance, how strong is its connection? Will they show you real metrics on past performance?

Monitoring: How clear, accurate and fast are the reports, and what happens when there is an outage?

Migration: If you choose to take your data back out of the cloud or send it to another provider, how easy is it?

Support: If your developers or IT teams need help, will the help be there? Is there a phone number to call, or it is just a Web form or a chat room?

Isolation: If you are going with a multi-tenant solution, how strong are the firewalls between customers?

Standards: Does your provider totally support open standards, and if not, are you willing to accept some amount of lock-in?

Scalability: How much can your provider handle today, in terms of storage, CPU cycles and response time? If you need more, can the provider offer it?

Legal: Do you know where your data lives, and does that affect any potential legal threats regarding jurisdiction or privacy?

What other concerns do you have about the cloud? Write me at

Alan Zeichick, founding editor of SD Times, is principal analyst of Camden Associates.