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Executive Insight

Today Alfresco announced its intention to discontinue offering and support “Alfresco in the Cloud” (aka my.alfresco.com) service and I thought I would provide some context for the decision.

alfresco-cloud-solutions

“Alfresco in the Cloud” was launched back in 2012 (over 6 years and a half a lifetime ago) when technology, the ECM market and business requirements were different. Back then a shared multi-tenant solution seemed to be the best technical choice for delivering an ECM solution in the cloud. However, a lot has changed, and we now find that this service no longer meets the needs of our customers.

In the past 6 years, the Content Services market has moved on and so has the approach of organizations looking to use the cloud. Our customers have had concerns over using shared multi-tenant cloud-based solutions, other than for uncontrolled, unclassified or casual content, due to:

  • Security Concerns: We have seen a rise in concern over the security of shared services running in the cloud. A combination of news stories of online systems being ‘hacked,’ and the subsequent release of personal information has made companies more cautious of using shared multi-tenant services.
  • Change in Regulations: We have seen the introduction of stricter legislation, requiring organizations to have better control of personal information they want to control, where it is stored and to have full control over who has access.
  • Patriot Act: With the introduction of the Patriot Act, companies have concerns over who has access to confidential information stored and managed in U.S. data centers.
  • Technical Restrictions: The very nature of shared multi-tenant services means that there are restrictions about how the system can be customized or configured to meet an organization’s unique requirements, especially as these evolve over time.

Instead, companies are starting to shift business-critical workloads that had been on-premises into public cloud providers, such as AWS and Azure, rather than SaaS and multi-tenant solutions. SaaS solutions tend to be used in less strategic use cases. This is due to how the cloud and cloud-native technologies have evolved:

  • Scale and Cost: The last 6 years has seen a significant drop in the cost and complexity of public cloud services (e.g. AWS and Azure). In addition, it is much easier to provision systems that scale dynamically, to meet varying levels of demand, without the need to over provision compute power or data storage systems.
  • Data Residency: With the growing number of regional data centers, companies can now choose where their content and associated information resides. Based in Europe? No problem – just use one of the regional data centers.
  • Global Access: Cloud infrastructures provide global access and scale that was not possible 6 years ago. The creation of serverless applications that sit on the cloud-edge also provide access solutions for external customers that control how and when they access information from internal systems with near local performance.
  • Cloud-Native Technologies: Cloud-Native technologies, such as Docker containers and Kubernetes, have provided many of the economies of scale that multi-tenant solutions offer – but with the ability to choose between cloud providers and determine where data is stored with complete control over access, encryption and data residency. Cost and agility is now available without the “data hostage” lock-in of multi-tenant SaaS services.

With this in mind, Alfresco plans to terminate the “Alfresco in the Cloud” service at the end of our fiscal year, February 28, 2019.

Your account managers, support representatives and partners should be able to assist you in finding the right approach to moving from my.alfresco.com to new solutions that match your requirements.

Importantly, this is not the end of Alfresco offerings in the cloud – in fact, it’s merely the end of the beginning. Our focus can now be applied to better meet our enterprise customers’ requirements for agility, security and global scale. Look forward to new technological advancements from Alfresco that leverage second-generation cloud-native technologies and provide cost-effective means to help you better take advantage of public cloud infrastructure and services.

Leave a comment

  • Dave Giordano

    John – great post. I remember when myAlfresco was launched when Software as a Services (SaaS) was the only thing. The success of Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS) since then with Amazon and Azure makes SaaS less attractive for many of the documents our clients want to manage. On a related note, the considerable challenges of a hybrid approach with a public cloud SaaS model given the success of a private cloud AWS/Azure option is something I just wrote about for Document Strategies – https://documentmedia.com/article-2842-Content-Services-and-the-Cloud-On-Premises-vs-Cloud-vs-Hybrid-Approach.html – For the vast majority of our clients it really comes down to stay on premise or move to a private cloud with one of the major IaaS vendors.

  • Bindu Wavell

    John, will the cloud sync code be made to work between on premise and cloud hosted instances? If so, I think that would help the hybrid story make a ton more sense.

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