In the last five years cloud computing has moved from a hyped emerging technology to a widely adopted business strategy. With this move to mainstream, several key opinions about cloud computing are taking shape. But some of those opinions are oversimplified, and that oversimplification runs the risk of constraining how businesses and IT leaders consume cloud resources and realize its full potential. As we enter a second wave of cloud adoption that may very well dwarf its predecessor, I’m debunking five key “cloud myths” that clarify today’s conventional wisdom about cloud.

Myth #1: It’s cloud-native or bust.

Much of the hype around the cloud revolves around cloud-native development. And that’s because there’s huge market demand. AWS’ business is estimated to be worth $190 billion. But contrary to popular belief, embracing the cloud is not a zero-sum game. Though the industry tends to claim that you must either go all-in with the cloud, or “stick it out” on-premises, the reality is actually a lot more nuanced. Enterprises should assess what’s best for their business – and sometimes that means combining old and new.

Myth #2: Businesses will have a single cloud provider.

Commonly, you hear about companies going “all in” with AWS or Azure. But no one cloud can do it all. Traditional and new apps have different needs and require different approaches. Businesses will be best served by leveraging multiple clouds that can perform specialized functions.

Myth #3: The cloud is only for scale-out.

The cloud began as the place to develop distributed systems. But over time, early cloud platforms have matured to support more traditional applications, while newer providers have appeared with specific capabilities for scale-up applications. The hallmarks of scale-up designs are the need for on-demand, often large, resources on individual systems, and high uptime of those systems. You can find these capabilities with many of today’s public cloud offerings. If you want to experiment with a service for scale-up applications, try to stop a VM instance, add CPU or RAM resources, then run it again.

Myth #4: Application security must be ready to face the internet.

Despite valid concerns about security in the cloud, businesses have more options than they often realize. A common belief about the cloud is that the services, and workloads within, must be publicly exposed. While the best long-term strategy is to assume there is little security difference between the inside and outside of corporate networks, accepting that approach is a major leap for many businesses. To help businesses adjust more gradually, many cloud providers now offer private cloud resources, which are equivalent to their public counterparts, but have no ingress or egress to public networks.

Myth #5: Software must be relicensed.

In the early days of cloud computing, it was difficult for businesses to bring existing software licenses to the cloud. But today’s software vendors are slowly but surely changing licenses to be more cloud-friendly, and cloud providers are offering dedicated hardware to help their customers comply with license requirements. Dedicated hardware can take the form of “bare metal” — that provides single-tenant rental hardware with low-level control — or just specifically identified hardware that VMs can be pinned to. These are just two popular approaches from a range of options available to customers for eliminating additional licensing fees from cloud costs.

Though cloud computing has been around for years and is a hot topic for IT professionals and business executives across industries, there are still several misperceptions about what it is and how it works. It’s time to look past the rhetoric and common misconceptions in order to understand the depth and breadth of today’s cloud and how it can best benefit businesses.

For more on how to best leverage your business agility with a multi-cloud modernization strategy, look through our guide for enterprise leaders.

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