Did you know that walking 10,000 steps a day for better fitness and health is not a real thing? Yeah, I didn’t either, until now.

It turns out that in the 1960s, a Japanese company thought it sounded good as an advertising campaign to sell their pedometer, which was the first commercial pedometer. The advertisement worked and they sold many pedometers while also kicking off a myth that persists to this day around the world. Studies show that walking is great for your health, but there is nothing magical about 10,000 steps. In fact, many people don’t need to walk anywhere near that many steps a day and would benefit even more by also improving their diet.

Much like the myth that 10,000 steps a day = better health, there’s also a myth that moving to the cloud = savings. And there’s an increasing realization that the latter isn’t automatically true, either.

Cloud as an Operating Model, Not Just a Destination

Cloud is more exciting than ever while simultaneously being more challenging than ever too. CFOs are applying more scrutiny on cloud spend. And there is growing momentum with the FinOps practice that aims to optimize cloud spend while maximizing revenue generation.

In the Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud report, respondents reported that 30% of cloud spend was wasted. With Gartner predicting $332.3 billion in 2021 cloud spending globally, that is potentially $99.69 billion of cloud spend down the drain.

chart showing the percentage of cloud wasted

When expectations aren’t set properly, it often leads to unsatisfied customers. As an example, in the case of application “lift and shift,” just moving applications from on-premise to public cloud without updating the application architecture to leverage cloud elasticity and real-time availability, could lead to higher ongoing costs. No one wants this sour experience but I’ve seen where applications were repatriated back to on-prem because expectations weren’t properly set of how applications are best written for public cloud environments, licensing models, and continuous monitoring for cost optimization. The situations are varied but the common thread is having the right expectations that “Cloud = Savings” is not automatic and may not even be the right goal when using public cloud to drive application innovation, scale, and elasticity.

What is clear is that companies are embracing multi-cloud and hybrid cloud; therefore, will need better ways to manage all their cloud environments. In the same Flexera report, 92% reported having a multi-cloud strategy. 82% are taking a hybrid approach, combining the use of both public and private clouds.

chart showing enterprise cloud strategy

Cloud is increasingly being recognized as an operating model, and not just a destination. To maximize economies of scale, a management layer is needed across all cloud environments to connect, secure, and automate. This helps companies build, scale, and optimize applications through their cloud journeys.


It turns out that just “Moving to the cloud” will not necessarily magically save a bunch of money, especially if not done thoughtfully with the target environments in mind. Instead, treating “cloud” as an operating model–not a destination–will allow one to choose the best deployment plan for the intended purpose of the applications.

Public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, Co-location facilities, and Managed Service Providers are all in the mix now. A systems management layer that connects, secures, operates, and automates across all these environments is needed for economies of scale where human scale cannot meet the needs alone.

Just like 10,000 steps a day doesn’t necessarily lead to better health, moving to the cloud doesn’t automatically lead to savings. Before you take another step on your cloud journey, ask yourself, your team, and your leadership, “Why?” That way, you can course correct if needed before you get 10,000 steps down the wrong path.

Learn more about Cisco’s cloud solutions and how partners can apply them to customer cloud journeys:

Visit the Cisco Cloud Continuum SalesConnect page.


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Sung Paik

Lead Cloud and Full Stack Observability

Cisco Americas Partner Organization