When many businesses think of cloud, they think of Amazon Web Services. But for some cloud has become a dirty word. Businesses that could be realising the benefits of the technology and its associated service delivery model today are held back by what could be largely unfounded concerns. Here we debunk the top six myths and misconceptions by providing the perspective of an Enterprise grade cloud provider.
Security is the biggest single concern for Enterprise IT decision makers:
For the first of these points this simply highlights the importance of selecting a provider that can enhance their basic infrastructure service with solid WAN and security capabilities. Customers’ resources can be secured behind Enterprise grade firewalls and proxies in just the same way as with traditional hosting. A private WAN can even be put in place to ensure that customer access to the data centre does not cross the Internet.
Cloud orchestration platforms such as vCloud Director from VMware offer an approach to multi-tenancy which is designed to provide true logical separation between customers. Finally, using cloud type services certainly doesn’t have to mean data held in overseas facilities. Businesses should look to deal with a local provider focused on the UK market.
Outages by high profile cloud providers have created a perception that such services are simply not reliable enough for mission critical IT systems. But an Enterprise service provider puts their reputation and future revenue at risk every time they offer a managed service, so they have a strong motivation to deliver the highest levels of reliability.
Most in-house IT teams do not have to face such severe consequences for letting down their customers. Four or five nines availability SLAs are a must. Email support and community forums are fine for general questions, but 24 by 7 phone support is essential for serious issues.
Public clouds are typically designed for the automation and standardisation of services, which does not necessarily translate well to the way Enterprises do things today. Business servers often feature bespoke configurations and legacy applications.
Benefiting from an industrialised cloud approach should not have to mean that long established requirements and systems cannot also be supported. Use service provider who can support all the legacy applications and operating systems that you may need for many years to come.
The vCloud Director platform provides customers with a familiar x86 computing infrastructure. Furthermore, since every customer is contained within an isolated ‘virtual data centre’ each one can have a bespoke networking and security setup and virtual machine configuration is easily customisable.
‘Cloud’ promises the end of siloed systems and data, but this assumes the entire IT function is being delivered in this way. In reality Enterprises will look carefully at use cases and only move resources onto a cloud platform where it is beneficial to do so.
With servers increasingly becoming 100% virtual within the Enterprise data centre, integration between in-house and public cloud is essential. But the technology stacks deployed by Amazon and others is wholly different to that used by internal IT. Hence there is the risk that resources sitting in a public cloud become just another IT silo, disconnected from on-premise applications and data.
The hybrid cloud concept should overcome this issue, but the success of these solutions has been limited to date and functionality can be very restricted. More viable is to look for a solution where the Enterprise and the service provider are using platforms based on the same underlying technology. VMware has a huge installed base and a trusted reputation, so by choosing a service provider using the vCloud Director platform, it is possible to create a true hybrid cloud that is ready today for production IT services.
Cloud infrastructure is built on the principle of over selling the available physical resources. This means that at peak periods of demand the performance of a virtual server may be impacted. This is the compromise that must be accepted for access to very low cost shared infrastructure.
An Enterprise focused provider is not be under the same pressure to sell the service at the lowest rate and hence can afford, even where offering a contended product, to closely manage customer experience and quickly provide additional resources when needed.
The PAYG cloud model and massively scalable resources are hugely compelling for start-ups. But it is possible to source cloud infrastructure that is suitable for almost any purpose. IT buyers can choose services that are securely deployed on Enterprise grade hardware with guaranteed resources and compatibility with legacy systems.