Hey You Get Off My Cloud
There’s a technology trend that has been working its way into larger SMEs over the last 12 months. This is cloud networking and computing, or much more simply ‘The Cloud’. The hype behind this shift in technology is that it helps organisations save running costs and improves the organisation’s productivity.
For once this hype is pretty accurate. The end game with the cloud concept is that your corporate applications, storage, data and processing power sits within a network that is accessible by multiple devices from multiple locations.
The benefits of this should be:
- Improving your organisation’s agility – as you should be able to provide your IT as services, and do this quickly.
- Lower cost IT -as IT moves to a services model it shifts costs from CAPEX to OPEX
- Improving productivity – as IT services are available from any device, from anywhere with an appropriate connection employees will be more productive, rather than having to wait to get in the office to do things.
Ascending to The Cloud
What we at Abtec are finding is that this journey to the cloud is a gradual one. Devices such as the iPhone and iPad (don’t forget about our BTnet iPad special offer!), have helped people get with the concept of using applications on the go. However, when it comes to sharing corporate data on the go we find that businesses still have concerns.
The first step in this journey to the cloud is consolidating and virtualising the data centre. This means that server applications and desktops are now abstracted from their hardware. For more information about server virtualisation see our Abtec Virtualisation Calculator.
This, then stimulates the need to review how people access those services. How do they get them if they work from home, for instance? This means that both Wide and Local Area Networks have to be resilient and secure.
Sharing IT Services
With this virtualised data centre and highly available network you’ve just created a Private Cloud. This means that you get the benefits of The Cloud, but in your own environment. The next logical step in this process is to abstract that cloud from your physical infrastructure. This may seem like a daunting task, but the benefits outweigh those concerns.
If these services are on a secure shared infrastructure, you can then start to share the costs of maintaining that infrastructure. In simple terms if your IT cloud infrastructure fits into a dozen servers in a data centre you should only be paying for a share of the resource and cooling costs.
Funnily enough, this is exactly what we’ve done with a vertical industry solution. We have a set of clients from a particular industry, and we are now hosting their combined services in a hosted data centre. We provide things such as storage space, virtual desktops, and virtual servers as a service. This has meant that those clients don’t have to fork out for the expensive hardware, they just benefit from using the hardware. The clients have even ripped out their existing telephone systems, as we have provided a virtualised telephone system for them from this cloud, using Mitel’s vMCD (virtualised Mitel Communications Director) service.
Looks like these clouds have silver linings!