InTechnology - is Cloud Computing the next big thing?
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InTechnology - is Cloud Computing the next big thing?



What exactly is Cloud Computing? This is a surprisingly contentious issue and is hotly debated across the industry. Among the many opinions, there is general agreement that Cloud Computing describes ...

What exactly is Cloud Computing? This is a surprisingly contentious issue and is hotly debated across the industry. Among the many opinions, there is general agreement that Cloud Computing describes IT applications, such as email and CRM, that are delivered from a 3rd party data centre somewhere in the network (“The Cloud”), rather than from your own office. The term ‘Computing’ is used in the broadest IT sense, encompassing servers, storage, communication systems and applications.



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InTechnology - is Cloud Computing the next big thing? InTechnology - is Cloud Computing the next big thing? Document Transcript

  •  
  • 2     Richard Quine Divisional Product Director - Voice & Unified Comms
  • 3    What exactly is Cloud Computing? This is a surprisingly contentious issue and is hotly debated across the industry. Among the many opinions, there is general agreement that Cloud Computing describes IT applications, such as email and CRM, that are delivered from a 3rd party data centre somewhere in the network (“The Cloud”), rather than from your own office. The term ‘Computing’ is used in the broadest IT sense, encompassing servers, storage, communication systems and applications. Some things Cloud Computing is not. What follows is InTechnology’s view of Cloud Computing. InTechnology is one of the UK’s leading Cloud Computing is not a technical definition of a set service providers and delivers network-based services to over 800 businesses across the UK and of technologies. It’s got nothing to do with computing abroad. It has a critical skill mix embracing network, data and hosted telephony and this paper architectures, such as grid computing or mainframe distils the lessons learned over many years working inside “the Cloud”. computing. And it does not have to be exclusively delivered across the Internet, it can also include corporate networks and large community networks such as JANET (the UK academic network). Cloud just means network. Of course, delivering applications and services from within the network is not a new idea. But the trend which is referred to today as “Cloud Computing” represents a fairly recent convergence of a number of technologies that have the potential to radically change the way that every IT service will be delivered in the future. Stefan Haase & Richard Quine
  • 4  The drive towards Cloud Computing came out of the realisation that some applications are not always best delivered by traditional methods – traditional being buying and installing a server, installing some software, and then maintaining it on an on-going basis. Take websites as an example. When the WWW was in its infancy, most companies hosted their own web servers; but with time came the realisation that it was better for a professional web hosting company to do it because:    They had faster Internet connections, so were closer They could operate a flexible service where They operated a 24x7 technical support service, in network terms to the users of the web server you could buy (or rent) as much web space as so you didn’t need to needed   They could operate a flexible service where There was no need for IT staff to physically access the web server – you could upload content from you could buy (or rent) as much web space as anywhere in the world, it didn’t really matter where the physical web server was, or even if it was a needed physical or virtual server  
  • 5 An important observation is that that the move to the Cloud for web servers did not mean the end of in-house IT departments and web designers - far from it. Websites are still, on the whole, designed and And yet for all that early conversion to the maintained by in-house IT teams, but the physical Cloud, the move to rent other IT services on-line server and storage infrastructure of the web rather than DIY has taken some time. server are maintained by a hosting provider on the Internet. This rule applies to other Cloud Slowly and gradually, three factors have services; just because the infrastructure is now combined to change the landscape for good: provided by a service provider, the management and control of that application or service is still managed in-house, i.e. by the IT department.    The standardisation of IT: Many IT WAN speeds and reliability: WAN speeds are Virtualisation: The use of virtual servers is components have a standard design and are well now reaching LAN speeds, with 100Mb/s WAN commonplace in many IT departments because defined. Servers, storage and certain applications connections being affordable in many parts of the scalability and efficiency benefits. are ideal to supply on a “quantity used” basis - per of the UK. Comms providers are installing Virtualisation is already the norm in other areas GB, per user, per server, etc. 100Mb/s as standard to all but the smallest of IT such as networks (e.g. MPLS VPN). The office these days, and in InTechnology’s case, concept of a shared services infrastructure that this is 100Mb/s of un-contended bandwidth is hardware independent is well established; back to our data centres. From a network design Cloud Computing is the next logical step down perspective, this makes our data centre a logical the virtualisation path. extension of the customer’s infrastructure. Having said this, the recent push towards Cloud Computing is being driven by business priorities, not by technology. It makes commercial sense to reduce the time There is also urgency around Cloud Computing and effort spent on operational maintenance, because of the shortage of credit and capital and more on projects that can add value to the funds. A Cloud-based service requires little capital business and be much more closely aligned with compared with an in-house system, so many strategic requirements. organisations are looking to the Cloud as a way out of their budgetary problems. Even with IT budgets forecast to grow slightly in 2010, CAPEX is still a precious resource.
  • 6 When Nicholas Carr wrote his controversial 2003 Harvard Business Review article entitled ‘IT Doesn’t Matter’, he described a world where IT would become a pure utility and would be bought and sold like electricity or gas. Few people would agree that his vision has come true, but likewise, few people would disagree that corporate IT is as bespoke and proprietary as it once was.  
  • 7   When IT services are delivered from the Cloud, they are often referred to “As A Service”, or “aaS” for short, which has prompted an explosion of four letter acronyms to describe different types of Cloud-based services. The most popular is SaaS, or Software as a Service, but there are many more, such as: CaaS NaaS Communication as a Service Network as a Service PaaS Acronyms IaaS Platform as a Service Infrastructure as a Service HaaS DaaS Hardware as a Service Desktop as a Service Not all IT services lend themselves to the Cloud Popular Cloud applications, such as web hosting Other Cloud services such as virtual servers and will continue to be delivered in-house, but and email, fit this definition well. have seen more recent growth, with businesses there are many that are better delivered from starting to embrace virtualisation and commit to within the network. Attributes of a successful However, other IT services also suit being more and more consolidation projects. “Cloud application” are where the same performed in the Cloud. Take server backups, for The flexibility to add, remove or upgrade servers application can be cost-effectively delivered to example. It’s a critical but routine job, and with a at a click of a web page, and only be charged many different users and customers with Cloud service the data is backed up to a secure for what you use, has enormous appeal on both minimal differences, and where there is a data centre miles away from the primary servers. efficiency and cost-effectiveness grounds. benefit of having the application in the network You pay for it on a per month, per GB basis, and rather than on-site. you know your data is safe and that you’ll never outrun the effectively limitless capacity your provider can offer.
  • 8     This started in the consumer market with services such as Skype and MSN, but has transitioned into the business market with vendors such as BroadSoft and Microsoft building carrier-grade cloud platforms that are designed specifically for businesses rather than consumers. Telephony is an ideal candidate for the Cloud – in fact, the term ‘Cloud’ was originally used to describe the public phone network. Where do you find these Cloud services? If you However, if you are looking for a more unified A note of caution. were to do a quick poll of IT directors, the best- approach to managing your Cloud service, there known providers of Cloud services would are specialists that can provide an end-to-end The hype around Cloud probably be Amazon EC2, Google Apps, service for you, including all your network, data Computing has seen an Microsoft Azure and With their and communication services under a single explosion of small start-up enormous size and capacity, all these provid- agreement. Cloud Computing is intended to companies that claim to be ers can deliver a highly reliable service. Their simplify how you manage your IT infrastructure; Cloud service providers but business model is based on offering a small but managing multiple service providers can be range of services in volumes high enough to be just as complex as building and delivering the are little more than websites. cost-effective. service yourself, so there is real benefit in partnering with someone who can offer a full range of Cloud solutions. To make sure you don’t fall foul, there are three basic questions to ask your prospective Cloud provider:        Your business is at risk if they suddenly run A big advantage of a cloud computing provider It’s well worth a visit to their HQ to see and out of funding and have to switch the lights off. is that you should be tapping into their previous understand the processes behind the Cloud; as an experience, not being their first experiment. IT professional you know what you’re looking for.
  • 9  Using the Cloud to help manage your data - storage, replication, backup and archiving - is the perfect illustration of the transformational effect of Cloud Computing. Compared with an in-house solution, cloud-based data management services offer a number of advantages: 1. Financial – Drive down IT costs through the economies of scale and commodity pricing implicit in the cloud computing model. 2. Operational - Take advantage of the robust infrastructure and dedicated resources of your Cloud provider to underpin performance and drive development. 3. Technical - Always have access to the latest technologies and applications without fear of skills deficit, lack of support, licensing compliance or obsolescence and refresh. 4. Risk - Utilise Cloud-based services for business continuity. 5. Environmental - Reduce your carbon footprint and exposure to green taxes through reduced energy and materials consumption.
  • 10 01010101010101010101010 01010101010101010101010 01010101010101010101010 01010101010101010101010 01010101010101010101010 01010101010101010101010 01010101010101010101010 01010101010101010101010 01010101010101010101010 01010101010101010101010   Like any IT service, you need to ensure that your data is secure, and is being handled in a way that ensures compliance with all regulatory requirements relevant to your organisation. Customers are ultimately responsible for the security and integrity of their own data, so you need to be able to audit your service provider. No responsible Cloud provider would reject such a request, so it’s worth asking before signing up. You should also request a written guarantee security. They themselves are governed by strict As a rule, you should that your data will remain in the UK if this is a laws on data privacy as well as being bound know exactly where your regulatory requirement. You should also know by contractual Service Level Agreements and data is being stored, and what happens in the event of a disaster and what Service Definitions. ask for a tour of the the recovery procedures are - as a minimum, service provider’s facilities. you should be looking for a backup copy of your You can never eliminate security risks entirely data to be hosted in a second data centre that is but you can’t do that with in-house systems geographically separated form the primary data either. And objective observers would attest that centre. the security procedures in a service provider’s data centre are likely to far outstrip those to be However, all of the above should be done with a found in most corporate environments. Security sense of perspective. With very few exceptions, is a core part of their offering - it can’t be service providers protect their customer’s data anything other than industrial strength. and infrastructure with almost paranoid levels of
  • 11
  • 12   If done successfully, Cloud Computing will make a significant impact on enterprise IT in four fundamental ways. These are:  With a Cloud service, the core infrastructure already exists so you can create a new virtual server, new phone user, new email account in minutes. This also allows you to phase your implementation so you don’t pay for more than you use.  Cloud Computing allows IT directors to fix costs for the operational aspects of IT, typically over a three to five year contract. This predictability of cost also usually means a larger budget for more strategic projects because the budget variance is limited.  Cloud service providers look after the day-to-day job of making sure that things are operating smoothly, while you look to ensure your business is as profitable as possible. It’s a sensible and efficient split of responsibilities.  When you subscribe to an IT service from a Cloud provider, it’s the service provider’s job – not yours – to get you up and running. The service charges don’t start until the service is working and to the level set by the Service Level Agreement (SLA).
  • 13        
  • 14 Technological evolution, coupled with economical, operational, commercial, risk and environmental pressures, has brought us to a tipping point. IT directors have to re-evaluate how they deliver IT services and question whether doing everything in-house is really the best way forward. IT budgets are tight, teams are small and yet demands from the business are ever increasing.   SAVE UP TO 50% ON YOUR IT BUDGET To support this paper, inTechnology has produced a DVD based on the Apprentice. This short video clip is compelling viewing and communicates the operational and cost benefits of Cloud Computing. If you have not received a copy, or would like to meet to discuss how inTechnology can help your business engage with Cloud Computing, then please call us. More than that, please visit us...check us out. Let us walk you through our Harrogate data centre, let’s show you our 24/7 support area, let’s introduce you to the team here that covers all the specialisations needed to help you make an informed choice. We’d love to help. Stefan Haase & Richard Quine On behalf of the CEO, Directors and Staff and inTechnology
  • Why walk when you can jump Your world in our cloud 25 Years in Managed IT Services £100m Support Infrastructure State of the Art Data Centres National Ethernet Network Hosted IP Telephony with Integrated OCS Expert 24/7 Support SAVE UP TO 50% ON YOUR IT BUDGET To find out more about InTechnology’s cloud based Data and Voice Services visit our stand or call us on 0800 983 2522 Network Data Data Unified Instant IP Telephony Management Centres Comms Comms
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