How to clear the final hurdle to public cloud adoption

(c) Chamberlin

By Steve Davis, Marketing Director, NGD

As demand for public cloud services continues to grow rapidly the major providers are busy developing hyperscale clouds supported by regional data centres. Both Amazon and Microsoft have announced their UK based cloud services with the goal to meet sovereignty needs while also helping organisations achieve their digital transformation objectives, allowing them to once and for all unshackle themselves from the constraints and costs of legacy IT systems.

All well and good but as was recently underlined by Gartner’s cloud adoption survey there are many enterprises out there still reticent to move forward with public cloud services until they have more assurances about performance and security. While Gartner and others clearly don’t dispute the continuing meteoric rise of public cloud there’s still much to be done to finally remove the fear, uncertainty and doubt surrounding public cloud, convincing users and boardrooms that it is safe and robust, even though in the majority of cases it is already more secure than what they using today.

So what more can CIOs and service providers do to deliver the missing ‘X Factor’ that many users and boardrooms still demand before fully embracing public cloud services, let alone mixing these with their private cloud and legacy systems?

Connectivity to these cloud services is increasingly a key part of the solution. It can no longer be an afterthought and must be seriously considered from the outset, particularly for applications which are sensitive to latency issues.

Companies cannot always rely on the vagaries of the public internet which can be the weakest link of any public cloud offering. They must invest in secure circuits and MPLS networks as they make the move to using cloud services. 

The development of independent cloud gateways and exchanges to access cloud services is a relatively new development in this area as it allows the end user to separate their connectivity provider from its cloud provider.  This allows greater flexibility and more control on costs than purchasing all aspects of the solution from one provider.

Connectivity to these cloud services is increasingly a key part of the solution – it can no longer be an afterthought and must seriously be considered from the outset

Cloud gateways allow fast, highly secure virtual private network connections directly into the global public cloud network infrastructures such as Microsoft’s Azure ExpressRoute.  Otherwise it’s rather like investing in a Ferrari but one that is powered by a Morris Minor engine.  

Seamlessly plugging into these global public cloud infrastructures - comprising of subsea cables and terrestrial networks and bypassing the public internet - will increase security, reduce latency and optimise bandwidth in one fell swoop. Furthermore, with multiple interfaces, private connectivity to multiple cloud locations can be achieved and improve resilience.

Certainty and predictability

As many enterprise organisations consider move to public cloud services they are also looking at on premise and colocation data centres and how to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.  They must consider how to meet compute and storage capacity requirements in the brave new world of cloud services without compromising on security and network performance. Rightly so, since at the end of the day when it comes to cloud adoption it is the data centre’s resilience and connectivity which can make or break any cloud model.

Very often hybrid cloud deployments are the answer to these questions and with it the choice of the data centre on where to deploy the private clouds. Combining colocation, private and public cloud is increasingly coming into play by making public services more ‘palatable’ among the ‘non-believers’. It enables users to have the best of both worlds by offering the comfort blanket of retaining core legacy software systems and IT equipment, but with the added flexibility of easy access to the public cloud for accessing non-core applications and services.           

With proven security accreditations, uptime track records and SLA histories all readily available when evaluating today’s modern facilities, the new ‘holy grail’ for data centres must now be in delivering cloud providers and their users’ consistency and certainty. Where connectivity is secure and always on and latency and response times are uniformly consistent: no matter if it’s just a cloud model supporting a few hundred users nationwide, or several thousand spread across the globe. In other words, it can scale without degradation.    

Only by data centres circumnavigating the public internet with private connections can public and hybrid cloud users expect to be on the same level as private cloud. At such point any pre-existing customer engagement issues over security and consistency will quickly disappear as their users will no longer be able to tell the difference, whichever variety or combination of cloud they are using. This is when that missing ‘X Factor’ will have truly arrived.          

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