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Beware fake clouds

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In my last blog, Cloud Expo sees focus on Security and Hybrid Cloud, I discussed the current heightened focus on Cloud security. And with more and more services deliverable through the Cloud, this peaked interest is unsurprising. However, it is not only finding a resilient, secure Cloud that is a concern to CIOs. I recently read a survey that reported that an overwhelming majority are frustrated by the chore of finding a solution which utilises a genuine Cloud, and is not simply a traditional hosting service given a more pleasing title.

Is your Cloud solution scalable?

It’s now accepted that Cloud computing can be of huge benefit to businesses; with core attributes such as pay-per-use, self and auto-provisioning, and scalability, organisations can make cost and efficiency savings almost immediately. Companies are only using a fraction of their on-premise infrastructure, making it is easy to see why more and more businesses are beginning to wake up to the prospect of Cloud computing. It is more surprising, however, that many customers I speak to have been offered ‘Cloud’ solutions that lack scalability. To me, this isn’t Cloud computing at all, simply providers trying to profit from the slightly confusing definition of the characteristics of the Cloud. It doesn’t help that marketing departments are ‘cloud washing‘ their services in an effort to rebrand their existing offerings. Simply adding the world ‘cloud’ to an old hosting solution doesn’t provide customers with the benefits of the Cloud.

If you ask the right questions, it is relatively easy to distinguish between genuine and fake Cloud offerings. The characteristics of Cloud services have been defined many times, and a genuine Cloud provider will be talking to you about:

  • User self-provisioning
  • Pay-per-use billing
  • Multi-tenant architecture
  • A virtualised infrastructure
  • Linear scalability

Cloud ComputingObviously, a solution that negates the fundamental Cloud benefits of flexibility, scalability and pay-per-use can be ruled out immediately. From there, you must discuss security, resilience and delivery. Pay attention to data centre and network tier ratings, ensure that data can be protected at multiple data centres, and find a service which offers self-provisioning and elasticity as standard. Watch out for data travelling across borders which can pose issues relating to data protection. Ask potential Cloud providers about their ISO certification or PCI accreditation.

Next, you must consider how you access the proposed Cloud service – can it be accessed from anywhere? What sort of bandwidth is required? We worked with Computing magazine to develop a White Paper which may help. Download “Eight points to consider as you move to the Cloud” here.

Without these assurances your Cloud service is at risk; without these assurances, your business is at risk.

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