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Does big mean better?


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The news that UKFast intends to launch the UK’s biggest cloud service highlights that we’re about to enter a new stage of maturity in the industry. UKFast claim that its £12million eCloud infrastructure will provide the UK with its first elastic cloud service to rival US based services from the likes of Amazon and Rackspace.

While more choice for buyers of cloud services is undoubtedly positive, the news does make me think back to three previous blogs we’ve posted on issues that potential users must consider when adopting cloud services. In those blogs we looked at the location of data, personalising the cloud, and PAYG governance in the cloud.

Compliance with the UK Data Protection Act has been on most companies’ agendas for a while. Many users of cloud services are unable to say with assurance that they know where their data is hosted and held. Recent revelations about operation PRISM and the number of requests for information from some of the biggest public cloud providers, including Google, Amazon and Microsoft has revealed the impact of the US Patriot Act on the use and access of data by its government. Having your data stored locally in the UK will aid compliance with UK law and prevent exposure to other nation’s regulations. At Redcentric we run our cloud technologies from five UK based data centres, ensuring that they meet and comply with current data protection regulation.

For enterprises the challenge in moving to the cloud is not about using the biggest cloud infrastructure, it’s about using the most appropriate infrastructure. This means providers need to understand specific requirements and tailor each solution to meet these needs with a combination of private and public cloud, alongside traditional data centre services. This personalisation of the cloud approach is something we’re seeing clients require more and more. Simply accessing cloud services from large public cloud infrastructures without a strategy could result in wasted resources that outweigh any savings that the cloud should provide.

And talking of resources, we recently shone a light on the growing issue of PAYG public cloud users potentially racking up huge bills. These bills are usually the result of when a customer applies online and doesn’t understand likely usage rates or worse when the company isn’t asked to predict future usage rates. Usage then grows unchecked. In our blog, we urged the industry to put good PAYG governance in place to protect cloud users from unwittingly racking up big bills. We believe that we run the risk as an industry of not learning from other industries that have suffered from negative perceptions with regards to PAYG pricing models – just look at the apps and mobile phone industries.

For me, public cloud services on this scale have some real benefits to offer users, but I don’t think big is better when providers don’t understand that a successful cloud transition is based on the delivery of managed services where cloud is the enabler and not just a platform for services to run on.



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