The Emperor s New Clouds

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1 WHITEPAPER Author: Stuart James The Emperor s New Clouds Challenging cloud myths and misinformation

2 Challenging cloud myths and misinformation Author: Stuart James If Cloud can be simply broken down into elements and services (see our white paper Cloud: It s not nebulous for details), how have we arrived into the boiling pot of confusion, risk and complexity that exists today? This white paper will outline why there s so much complexity and confusion around this technology, how to determine whether a Cloud solution is right for your business and, if so, how best to realise the benefits. Contents 01. Complexity and confusion P3 02. Expertise is needed P4 03. Security and Risk P5 04. Is a Cloud service the right move for my business? 05. He s not wearing any Clouds! P7 P8 Questions this white paper will answer Is Cloud the answer to all problems? Are there any true cost benefits? Does an Opex only model really help my business? How do I know if Cloud is right for my business? Questions the Cloud: it s not nebulous white paper answers: What is cloud? Where has Cloud technology come from? Does it actually offer anything new? What is the difference between Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud What is Cloud computing

3 01. Complexity and confusion Let s look at this from a commercial proposition. If I was a traditional global technology vendor, who sold hardware and software for my customers to use at their own premises, what would happen to my business if they stopped buying it? What would it mean to my global sales strategy if my customers didn t want to put IT solutions in their own Data Centres anymore? This is the situation that nearly every vendor has found themselves in since Cloud emerged; it is incredibly disruptive to these companies, so to make sure they were protected they all rushed out with Cloud propositions Below are a few claims that are often made: Ours is the best virtualisation you need for Cloud! - The first step to a true private Cloud computing solution requires a dedicated server. This does not have to be virtualised. Ours is the best storage for Cloud environments - There are many different storage vendors, all offering different functionality vs. cost vs. performance. This is proven irrelevant further below. Move easily to the Cloud - Any migration of an on-premise solution to any Cloud provider needs careful planning and project management, unless you are taking a brand new service that doesn t impact what you have done before. This is still business critical technology and as simple as management and lifecycle management can be with Cloud, ensuring it s moved and integrated properly often requires third party consultation and professional services. Remove CAPEX from your business - This is one of the biggest sales lines you will hear. Removing all capital expenditure (CAPEX) sounds fantastic in principal, but with many factors driving financial decisions it may not be relevant to your business. For example, many companies, especially in the public sector, have a fixed operational budget that has to be used. A cost vs. benefit analysis should really drive your decision around the implementation of a Cloud solution as it is possible to pay the majority of costs in a single transaction or to spread the cost out into regular payments. As such the decision on whether costs are put through as operational or capital expenditure should be determined by your financial situation and what works for you. The reality is that as isolated statements, none of the above are true. You cannot just add the word Cloud to something and make it useful, it only works as part of a wider solution. The choice of the best servers, software, storage, backup and virtualisation technologies are no longer the customer s choice to a large extent. A service provider will make the decision to build their own offering to their own design themselves. They will choose the best solutions not based on how Cloudy parts are, but based on their experience in working with a technology, capability to support it, profits vs. cost of infrastructure and flexibility to deliver the solutions they want to. When this is all in place it will produce the SLA (Service Level Agreement) that the service should offer

4 02. Expertise is needed The truth is that the majority of vendors, who have traditionally sold on premise technology and applications, have little or no experience in delivering Cloud/hosting services. Additionally many newcomers to selling technology are also causing disappointment and further confusion for example: An online bookstore becomes a Cloud server provider very cheap but has had well publicised reliability and support issues. A popular search engine announces its own Cloud services for businesses the loss and lack of recovery of tens of thousands of s raises harsh criticism. The largest software vendor globally announces its software stack to be available as a Service suffers frequent outages and poor support experience. If a plumber suddenly announced he could perform heart surgery, you would question his capability despite his knowledge of pressures, flows and pipes. Ok a little overdramatic, but the point is valid; why should a business trust even the best technology company in the world to deliver a service if it has no proven experience in delivering that service? Don t be fooled into believing that as Cloud is new, no one has years of experience. As detailed in our white paper Cloud: It s not nebulous, the components of Cloud are not new. You wouldn t trust your health to an untried and untested surgeon, why trust your business applications and infrastructure to a company that cannot demonstrate that same level of experience. After all whatever the basis for vendor selection is, trust in the capability of your provider is a key factor. Don t let their learning curve be at the expense of your profits, all downtime costs you money

5 03. Security and Risk There is a sure fire sales tactic that has been employed for many years, Fear Sells In Cloud however this tactic has almost backfired as the thought of migrating, regardless of benefits, to an unknown is one step too far for many. High profile hacking cases, loss of data, downtime, access, compliance and data sovereignty are but a few perceived or very real risks. In the UK, data sovereignty is a concern, not always enforced by law or compliance, but from a business s own desire to know that any of its data and confidentially held information can never leave the borders of the UK. Usually as long as the data remains within the EU you should be compliant with the majority of legislation. With overriding policies such as the USA Patriot Act however, other countries may be able to access your data even if it is in the UK if you have chosen a US owned service provider. It s pretty unlikely that the US Government would want to look at the data of held by most UK businesses. However just knowing that they could request access under these acts is a concern for many companies in the UK. The simple answer to this is to only work with a UK owned and based Cloud provider. From experience, security is the number one reason businesses are hesitating to move to a Cloud environment, largely down to the aforementioned high profile failures. This has also seen a rush by providers to start working with specialist third parties to offer deeper and wider security controls across all manner of public, private and hybrid environments. Not only can this add substantial cost it does raise the question Why bother moving to Cloud? It s obviously risky if I need to wrap my environment up in all this extra security. By demonstrating all the additional security a provider invests in, rather than addressing specific issues that may relate to a customer, it can actually highlight even more layers of risk than they were aware of before. Risk is down to individual perception and can be exaggerated. Nonetheless, unless you are reassured by the answers given, it will be enough to prevent even a very good solution in many cases. Security all comes down to trust. If you trust your provider enough that they have the experience, technology, track record and capability to effectively lock down the borders then great. However if you already have your own security measures in place, network security and the in house experience to ensure you are protected, would there really be any value to an untested provider taking that over?

6 Certain providers allow you to control and manage parts of the solution they deliver, but any solution is only as strong as its weakest point, where is that point and is that a part you can control? In my view, security and risk present the biggest barrier to Cloud adoption worldwide and unless you are in a position to contract with an experienced provider, it would be recommended to work with a supplier which will allow you to control and influence the security that you feel comfortable with. If Cloud can present complexity, risk and loss of control, then it leads us to the final BIG question

7 04. Is a Cloud service the right move for my business? Yes it is. Rather than deliver the usual it depends answer, there genuinely are Cloud services that will offer a level of business continuity, agility, cost improvement, security and viability for every business that uses even the most basic forms of IT. There is only one way for a business to get this level of service and trust though and that is to work with a provider who not only understands what and where to position Cloud, but can also deliver everything from the network, to the infrastructure to the security, and allow you the choice on how you would like to consume individual parts of it. There are surprisingly few Cloud service providers that can actually deliver anything like a full Cloud solution. They may offer a VPN connection, or even some ADSL but the key questions to ask are: If it s a key business application and something goes wrong on the network, can they fix it? In most cases no. Can they even monitor that network? In most cases, no they cannot. If something goes wrong with the security, can you fix it? Most likely not. Can you monitor it? Not always and usually only with a limited amount of access. If a shared Cloud platform breaks and it has 100 customers on it, how quickly can you get a response? Do they have enough support people to handle 100 incoming calls at once? What if that number on a primary shared platform was more like 1,000 customers? If we are talking the world s largest providers, tens of thousands of customers? You would just have to sit patiently and hope it doesn t take them long to fix it. Only by working with a provider who has all the key components, delivered in a true end to end, planned, fully versatile, supported and account managed as a business would expect way, can you achieve taking a Cloud solution on your terms. This removes all the negatives including risk, security fears, loss of control and you can retain as much or as little control as you want

8 05. He s not wearing any Clouds! It is hoped that this whitepaper has achieved its goal, the Cloud is real, but only as it contains all the same comfortable technology we have been using for decades. Below are some useful guidelines. Don t be scared or believe the high profile failures, you don t see these kinds of events happening with experienced network and hosting companies Control your own risks by taking ownership of your own security and work with a provider who you can trust Ensure your contracts work with your financing preferences If the risks outweigh the benefits, you are talking to the wrong provider Only a provider who can deliver the network, the communications, the data centre, the infrastructure and the server environment (either Virtual and/or Physical) will be able to truly deliver the best overall service. If they only deliver one part then ensure your risk is mitigated Challenge a prospective providers knowledge of what s involved and if they are just disguising old technologies with a new label Work with a provider who not only architects and delivers, but also educates you on how to work with Cloud Cloud is exciting and can be game changing. Used in the best ways you will enjoy a level of ease and agility that can only make using technology easier than ever before possible. The Emperor isn t wearing any Clouds though; he is wearing all the things that have been in his wardrobe for 40 years or more! If you wish to discuss your new found understanding of Cloud and want a provider that can deliver all the above, we at Timico believe in presenting a series of logical statements backed by fact, which allows our customers and partners to make an informed choice from them. About the author Stuart has had a varied career delivering everything from communications to fully managed outsourced environments. He has worked as an IT partner and for the world s largest hardware and virtualisation vendors. He is passionate about dispelling myths and explaining technologies such as Cloud in plain English. Stuart is a regular speaker at Cloud events for businesses across the UK

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