DCN July 2016 - Page 28

virtualisation & cloud services GAME CHANGER Jason O’Conaill of Infinity SDC discusses how cloud is shaping business. C loud has changed the game for many lT giants such as Dell, Oracle and Citrix, and has created new opportunities for others such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and IBM. Many smaller software and service companies are also springing up with new offerings to challenge the giants, bringing creativity and flexibility to the cloud industry. The disruptive nature of cloud is continuing to evolve business models faster than ever, bringing more and more new entrants into the market. The technology landscape has changed for all types of vendors – but what has remained constant is the need for encryption, availability and uptime, as well as the ability to be efficient and increase productivity with the same resources.   Why the cloud is beneficial for businesses Businesses are adopting cloud infrastructure in order to retain – or regain competitive advantage, which drives them to innovate and pivot away from traditional IT structures. Slack, Netflix and Uber are all great examples of global success stories, having built their businesses entirely and exclusively using cloud 28 technologies. What has helped these businesses move quickly, is the growing availability of secure and scalable infrastructure, coupled with Software as a Service (SaaS) from cloud players such as AWS, Azure, Rackspace, Soft Layer and Google. The ability to have ‘just in time’ infrastructure, combined with instant access to storage and networks, is compelling to innovative companies seeking to rapidly address global market opportunities. Turning to the cloud offers both financial and technical benefits. Old technologies may only be a few years in operation, but many organisations are now actively seeking to move data away from traditional structures such as in-house data centres, to secure and flexible cloud. It has taken a whole cycle of IT adoption for the benefits of newer cloud technologies to emerge over traditional in-house server rooms. However, with the availability of 10Gb network speeds and secure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) becoming affordable, it has started a mass migration to newer cloud operators. Increased reliability and security adds more compelling benefits for organisations moving to cloud. Many cloud operators are now setting up significant data centre operations in Europe, with the UK firmly positioned as the largest IT market in Western Europe. The decision by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to render the Safe Harbour agreement between USA and the EU invalid has accelerated the quest to build out local data centres in Europe.   How cloud is growing Many organisations have yet to take the initial step towards cloud, as they evaluate options and seek the validation of others who have already made the move. Businesses may start by migrating certain data to the cloud and some will choose to remain in a traditional data centre environment until the time is right to move more critical or sensitive data to cloud. As billions of dollars are being invested by Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, Amazon and IBM to grow cloud services, more and more adoption will occur. Organisations will benefit from commoditisation and lower costs as cloud giants seek to lure prospects to adopt their technology. As a result, data centres will become larger and of higher density, as more compute per sq. ft. or per Kilo Watt of energy is demanded by the cloud industry. Big Data and the adoption of data analytics have further