virtualisation & cloud computing so are able to respond to how the cloud operates in their build design. From that build design they get fantastic flexibility and scalability. Their infrastructure costs a lot of money to develop, because you need to have a lot more specialism in the control plane. Some users are coming back from public cloud, because it doesn’t do the things they need it to, and returning to more traditional cloud based models. Others are now evaluating the sort of cloud they need for the job they need it to do. In the rush to cloud everyone went to Amazon and Microsoft amidst the hype, but many of them are being burned by the experience. They either can’t get fixed-price contracts, so the usage levels end up costing them much more than they expected, or it doesn’t respond in the way they wanted and they realise a more bespoke architecture is needed. The demand for absolute control over environments is pushing development very rapidly. ‘The true picture in the industry is a shift back to private cloud for many enterprise users and SMEs.’ The private cloud Many big organisations similar to the type utilising UKFast’s eCloud Private have massive architectures that cost millions to re-architect into the public cloud model, so they don’t see the ROI on that as a project. They use private cloud to get the flexibility without having to rebuild their systems from scratch. These organisations are ready to trust their bigger, more critical architectures to the cloud. They see the benefits of moving from on-premise to cloud but not 24 | July 2017 Enterprises now demand greater flexibility, visibility and firmer guarantees around uptime. necessarily needing to go down the full DevOps route. The private cloud model is mature and trusted now, so the fear has gone. Five years ago the question was: ‘Is cloud right for us?’ Now, people understand the benefits they get from the technology. The deals we are seeing come in to UKFast now – hosting contracts worth up to £3 million – are not the kind of deals businesses sign up to if they’re not certain the technology is up to the task. These massive deals usually come to us from another provider that can’t deliver certain capabilities, in particular the ability to scale VMs automatically via APIs. This automated functionality is one of the main attractions of cloud to the enterprise. So demanding Enterprises now demand greater flexibility, visibility and firmer guarantees around uptime. This means monitoring is critical to hosting providers if they want to stay relevant. We’re working hard to allow our customers visibility on a range of performance indicators: Storage, CPU, memory, latency, throughput, customer visitors and other business intelligence metrics. This demand for absolute control over environments is pushing development very rapidly, enabling a change in development cycles. It used to take three years to release a product, now consumers and businesses expect updates to be pushed out weekly or even daily. The flexibility of these platforms allows maintenance to be conducted within the live environment without the user even noticing and without any requirement for downtime. Everyone has their own agenda when they talk about cloud nowadays. If you speak to Mi crosoft or AWS fans they tell you everyone else is dying and Azure and AWS will soon be all that remains. The UK’s cloud scene is clearly extremely vibrant and continues to grow and develop. The US giants have the biggest mouthpiece so, from the point of view of the UK providers, we need to ensure that our message is very concise when we have the opportunity to talk. I fundamentally disagree with the argument that one cloud is winning over the other – we just see that they absorb people at a different stage of development, depending on their needs. The only way to utilise cloud to its full potential is to have a dialogue with your provider and work with them to design the best architecture for your project. The best providers don’t just churn out cookie cutter solutions but listen to clients and find the solution that’s most appropriate for them.