The cloud and its whereabouts

Cloud is not a physical location. Cloud is a whole new way of consumption and an operating model for the IT team. And although the notion of ‘moving workloads to the cloud’ may make you think of a physical removal, it is not. On the other hand, when entrusting your data to the cloud, location is just as important as when discussing real estate.

There are not many companies left that have not moved one workload or another to the cloud; many are actively engaging in a multi-cloud strategy. CIOs and other decision-takers no longer need advice on the advantages of the cloud, we have long passed that phase in this cycle of decentralization. The numbers speak for themselves: while investments in off-premise are growing double digit, on-premise investments are declining at high single digit. According to market numbers (IDC, Gartner), well over a quarter of total infrastructure spending on server, disk storage and Ethernet switch is already cloud related. That trend is only set to accelerate.

Scalability, flexibility

Customers have a number of criteria in mind when they decide to take workloads off-premise, and service providers have many qualities to address these needs. For one thing, what companies are looking for is scalability and flexibility. When workloads increase, enterprises want their IT partner to be capable of coping with the impact this has on all elements of the infrastructure. Service providers who run their own datacenters offering Infrastructure-as-a-Service, can most certainly fulfil  this request.

Follow the rules

Dealing with compliance is another important ask of corporate customers these days. Both national and European governments and agencies are imposing strict rules – and, for companies, it’s easier to outsource the specialized services and certifications required to adhere these standards than develop them on their own. European regulations, such as GDPR and NIS, deliver a host of opportunities to European service providers who are often better at interpreting the intricacies of European legislation than US-based cloud providers. As revealed in a recent Dell survey on GDPR, only one out of ten organizations would currently pass the test of the General Data Protection Regulation that comes into force in May 2018. The same applies to the NIS Directive that sets new standards for the security of networks and information systems. Specialized help to ensure compliance is high on the wish list of European executives, and offering that support should also top the services catalogue of European service providers.

Location, location, location

Closely linked to these territorial matters is also the question of where data should reside. That too is a major headache of European CxOs, and reassurance on that part is often more important than the lower prices that US-based cloud providers try to lure them with. Service providers like Atos are currently boasting the concept of the ‘Sovereign Cloud’. Data sovereignty offered by cloud partners is definitely what differentiates them from cloud wholesalers from across the pond.

In real estate, it is often said that there are only three important things: location, location, location. With growing concerns over data security and privacy, this is increasingly also the case in cloud computing.

And that is certainly something that companies who are taking the cloud path for their workloads should definitely consider when they decide which company to partner with.

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