Navigating your way through a smorgasbord of Cloud Choices

Over the last couple of years we have seen the Cloud market maturing with a range of new providers offering a variety of new services. It can be very complex for a customer wading through the various offers available.

Given that we have just released our yearly Australian Open Golf Video, which focusses on the theme of Cloud Choice, I have put together some scenarios of varying business requirements and made some suggestions as to the priorities for Cloud that would be important in each case:

If data sovereignty is important to you… Organisations such as Financial Institutions and Government Departments not only value data security and privacy, it is often a requirement for the operational aspects of their business. In this case the only Cloud that suits their requirements is one in which the provider can guarantee that their data is safe and secure and most importantly stays on-shore.  With many providers offering cloud services it is important to speak to your provider to understand exactly where your data will be located and whether they can guarantee that it will not be stored offshore. Specifying storage locations is in some ways contradictory to the very nature of cloud computing so it may be a challenge for providers who either don’t have or have a limited number of data centres in Australia.

If flexibility of capacity is important. Sometimes the biggest driver for a move to the cloud is the need for capacity planning. If you are about to experience a major fluctuation in your business – perhaps caused by seasonal factors or an increase in marketing activity, it is much easier to provision an extra server from your service provider than to procure and provision the capacity. Cloud models allow additional servers to be provisioned and de-provisioned in minutes as opposed to possibly months of planning, ordering, provisioning and testing required to provision the capacity in the conventional way. The ability to self-provision is also an important factor for some organisations and should be factored into your thinking when it comes to your choice of Cloud provider. In this scenario you need to be able to ensure that your provider has the ability to leverage its resources to offer you ‘capacity on tap’.

If you need optimum security and service level requirements for many key applications you may consider adopting a private cloud model. Private cloud allows IT infrastructure to be provisioned under an organization’s control, either on-premise or at a service provider’s facilities.

If you need flexibility in your cloud environment you may consider a hybrid cloud platform that gives you the best of local, global and private cloud platforms. For example, organisations using largely private cloud services can “burst” non-sensitive processing workloads to a public cloud to meet peak or highly elastic workloads. Or, they can split a workload across a global public cloud and a country-specific public cloud — depending on which elements of an application are publicly facing or involve the processing of customer data. Such a sophisticated orchestration means control over data location can be maintained, and governance can be shared across all different cloud types.

Whatever approach you take, you don’t want to go it alone. Cloud computing is not just about technology. Cloud offerings should start with a set of Enablement Services to guide customers through the complex task of responding to individual business needs. Enablement services help to consolidate customers’ on-site demands and other cloud activities with our end-to-end offering . You should also be able to pick up the phone and speak to your Cloud provider at a technical level as well as an account management level, to work with you to define your requirements and enable your transition to the cloud.

When choosing a cloud provider, you need utmost confidence in their ability to deliver. Your provider should also be mature in the marketplace. By this I mean that they should know how to support their customers across their whole business and not just their sales teams. It is the post-sales support and guidance from your provider that can make the journey to the cloud all the more seamless.

If you are already on the cloud journey and want to expand your organisation’s cloud footprint. You should not just consider your provider’s current cloud offerings but should consider their capability development roadmap and their cloud solution development activities. These activities should be across the range of IaaS; SaaS & PaaS offerings. No one can guarantee where Cloud computing technologies will be in 5 – 10 years time, so you need to partner with a provider that has a strong solution development capability. This is so you can be sure that your provider will be able to offer services in-line with where the demand for cloud is heading.

Needless to say, at Fujitsu we can offer our customers a complete range of choices of platform to suit every business need. We invested in a range of cloud platforms a number of years ago and continue to invest and innovate on these platforms. While some of our competitors are still establishing themselves locally we have been providing industrial strength Cloud solutions in Australia for over two years. If you are interested in reading further about the choices you have in Cloud I recommend that you download and read Fujitsu’s White Book of Cloud Adoption. This is an excellent impartial reference to help you to navigate your way through the smorgasbord of choices you have in today’s market.