Despite the general maturity, dependability and demonstrated utility of the cloud – the modern form of which has been around since about 2002, with the start of Amazon Web Services – some organisations appear to still have lingering doubts about storing data and cloud security.
These concerns are hangovers from the early days of cloud computing and are also fanned whenever their is a major data breach, whether or not the security of the cloud was a factor.
Of course, the big research houses, like Gartner, have few doubts about the cloud and its future. In a recent report (January 2015), Gartner forecast that the public cloud services market in the mature Asia Pacific and Japan region, is set to grow 14.2% in 2015, to total US$7.4 billion. They predict "consistent and stable cloud growth through to 2018".
Fastest growing public cloud services
Gartner's big picture view is that "Cloud management, storage and SaaS will be among the faster growing public cloud services through 2018, as more enterprise and government users jump onto cloud services". And they've even broken down the popularity of the most popular different forms of cloud services up to 2018.
Gartner forecasts that:
- Business process-as-a-Service (BPaaS) cloud services will make up 9.2% of the overall public cloud services market in the Asia Pacific and Japan;
- Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) will represent 3% of the market;
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) will be at 21.5%;
- Cloud management - security services will take up 4%;
- Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) will be at 9.8%, and;
- The remaining 52.5% will come from cloud advertising.
International IT solutions and managed services providers, like Logicalis, are experienced cloud services providers accustomed to answering a broad range of questions from clients relating to cloud computing.
Four stage approach to cloud adoption
In their experience, there is a common four-stage approach that can help ease the concerns of organisations and boost the confidence of their CIOs relating to storing data and running applications in the cloud.
1. Develop the Right Strategy
Consulting with the experts to develop the best strategy and plan for optimum use of cloud services is the first step. This process involves choosing a proven cloud strategy and properly accounting for the many compliance issues. It also should determine how to achieve the best return on investment, balancing capital and operational expenses. How to best use automation in this plan is another key consideration. The outcome should be a dependable service model based on the company's budget and particular requirements.
2. Asses the Status Quo
A thorough understanding of the company's IT structure, using a broad range of tools to inventory devices in the physical and virtual environments plus the application layer, is vital before making changes. Expert consultants can advise on which particular tools are best. This detailed process enables CIOs to determine whether systems are under-utilised or over-used, generating costly inefficiencies, and can point to issues such as any server sprawl.
3. Examine Data Centre Conditions
Special attention should be given to the condition of the data centre facilities which house the virtual infrastructures. This will determine whether they are energy efficient and point to any overcrowding or overheating. Too often CIOs have data centres which are crammed full of devices, with limited awareness of whether they are turned on. A better strategy is to have a proactive approach to IT management instead of continually reacting to issues.
4. Update Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) Plans
Familiarity with DR and BC can breed contempt in CIOs who do not regularly update their plans, instead relying on sending tapes off to a storage facility in the belief they are protected. A fresh look at the availability of mission critical data may find some surprises. Expert consultants can also advise on advances such as DRaaS (Disaster-recovery-as-a-Service) which has been shown to be able to recover data in hours, instead of days. Any initial cloud assessment should specifically consider DR and BC and re-evaluate currently available services.
Do your pre-cloud homework
So as demonstrated here, appropriate cloud adoption depends on doing the homework and planning. Any concerns about cloud adoption can be discussed with external experts who, no doubt, will have heard similar questions before.
The Cloud has matured to become a pivotal part of the 3rd platform, which includes big data and analytics, mobility and social media. Research House IDC believes the 3rd Platform "will forever change how control, management, and security of the IT environment, are delivered".
To find out how Logicalis can support you with moving to the cloud, head to the Solutions & Services section.