Cloud is a ‘way’ of doing things not a ‘platform’. Do more with what you already have.

Blog Cloud Thursday 16th April 2015 • 3 min read
Mark Wilson, Communications Officer

You don’t have to go far to find the message that consuming ‘Cloud’ is the answer to everything.

Whilst investing in ‘many clouds’ worked well for me in the Grand National, it is perhaps naïve to assume that all businesses can abandon significant existing investments in hardware, implementation projects and application development in order to move to a ‘cloud platform’.

For me, Cloud is a ‘way’ of doing things rather than a ‘platform’ on which to do them.

This is an important distinction. Let’s say your storage is end of life, a natural point to reflect on your strategy. You may want to use SSD storage to get better performance, but perhaps it is a struggle to justify the purchase cost? Being able to consume this on a pay-per-gigabyte model which scales up and down and where I can use a portal to provision my storage sounds very attractive. But why should that mean I have to move my virtual machines to a new Cloud platform and throw away my recent investment in server hardware and network switches?

Colocation provides a secure, enterprise-grade environment in which customers operate millions of pounds worth of investments. Some IT experts will position this as a facility to house your IT estate whilst you gradually transition to the Cloud. Perhaps we should be pausing for a moment and asking: is that transition necessary? Perhaps we can innovate with what we already have and integrate it with other services as we need them?

This is becoming realistic because we are in a time of phenomenal technology innovation – innovation that is not just constrained to new Cloud platforms. We are seeing the emergence of network virtualisation that allows us to create simple, flat networks between  colocated servers and shared services. Sophisticated, yet simple, orchestration software will finally allow IT provisioning and in-life change to become fluid and dynamic, yet still compliant with ITIL and best practice.

Node4 is making significant investments in this new wave of technologies in order to give our colocation customers an alternative to the mantra of “throw it away and move to Cloud”. When your storage is end-of-life but your servers are new, you’ll be able to consume storage with Cloud characteristics – direct into your rack. Or perhaps you need to consume compute resource and keep your existing storage? Maybe you want to remove the burden of complex backup software and tape devices, but backup over the Internet is not an option?

You no longer need to be constrained by the need to move everything to the Cloud just in order to replace one component of your estate. Instead, consume components as they are required, at the pace that is right for you – extending the life of your services – all from a “services cable” delivered into your rack. Node4’s investment, expertise and innovation means you can get to value faster – with the characteristics and promise of Cloud – but still private and within our Data Centres.

 

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