Is the cloud right for you? Costs? Data security? What else? Which applications? Ask Synergy Software Systems

May 10th, 2014 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

Is my data safe in the cloud is a bit like asking whether your money is safer in the bank or under the bed. Banks also get robbed but in general are better protected than most other options.

Why use the cloud?
- is it a strategic decision to focus on the core business and to outsource an administrative function
- is there a limitation of available technical skills and local infrastructure,
- is there a need to deploy quickly and expectation of rapid scalability for which on premise deployment will be too slow
- is there a highly seasonal or variable demand for system use?
- is it economic decision to take advantage of the cloud’s economies of scale, or to smooth out cash flow, or to get more predictable IT costs ?

Such questions will help you to determine which is the best datacenter and cloud provider for your circumstances.

When choosing a data centre consider:
- the likelihood of natural disasters and weather, climate, geology
– the likelihood of man-made problems like terrorism or industrial disputes.
- the available skilled workforce, the quality of life on offer, what is the staff turnover> and certification levels?
- what are the contractual terms
- what are the latency issues for he software you run
- how geographically dispersed are your operations
- is the local bandwidth and latency the same everywhere.
- -will your cloud provider include a thin client in the pricing or might you also need to purchase Citrix or similar technology?
- does your business store large graphic or media files , will those also be in the cloud? What is the likely upload and download time?
- What about printing time and cost for large documents?
- What about BI? How fast will it run across the cloud?
- – Where will you site your Active Directory server? Will you also use ADFS?
- Does the cloud data centre provide the necessary viewers?
- the government, legislative and business culture. If governance is a critical factor for choosing a home for company data then to avoid government snooping, find a friendly country – and first define what friendly means.
- are you reluctant to use sites that are too far away. Do you want desire to visit the site in a reasonable time
- what are the accreditation and audit standards of the data centre
- can you undertake your own audits?
- what managed services are provided?
- are costs transparent? Have you budgeted for test and live systems, or for reporting databases, for back up storage? What if you want to move data between test and live – what is the time the cost, and who can do it, when?
- is your requirement for heavy processing for a few hours a day or do you need an always on transactional system.? I.e. a fixed cost or another monthly utility bill? Who is going to estimate the capacity and cost for usage based? How does that vary during implementation when you are data loading and developing, and during live operation? How does this impact costs when pay on a usage basis?
- what are the payment terms and what happens if you are late or miss a monthly payment?
- if you decide to move to another provider what assistance can you expect, how long will it take to move the data at what usage cost?
- Will you take your own back-ups to an on premise location, how will you test those the back up restores will work outside the cloud environment?
- Do the service levels, SLAs and up time statistics typically reflect 5 x 8 hour operation or 24 x 7 operation?
- and how do those factors compare to your own backyard?

Any company that distributes high volumes of content will be a large bandwidth user and will want to be located near to strong network hubs. This is why established internet exchanges in e.g. London, Amsterdam and other hubs continue to attract local business.

Dubai has long had major data centres and Synergy Software Systems offers cloud hosting as a private cloud in Dubai, as an IAAS service on Azure through Microsoft, or via level 4 international data centres in Europe and Asia, particularly for SPLA licensing of Dynamics Ax and Dynamics CRM.

Another powerful but undocumented reason why few data centres hosts migrate is that the expertise has become localised. Staff that have the experience of building data centres and running them have some of the rarest skills in IT. Recruiting these specialists is incredibly expensive and time consuming, so it’s often easier to take the data centre to the areas where they live. Dubai has a modern infrastucture and a ready supply of skilled IT engineers and we expect to see local cloud providers increase.

Major vendors solution road map are increasingly heading to the cloud. Microsoft with Azure is now taking all its apps to the cloud. Not only Dynamics CRM on line and Office 365 on line but also erp systems like Dynamics Ax. Solution development features and pricing is increasingly favouring cloud users.

If you plan to use Office 365 , with a hosted erp system in the cloud then consider whether your erp system integration with Office apps will work on line or wether you will still need on premise office licences.

USA
The US is the leader in providing cloud computing services across the globe, dominating every segment of the market.

In the 2013 Informa Cloud World Global Insights survey, 71% of respondents (of whom only 9% were from North America) ranked the US as the leader in cloud computing usage and innovation.

In this same survey, 9 out of 10 respondents linked cloud computing to their country’s economic competitiveness.

Revelations about the extent of USA government agency surveillance of private data has exacerbated concerns about locating data centres there.

The National Security Agency (NSA), and other US law enforcement and security agencies, exploit the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and Patriot Act to snoop on foreign electronic data is forcing foreign companies to consider their options.

A report from the US- based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, suggests that post-PRISM concerns could cost US cloud computing firms up to $35bn in the next three years should foreign companies feel storing data in the US is too risky.

Meanwhile, a stable banking sector, strong consumer spending and a solid economic outlook, a skilled workforce, and modern infrastructure and a climate that makes cooling servers much less costly are factors, making Canada a preferred location for foreign investors seeking safety and growth, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s Data Centre Risk Index 2013.

Despite natural disasters like the US is still generally seen as a low-risk location. The ability to recover from Hurricane Sandy impressed analysts and the US still has the highest internet bandwidth capacity of all the countries measured by the International Telecoms Union (ITU) and the average cost of electricity, while not the cheapest, has stabilised and is relatively low.

Canada

The costs of Canadian labour and energy have reduced since last year, according to the World Bank. Canada’s international bandwidth is ranked 11th in the world. The construction of a new submarine broadband cable in 2014 and will bring better links to global commercial markets. Canada attracts increasing investment from operators and occupiers and its cold climate is perfect for free cooling.

Europe
In 2012 a policy document entitled Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe, the European Commission (EC) called for a number of steps to promote cloud computing adoption in Europe, including creating pan-European technical standards, EU-wide certification for cloud computing providers, and model contract language.

In Europe Germany, France and the UK still leader in bandwidth, latency, workforce skills and political stability, but the energy crisis is making Scandinavian countries a much more attractive proposition

UK is highly ranked thanks to its international internet bandwidth capacity and ease of doing business. The combination of recession and a recent construction boom means there are plenty of empty data centres in the UK.

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