Of all the clouds in the world, you have to choose…none
The business technology press is fond of its popular phrases and bandwagons. At least partially fueled by IT companies’ latest and greatest products and the marketing muscle put behind the same, many pages are dedicated to technology like blockchain, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, cryptography, and virtualization. Here at Tech Wire Asia, we’re not immune from the excitement that’s one of the more attractive aspects of information technology – if it’s new and has possibilities, we want to cover it!
One particular technology has, undoubtedly, lived up to its initial hype; that of the cloud. At a business level, it’s getting rarer to use a service or application that’s installed locally, and paid for outright, up front. XaaS (anything as a service) is fast becoming the norm, a new reality that’s emphasized by companies like Microsoft and IBM, long known as software and hardware stalwarts respectively, re-engineering themselves as cloud companies.
For many businesses, the cloud is not the be-all-and-end-all of their technology stacks, although cloud services may well figure in part. There are specific verticals less prone to adopt cloud services en masse, such as the finance industry and some traditional heavy industries. Cloud-based financial services are available and are offering new and sometimes disruptive services. But instances of very public hacks into (for example) cryptocurrency exchanges can be entirely dissuasive.
That’s not to say that a public or shared cloud is any less or more secure than private data center provisions. A well-worn trope in cybersecurity circles is that security breaches don’t take place until the news leaks – that is, companies that are compromised by malicious activities usually try to keep a lid on the event, or at least the extent of its consequences.
Probably the most significant factor in many companies and organizations not rushing to the cloud is that there’s just no need to do so wholesale. Many companies with legacy provisions in their own data centers or server rooms are testing the waters of the cloud with some services, but are not considering shifting their entire platforms.
This reality has led to suppliers producing hybrid cloud management platforms, which create a unified management system for in-house, bare-metal facilities, edge computing stacks, and public & private cloud services. Taken to its logical conclusion, large enterprises are investing in hyperconverged solutions, where every aspect of a distributed IT topology can be represented in software – network, storage, compute, backup, and so on.
There is always a substantial level of demand for services and facilities that are business-oriented and well-grounded in the real world, rather than the esoteric possibilities some tech offers. Businesses, organizations, and not-for-profits of all sizes still need the highest quality co-lo facilities in secure data centers. They need reliable, scalable services 24/7 for their customers and users, with multiple failover, and preferably, multiple routes to the backbone.
For businesses on the ground, what’s of paramount importance is not that the CTO can stand up at a trade expo and state that their entire business now runs in the cloud, hosted in Arizona and powered by solar power. Instead, the business itself needs to be able to dictate its IT requirements, according to changes in markets, demand fluctuations, new product development, and so forth.
The scalability and infinite power on tap of the cloud are incredible and have had a significant influence on the way that enterprises work, and in many cases, cloud is rightly deployed right across the board. But its implementation should be regarded as another possibility, another tool in the business’s arsenal, chosen as and when it’s needed.
Here at Tech Wire Asia, we’d like to highlight four companies that can provide a range of services driven by a desire to serve your business’s requirements, rather than inspired by a particular enthusiasm for new technology for its own sake. Leave that sort of zealous waxing lyrical to us of the technology press!
One hundred percent Australian and proud of it, Interactive has offices in seven cities across Australia, with eight high-end, secure data centers including 3 of its own design and construction. The company’s 560+ staff and engineers provide friendly, local support 24/7 for its clients, which range from the smallest Aussie business to large companies employing thousands.
The company’s focus is on ensuring the right solution for your organization and understands that not every company is “stampeding to the cloud”. Interactive’s solutions provide safe and secure co-location, high-density storage and powerful compute, disaster recovery, business continuity, and much more. Cloud provision is there too, of course, as part of its more extensive portfolio, with the engineering and consulting staff experienced in providing private, edge, hybrid and multi-cloud solutions from scratch or as part of larger public cloud offerings. The familiar pay-per-use for infrastructure covers hosting models of multi-tenant or dedicated, managed or unmanaged.
The company has a portfolio of worldwide household names on its books and is the largest company of its kind in Australia. If your organization, of whatever size, needs a complex hybrid cloud management structure, or a simple DR/business continuity option, Interactive may be the supplier you’re looking for. To read more about Interactive’s offerings in more detail, click here.
Big Blue needs no introduction to IT professionals, and the company’s service palettes are broad, as you might expect. For Australian and APAC customers, there’s a world-class set of guidance, consultation, and services that allow its customers’ plans to come to life.
For companies with their own data center, IBM offers a range of services that can bring it up to date and make it more responsive to business need. Whether your emphasis is on edge computing, public cloud or in-house hosting, IBM helps enterprises achieve the efficiencies they need with the resources they have; which, of course, represent a significant investment. Or if you’re starting from scratch, IBM Cloud Modular Data Center Service can help you design reliable, robust and resilient data centers.
As you might expect, however (the ‘B’ in IBM stands for business, after all), the building, deploying and managing of workloads in a cloud can be accomplished with IBM’s help and product lines. You can move data, applications or other business infrastructure to a hosting environment and thereby get improved data and application availability. Multi-cloud environments can be integrated with your traditional infrastructure, and the company’s platforms combine cybersecurity with backup and recovery methods to help protect against, quickly detect, and recover from cyber attacks of most types.
As a final word, it’s worth noting IBM also offers a fully-managed solution, with its representatives acting as a single point of contact for disparate, multi-vendor infrastructures. IBM boasts of a 94 percent first-call resolution rate of problems, so you can keep your services up and running around the clock.
Cisco brings together networking, security, analytics, and management services for businesses across the world. Like many other older companies that formerly plowed a furrow in hardware, Cisco now offers cloud solutions that span multi-cloud topologies, from on-premise environments to clouds from public providers.
Whether it’s a private, hybrid, or public cloud, Cisco can help simplify, management of, connection to, and protection for, all that are in use, including AWS, Azure, Google and so forth.
Using services from multiple SaaS providers and public clouds has to be a seamless and consistent part of daily operations, so IT functions aren’t simply managing a complex web of infrastructure.
Cisco sees hybrid clouds becoming integrated elements of a longer-term adoption strategy for public cloud. In the interim, there are Cisco Validated Designs for virtualized and converged infrastructures, cloud and network management, security, data center applications, and more.
Like its direct competitor IBM, Cisco offers IT services from advisory to implementation, optimization, management, training and technical services, which like IBM’s offering, provide a one-call support structure for business.
Telecoms companies across the world are rapidly integrating their service portfolios to include data, both wireless and fiber-based, as the world’s information structure homogenizes. Orange’s Flexible Engine is a prime example, being a public cloud, based on an OpenStack distribution run by Huawei. This IaaS (infrastructure as a service) is available on a modular basis, with a pay-as-you-go pricing.
Orange’s customers retain full control of the virtual infrastructure, with the ability to scale up and down resources as and when needed. The charging model for resources gives service- and/or time-based granularity, and further resources can be, for a reduced rate, “reserved” for more peaks in demand. This is business-centric pricing for business demands, peaks and troughs.
As you’d expect from a company that’s played a significant role in infrastructure development, connection to the cloud with Orange comes with SLA and global service governance.
And for businesses with high-security requirements to protect their sensitive data, Orange’s Business VPN Galerie provides secure access to cloud service providers via a business-grade VPN, which is effectively an always-on layer of protection.
*Some of the companies featured on this editorial are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia