Thursday, November 17, 2011

What is Cloud Computing? - Cornwall Chamber of Commerce

What is the likelihood of a Cornish cloud provider competing with larger data centres such as Telecity, Microsoft and Google?

The panel explained there was no real agenda to compete with any major established vendors and their data centres as it was far more beneficial for businesses to purchase services via the reseller network and ask the right questions to ensure they understand the ultimate destination of their data and services.

As cloud services develop will become far more important for businesses to know much more about data centres and how they operate.  In particular you should consider asking questions about resiliency, security and sustainability of the data centre.  In particular we [Piran Technologies] prefer Google because they have a “green” selection process when choosing locations for their data centres.  As carbon becomes more of a trading commodity it’s essential that businesses understand this part of their supply chain.

I had to move everything back from the cloud because of connectivity, when is this likely to improve?

The planned role out of the Superfast project is mapped on the Superfast Broadband site

When choosing to migrate to the cloud it’s not a case of all or nothing.  Businesses need view each of their computing services in their entirety and decide the best location for them based on productivity, availability, reliability, security and costs.

Some businesses may only ever choose to put certain non-volatile services into the cloud like email and basic document shares and leave management information systems in house.  Others may find a distinct advantage in having all IT services in the cloud.  The decision is as individual to the business and should be treated strategically.

What about the reliability of Mobile devices to deliver cloud services and is this likely to improve?
There will always be “black spots” with mobile connectivity but as improvements are being made to the overall connectivity infrastructure in Cornwall there will inevitably be enhancements to mobile connectivity.  There are already trials of a 4G mobile network being conducted on the outskirts of Truro.

In General, availability is pretty good and for the most part access to email and basic document collaboration tools is easily achievable with the application of cloud computing.

I’m reluctant to trust the cloud with my data, what are the security implications?
The security standards and high level Military encryption that was used in the more respected data centres.
There will never be 100% guarantee of complete security.  

The American government will not endorse encryption methods that they [The US Government] cannot themselves break as this poses a potential risk to their national security.

You get what you pay for.  Free services like dropbox and many others are unlikely to have robust physical and operational security strategies and some of the security breaches publicised in the past bear testament to this.

What about the data protection act?
Data protection acts are only enforceable in the country of Origin so it’s vitally important you know which data centre your cloud provider is using.  If you want to be protected by British and European Law make sure you choose a provider with data centres in Europe.

If I have two sites and servers at each, how can I use cloud to simplify my business and how does this increase the reliability?
Servers within cloud data centre are usually “virtual” which, in basic terms, means several servers can be hosted on a common, resilient, platform.  This allows the virtual machines to be easily and usually instantly moved to a different host in the event of hardware failure, making hosted applications much more resilient.

Larger organisations use server virtualization to consolidate on-site hardware and provide highly available software applications.  This same technology is used on a much larger scale in the datacentre environment.

Access to the cloud services is obviously dependent on reliable connectivity which has to be taken into account before migration of any computer service to the cloud.

The panel were;

Mark Wright,
CEO of Piran Technologies Ltd.

Rojer Issacson,
MD of Data Frame

Chris Royden,
MD of Bush Telegraph

Jenny Milligan,
Superfast Cornwall

Phil Reynolds,
Eclipse Internet