Computer Concepts Limited CTO Jon Waite discusses the evolution of cloud and its impact on New Zealand business.
Hybrid Cloud is a hot topic across the industry. It’s had a lot of attention recently, which isn’t surprising, as the tools and capability have finally caught up with the ‘common vision’.
The evolution of Public Cloud services like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, is driving a relatively rapid and high profile change in the global market.
Every day I work alongside CCL’s clients, helping them to move their computing into the Public Cloud. While every customer is different, there are some unique factors for New Zealand which need to be considered.
The most obvious consideration is New Zealand’s relative isolation. Unlike the US or Europe, New Zealand is a comparatively long distance from Public Cloud data centres, this makes latency a much larger consideration for New Zealand businesses.
This means the Hybrid Cloud’ model, a mixed environment of onshore Private Cloud and Public Cloud, is extremely relevant and likely solution for New Zealand Businesses.
Hybrid Cloud can deliver real advantages, combining the flexibility and rapid deployment times of Public Cloud with the efficiencies, security and low latency of the local Private cloud; but the devil is in the detail of how you execute.
Deciding which computing workloads can migrate to the Public Cloud, versus those that are best run in Private Cloud, is as much an art as it is a science.
We do detailed investigation into our customer’s environments to assess how their workloads can be run in a mixed environment.
The big things we need to look at are generally latency requirements, whether workloads are scalable or running 24/7, Interaction between services/applications, Data Protection requirements and Security.
CCL has invested heavily to deliver real capability in the Hybrid Cloud space, from delivering utility charging models and self-service portals for our own leading Private cloud, through to building a portfolio of partners to deliver best of breed migration, assessment and management solutions for Public Cloud.
The nature of the Public Cloud means that there are a number of tools, built by 3rd parties, to support the rollout, maintenance and optimisation of Cloud workloads.
Being an Engineering led organisation, CCL tests all our offerings in anger prior to any client service release. Over the past couple of years we have extensively investigated numerous automation and cloud orchestration tools - many have been found wanting.
As a result of this work, the vendors and partners we have selected to work with are proven with the value of putting in effort up front with our partner selection and testing clear.
That’s not an easy thing to say when dealing with such a new set of technologies.
In terms of the biggest challenges to New Zealand [businesses] adopting the cloud, I’d have to say its support.
Many companies are nervous about the level of change required within their organisation to make a move to the Hybrid Cloud possible; this creates a massive, artificial, barrier to adopting these new services.
Especially if they don’t have the support and guidance of a partner. But the reality is, for most New Zealand businesses, they’re still heavily reliant on in-house applications which are not designed for consumption in public cloud.
It will be 18 months to two years before these businesses are going to need to start optimising or re-building these in-house applications for the Public Cloud.
For many of our customers we are seeing a phased approach; with standalone applications such as Office 365 or Disaster Recovery providing a relative easy, and proven, first step to the Hybrid Cloud.
Beyond this there are plenty of workloads which can be moved to the Public Cloud safely, while still working seamlessly with the systems that need to stay in the Private Cloud.
Where will the future take us? Well I can’t really say... not because I don’t know, but because of non-disclosure agreements with clients and partners.
What I can say is that it’s exciting, and the biggest developments are yet to come and this will undoubtedly be the biggest change New Zealand will see in this space.