Cloud Computing Intelligence
WHATâ€™S BEHIND YOUR CLOUD?
From the editor
Welcome to CCi Issue 20
ere on Cloud Computing Intelligence I get to talk to a lot of people, in all sorts of businesses from large enterprises through to small start-ups, and what always amazes me is the energy and enthusiasm everyone has for the cloud. Cloud is here and it’s being used for all different sizes of organisation from the public sector through to the private sector. While the initial worries about the security of data held in the cloud are still there, it is now no longer a blocker to the take up of the cloud. Security is still taken seriously, but organisations now look at it as an acceptable risk, that they need to understand and work with, as they can all now see that the benefits of cloud vastly outweigh the drawbacks. Additionally the lack of big names in the cloud world is also no longer a problem. HP, Microsoft and IBM have all actively embraced the cloud. HP has jumped on open source and its Helion OpenStack cloud solutions are a radical shake up from the sort of solutions you would have seen coming from HP even five years ago. Plus their ideas for a new application-market based on OpenStack should if all goes according to plan shake up the current cloud market substantially. Microsoft has worked very hard to keep its Azure cloud platform from turning into a proprietary cloud solution and this openness has turned it into the second choice in the cloud market after Amazon. While IBM has invested heavily in its SoftLayer cloud platform, is acquiring cloud businesses to bolster its cloud suite, and as with Microsoft it’s
now willing to work with anyone. So everything is rosy? Well not quite, there is still a skills gap in the cloud and it’s getting worse not better, and this isn’t going to go away quickly. Universities are starting to produce graduates with cloud skills, but it’s still a drop in the ocean compared to what we need. A recent statement from Andrus Ansip, European Commission (EC) Digital Single Market chief, said. “Despite rapid growth in the ICT sector, creating some 120,000 new jobs a year, Europe could face a shortage of more than 800,000 skilled ICT workers by 2020.” Now we have a new Government, it would be good to see some commitment from the Conservatives - and the opposition – to start to grow the cloud industry. To do that they need to encourage businesses large and small to train the people they already have, and above all they need to help create new skilled staff. The Government needs to improve how children are taught IT, grants need to be provided to help educate the generations that were sold a pup with ICT training that ignored programming and instead focussed on Microsoft Office and we need more apprenticeship schemes. And most importantly what’s needed from you is to keep your faith and enthusiasm in the cloud, and to not wait for the cloud-skilled graduates to arrive but instead to go and find out more about what apprenticeships can offer.
Marcus Austin Editorial Director, CCI Magazine
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DATA CENTERS BUILT TO HELP YOU DELIVER EXCEPTIONAL CLOUD SERVICES
News 6-16 News
18 Forecast: A Very Cloudy Outlook 20 How to successfully manage software licensing in the cloud 24 How to manage the cloud effectively 27 How hosting providers can maximise the cloud opportunity 30 Why Businesses need to get their head out the iCloud 34 Is cloud the right DR solution for your orginasation 38 Growing the G-Cloud for the Public and Private sector 42 Getting Started with OpenStack
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IBM cloud storage on a tape
t just pennies per gigabyte, the latest tape technology developed by IBM could create a new market for the ancient technology in the cloud and big data fields. The amount of data stored in the cloud is growing exponentially and so is the need to backup all that data, which is where IBM’s latest impressive tape storage technology comes into play. IBM scientists have managed to shrink the recording density of their tape technology to squeeze 123 billion bits of uncompressed data per square inch on low cost, particulate magnetic tape. That’s a staggering 88x more than on a conventional LT06 cartridge system and
22x more than the current enterprise tape models. To put that into perspective, that means a normal data cartridge could store more than 220 terabytes of data, the equivalent of 220 million books, which would require a 2,200 km bookshelf spanning from Las Vegas to Houston, Texas. IBM thinks this new technology could mean that tape drives will appear in new applications such as Big Data and cloud computing. While tape has traditionally been used on premise for video archives, back-up files, replicas for disaster recovery and retention of information, off-premise applications in the cloud are
beginning to emerge due to its low cost, which averages just a few pennies per gigabyte. IBM Research scientists in Zurich are exploring the integration of tape technology with current cloud object storage systems such as OpenStack Swift. This would enable object storage on tape and allow users to seamlessly migrate cold data to an extremely low-cost, highly durable cloud based storage tier perfectly suited for back-up or archival use cases. A research prototype of this technology was demonstrated at the 2015 National Association Broadcasters Show. www.ibm.co.uk
CipherCloud Global Compliance Resource Centre
he new Global Compliance Resource Centre is an interactive online resource with details of privacy laws in over 80 countries. To help organisations storing, transferring and using data in the cloud security vendor, CipherCloud is launching its Global Compliance Resource Centre, an interactive online resource with details of privacy laws in over 80 countries. The interactive map and downloadable guide compares privacy regulations across 83 countries in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, and will include a range of resources, including relevant data protection laws and details on
restrictions on data transfer across borders and breach notification requirements. • Detailed information for each country includes: • Summary of relevant data protection laws • National enforcement authority with contact information and links • Overview of security requirements • Definitions of personal data and sensitive personal data • Restrictions on data transfer across borders • Breach notification requirements Commenting on the new centre Willy Leichter, Global Director of Cloud Security, CipherCloud said. “We
created this resource centre to help global businesses understand what laws apply as they design security strategies to protect sensitive data and stay up to date with the latest regulations.” The company also announced it has expanded its platform through the acquisition of core technology from Anicut Systems, a privately held provider of adaptive security as a service. The acquisition will complement the company’s current portfolio by bringing additional intelligence and security controls. W. www.ciphercloud.com
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Informatica Secure@Source Secures Cloud Data
nformatica’s latest security solution provides organisations with the ability to secure data and identify potential threats across on-premise, public, private and hybrid cloud. Businesses are facing constant security threats to their cloud data however they’re all finding that securing that data is anything but an easy task. So to help reduce the risks data integration business Informatica has developed Secure@ Source a security solution for cloud that gives businesses a view of data in motion, both inside and outside of the corporate firewall. Informatica Secure@Source addresses security risks across public and private clouds, mobile devices, outsourced and off-shore resources and big data analytics platforms and
provides an automated platform with easy-to-use graphical interface, and a dashboard and reporting environment. The solution allows businesses to • Make enterprise-wide assessments of sensitive data risks, allowing users to assess risk and quantify the cost of potential data breaches based on multiple factors and using customisable weightings • Classify and discover sensitive data based on pre-existing and/or customisable policies, identify top departments and applications with the highest risks, and visualise hot spots of high data sensitivity, exposure and risk levels • Discover and track sensitive data proliferation, visually monitor the flow of data from sources to targets, and determine the protection status,
severity and risk score for each data store • Apply policies to identify highrisk conditions and issue appropriate alerts, including when sensitive data leaves a country, when sensitive data is found in unauthorised locations, when regulatory data is not sufficiently protected, and when risk levels reach critical thresholds Informatica Secure@Source will be available as a subscription-based offering by the end of April 2015 and Informatica claims the solution is quick to implement, saying it can be up and running in a week against a typical two month or more time lag for traditional approaches. W. www.informatica.com
Linux Professionals in High Demand
he rise of platforms such as OpenStack is driving a market for professionals with certified Linux expertise Recruiters are increasing their efforts to hire Linux talent, and managers are looking more to evidence of formal training and certifications to identify qualified prospects. The latest figures from the current 2015 Linux Jobs Report shows nearly all hiring managers surveyed are looking to recruit Linux professionals in the next six month and hiring the right talent to support all the growth continues to be a priority amongst employers. Ninetyseven percent of hiring managers reported they will bring on Linux talent relative to other skills areas in the next six months.
Most of the increase demand from recruiters is coming from the rise of open cloud such as OpenStack. Fortytwo percent of hiring managers say that experience in OpenStack and CloudStack will have a major impact on their hiring decisions, while 23% report security is a sought-after area of expertise and 19% are looking for Linux talent with Software-Defined Networking (SDN) skills. But will companies actually be able to fill their Linux-based positions? According to the survey, it won’t be easy. Hiring managers are still struggling to find professionals with Linux skills, with 88% reporting that it’s “very difficult” or “somewhat difficult” to find these candidates. And when they do find Linux pros with the right stuff, they’ll do
everything they can to keep them happy. The majority of hiring managers (70%) say their companies have increased incentives to retain Linux talent, with 37% offering more flexible work hours and telecommuting, and 36% increasing salaries for Linux pros more than in other parts of the company. However the hirers aren’t just looking for any Linux experience they’re looking particularly for expertise that can be backed up with a professional qualification. With 44% of hiring managers saying they’re more likely to hire a candidate with Linux certification, and 54% expecting either certification or formal training of their SysAdmin candidates. W. www.linuxfoundation.org
Businesses Missing CloudBased Data Threats N ew research shows businesses are aware of threats posed from storing data in the cloud but are unable to quantify and secure the data they already store in the cloud. According to research results soon to be released by The Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Informatica, 60% of global businesses are not confident they have the ability to proactively respond to cloud-based data threats. The “State of Data Security Intelligence” report from the Ponemon Institute, surveyed CIOs and IT security professionals around the World and found 65% of respondents said not
knowing the location of sensitive or confidential data keeps them up at night, and is more of a fear than hackers (25%) or employee mistakes (18%). And for many the fear of data being exposed was also a reality, with 55% reporting they had a data breach in the last 12 months. The research also revealed 34% of an organisation’s sensitive and confidential information in the cloud is considered to be at risk. In contrast, on average 24% of an organisation’s sensitive and confidential information on-premise is considered to be at risk Although those figures maybe larger as the report also found that
businesses are much worse at tracking how much confidential and sensitive data is at risk in the cloud. Respondents estimate that they cannot assess risk for more than half (54%) of all data stored in the cloud. This is compared to 30% for information on premise. The survey also found a depressingly small number of businesses were prepared for new threats with just 19% of global respondents acknowledging their business had a common process for implementing new controls and preventative measures in the presence of a new threat. W. www.ponemon.org
Vormetric Protects Data in Amazon S3 and Box T
The Vormetric Data Security Platform has been extended to protect data inside public cloud services including Amazon S3 and Box Vormetric’s new Cloud Encryption Gateway extends their data security platform into the public cloud with protection for data residing in Amazon Web Services (AWS) Simple Storage Service (S3) and Box environments with encryption, key management and access controls. In the recent 2015 Vormetric Insider Threat Report – Cloud and Big Data Edition, the risks of cloud storage
environments were the number one Software as a Service (SaaS) concern with 83% of US and 72% of global businesses very or extremely concerned about the protection of sensitive data within these environments. With the Vormetric Cloud Encryption Gateway, data is encrypted before it is saved to cloud storage, and the encryption keys and access policies remain under the business control. The solution consists of two components: the Vormetric Gateway which provides encryption and policy enforcement, and the Vormetric Data Security Manager
(DSM) for encryption key and policy management. Both are available as virtual appliances, and the DSM may also be deployed as a FIPS 140-2 Level 2 or Level 3 certified hardware appliance. The combined solution removes the possibility of encryption key or data compromise at the cloud storage vendor location, while enabling security teams to establish the visibility and control required to keep assets secure, and to meet compliance requirements. W. www.vormetric.com
Huawei Proposes DC 3.0 Architecture
he new proposed Data Centre 3.0 Architecture is intended to meet the requirements of real-time data processing in future data centres. Chinese telecoms company Huawei has created a new Data Center 3.0 (DC 3.0) architecture, based on resource pooling, software-defined and all-optical interconnecting technologies. The new architecture developed in Huawei ‘s Shannon Lab, is intended to improve the real-time data processing ability of data centres in the future, in anticipation of the increased traffic from cloud applications, big data and the Internet of things (IoT). Huawei claims, that by using
flexible real-time software and hardware resource allocation, there is a “significant improvement” in the ability of data centres to process data. In addition, the DC 3.0 architecture has a flat configuration and the capability to expand flexibly, which Huawei believes will reduce data centre costs. Over the next 10 years, Huawei expects that average personal data consumption will reach PetaByte levels, 1,000 times larger than Terabytes, the current data consumption level. The increase in data consumption will result in conventional data centres facing challenges such as real-time data processing, on demand resource allocation and massive systems
energy efficiency. The key innovations in DC 3.0 are: - Pooling computing and storage resource via disaggregation. - Parallel computing to improve the processing ability of large scale data centres. - Silicon photonic interconnections with fine granularity resource management will enable the architecture to meet the high bandwidth and low latency requirements of data transmission. Also, processors will be able to achieve the tasks assigned by the heterogeneous processor architecture. W. www.huawei.com
Cloud Services Are Primary Connectors Between Businesses
nterprises average 1,555 data partners, but 30% of the data they share is potentially shared with high-risk partners who could compromise their security. The sixth edition of SkyHigh Network quarterly Cloud Adoption and Risk Report shows that cloud is rapidly becoming the primary connector between businesses, with the average company connecting with 1,555 partners. Inevitably this has also brought cause for concern, as it’s realistically not possible to police every one of the partners. The Q1 2015 report, derived from analysis of actual cloud usage across over 17 million employees, measured
partner risk based on a several security attributes and found that 8% of all partners are high-risk and that 30% of total data shared with partners is shared with these highrisk partners. SkyHigh classifies a partner as high-risk if they are affected by malware delivered via botnets, have compromised identities for sale on the darknet, suffered from a breach, or being exposed to vulnerabilities such as POODLE. Many partners are well connected among the largest organisations, meaning a vulnerability within a single partner could have farreaching consequences. The risk of
these super partners is higher than overall rate, with 12.5% considered high-risk. To illustrate the level of risk SkyHigh released some anonymised examples including one airline which had 9,716 credentials for sale on the darknet and 209 devices infected with malware. A financial services technology provider had 1,216 compromised identities across 19 darknet sites and an advertising agency had 1,565 compromised identities for sale across 29 darknet sites. All three partners were also still vulnerable to POODLE. W. www.skyhighnetworks.com
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WHAT IS CLOUD CONNECT? Cloud Connect provides enterprises, service providers (SPs) and carriers, private, secure and high performance connections to multiple clouds from within Interxion data centres, making it easier for them to shift business critical workloads and real time data to the cloud. By providing a private virtual connection between the customer and Cloud Service Providers (CSP), Cloud Connect enables organisations to bypass the public Internet and achieve service level guarantees on latency, throughput and security. As a result the service enables enterprises, carriers and SPs to build complex hybrid cloud solutions with the CSPs of their choice over a single connection. Cloud connect makes it easy to do business, offering online ordering via the Interxion portal and enabling customers to manage their virtual local area network (LAN) connection to each CSP. This improves the privacy and performance of their cloud connections and quickens cloud deployment time.
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EU Approves Amazon Data Storage T
he EU’s Article 29 data protection Working Party has ratified Amazon Web Services Data Processing Agreement. Those people worrying that their Amazon Web Services (AWS) security wasn’t up to scratch with the European Union (EU) can all relax; as the group of EU data protection authorities known as the Article 29 Working Party has approved the AWS Data Processing Agreement (DPA). This, in layman’s terms means AWS DPA now meets the standards of the EU data protection laws and hence any personal data sent from the European Economic Area (EEA) to other countries will maintain the
same level of protection it receives in the EEA. The new approval, also means data held in the two EU availability zones in Ireland (Dublin) and Germany (Frankfurt) will be able to pass the data to one of the other nine around the world and retain the data in accordance with European laws, no matter which AWS infrastructure region they choose around the world. The DPA is now available on request to all customers that require it. In the letter issued to AWS, the Article 29 Working Party said, “The EU Data Protection Authorities have analysed the arrangement proposed by Amazon Web Services” and “have
concluded that the revised Data Processing Addendum is in line with Standard Contractual Clause 2010/87/EU and should not be considered as ‘ad-hoc’ clauses.” This means customers can sign the AWS Data Processing Addendum with Model Clauses without the need for authorization from data protection authorities, as would be necessary for contract clauses intended to address EU privacy rules that have not been approved, known as “ad hoc clauses.” W. aws.amazon.com/compliance
Poor Cloud Solutions Are Costing UK £1bn
nexpected costs, integration challenges and increased IT complexity are all contributing to additional overheads to cloud adoption, amounting to £1bn each year in the UK. Research from Sungard Availability Services reveals UK businesses are a facing unexpected costs and problems with cloud adoption and are paying a heavy price for it. The research “the Cloud Hangover“ revealed that of the UK businesses polled - the research looked at organisations with more than 500 employees, with an average cloud spend of £700,000 in the last year - the overwhelming majority have encountered some form
of unplanned cloud spend (87%) – slightly higher than the European average of 81%. The businesses were paying an average of £200,000 per year to ensure cloud services run effectively, but also had paid an additional £270,000 over the last five years thanks to unforeseen costs such as people to manage deployment (44%), internal software maintenance (42%) and systems integration (40%). Worryingly, over two-fifths (43%) have been stung by unplanned spending for costs around managing their cloud service provider – suggesting that some vendors may not be being as transparent as they should during the
initial consultancy phase. Moreover, although over half of the businesses (55%) cited reduced IT costs as an expected return-on-investment in adopting cloud services, nearly a third (28%) believe this has not been achieved. Interestingly, respondents from the UK and France reported significantly higher levels of unplanned cloud spend (£270,000 and £430,000 respectively) than IT decision-makers from Ireland (£150,000) and Sweden (£230,000) and only 54% of Irish respondents had encountered unplanned spend on cloud. W. www.sungardas.co.uk
The Clouded Leopards Den 2015 Prize Shortlist T
he Clouded Leopards Den 2015 Prize shortlist of the 12 most innovative start-ups has been announced, with the UK providing five of the twelve businesses. The shortlist of start-ups for the debut Clouded Leopards Den 2015 prize for cloud innovation has finally been revealed and it looks like it will be an exciting competition. The Clouded Leopards Den 2015 competition is sponsored by OpenCloud Connect, a global industry alliance, and recognises businesses in two categories – the earliest stage start-ups, and laterstage pre-IPO start-ups. The six early-stage businesses include: Innovate Create Limited — Based in Glasgow, Innovate Create is developing Zephyr, which it describes as a single place to do all, seamlessly working throughout its customers digital lives, over all devices and integrating with the things they use daily. PeopleChoice —Based in Mexico City, PeopleChoice is developing a cloud-based human resources platform that will help companies match job applicants to job openings according to their capabilities, accomplishments and skills. TapLink — TapLink’s mission is to restore trust in passwords by making them unbreakable. This San Jose, Calif.-based company has developed a patent-pending two-pronged system that uses hashes to make it feasibly impossible to recover passwords from a stolen database. Teowaki — The London-based company makes happier development
teams by making it easier to share information, best practices and socialisation. Teowaki also sponsors Datawaki, which collects technical and business data from Heroku applications to run queries, generate reports and get real-time alerts. Truedash — This London-based firm offers a cloud, simple business intelligence platform, which takes an unlimited amount of data from disparate sources, unifies it, loads that data in to memory and provides powerful tools to visualise, explore and gain insight. VetCloud — This London-based SaaS business aims to sit at the centre of the animal health ecosystem. Not only an improved health record, CRM tool and business analytics product for veterinarians, VetCloud enables users to actually use the data held within their system in a meaningful way. And the six later-stage, pre-IPO startups: CENX — CENX offers service orchestration solutions that automate the entire lifecycle of advanced data services in software-defined networks. Based in Ottawa, Ontario, CENX changes how service providers build and manage their advanced data networking services by fusing big data analytics, and deep networking expertise. Gurucul — The Los Angeles-based company supports enterprise security with user behaviour-based machine learning and predictive analytics. Using identity to monitor for threats, Gurucul protects against targeted and under-the-radar attacks. The software proactively detects, prevents, and deters
attacks using self-learning, behavioural anomaly detection algorithms. Knodium — London-based Knodium is a collaboration tool and cloud platform that enables students, lecturers and academics from universities throughout the world to collaborate openly online around discussion groups and shared resources. nCrypted Cloud — The company offers a enterprise-grade secure collaboration platform. One of the Boston, USA company’s software modules, Infinite Mail, alleviates security concerns that plague today’s enterprise mail users, puts new collaboration and control in the hands of data owners. Viptela — The San Jose, Californiabased company removes the leading barriers to adoption of software defined WANs It eliminates security concerns associated with broadband and public networks by providing integrated endto-end security that encrypts every bit and byte of traffic on the network and enables security services like firewalls to be instantly activated. Waratek — Specialising in application security in the enterprise or cloud, this start-up offers its Runtime Application Self Protection (RASP) for server side Java applications using patented Secure Java Containers. The Dublin-based company secures Java in the enterprise, hybrid or public cloud with no code changes or agents required. The top businesses will be named at the Global Cloud Innovation Summit, to be held April 23-24 in San Francisco. W.www.opencloudconnect.org
Hybrid Cloud: Tom Homer
Forecast: A Very Cloudy Outlook Tom Homer discusses hybrid cloud and how businesses can prepare for the workplace of the future. Tom Homer Tom Homer is Head of EMEA and the Americas for Telstra based in London where he is responsible for developing and driving the overall business strategy for the region. Tom has over 20 years experience in IT and telecommunications, including 10 years managing relationships with multinational enterprises at AT&T combined with a range of senior roles at Energis and directorial posts at Reliance Globalcom.
oday, cloud is no longer a buzzword and like the rest of the world, the UK has embraced the benefits of cloud computing, enabling businesses to operate more securely and productively. Despite now being an established model, the cloud continues to evolve and businesses need to support trends such as employees using personal tablets and other devices to bring cloud apps into the workplace. More broadly, organisations must recognise how cloud technologies are likely to change in coming years and map out their plans to take advantage of the opportunities that arise. At Telstra, we believe managed services will play an important part in this evolution as businesses combine private with public to operate hybrid clouds. In this environment, there is a role for technology companies to operate as intermediaries between organisations looking for the best cloud services to meet their needs, and cloud service providers themselves.
From in-house technology workers to service providers In the past, many businesses employed in-house technology specialists to take care of all their IT needs. However, as technology options multiply and the skills of IT staff evolve, businesses are increasingly turning to service providers to help deliver key functionality. When it comes to the cloud, businesses are in the market for service providers that understand the importance of securing user data whilst not compromising on performance or delivery. The service providers themselves are already adapting to this new environment by extending cloud infrastructure to customers around the globe and investing in best-in-class solutions. As a result, businesses have access to more choice and flexibility to respond to the evolving cloud infrastructure and â€˜workplace of the futureâ€™ trends, such as employees undertaking work tasks on personal devices and accelerated development cycles. By working closely with cloud service
providers, businesses can become more agile and dynamic while fulfilling end user expectations. This in turn boosts productivity, profitability and employee satisfaction levels. The evolution of the cloud The way people work has changed dramatically in recent years due to the emergence of mobile and social collaboration technologies. These tools and trends have created the expectation that employees should be able to access corporate data and applications whether they are in the office, at home or on the move. Powering this evolution is Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), which enables employees to communicate and collaborate from any location, over the cloud. UCaaS can lead to better working practices as it enables employees to be more efficient, share ideas more easily and communicate from different locations across numerous devices. More recently, we have also seen the emergence of Software as a Service (SaaS) – where software is hosted centrally and made available over a network – driving an appetite for cloud deployment and development. This trend is here to stay and we have prepared for this too, with recent investments in organisations such as DocuSign and Box. Other cloud opportunities for businesses lie in Platform as a Service (PaaS) – a cloud-based platform and
set of software tools that helps to enable the rapid development of cloud applications and integrates public and private data sources – and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), where servers, storage and other IT infrastructure is made available to business users from the cloud. To achieve the best results from their cloud deployments, we’re seeing many businesses largely opting for hybrid cloud architectures, where private and public clouds co-exist and perform their own distinct functions. For example, the private cloud typically stores critical business processes and data while public clouds are used for less sensitive and more scalable activities. The role of the cloud orchestrator At Telstra, we are responding to these trends by taking the service provider model several steps further. We are acting as an orchestrator of different types of services that businesses can choose to adopt, ranging from managed hosting to ‘scale up cloud’ and co-location. The cornerstone of this model is our collaboration with vendors, including our initiative to deliver Cisco’s OpenStack cloud infrastructure platform to customers around the globe. This is set to be one of the world’s largest networks of cloud computing services. Ultimately we expect to provide businesses with access to cloud
services from a range of providers and help businesses eliminate any difficulties they may experience with integration or managing multiple relationships. They will be able to work with us to determine what workloads are best suited to different types of cloud services and implement those decisions. The workplace of the future Taking all of these developments into account, we predict that by 2020, the workplace of the future will have moved from being a physical place, to a dataset – made up of documents and applications, regardless of location and businesses need to be prepared for employees to bring these personal clouds into the workplace. We will see more hybrid and public clouds, and new capabilities and exciting products relevant to our customers entering the market. As a service provider, we will need to help make the transition to these new areas simpler and easier to manage. Embracing the cloud helps businesses reap the rewards of greater communication and collaboration, including assisting with better decision-making, faster identification of new opportunities and greater job satisfaction. The key is to work with brokers such as Telstra to get the mix of clouds and workloads right, helping businesses to operate at maximum efficiency and tackle new challenges. n
Software Licensing: Vincent Smyth
How to successfully manage software licensing in the cloud Moving on to the cloud can mean a loss of control in software licensing, Vincent Smyth, Senior Vice President EMEA, Flexera Software explains how IT can take back control.
Vincent Smyth Vincent Smyth is Senior Vice President EMEA at Flexera Software, responsible for driving revenue, market share and customer satisfaction. Prior to Flexera Software, he held several sales management responsibilities for Business Objects, PTC and Computer Associates.
he cloud has simplified many things, allowed us to achieve economies of scale, eliminated the software installation process, and enabled access of information from virtually anywhere. Contrary to popular belief though, moving to the cloud will not make software licensing – and the challenges that go along with it – disappear. In fact, the cloud introduces a new set of software delivery and licensing models that can make license management a challenge for the unprepared. Cloud technologies need to be carefully considered by organisations considering new delivery models such as Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Closer examination of the licensing rules tied to the type of cloud being considered (public, private or hybrid) is also essential – each has its own set of license management ramifications. For instance, in the SaaS model, the application is commonly delivered to end users via the Internet using a web browser. SaaS delivery may help alleviate some license compliance issues, but will not prevent overspending in software. Typically, SaaS applications such as Salesforce. com, Workday, or Dropbox employ subscription-based models. Many organisations end up overspending on SaaS applications because they buy licenses for users that rarely,
if ever, use the application. In addition, many companies will buy more expensive subscriptions with features that users do not actually need. Organisations need to have tools in place that will help them track usage by individual users to help control overspending. One advantage to this approach is that license compliance becomes less of an issue, as each user must be authorised before logging in to use the applications. However, even with the SaaS model, the organisation could still be noncompliant if multiple users share a single user account. Similarly in the IaaS model, the (public) cloud service provider offers
the basic server and networking infrastructure to the customer. It is typically a virtualised server environment that may provide computing elasticity, allowing more server capacity when needed to handle peak loads, and less capacity when the load is smaller. While this is one of the main attractions to IaaS, from a software licensing standpoint, organisations themselves are usually responsible for the software licenses they move to the cloud providerâ€™s infrastructure - even though the provider may own the servers, operating system and virtualisation platform. In comparison to running the software on-premises in the customerâ€™s own datacenter, IaaS complicates license management due to the dynamic nature of the cloud environment, the lack of clarity from many vendors regarding product userights and the impact cloud usage has on licensing terms. When considering IaaS, itâ€™s critical for the cloud service provider to deploy license management tools in the public cloud so that its cloud customers have the
visibility and control they need to manage their entitlements. Generally, one of the key challenges of moving to the cloud is that any business unit within an organisation can subscribe to IaaS services without permission from IT, resulting in loss of IT control and visibility. As a result, organisations may fail to set up rigorous processes to control their license consumption, which in turn can lead to additional expenses as organisations overuse or underuse software. So what can companies do to successfully manage software licenses in the cloud? 1. Keep the IT department and/ or the license manager as the gate keeper for any licenses. This can be done via enterprise app stores that allow users to select the application they want to use and which then have the ability to check for license availability during the approval workflow. 2. Monitor the usage of all licenses across cloud and on-
premises environments, making sure they are always used at their optimum capacity. Processes must be set up to manage the full lifecycle of these licenses. 3. Optimisation must be automated and continuous to leverage a deep understanding of entitlements and associated product use rights. Both the compliance challenges that exist when moving on-premises licenses to the cloud, coupled with the effort required to optimise the cloud-based entitlements, should not be underestimated. Despite the promise of simplicity, cloud licensing models have their own challenges. Organisations should understand and consider the impact on software license management before adopting a particular cloud based delivery model. There are savings associated with monitoring cloud license consumption and performing software license optimisation, but organisations must be cognizant that they cannot rely on cloud providers to perform these tasks. It is their responsibility. n
Strategy: Graham Jarvis
How to Manage the Cloud Effectively Moving applications to the cloud is just the start of the journey, the next part is to make sure the applications are running efficiently and effectively.
Graham Jarvis Graham Jarvis is an experienced technology and business journalist and is a staff member on CCi.
ver the last few years cloud analysts, vendors and other interested parties have talked predominantly about the benefits of cloud computing – including its cost-efficiencies and its ability to allow organisation to upscale and downscale according to demand. The argument today is different. The old benefits still apply, but the conversation has changed. Vendors such as VCE are now talking more to customers about how organisations can become more effective in the way they deploy cloud-based applications and services to improve their competitiveness and profitability. Bryan Foss, a visiting professor at Bristol Business School, nevertheless agrees that many organisations have traditionally perceived the cloud to be less of a strategic long-term asset than they do today. “Too often cloud services and application decisions have been made by individual, often isolated, departments with only their near term needs and budgets in mind”, he says. This has often enabled a degree of business agility that centralised IT departments can’t support – either through a lack of time or business competencies.
Supporting capabilities As part of the recent shift in thinking organisations’ boards have realised that cloud services “can be used to support the rapid implementation of new core business capabilities, through business cases that avoid major capital expenditure and enable pay-as-you-go budgeting from operational budgets (other than the set-up costs of course”, he adds. In his view this new approach has created an entirely new level of competitive capability, which he thinks can be used to support what he calls ‘first mover’ and ‘first follower’ strategies at a relatively low economic risk. In addition to these options there is ‘fail fast’, which enables new business services to be trialled quickly and when capital investment and financial write-offs are limited. A failure to interconnect Clive Longbottom, Client Services Director, at analyst firm Quocirca says that cloud market is still maturing, but he thinks that there are “too many products on the market that regard everything physical or everything as virtual”. In this case they don’t deliver any kind of
interconnectedness as a platform. With regards to the hybrid cloud he says there is a need for solutions that “not only manage the hardware and software platforms that are under the direct control of the organisation, but which also need to monitor environments in the public clouds outside of their direct control.” This will enable organisations to identify the root cause of any issue should one arise. Decentralisation John Hall, Head of Portfolio at Atos UK and Ireland, also argues that there are many organisations who fail to effectively manage their cloud deployments, applications and services because “they don’t know what they don’t know.” This is because there is a tendency for business users of cloud applications and services to engage directly with cloud service providers, and this leads to a loss of visibility and control by their centralised IT departments. “Such a disaggregation of services can result in inefficient business processes (as they are no longer integrated) – the cost impact of this may well eclipse the cost reductions anticipated from procuring point solutions from the cloud in the first place”, he explains. For example, a Head of Marketing might consider his own departmental needs above those of the corporate organisation. As a result the business may no longer be spending its budgets in the most effective way. So organisations become not just less efficient, but also less effective from a cost and operational perspective. Understand the choices With the new focus on effectiveness decisions about cloud management and procurement need to be business outcome driven. “Chief information officers (CIOs), chief technology officers (CTOs) and other businessfacing seniors in the digital delivery organisation need to understand the wider choice core systems delivery models - from contact centres to online and analytics – to allow better recommendations to be made to support business agility and effectiveness”, says Foss. He thinks that organisations’ internal services have
for too long focused on managing legacy systems or concentrated upon delivering solutions that suit their skills and infrastructure. They should instead consider the solutions that are best suited meet a business purpose and outcome. Mark Adams, Managing Director for cloud service provider Cloudmore, therefore advises organisations to use a gap analysis to properly understand the chasm between command and control to realise what will change by adopting a new model. “Once this is done, organisations can then take the appropriate steps to mitigate any risks with the appropriate cloud management tools.” The worst thing that can happen in this view is that the person influencing the cloud decisions could turn around and say “I told you so” if the business is driven away from the efficiencies and agility that cloud platforms, services and applications
Strategy: Graham Jarvis
can provide organisations. Let’s remember that the trend has moved towards a pursuit of effectiveness rather than just on the shortterm goal of adopting cloud technologies to make an organisation efficient. The latter is still important, and that’s probably why the hybrid cloud model is being seen as the best way forward. It offers a compromise between the two. Its popularity has increased to the point that cloud pundits believe that 2015 will be the year when the hybrid cloud model finally reaches its maturity. Motivations and realities Jeff Wolfers, a CIO and management consultant at Wolmac and Partners, nevertheless thinks that hybrid clouds are born out of one of two distinct motivations and realities: The first is where internal IT teams “are often wary of putting their own jobs at risk and so they recommend that a given application, service or workload be split into multiple components with portions being moved into the public cloud, while leaving the core of the service anchored inside the organisation’s firewall to preserve IT’s role as the operator of the service.” Secondly, he says it can be because the existing applications and services are too complex, convoluted or so overly “reliant on legacy platforms from which only portions can easily be moved into the cloud, and so hybrid solutions are the only option.” He adds that when a cloud is managed ineffectively, the issues that arise from it depend on whether it is a public, private or hybrid cloud model that is being deployed and managed. The end result overall is poor service availability, slow time to market, and a negative impact on an organisation’s budgets. Right tools, right job Hall therefore adds: “People are beginning to realise that one size doesn’t fit all, and so organisations need to select the right tools for the right job – but this creates challenges of its own as they need to consider the appropriate mix of tools and services, such as Cloud Service Integration and Management (SIAM).” He says a Cloud SIAM is especially important in the public sector because it often has to manage different levels of security for different kinds of services, which he explains are not always offered as standard by public cloud providers – and it’s worth noting that not all IT solutions work well in the cloud, and so the adoption of hybrid cloud is bound to continue to grow. Top 10 tips: Managing Cloud Effectively To help your own organisation to grow, the aforementioned participants in the research for this
article offered the following top 10 tips for enabling you to manage your cloud platforms, applications and services effectively: 1. Ensure that IT is represented by a hybrid business or technology senior executive within the core executive team. 2. Know why you’re interested in moving your workloads to the cloud. 3. Have a clear end-to-end vision of how cloud will help you to achieve your business objectives. 4. Choose a provider who can give you good technical support in the way you want to consume it. 5. Define your critical success factors and document your learning points from earlier deployments. 6. Create and agree a project plan with your providers or executive team that is at least as good as or better than your normal IT planning regime. 7. Develop a business case construction and review process that highlights the comparative benefits of cloud solutions in minimising capital expenditure and which supports variable scale business and ‘fast failure’ learning. 8. Understand that the delivery of IT solutions sometimes has to run at two speeds, so to minimise risk it’s best to start small before growing big. 9. Communicate with your users the benefits and possible challenges that they might face, and allow them to offer feedback. 10. Constantly revise and improve your organisation’s abilities to collaborate with suppliers, contract and manage them – not only independently, but also as part of the overall achievement of objectives. A question of control Jeff Wolfers concludes by predicting that in 10-15 years’ time enterprises will wonder why they built and operated their own datacentres. He says that “no-one but the largest of companies will own them and cloud service operators will have absorbed the majority of new computing growth.” This therefore opens up the question about who is best suited to effectively managing public, private and hybrid clouds. If your organisation has the right specialised skills and knowledge, the cloud management effectiveness could lie internally – then again cloud service providers offer these competencies plus economies of scale, and so the most effective option might be a combination of the two as part of a hybrid cloud deployment. So take your time, don’t rush in to achieve more by making the right decisions and plans with the right cloud partner to attain your business objectives. n
Strategy: Jelle Frank
How hosting providers can maximise the cloud opportunity Interxions’s Director of Business Development and Marketing for the Cloud, explains why providers who grab the cloud market now will gain a significant boost fuelled by the marketing, development and innovation budgets of the market leaders.
Jelle Frank Jelle Frank manages the panEuropean marketing and product development programme for Interxion and has over 12 years of experience working in ICT product and business development. Prior to joining Interxion, he was responsible for product management and marketing of managed services at Imtech ICT, and was Senior Product Marketing manager at UPC, responsible for data services in the Netherlands and he began his career working in marketing management positions for KPN and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
he cloud markets on either side of the Atlantic are still very different. European providers know that the hype around cloud computing is often skewed towards a US perspective, so there are still many unanswered questions about how to successfully capitalise on the cloud opportunity in Europe. With so many players in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) market, rapid growth is driving fierce competition. There are two main battlegrounds: the provision of IT infrastructure services – compute, storage and network – and the delivery of value-added services such as database, security, disaster recovery and business applications. The global industry leaders – Amazon, Microsoft, Softlayer – aren’t limiting themselves to the former but are continually developing their offerings to address enterprise needs at all levels, leading to increased competition in the hosting market. The challenge for smaller providers So the challenge is to grab a slice
of the cloud pie, while avoiding an unprofitable and unwinnable price war. This issue is that cloud computing has an element of commoditisation at its heart. This puts pressure on hosting providers – especially those catering to the SMB market – to launch cloud services that enable them to differentiate themselves from the competition and justify higher margins than large-scale commoditised services can typically support. To maintain margins, many successful providers have adopted a combination of the five strategies outlined below. A geographically distributed hosting service The market for cloud services presents an opportunity for European hosting providers to expand geographically and deliver cloud services internationally. For example Swedish provider City Cloud offers its OpenStack-based public cloud in Sweden, UK and Germany. Although other providers may have nodes in more than one
Strategy: Jelle Frank data centre, what’s unique about City Cloud is that those nodes are connected. This means that data, workloads, virtual machines and so on can flow seamlessly between all three locations over private secure wavelengths. Sometimes it doesn’t matter where cloud services are delivered from, because they’re accessible from anywhere. Indeed, larger hosting providers typically target customers in new countries with their existing product offering, without necessarily building a local platform, enabling them to launch in new territories at lower cost. But most of the time location is actually crucial, for two reasons: performance (low latency) and data sovereignty (the forthcoming European data privacy laws). Moving up the value chain The primary reason for a hosting provider to go up the value chain is to differentiate itself by providing value-added services. These services are typically cloud-based applications targeted at enterprises that lack sufficient expertise and resources to migrate on their own or to manage applications in the cloud. The biggest opportunities lie in applications and services that haven’t yet been commoditised or that are inherently more complex to migrate or manage, such as hosted/ virtualised desktops, security or middleware services. UK-based TIG is an example of a service provider that has successfully used a hosted desktop approach to move into the cloud arena. Of course the landscape will continue to shift, with commoditisation moving up the value chain as the leading global cloud providers expand their service offerings. Companies adopting this business strategy are likely to be able to capture a larger – and more strategic – part of their customers’ IT budgets and develop the economies of scale
and expertise that they can use to preserve margins. Make your service levels exceptional This strategy focuses on attracting customers by demonstrating exceptional flexibility, responsiveness and customer knowledge, as well as offering first-class service quality and SLAs. Providers which focus on this approach need to invest in people who can understand customer needs and solve problems. For European enterprises, hosting providers with local presence and knowledge are the natural choice, if they can provide the right level of personal support and value for money. A good example is Aspectra, based in Zurich, Switzerland. Aspectra implements, operates and monitors IT environments for business-critical applications that require very high levels of security, availability and performance. Its IT outsourcing is FINMA compliant and ISO 27001 certified. Hybrid clouds: integrating multiple clouds Today, most enterprises wanting to take advantage of cloud services are opting for a hybrid model – a mix of public cloud, private cloud services and on-premises. This presents an opportunity for hosting providers to move away from pure infrastructure provision and become trusted advisors and orchestrators of cloud services. Like a systems integrator, the hosting provider can offer design
and implementation of hybrid cloud services, migration support with minimal risk, and end-to-end responsibility for service operation. In other words, cloud computing is disrupting traditional roles, blurring the line between service provider and systems integrator. Many traditional hosting providers are adapting themselves accordingly. They’re moving towards a new business model, positioning themselves as ‘boutique’ providers with a strong focus on customer service and the ability to deliver problem-solving solutions to customers. They’re giving customers choices about where to put their applications and what mix of IT service delivery models to employ. For example, Netherlands-based Amsio has combined its investment
in its own private cloud platform based on Microsoft’s Azure Pack with Interxion’s Cloud Connect. This enables it to become the first Dutch provider to deliver seamless hybrid cloud services via Microsoft Express Route through a single management environment. Be the most efficient and flexible The defining characteristic of any cloud service is that it allows customers to consume compute resources as and when needed on a usage-based model. However, there is a market for hosting providers to differentiate themselves from the global cloud providers in terms of flexibility, enabling how the service is delivered to be customised to the
specific needs of each customer. Non-bundled resource sizing, choice of operating system, and short billing cycles are all good examples. This strategy, usually adopted by pure-play cloud providers, enables customers to purchase the computing resource they need, only when they need it. Customers can configure CPU, RAM, storage and bandwidth independently and create their desired customised solution. We’ve seen, for instance, Gigas, Blacknight and Singlehop use this strategy effectively. Taking advantage of the cloud The challenge for hosting providers, especially those targeting small and medium businesses, is to work out
how to grab a share of the cloud market. Because competing on price is an unwinnable war, hosting providers need to find a way of providing cloud services that stand out in the market. Differentiating through customer knowledge, flexible solutions and premium quality of service is the key to taking advantage of this opportunity. Hosting providers that don’t rise to the challenge, risk being left behind as the global market leaders rapidly seize market share and dominate the cloud landscape. But providers which address the challenge can turn this threat into a significant opportunity – fuelled by the marketing, development and innovation budgets of named market leaders. n
BYOC: Chris Sigley
Why businesses need to get their head out of the iCloud Chris Sigley explains why businesses need to abandon storing confidential data on consumer cloud services.
s the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) trend continues to capture the attention of security conscious IT Managers, there has been less industry focus on the rise of another trend known as “Shadow IT” or “Bring Your Own Collaboration” (BYOC), whereby employees use iCloud, or any number of other consumer-grade cloud storage, sharing and collaboration software, in the workplace. Whilst BYOD is seen by many as a progressive trend, BYOC has significant security implications, as it can result in confidential company data leaving systems and networks controlled by the company’s IT dept, leaving files open to loss or theft. In May 2014, a vulnerability was exposed in the Dropbox “security
through obscurity” approach to private file sharing. The vulnerability was found to leave files open to unintended access in two different ways. The first was when users shared files via private links, which were then innocently inputted into the search box of their browsers rather than the URL bar. In this instance, these searches were logged by search providers such as Google and were able to be accessed by third parties. The second occurred when a privately shared document contained a link to a website, the act of clicking the website link in the document disclosed the URL of the document to the owner or manager of the website in the form of an HTTP referrer header. Anyone that could access website analytics for the website in question would
then have access to the document. This was just one of many examples in the last few years of how a company’s confidential data could be left at risk should consumer services be relied upon to provide a high level of security. Employees are no long working from traditional single office sites and instead are becoming more mobile, dividing their time between multiple office locations, their homes, and public places such as cafes and libraries.This increase in mobility in the workplace has consequently led to a greater need to access files on the go, and the BYOC trend becoming more prevalent. Whilst the use of these consumer services no doubt eases the mobility and collaboration challenges faced by employees in the short term, BYOC
Chris Sigley Chris Sigley is General Manager of Redstor and is responsible for the day to day running of the company. Chris joined Redstor in September 2004 and has progressed through numerous sales and management roles and has overseen its growth and evolution into a provider of key services and solutions.
file sharing software that has been criticised, Apple notoriously came under fire last August when personal images of over 100 female celebrities were leaked on to the Internet. Originally it was believed that hackers had found an exploit in its iCloud service that allowed them forced access into the celebritiesâ€™ iCloud accounts but it later emerged that the hackers had employed a targeted phishing scam in order to retrieve the celebritiesâ€™ passwords. So, given the risk posed by these services, what can businesses do to mitigate against them? How can they remain compliant whilst enabling staff to benefit from remote and collaborative software?
Why is the technology used? As a business owner, the first step to facilitating secure remote and collaborative working, is to recognise why employees use these technologies. Many staff use these services as a way to drive productivity, and asking them what particular functions they find most useful will allow companies to determine what their current infrastructure might be lacking. Do your staff understand the security risks? Once you have an understanding of the reasons why some of these technologies are used, businesses can start working towards educating their staff about the risks associated with them.
When consumer services are used in the workplace, employees tend to be unaware of the threat to security. Whilst their intentions are often good, educating staff is an essential step in ensuring the potential threats are understood. In addition, many employees may be unaware that by using these services, they may be breaching legislation, putting both themselves and their employer at risk of fines or legal action. Use the right technologies The next step is to deliver the functionality employees require whilst remaining safe and compliant, by
exploring other available technologies. Remote working and collaboration is becoming essential for many businesses. With proper integration in the workplace with these technologies, organisations are able to ensure that all employees are using the same technology and that allows administrators to properly and effectively manage confidential data. Enterprise services offer considerably more security and privacy than their consumer counterparts, with features including; two-factor authentication, integration with Active Directory, enterprise SLAs and assurances regarding encryption and
data sovereignty. Following the introduction of this type of technology into the workplace, companies can feel more confident that their staff can work to the best of their ability whilst also adhering to the organisationâ€™s acceptable usage policy. For the employee using the service, the benefits over a consumer service are perhaps less obvious but are just as important. Whilst consumer services provide much of the same user functionality, using a corporate service will help protect both them and their employer against risks such as data loss, data leakage, legal action and fines. n
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Disaster Recovery: Richard Blandford
Is cloud the right DR solution for your organisation? We look at how to choose the right cloud configuration for your organisations disaster recovery strategy.
Richard Blandford Richard Blandford is MD and founder of Fordway. Richard started the company in 1991 and has built the company into one of the UK’s most respected infrastructure transformation and managed services providers.
he emergence of hosted and cloud disaster recovery (DR) options, combined with virtualisation and SAN and application replication, mean that the cost and complexity of implementing disaster recovery (DR) to meet sub-24 hour recovery times and recovery points is reducing. Cloud clearly offers an option that will interest many organisations. Before making the move to cloud, however, it is vital to first ask the right questions, as the DR solution needs to be driven by the needs of the business. In what order should services be restored? How quickly are they needed? The most important thing is to have a backup and recovery plan that’s realistic and proven. Cloud is particularly well-suited to businesses who cannot provide DR themselves for a number of reasons; they may have no suitable second site, be unable to afford the solutions, or DR may be simply too difficult to achieve. Choosing a cloud-based solution enables them to have state of the art DR capabilities at a substantially lower cost than traditional supplier services. Instead of having all their own backup equipment, they pay a monthly fixed cost per TB of protected data with limitless capacity. They may be able to reduce costs further by finding cloud solutions that use compatible infrastructure to their own, using technologies such as SAN replication, hypervisor replication and application replication to minimise data transfer and replication timescales.
However, there is a downside. Some DR solutions are located offshore, whereas to meet compliance requirements organisations may need to keep their data in the UK. It is vital to find out where the data centres providing the services are located. Data should be stored in a jurisdiction that has the correct safeguards in place and does not contravene the Data Protection Act or comparable legislation in other jurisdictions. If the potential service provider cannot provide a contract with guarantees on this, look for another provider. Some organisations may be concerned about the security aspects of cloud, which in the past has been a key inhibitor for the take-up of cloud services. In most cases, we assert, these fears are overstated, and should be considered more general risk management than security. With appropriate due diligence cloud can actually provide improved security, because most cloud service providers will implement and manage considerably better IT security controls than internal IT departments. To choose the best DR solution, organisations first need to consider how quickly they want critical services restored in the event of a problem. Fordway’s rules of thumb for recovery or the most critical element of an organisation’s IT service are shown in Table 1 Having decided on a cloud DR solution, the next step is to compare potential suppliers. The key criteria to consider are:
Acceptable time to recover most critical service
Potential technology to employ
3 to 4 days
Tape recovery to standby hardware
1 to 2 days
Backup based replication to second site or cloud backup service
8 to 24 hours
SAN or NAS data replication to warm standby site with suitable hardware to run service and good, tested recovery procedure
2 to 8 hours
Near real time data replication to a live or hot standby site
under 2 hours
Services running active/active across two data centres with automated failover
• Supplier expertise, track record, responsiveness and flexibility • Supplier ability and willingness to guarantee service levels • Independently verified quality standards: ISO27000, pangovernment accreditation, ISO2000, ISO9000 • Known fixed cost (per TB or per server) which scales as your organisation does • Off-site storage and management of secondary copy of backed-up data for DR • Service restoration to defined SLA • Regular reporting on service status and core metrics • Continuous monitoring and proactive alerting on all key components. Both parties need to understand and manage any idiosyncrasies that have evolved in the organisation’s current IT infrastructure. Information sharing, maintaining a clear bilateral definition of roles and responsibilities plus good
communications will go a long way toward building trust. The more both parties can reach mutual understanding on goals, metrics and mechanisms, the better the potential for a strong working relationship. One organisation which has implemented cloud-based DR is Team BFK, one of the engineering consortia building infrastructure for London’s Crossrail. It has implemented a cloud-based solution using Fordway infrastructure in two UK data centres to provide storage and back-up respectively. Fordway provides a ‘warm standby’ recovery service, and in the event of a problem can bring all systems back online within 30 minutes to two hours. Cloud based DR may not suit every organisation, but it offers specific benefits that should certainly be considered when reviewing an organisation’s DR strategy. It also offers a starting point to move other services to cloud, giving organisations confidence to consider cloud when they are ready for their next upgrade. n
G-Cloud: Graham Jarvis
Growing the G-Cloud For the Public and Private Sector Graham Jarvis looks at the latest G-Cloud trends, and analyses how local authorities and the Government are managing their cloud procurement.
Graham Jarvis Graham Jarvis is an experienced technology and business journalist and is a staff member on CCi
ccording to former G-Cloud programme director Chris Chant the Government Digital Service is one of the most open Government departments. Among its priorities for this year are: the need to help its departments to leave unsuitable IT contracts, to spend less and gain better value for money, and to build a Digital Marketplace for the public sector to buy digital products and services. The Digital Marketplace replaces the Cloudstore, and includes some G-Cloud services. David Dinsdale, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Atos, agrees that G-Cloud uptake is going from strength to strength. “According to data published by the Cabinet Office, total G-Cloud expenditure quadrupled from £87m to £336m in the course of one year during 2014; and the number of buyers has risen from 346 to 695 today”, he explains. Based on what he’s seen the G-Cloud, the original Cloudstore and now the Digital Marketplace have spawned thousands of projects. “Tony Singleton, Director of Government Digital Services – which manages the G-Cloud project – says
that based on their internal analysis, savings have been achieved of up to 50% and just over a third of local government organisations have used G-Cloud so far, and spending with SMEs equated to £162m – that’s 48% of total spending”, he says. In his opinion it’s also worth noting that of the 455 suppliers who’ve won business via G-Cloud, 355 of them are SMEs. He therefore thinks that the Government has done a fantastic job, but this still leaves two-thirds of local government bodies who’ve yet to procure applications and services by using the G-Cloud. Specialist cloud services Procurement tends to sit around four lots: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Software-as-aService (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and specialist cloud services (which is also known as Lot 4). Chant says that most of the public sector’s spending involves Lot 4, which takes Government departments and public sector organisations from where they are now and moves them towards adopting a more cloudcentric solution.
Chant, who now works as a consultant for Rainmaker Solutions, adds: “Most organisations are trying to work out how they transform from the traditional way that Government has operated with IT to the new ways that are now available.” He says that once they make this transition the quoted 50% in potential savings will only get bigger. With IaaS, for example, the cost savings can be between 80- 90%. For his prediction to become reality, and with only a third of local authorities making their purchases through the G-Cloud, the Government still needs to campaign to increase awareness. “There is the cloud first mandate in central government, which means that any Government organisation has to look at the G-Cloud first before going anywhere else, and so would expect take-up to be heavier in Government than anywhere else, but I have always been a fan of the way local authorities do IT at a lower cost than central government”, explains Chant. Yet awareness of the G-Cloud amongst local authorities was cited in January 2014 by Singleton as an issue that certainly needs addressing. He cited figures from 2013 at a conference in London during January, and they showed that 80% of local authorities had never heard of the G-Cloud. He also argued that the time has come for local and central government IT departments to cash in on the savings that cloud computing offers. Yet change comes slowly in the sector, and it involves working with local government organisations and their partners to increase their
awareness of how they can use the G-Cloud to procure cloud services. He also pledged to continue to reach out to suppliers with the aim of increasing competition in order to drive down public sector procurement costs. Mindset change needed Clive Longbottom, Client Services Director at analyst firm, Quocirca says there needs to be a change in mindset: “Many people in the public sector do not accept that any project costing less than six figures is a real project, and so projects costing seven figures and above are just far too common.” He says that in many cases a G-Cloud solution will cost in the region of a five figure sum, which he thinks is quite cheap. He adds that accountability needs to be improved. In other words he believes that project heads and departmental leaders need to act as if the public sector money was in a private environment because overspending threatens jobs. They should be aiming to achieve best value for money rather than a cheapest is best approach. He also argues that the large integrators such as IBM and Capita are unlikely to embrace a platform that undermines them, but the lower overheads of the smaller suppliers are likely help SMEs to beat these “big guys”. Enterprise struggles In fact John Hall, Head of Strategy and Portfolio at Atos, says that the larger enterprises have struggled a lot more than the SMEs with G-Cloud. “I think it’s because the Government is encouraging involvement with SMEs.” His colleague Dinsdale adds that the
most successful supplier on G-Cloud has been Huddle. “Their largest client is the Department for Business, which has spent £402,000 with Huddle to date and Huddle’s smallest client is Preston City Council who’ve spent £1,200 – and across 112 clients Huddle has earned itself £2.79m.” Atos itself has 20 clients in the public sector, gained via G-Cloud and the total amount of business that it has gained from it amounts to £4.3m. “We have a wide range of products that we provide, such as secure hosting for organisations such as DEFRA; and we provide security products for council and Agile development for the Skills Funding Council”, says Dinsdale. It’s also not the only supplier working with DEFRA because the work involves an entire ecosystem of half a dozen suppliers. Within this ecosystem all of the parties involved are expected to work together. SME visibility “The G-Cloud raises the visibility of the capability of SMEs – the valueadd that they can bring that was previously hidden”, he comments. An example of one of those former SMEs is Kainos. It has now grown to employ 450 people, and its growth has been on the back of public sector business. Some of this business has come via the G-Cloud, and it has earned the company £10.3m in revenues. Nowadays the firm is ranked seventh in terms of public sector spending via the G-Cloud. Halls adds: “There is value in SMEs being able to work with the
G-Cloud: Graham Jarvis
big systems integrators because Government departments need to help to integrate their systems, and so SMEs can come in on the back of a large opportunity.” This wouldn’t in his view have been possible in the past because SMEs just couldn’t afford to be part of the procurement process. Tendered contracts therefore mostly went to large enterprises, and yet more could still be done to encourage them to participate and to allow them to focus on what they’re really good at – product innovation. Quicker deployments Government and public sector organisations generally should seriously consider procuring their applications and services via the G-Cloud. Chant explains why: “G-Cloud is useful for any public sector organisation that wishes to move quickly at low cost in delivering new public sector services, and while I am not tendering at the moment I am helping public sector organisations to transform themselves, and I help private sector organisations to position their products in G-Cloud.”
He also believes that the G-Cloud has demonstrated the art of the possible: “The whole way of buying would be from a systems integrator’s perspective where there would be little understanding of the modern ways of doing things – for example, one organisation asked its incumbent systems integrator about doing a piece of work, and they also looked on G-Cloud for this product.” It took the systems integrator as much time to deliver a quote as it did for the G-Cloud to deliver. The quote came out as being the same as it would cost to G-Cloud to deliver the service. Embracing G-Cloud That aside Hertfordshire County Council, which has spent £89,000 in G-Cloud procurements, says there is a need for councils to learn and share good practice. For example it wants to attract ideas from SMEs to improve the design of its website, which it wants to feature the latest technology to anticipate customers’ needs and to offer a more userfriendly service. To achieve this it wants to spend £1m and while it’s
holding an event to attract web design companies the council plans to buy services and products for the website’s re-development through the G-Cloud in order to save a predicted £240,000 a year by 2017. It believes the website will achieve these savings by cutting the website’s operational costs and because it forecasts a reduced call volumes to its contact centre. The G-Cloud therefore offers opportunities for companies large and small as well as for a range of public sector organisations – including Hertfordshire County Council. Chant believes that the G-Cloud’s uptake is bound to increase over time. SMEs will particularly play a role in its ongoing success because of their lower prices, ability to deliver projects faster than larger enterprises and because they’re more innovative. Yet it’s not just about IT as he says; it’s about delivering better public services to the taxpayer through the development of the Digital Marketplace at a more affordable price at time when councils are making huge cuts. With the G-Cloud this can be achieved. n
ISSUE 21 21
OpenStack: Timothy Serewicz
Getting Started with OpenStack OpenStack is fast becoming the default platform for businesses building their cloud infrastructure. The Linux Foundation’s Tim Serewicz takes you through a quick guide to OpenStack
Timothy Serewicz Timothy Serewicz is Senior Instructor and Curriculum Developer at The Linux Foundation. With more than 15 years of experience working with the latest technologies, he has trained countless professionals in their use. In addition to The Linux Foundation, Tim is a certified trainer for Red Hat, IBM, Oracle University, and other startups.
penStack is a federation of services, often referred to as “The Cloud”, spread across multiple nodes, which act as an IT infrastructure using commodity equipment. This implementation of cloud computing offers a large developer base and buy-in from major technology companies. To be more precise, access to an application over the network is not necessarily using the cloud; we use the cloud to virtualise major components of a data center. Through implementing OpenStack we gain flexibility, lower costs and run an IT department which can keep up with the speed of business. Of course, changing to take advantage of cloud computing is not without cost and some challenges. Return-on-investment is always part of a thoughtful strategy. The more dynamic the demands are on IT, the more likely they could benefit from virtualising the data center. Rapid deployment, redeployment and modification can make cloud computing a worthwhile investment for large and small organisations during an entire project life cycle.
From the Coalface: Darren Woollard
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Providing data center resources as a service allows for flexibility and customisation. Traditional data center configurations become complex over time when dedicated systems are upgraded, network configurations change and vendors modify their support matrix. To keep up with ongoing change, senior IT staff must devote a lot of time to understanding the current configuration and how to change without causing other issues. This takes time and effort better spent on best practices and architectural decisions. Using OpenStack we enables them to wire oncedeploy many. The configuration of storage, networking and other resources are managed and viewed from a single perspective, allowing for less time understanding the physical makeup of the environment. Deployment of compute engines (Nova), Software Defined Networking (Neutron), distributed storage (Ceph) and other OpenStack services allows the infrastructure to be physically connected once, then configured and reconfigured at the software layer. No more hours spent pulling floor tiles trying to figure out how the network was configured in years past, and possibly changed without proper notice or documentation.
As new equipment arrives, it can be dynamically added to the environment, becoming available quickly and easily, while existing hardware can be replaced with minimal interaction due to the layers of virtualisation as well. Virtualisation Separating stack layers with easy to configure software, or virtualisation, is integral to Cloud use. Virtualisation allows multiple instances of an operating system on one piece of hardware. The same concept is applied toward access to the network and storage. Each major component of a computer is referenced via a complex framework of configurations and APIs, providing the flexibility to change individual layers without having to reconfigure the entire environment or physically moving hardware or cables around. Virtualisation is not without cost. Software and hardware must be developed to be aware and capable of virtualisation. Layering affects performance, requiring more resources to provide the same level of service to the end user. Instead of specialised equipment we can deploy smaller, commodity hardware and leverage horizontal scaling for a cost-effective deployment.
OpenStack: Timothy Serewicz
IT resources at the speed of business The speed of business is not slowing down, with demands on IT department both varied and particular. Traditional environments have a lengthy deployment procedure including purchasing particular systems, integrating them into the physical environment, configuration, and ongoing maintenance and care. Trying to combine workloads can be difficult, leading to systems with low utilisation. Virtualised access to dynamic infrastructure allows easy deployment and customisation, and removes the need for any particular vendor to maintain or grow the environment. The removal of vendor-lock often leads to better service and lower costs as an added value. Scaling to meet demand Technology needs change over time, often requiring more resources than planned during the procurement phase, often months or years before the project begins. The use of distributed services and multiple, independent schedulers in cloud software allows for adding resources dynamically. A small start-up with twenty nodes can literally grow as fast as they can purchase equipment if they began with a cloud deployment. Traditionally a projectâ€™s technology requirements might preclude its being pursued. The use of public clouds can make the resources available with much less up front cost. If the new venture doesnâ€™t turn out, the resources can be released without further cost,
maintenance, or storage necessary. Companies of all sizes also compete for skilled labor. Cloud implementations remove much of the complexity of ongoing operation and require the same skill set from a few nodes to thousands. Many vendors developing for the cloud have led to a large number of qualified workers, helping companies choose the best from many. Public-private Clouds Capacity planning and disaster recovery can keep management up at night. Traditional deployments must be configured for maximum expected usage, which may occur only days out of the month or weeks of the year. A broken water pipe could lead to loss of production systems, paralysing business activities. To allow for the unknown, a private cloud can be configured to use resources from a public cloud when necessary. If customer demand spikes, the new resources can be added in moments. Planned peak use, like end of quarter financial or holiday rush, can be prepared for resources allocated only when actually necessary. Should disaster strike business applications can be brought up across the world using public cloud resources. OpenStack may not answer all the needs of a dynamic IT department but it can offer the flexibility and scalability necessary while minimising the requirements of the staff at commodity cost. OpenStack has become an essential choice for data center installation, configuration and management. The large developer and user base, and large vendor support has brought it to be an essential component of data centers large and small. n
Maximum Performance, Scalability and Flexibility for 12 Gb/s Ecosystem Adaptec Series 8 RAID Adapters Series 8 RAID adapters bring to market a number of breakthroughs for the most performance-intensive applications and dense server environments. The complete Series 8 family is available in 4, 8 and 16 native port configurations, the next generation of maxCache, third-generation Zero Maintenance Cache Protection, and Adaptec maxView which makes it simple to monitor and configure Series 8 RAID adapters:
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