A round table event held by UKFast concluded that a properly managed bespoke cloud is key to realising benefits.
Businesses expecting automatic improvements to their IT infrastructure by moving to the cloud are misunderstanding the platform.
The cloud must be properly managed and tailored to the needs of the business to reap the maximum benefits the platform provides.
A panel of cloud computing experts warned that ‘cloud is only as good as you make it’ at a round table debate held at Microsoft’s office in London and chaired by hosting specialist UKFast.
The panel discussed the potential that the platform has for businesses across the UK but warned that cost savings, increased speed and agility can only be achieved by configuring and managing the cloud correctly.
“There is a lot of self-generated myth about what cloud can and cannot do,” said Jeremy Gidlow, MD at cloud performance experts Intechnica. “We can design very resilient apps into cloud if we choose to use the options that are available but if we do not, we will not see the resilience – it is the same as it would be with a physical server.”
Gidlow explained that Intechnica have found that when comparing software as a service, infrastructure as a service and platform as a service compared with tin [physical server hosting], in terms of performance they are all the same if configured correctly.
He said: “The cloud is basically a tool box that you can choose to utilise best features of or not. So you can have that high resilience, high scalability but unless you design the application to do that from day one it just won’t work.”
Max Cooter, Director at Cloud Pro, discussed the negative press coverage that cloud has received after the recent high-profile outages. “After the Amazon outage we had a lot of companies who said that they had lost two days of business but then we had people that had no problems because they had back up plans in operation,” he said.
“It is the same as any technology; we need to have a back-up plan. If we look at cloud computing as a magic wand to solve all of our IT problems then we are going to come unstuck.”
George Frewer, Head of Enterprise at UKFast continued: “Ultimately cloud is more reliable. We hear about the one or two high-profile outages that happen with cloud but we will never hear of infrastructure problems where physical servers fail because the virtual machines supporting them are doing their jobs perfectly.”
Andrew Fryer, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft discussed how the main draw of cloud computing is slowly changing. He said: “The agility of the cloud is now the biggest draw. It allows us to experiment and if we create the next Twitter we can scale up to meet the demands, if we do not we can basically walk away without a big loss.
The panel agreed that the key is properly setting up the cloud and that once this has been achieved you need little technical skill to manage it.
Fryer said: “You also do not need a lot of technical skill – you can do quite a lot with the platform without needed the infrastructure of technical knowledge normally associated with even a hosted environment.”
Gidlow issued a warning to SMEs, he said: “Cloud’s cost savings, scalability and agility will only benefit you if you maximise the uses very carefully and control it – it is very easy to run into massive cloud usage if it is not monitored properly.”