NGD: Sunny Forecasts for Cloud Puts Extra Onus on Data Centres

Sunny forecasts for cloud puts extra onus on data centres

By Steve Davis 26 | July | 2016

NGD’s marketing director Steve Davis believes more diligence will be necessary to keep those unexpected showers at bay.

IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure tracker shows an overall increase of cloud infrastructure spending of 15.5 percent this year, reaching $37.1 billion (£29bn). Not one geographical region will experience a decline in cloud spending with investments in public cloud growing at a faster rate than investments in private cloud infrastructure.

Longer-term, IDC is expecting spending on IT infrastructure for cloud to grow at a 13.1 percent annual rate to $59.5 billion (£46bn) in 2020, representing almost half (48.7 percent) of total spending on IT infrastructure.

This is all good news for cloud providers and equipment makers of servers, storage, and Ethernet switches. However, as the expectations and requirements from the users of cloud-based services continue to grow, CSPs/MSPs will need to place an increasing emphasis on their ability to deliver on increasingly arduous service level agreements and underpinning these with cast iron guarantees on uptime and business continuity. This is important whether the customer chooses Public, Private or more likely a combination of the two in a Hybrid Cloud.

This is where the quality of the data centres being used comes in. After all, the data centre is where the buck well and truly stops when it comes to cloud service delivery, or lack of it. But data centres are not commodities and the quality may vary, sometimes considerably, from a regional and country to country perspective.  From both a provider and end user point of view this is worth remembering as the cloud services in question may span several data centres.

As part of your due diligence be sure to take a hard look at the data centres involved:

  • Location

Where are they? Data centre location will impact the cloud provider’s price to you and is influenced by cost of real estate, labour, power supply. Compare prices against similar cloud providers using other data centre locations

  • Access to data

Check there’s a legal agreement in place should your cloud provider or their data centre partner go into administration. An escrow agreement will ensure you have legal access to retrieving your data

  • Resilience and Disaster Recovery

Are sufficient back-up systems and fail-safe measures in place? ‘Tier 3’ category data centres should be used as a minimum

  • Security

For mitigating risks of downtime from natural disasters or terrorism, are they are located well away from flood plains, large urban areas, flight paths?

  • Power

How well equipped are they for powering the latest high density racks required for cloud hosting? These can need 10KW, 20KW or even 60KW per rack. Ideally, the mains supply should come directly from the national grid which ensures reliable delivery and dramatically reduces outages caused by spikes and surges

  • Connectivity

Which and how many carriers and ISPs are connected?  A choice of networks will ensure competitive pricing and continuity in the event of failure. These should offer more than enough high speed bandwidth for your provider to deliver the applications concerned.   While 15 milliseconds latency used to be considered reasonable for a cloud service, some data centres can now offer significantly faster speeds. This is really important for Hybrid Cloud implementations – the nearer they are the better the performance

  • Engineering support

Last but not least, what level of technical support does the data centre provide to their cloud providers? For server installation and capacity planning, and performing such tasks as power cycling, visual inspections and cable replacements.