Move to cloud, companies told-A A +A
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
CLOUD computing allows businesses to take advantage of technology solutions without the need for an “up-front cost,” a technology company official said last week.
ArcusIT managing director and chief technology officer Jojo Colina said “there is a cloud solution whatever the economic requirements” of businesses.
Cloud computing is the delivery of storage and computing services over the Internet.
Unlike traditional solutions where computing services are stored and run within the company’s premises, cloud computing allows companies to store their data or run their applications in servers located outside the company or “in the cloud.”
Colina said cloud computing solutions “will be able to meet demands of the high points and low points” of the businesses. When the company experiences a surge in demand for computing resources, it can easily meet this by increasing subscription packages. When there is no more need for the resources, the company can just scale back on the package and save costs, he said.
Cloud computing providers gathered in Cebu last July 4 for CloudCamp Cebu 2012, an event held to educate businesses on the advantages of moving to the cloud.
Cyril Rocke of DataOne Asia said that with the cloud, businesses are able to get the benefits of technology in small “sachet” packages. He said the incremental cost is very low with reduced risks because of the lack of an initial investment.
He said most cloud service providers pledge 99.99 percent availability, which they are able to offer because of their investments on infrastructure, connectivity and redundancy.
But to take advantage of the strength of cloud computing, “you assume that things will fail,” Colina said, adding that businesses should not rely on a single provider.
Benjie Tan of Globe Business said there is “coopetition” or a level of cooperation among competitors in the cloud because “you’ve got to do what you have to do to protect your infrastructure.”
“Don’t have a single point of failure,” said John Pabellon of NetSuite. He said “not all cloud providers are created equal” and businesses should look into track records of providers.
Kevin Pratesa of VMWare says cloud computing can meet “whatever workload” businesses have. He said that companies with in-house solutions can still use cloud services as redundancy or a mode for disaster recovery.
But in evaluating providers, he said companies should also look into whether they have redundancies and disaster recovery mechanisms.
Rocke cautioned against putting data outside the country saying “there will be risks.”
Pabellon, however, said many companies prefer storing their data in countries like the United States, which has strong data privacy laws. For some businesses like Jollibee, “where data reside is a non-issue,” he said.
Pratesa said an effective cloud strategy protects business from being locked into
specific vendors like what happened during the “mainframe bandwagon.”
Pratesa said security is the top consideration among those who take advantage of cloud services. He said security should be a multi-pronged approach that should take into account things like physical security, software and processes.
He said the New York Stock Exchange, which manages a third of the world’s wealth,
takes advantage of both a public and private cloud.
Rocke said, however, that most security break-ins happen internally and most data thefts are inside jobs.
Christopher Syling of Intel said mobile devices that are used to access cloud services also have to be secured. He said Intel is working to secure the hardware layer.
The officials also pushed for government to move into the cloud but said there should be a legal framework for this. Tan said there are “small steps” by different
government agencies to move to the cloud.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) “has realized that if they had access to an elastic computing platform to meet demands of tax filing” then they can justify the move to the cloud with the efficiency and savings.
Tan said, however, that audit laws prevent agencies from moving to the cloud because of such practices as requiring yearly biddings. He said cloud services are typically covered by multi-year contracts.
Pratesa said they have been able to work on cloud initiatives with different governments. He said that with the different moves by different government units, the challenge is “how do we stitch together all these initiatives.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 11, 2012.