Article by Gareth Phillips, Head of Technical Services – Cloud Centres

Go back 20 years and if you walked down any residential street in the UK on a Sunday, chances were you would see at least one person laid under a car, tinkering with it – changing the oil, spark plugs, putting in new exhaust gaskets, that sort of thing. But nowadays, you hardly ever see it, and that’s because cars have fundamentally changed; no longer are they purely mechanical things, they are now a combination of software and mechanical – often it is a computer that tells a car not to work.

There has been an analogous development in IT in the past 20 years too. At one time, you used to check your mail server every morning and pray that it wouldn’t die that day and you’d lose all your emails. But when was the last time anybody installed a mail server at their own premises? Even if they have computing equipment on site that went away a long time ago. Now we have applications like CRM, ERP and the leading players are all delivering those solutions as a service from the cloud.

And more businesses are embracing the cloud: use of public and private clouds by businesses in the UK has expanded quickly in the past few years. A Vanson Bourne survey of 2,300 IT decision makers for Nutanix in November 2018 found that UK organisations have adopted significantly more multiple public cloud services than other regions, 19% compared to a global average of 12% – and that usage would continue to rise sharply in the next 24 months.

Public and private clouds both have their advantages and disadvantages. For instance, public clouds have almost unlimited scalability, and it is reliable because services are distributed across multiple data centres. However, you also have less control over data security as you never know where, and under what geographic or other restrictions, your data is operating. Also, as you scale up so do the costs.

Meanwhile private clouds – a dedicated cloud infrastructure for your business – are more secure as they are behind a firewall and only accessible to people in your business and have greater control as you can fit them to your business’ preferences. But on the downside, they can have higher costs in terms of purchasing equipment and you are responsible for operating and maintaining your own data centre, IT hardware and enterprise software.

But there is a third way: hybrid multi-cloud services. A hybrid cloud approach lets you match your actual data management requirements to the public cloud, private cloud, or on-premises resources that are best able to handle them and workloads are tied together under common data management while staying distinct. This gives businesses greater agility as their needs and requirements change over time.

The hybrid approach allows applications and components to interoperate across boundaries (for example, cloud versus on‐premises), between cloud instances, and even between architectures – for example, traditional versus modern digital. The same level of distribution and access flexibility is also needed for data. Whether you’re handling workloads or datasets, in the dynamic digital world, you should plan for things to move around in response to evolving needs. Where applications or data live today might not be the best place for them to live over time.

In addition, you can connect existing systems running on traditional architectures that run business-critical applications or contain sensitive data that might not be suited for the public cloud.

As Head of Technical Services, it’s my job to deliver our hybrid multi-cloud solution.

Our state-of-the-art hybrid multi-cloud service is based close to Cardiff and the raft of tech-focused businesses based along the South Wales corridor. But we don’t just provide services 24/7/365 to companies in this area, our data centre services customers cover all of Wales, as well as Bristol and Southwest England.

For our hybrid-multi-cloud customers, Cloud Centres offers a 3-tier data centre, a highly secure facility housing critical IT infrastructures that meets the highest security standards required with ISO27001 and PCI-DSS accreditations.

As someone who’s worked at Cloud Centres for several years, you are not dealing with some faceless tech provider – we pride ourselves on our personal approach to our customers. With our small team we prefer to build proper relationships with our customers, so we get to know the business and can advise on the right cloud solution for you – and we appreciate this changes as the business grows and develops, and that change can sometimes happen quickly. And, when we say we are going to deliver something on a certain date, we make sure that we do just that.

Businesses in Wales and beyond are facing up to unprecedented times thanks to COVID-19, but at Cloud Centres we want to ensure that hybrid multi-cloud customers can continue to have the right solutions at the right time. We have been implementing biometric access and biohazard best practice in the data centre itself long before lockdown because commenced of our secure facility.

Hybrid multi-cloud computing is the future for businesses, and we predict that over the next decade there will be a gradual transition to it. Businesses have been moving services from their own premises to third party data centres for years – where they can better handle the issues of heat, cooling and power – but with hybrid, it will be between those centres and the cloud and, as time goes on, more will move to being cloud-based.

My expert team at Cloud Centres will be at the forefront of that, ready to meet any challenge that may face businesses in Wales and beyond as the world adjusts to a new normal after coronavirus.

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