Cloud. Isn’t this subject simply the latest in a long line of over-hyped concepts that will never really live up to the high expectations that everyone seems to be giving it? It seems any cloud sceptic soon meets forthright resistance from industry intelligentsia, who are entirely convinced that the cloud is not only here to stay but that it’s going to totally revolutionise the whole voice and data communications market.
The arguments are indeed convincing. Forrester Research has predicted that the cloud market will be worth around $61 billion in 2012. Future projections are even more startling, with Gartner forecasting worldwide cloud services revenues of $148.8 billion by 2014. Just about every commercial organisation, large and small, seems to be evaluating cloud services. The public sector is getting in on the act as well, with the government here in the UK launching its G-Cloud initiative as a way of helping public services all over the country cut the cost of IT.
Excitement and enthusiasm
It’s hard not to get caught up in all this excitement and enthusiasm and certainly, the cloud phenomenon can’t be ignored. Many IT and comms vendors are already pressing forward with their cloud propositions and a lot of customers also want to explore the options. While it is almost certain that the move towards the cloud will be a gradual one, with most customers adopting services for specific applications such as backup and telephony, whilst keeping their core software on-premises, resellers need to ensure they don’t miss out – either by providing direct cloud or associated services.
But one thing that’s easy to forget amidst the euphoria is that the success of any cloud service is always going to be dependent on the communications infrastructure and connectivity services that support it. Without suitable and reliable connections between the host and the customer, cloud services are utterly useless.
If you offer any kind of cloud proposition you need to get the connectivity right. If you don’t you’ll fail because customers will soon expose any weaknesses. A business that’s running its email or CRM or even a critical line-of-business application in the cloud will always expect consistent, fast, secure, dependable access. You can’t afford to take chances with that; if you do you’re likely to end up in very hot water.
It will be vital that you recommend connectivity services that will offer consistent, reliable performance wherever they are – and that the connectivity provided is suited to the degree of criticality of the application or service they are running in the cloud.
If, for example, they’re simply running non time-critical backups to a colocated server every day, they may not need the highest levels of guaranteed bandwidth at all times of the day, as those backups are likely to be running out of normal working hours. A straightforward broadband connection might be enough. If on the other hand, they’re running business-critical services such as telephony, unified messaging or ERP trading systems in the cloud, they’ll probably need the un-contended bandwidth, 100 percent availability and uptime guarantees provided by a high-grade dedicated Ethernet circuit.
Whatever your customers’ requirement for cloud computing, you’ll need to be able to offer clear connectivity choices from a tried and tested supplier and preferably one that can offer the same levels of service all over the UK. As we’ve invested in building our own advanced next generation network, Entanet is one of only a handful of specialist comms providers that enables resellers to offer this breadth of capability. Our widely publicised infrastructure strategy means we’re in full control of our network; we can offer real flexibility and scalability; and we can tailor services to meet the exact needs of resellers’ customers.
The simple fact is that the power and influence of the cloud is going to strengthen, not weaken. Get excited about the opportunity it brings your business but position yourself correctly to underpin it with the right connectivity, every time. You can’t afford not to.
To find out more about the connectivity options that support cloud computing, talk to your account manager, call our solutions team on 0333 101 8008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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