IaaS: Where flexibility meets security

Despite businesses increasingly embracing new and emerging technology and innovations, many are only just starting to realise the extent of the changes to IT which the coming years will bring. One of the key drivers for this change will be increased data harvesting: machine learning programmes like Siri and Google Now and connected devices like FitBit and the Apple Watch are now collecting more contextual information than ever before, driving up data storage needs and creating a demand for ever-more innovative network designs.

With more and more Internet-based devices, networks need to be optimised to be able to deal with the added volumes. The infrastructure that supports these devices and applications is becoming increasingly central to the flow of information. Networking speeds must increase to cope with the volume of bandwidth-hungry applications, data centre racks need to be optimised to manage the movement of big data and the cloud has to be able to connect both environments and devices. As a result, businesses today demand an IT infrastructure that they can rely on to support critical applications, and have the flexibility to cater for operational growth.

Despite this, many organisations don’t necessarily want to invest in designing, buying, building, deploying and managing the complex and costly infrastructures that are needed to support new technologies. Cloud has become mainstream and enterprises expect to use it to level the playing field.

The Cloud: Private or Public?

IDC predicts that Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) will be the fastest growing area of this market between 2014 and 2018. But before companies can adopt IaaS, they need to consider how they plan to consume and use the many variations of cloud that exist. Weighing up the pros and cons of the Private, Public and Hybrid Cloud options is about understanding your businesses needs and key priorities.

The Private Cloud is the model that has evolved in most organisations. Many enterprises have built their own infrastructure and automation for development and testing or running internal web services, often using new and efficient methods to facilitate it. Yet, when compared to the public cloud, it doesn’t necessarily provide the same amount of flexibility and agility – which can be restrictive for businesses.

In comparison, the Public Cloud is a service that has always been available to all. It appeals and is used by the mass market for backing-up files, streaming music and films and email services. Surprisingly, despite advocating a private solution, many global organisations adopt public cloud in one manner or another. This solution may be suitable for parts of the IT estate, but is certainly not secure enough to provide storage for the most important data and documents running over a network.

Embracing the best of both

In contrast, a hybrid solution provides the flexibility and agility of a Public Cloud, whilst still providing the security a business needs and would receive with a private cloud. Increasingly, a hybrid model provides the foundations of the infrastructure for next generation technology.

Instead of making an upfront capital investment in hardware or relying solely on existing architectures, enterprises can simply purchase more computing power or server space from their cloud provider as and when it’s needed. This could be anything from a highly-scalable, low cost architecture for a Big Data project to a high-capacity cloud network that can be scaled for peaks in web traffic.

It’s become increasingly apparent that the businesses taking the lead in 2016 and beyond will be those making the best and most innovative use of emerging technologies, keeping one step ahead of the curve.

As a result of this change, IT departments are going to increasingly be seen to move out of the stereotypical dark backroom and into the boardroom, in a position to advise on strategies that will meet objectives and shape revenue streams.

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