Businesses say that cloud delivers competitive advantage, but…

Recent industry research has shown that cloud is delivering on what must surely be one of its key goals: competitive advantage. The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) reports that 55% of cloud-adopting organisations have experienced an improvement in competitive advantage, while 23% expect to see such a benefit.

The impact on competitive advantage is even more pronounced for SMEs, with 69% seeing a boost in this key metric following their move to cloud. Two other “top of the list” motivations for moving to cloud are also shown to be coming true: 66% have made good on their objective of getting the IT they need more quickly, and 65% have realised improved uptime and reliability goals since taking to the cloud.

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Archive posts

Public cloud computing by proxy?

David Linthicum’s observation (noted today in ZDNet) that private clouds are being used as “points-of-control or interfaces” into public clouds seems to validate a way of working that has been expected for quite some time.

The idea that private clouds can draw upon external (public) compute and storage resources as and when required, would appear to be one that sits well with the concept of the hybrid model of cloud computing. To the end user — in whatever form this might be — the outcome is the same: they get the resources they need in order to get along with what they’re doing.

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Show and tell: here’s how cloud has helped my business — what might it do for yours?

If you’re a regular reader of the 1st Easy blog (or you receive our quarterly customer newsletter) you might have seen my recent post about how cloud has changed the way my business works — we don’t just sell cloud, we use it too.

Although we’re still in the process of shifting the remainder of our own infrastructure to cloud, it has already benefited 1st Easy — and our customers — in many ways. It has (so far) reduced our data centre footprint by 50%, hugely improving our efficiency. My team spends less time slaving away managing physical hardware, and more time helping customers and improving the way we work. We have a more resilient hosting platform for our customers, who also benefit from the freedom of new levels of flexibility in the way they use our resources — flexibility that helps them to do business in the way that suits them best.

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IT and business strategy — with cloud, they’re more or less the same thing

CIOs — and the organizations for which they work — must completely commit to delivering on a vision of IT/business integration that is now close to 30 years old. There needs to be institutional recognition at every level of an organization of the strategic value of IT.”

This statement from Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen in his recent piece for ZDNet, places CIOs at the centre of a struggle between IT and business — where the two are often still viewed as separate entities, CIOs are mediators, attempting to meld technology and operational goals. He describes how IT and business collaboration should ideally be the “default” way of working, and underlines the important role that IT has in the strategic direction of a business.

What’s the answer? We’d like to suggest that this ideal state of integration is something that could be realised via cloud. Indeed, we don’t think that cloud can be viewed purely as a technology — as we’ve written about before, cloud should really be seen as a business strategy.

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Real life experience: our cloud computing customer case studies

No matter how much we write about cloud, extol its virtues and eulogise about its benefits, we’re sure our words will always be greeted with at least a degree of scepticism — cloud is after all, a service that we sell, so how could we be objective about it?

What says it best then, is real life evidence — life with cloud in a living business, and the changes that it brings.

After that long-winded build up then, what follows here is a round up of our cloud case studies. A look at the problems (or “challenges” as we’re supposed to say these days) that our customers faced, along with the why, how, and importantly, the results of cloud computing — what tangible changes became apparent once cloud became a part of the way these companies operated?

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The best way to learn about cloud, is to try cloud — get hands on with a test drive (and a tutorial from Dean!)

What’s one of the best ways of understanding something? Even if I’ve read (or been told) a lot about a particular something, quite often for me it’s when I try it — get my hands dirty, make mistakes, get involved in a bit of trial and error — that everything finally clicks.

If you’re at all curious about how cloud computing might work in practice for your business, you’re welcome to try it with us. We’ll give you a cloud data centre for you to experiment with, so you can see exactly what’s involved in creating a virtual server with a point and a click.

All the while, you’ll have the practical help and advice of Dean (our VMware cloud pro!) just a phone call or email away (plus, if you’d like it, a personal cloud orientation tutorial — just to show you the ropes and get you started).

To get started, head over to our cloud test drive page!

78% of UK organisations using cloud based services

Stats — it’s often suggested you can make them say what you want. Last week, James reported on figures that said 19% of organisations were actively using cloud. While this week, I can quote figures from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), who report that 78% of UK businesses have adopted at least one cloud based service.

Which should we believe?

Well, a lot comes down to how we define “using cloud”. Maybe that would be logging into a third-party cloud-based CRM each day (SaaS) or using a private on-premise cloud to deliver virtual desktops to internal users. Perhaps it involves backing up data to an off-site public cloud provider as part of a disaster recovery strategy — or any number of other cloud deployments (IaaS, PaaS… Xaas!). It’s all a little fuzzy.

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Adopting cloud computing services — where are you up to?

Data included as part of a recent infographic over at CloudTweaks indicates that 50% of organisations are now well on their way to incorporating cloud computing services as part of their IT strategy.

The figures report that 19% of businesses are now using cloud in some form (although this does seem a little low depending on how loosely the term “cloud” is applied!) while 31% are not yet engaged with the idea at all.

What are the factors between these divisions? Thankfully, the infographic gives us some pointers, weighing up the pull and repel elements that are driving and blocking cloud adoption.

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Announcing Cloud² launch — true commercial resilience via the power of two

How resilient is resilient? And, what’s at stake? Two irrevocably linked questions when it comes to the technology that drives your business.

There’s no doubt that at some level, your business depends on some kind of underlying hosting infrastructure. Your business depends on your data. And your business probably depends on the online applications that your people — or customers — use every day.

A question that might be uncomfortable to wonder about then is: does all of this depend on one data centre? One platform? One supplier, even?

This is where the power of two comes in.

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From colocation to cloud data centre — a customer case study with Abstract Ltd

Freedom from the responsibilities of managing their own physical hosting infrastructure — and a service provider they could feel secure with for the future… the motivation (and the must-haves) for Abstract’s move from colocation to cloud.

“The move to the cloud took a lot of planning and effort on everyone’s part but has been worth it. Not only for the reduction in stress levels now that we have passed the hardware responsibility over to 1st Easy but also the fact that we can spin servers up and down as and when we need them. The flexibility that has given us is immeasurable.” — Daniel Meggitt, Director at Abstract.

That’s the result, but what about the story behind these words? Read about Abstract’s journey from a colocated infrastructure to their own cloud data centre, in our latest cloud case study.

Thank you very much to Daniel and his team for their time and insight, which is very much appreciated!