A Pragmatic Approach to Cloud in the Age of Hyperscale

Enterprise IT is sceptical about moving business critical internal operations to the Cloud – and for good reason. Andrew Cruise, managing director at Routed, Africa’s only vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider, says that while businesses are keen to rid themselves of expensive on-premise hardware, they need to be sure of the availability, performance and security of their chosen Cloud platform before considering migration.

“With only an SLA to hang their hat on, it’s understandable that Enterprise IT finds it difficult to contemplate moving important workloads to the Cloud. Sysadmins also want something they can ‘touch and feel’ and Routed gives them the next best thing: Full disclosure on where their workloads are located, what hardware and software they run on, what is being done in terms of data security, resilience and immutability, and performance guarantees around latency and IOPS.”

He says another concern when it comes to Cloud is that of bill shock, as a result of unexpected usage charges at the end of the month, and lock-in. “The hyperscalers are highly motivated to ensure that once customers use their platform they never leave. Off-boarding is difficult and costly thanks to custom code in APIs, platform specific architectural methodologies and high egress charges.”

As Cloud services are typically being utilised in stages, Cruise says a pragmatic approach which mitigates against the pains, issues and fears that Enterprise IT has around utilising hyperscale providers is both prudent and more cost effective. “Routed likes to use the term ‘Pragmatic Cloud’ which is neither Public or Private Cloud, nor legacy on-premise, but IT that finds a way to connect all these environments so that customers can use what they need when they need it whether through private circuits, MPLS, SD-WAN, Direct Connect, Express Route, or the like.”

He adds that it’s advisable for Enterprise IT to begin migration to the Cloud with less critical workloads such as offsite backups to get a feel for the performance and availability of their chosen platform. “Here fixed pricing is the norm, which is often what enterprises want as their environments are usually static. Routed offers hourly usage billing or a mix of both so that customers can easily understand their costs.”

In addition to legitimate concerns about costs and potential lock-ins, Cruise says one of the biggest challenges to Enterprise IT making inroads to migrating to the Cloud is the perception that hyperscale providers are the only option available. “Many businesses are not yet aware of custom-built Cloud platforms specifically designed for the performance, availability and security demands of Enterprise IT. However, the landing of Azure, and AWS next year, is increasing the chatter and becoming a hot conversation topic. The raised profile of Cloud in general should allow Cloud providers to enter the conversation and pitch their differentiation.”