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Grant Vine, Cybervine IT SolutionsGrant Vine, Cybervine IT Solutions

True cloud services are a lot more user-friendly and cost-effective than remote hosted services, but not everyone is getting true cloud.

Cloud computing has a lot to offer businesses, and can deliver real scale and cost benefits. But much of what is being offered on the market in South Africa today is not true cloud computing. Much of it amounts to little more than standard remote hosted solutions with the cloud brand slapped on them.

When looking to move to cloud-based services, companies should consider their needs carefully, and not just sign up for the first cloud-branded service they see. Companies need to assess if what they are about to buy is actually what they will use.

If contracts are necessary, companies should try to isolate to shorter term contracts. The costs of new technologies drop all the time, and committing to 12 months at a set fee could result in unnecessary expenditure.

Be wary of the costs of putting data into the cloud vendor’s platform, as well as the cost of getting it back out. You may find there is a charge to take your VMs and files to leave the host’s environment.

Understand the policies and processes around what you are allowed to do in the environment and what the host will do if there is a breach. You may discover that in terms of your agreement, the host may shut down all DNS servers in the event of a problem, for example. This could leave your company offl ine and unable to function, which could be costly.

In some instances, it may be most effi cient and cost-effective to rethink your IT completely. It might be best deconstructed, with elements of the infrastructure hosted where the solution best suits your needs. You may fi nd that certain solutions are best for certain components, and by deconstructing your IT environment, you are able to use best-of-breed cloud solutions from a variety of vendors.

There is always the risk that companies will blindly rush in to any service branded as cloud, and move their entire infrastructure without careful consideration. But the ‘forklift approach’ to putting everything in the cloud could be risky and expensive.

About the author: Grant Vine is technical director at Cybervine IT Solutions.