Keeping one eye open on cloud

Summary:Like Australia, New Zealand has just witnessed a land grab where every man and his dog with a server and internet connection is suddenly in the business of cloud computing, with as many pitfalls being created as services.

Like Australia, New Zealand has just witnessed a land grab where every man and his dog with a server and internet connection is suddenly in the business of cloud computing, with as many pitfalls being created as services.

I often have lunch with a mate who represents Revera, an Auckland-based hosting company that operates at both sides of the Tasman.

Big companies like Gen-i are announcing "new" cloud-based offerings, but Revera claims to be an established provider, already renewing three-year contracts for short-term rental of servers and storage over the internet.

My mate, or rather his client, had a raft of advice for companies looking to use cloud-based suppliers.

He said companies need to look at the experience of those claiming to be cloud providers, especially if they were previously internet service providers. This includes checking out the back-end: how the company manages peripheries like reliable power, automated backup and sufficient on-demand capacity. Software costs matter too, as well as having data stored in at least three sites.

"A cloud isn't just a network connected to a datacentre," he said. "It's a network connecting multiple datacentres. You must be able to switch loads transparently. And switch capacity as required. It requires a host of technicians, MPLS, virtualisation and synchronisation."

Outsourcing and offshoring also present significant issues. If our data and contracts are overseas we lose control. Never mind cheap, we run the risk of being held to ransom when the foreign supplier says pay up or your data goes.

Recently, Gmail went silent but there was little customer NZ Post could do but claim the impact was minimal.

Now, I'm not going to cast aspersions on who might be jumping onto the cloud bandwagon. I have known my mate for years and when Revera was Hitachi Data Systems we talked of hosted data services then.

However, like any project or technology, IT bosses will have to weigh up the costs and benefits of whatever "cloud-based" service they might use.

Topics: Cloud, IBM, Servers, Storage

About

Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.