IT Life Extra: Making The Most Of The Cloud

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Sponsored: Aruba Cloud General Manager Eric Sansonny explains the benefits and nuances of employing a cloud strategy

Eric Sansonny is general manager of Aruba Cloud, the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) unit of Aruba S.p.A., the  market leader for web hosting and domain names in Italy and Eastern Europe, with more than two million customers, making the group one of the top five hosting companies in Europe and one of the top ten worldwide.

Aruba Cloud provides a complete range of cloud services to companies, whatever their needs may be, backed up a network of proprietary and partner data centres across Europe. Aruba Cloud’s products provide customers with products that are a blank canvas for ideas, ranging from virtual infrastructure projects, disaster recovery or even creating SaaS from your own software

With experience at a number of IT companies over the past two decades, Eric explains how firms can make the most of cloud technology to address their needs.

What are the advantages of using cloud computing?

eric sansonny aruba cloudCloud Computing brings so much more flexibility and security to a company. It is flexible because you no longer have to invest in a fixed amount of resources but you simply pay on a per usage basis, whatever your needs are.

It is also more secure, because within the basis of Cloud Computing, there is redundancy – securing not only company’s data, but the whole infrastructure. This is clearly an aspect that many companies can not afford otherwise. Finally, using Cloud Computing is a way for a company to focus more on its core business, giving away a part or the whole infrastructure to be managed by their service provider.

Before adopting a cloud computing platform what are the essential things to be taken into consideration by users?

It all depends on how critical they intend the role of the Cloud platform to be. If it’s about new projects and services, it’s very simple and they will be amazed by the speed of deployment. Though, they will have to test the platform beforehand, ensuring that the level performance they will get is in line with expectations, as well as the experience from the service provider (SLA, reactivity, services and technologies available …)

If users are considering migrating existing platforms to the Cloud, it’s all about legacy and change management. It is then necessary to run a Proof of Concept, making sure that not only performances will be at least as good as they had before, but also that their own users will be able to keep on operating their applications the way they were doing, or in a faster and better way.

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In what ways does cloud architecture provide automation and performance transparency?

The major change switching from physical to Cloud environments is the additional layer brought by virtualization technologies, for example Hypervisors. Thanks to this new layer, they can immediately benefit from ready to use APIs, helping them to automate their infrastructure related processes, such as the creation and installation of a new server, archiving, upgrading resources etc. This is a major step forward.

What are the security aspects provided by the cloud?

aruba cloud logoSecurity is first about redundancy (storage, network, power) but it is also reinforced by the inherent flexibility and scalability of the Cloud. A user can implement a Disaster Recovery system very quickly, using multiple geographies and also backing up their infrastructure using Cloud backup services.

They can also scale up and down their infrastructure adding more servers in a snap, avoiding outages. Security is a serious thing, but most aspects of it are user related. You can have the most secured infrastructure but if installed applications, operating systems and security policies are not maintained and updated, it won’t be of any help.

What are the optimising strategies used in cloud?

Commonly, cloud strategies are performance or price driven. A common strategy is the ability to stretch the infrastructure quickly and safely, adding more resources or front-end servers as soon as possible after a warning sent from the monitoring system of a user.

Another one is the fragmentation of applications: users tend to install one application per virtual machine (VM), adjusting resources accordingly. That way, if a service goes down for whatever reason, only one application is impacted and users can keep working on the other ones.

Do cloud services mean the end of IT as we know it?

I don’t know if it’s the end of IT as we know it, but no-one can deny the impact Cloud services had over the past 5-10 years. Software as a Service (SaaS) has hit the market first, reducing the power of an IT manager as such service are subscribed to directly by operational teams.

IaaS is bringing the power back in the hands of IT departments, as they can now deliver any type of service or infrastructure to their own users in a much faster and cheaper way. One thing doesn’t change: end-users are still expressing needs and IT still has to address them, whether Cloud services are involved or not.

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