Given that cloud computing relies on the network, there is no surprise that it features highly on the product roadmaps of network service providers worldwide. At Orange Business Live, we heard about the Orange approach and also some insights from customers.
Axel Haentjens, Vice President Cloud Computing at Orange Business said that there were three key issues surrounding cloud computing. The first is the continuing importance of cost and CO2 emissions reduction as a driver for cloud computing. One Orange customer was able to save 50% moving to Infrastructure as a service when rationalizing its data centers, and these cost savings remain a compelling argument.
The second is the importance of risk reduction: you need to know where your data is located for compliance reasons and ensure that any move to a cloud provider is reversible. The final issue is the massive advantage that cloud offers in terms of flexibility and agility. It allows businesses to easily move into new territories or integrate mergers and acquisitions because they can simply create new servers on demand, which are delivered over the network.
Because the cloud needs a network infrastructure to deliver services, telcos are well placed to provide cloud computing solutions. Orange is opening a global network of seven data centers with air transport industry (ATI) service provider SITA to provide global cloud services over the next year. The first three of these, Atlanta, Frankfurt and Singapore are about to open, with a fourth in Normandy, France due in September.
The Normandy data center offers a very good, energy-efficient design with a power usage effectiveness (PUE) score of just 1.3. This is achieved partly through the use of free cooling for 80% of the time.
The Orange cloud is directly connected to third-party service providers, so that customers can access software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering such as SAP.
So how should you look to take advantage of cloud computing? Haentjens offers a seven-step approach:
- determine what services, infrastructure or applications can be moved to the cloud
- carry out a detailed assessment of how to deliver the cloud service
- proof of concept to ensure that it works
- design full architecture
- service management
The session then invited Orange security specialist Jean-François Audenard to look in detail at the security implications of cloud computing. He suggested a number of recommendations that businesses looking for secure cloud computing should follow. These include: build security in from the start; define what security you expect from your provider; integrate security into existing processes; and train your team on the security implications of cloud computing.
After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.