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What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing provides on-demand computing services from securely managed data centres according to the needs of a customer. 

Operate on supported hardware in well managed, secure, and resilient buildings without having the scale to justify those assets for yourself. The cloud vendor is delivering the benefits of scale.

Public cloud allows your workload to securely share infrastructure (hardware and networks) with other users to gain benefits of scale at the risk that your work will be competing with others for resource.

Public cloud is useful for businesses that are less sensitive to consistent performance, and with relatively modest needs.

Private cloud ensures that your workloads are on dedicated hardware to avoid contention with others. They continue to share networks and DC facilities but are often well placed to respond to demanding requirements.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Benefits of cloud computing often focus on cost saving and elastic scaling. While important, these benefits are not the whole story. Responsiv consider that the time to value, risk management, and skills relocation opportunities are more enduring and quicker to realise.

Cost savings

Cloud computing is purchased on a term basis that varies depending on the type of cloud service being purchased. In some cases, especially when using Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), an onboarding charge is applied for network connections and configuration of more sophisticated services.

You can rent the facilities you need, for the time they are needed, without capital costs normally associated with software licences, hardware, and installation.

Pay as you go

Many cloud services allow you to pay monthly to closely align cost to benefit. This means that cashflow and risk are managed more closely than when you purchase software licences, which needs a large up-front investment that often happens before any business value is derived.

Flexibility and support

The ability to instantly scale up and down gives a perception of flexibility that will never benefit most business. There are few businesses that operate like Netflix, Facebook, or Google. The reality is that working with a partner willing to discuss the actual problem and technology context will raise more options to deploy into the best environment for your systems.

Avoid vendor lock-in

Designing systems to run in any cloud is really the best practice to prevent vendor lock-in, the best environment for today may not be the best for tomorrow.

Avoid large volumes of data in the cloud that may be expensive and difficult to recover to another cloud or datacentre.

Connect across clouds and in-house systems

You may find that one cloud is better for large volumes of data or offers a particular Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product. To support this and bring hyperscale cloud providers closer to the private cloud we offer a cloud connect product that can directly interconnect to over 50 SaaS and IaaS cloud partners.

We also offer a blueprint “Cloud Bridge” assembly to optimise application data movements between clouds and standardise access to SaaS platforms.

Enable new business models

The cloud has enabled businesses to allow employees greater access to “internal systems” than they would generally have. For example, getting access to an internally hosted accounting system would normally require VPN access and new infrastructure to secure the system. With a cloud (SaaS) offering, the system can be made available with relative ease.

51% of UK business leaders say their use of cloud computing saved their company from collapse during the COVID-19 pandemic. 60% of respondents are planning substantial increase of cloud use.

The covid-19 lockdowns and move to remote working has increased some forms of risk and changed the way employees expect to work with their employer. The cloud model can be a key enabler for the way a company responds to the new demands. The cost of cloud services compared to capital software and hardware purchases means that at some point a capital purchase is likely to be cheaper.

Cost avoidance

It is easy to think that the primary function being purchased on cloud is what drives the cost of the cloud service. The comparison is not quite as simple as that. The cost of hosting, people, processes, procurement and development of the infrastructure and platform are all costs that are assigned to the cloud supplier.

It is easy to compare the cost of a software product with the cost of a cloud service. The comparison is not that simple.

The table below illustrates the costs that should be considered. There is no magic, the costs are moved from a mix of capital and operational, to pure operational, with benefits of scale, sharing, and risk re-allocation.

Element DIY IaaS PaaS SaaS SolaaS
Datacentre Space & Racking   * * * *
Power / Lighting   * * * *
Air conditioning   * * * *
7×24 Security   * * * *
Operational Administration   * * * *
Network Equipment   * * * *
Fire Suppression   * * * *
ISO27001 Audits   * * * *
           
Hardware Capacity   * * * *
Hardware Support   * * * *
Disk Space   * * * *
Service Configuration Effort          
Middleware Software     * * *
Software Support     * * *
Patching and Upgrades     * * *
           
Application Development         *
Application Support         *
Monitoring         *
           
Skills recruitment and retention   * * * *
Pensions and Salaries   * * * *
Desk space for employees   * * * *
         

Each cost is likely to have a minimum unit of purchase; for example, it is not efficient to buy hardware with only one core of CPU, or a network sized to your exact bandwidth requirement.

Avoid the cost of recruitment, retention, and skills 

The cloud and larger datacentres deliver the benefits of scale that are not available to smaller users. This is true for the size of support teams and the breadth of skills needed to operate even seemingly simple systems.

Purchase and delivery risk

Before cloud (BC) software vendors provided software evaluation periods, generally 30-90 days, to allow companies to try the software and establish that it met the needs of the project.

With cloud (WC) it is possible to rent the software for as long as you require to properly establish the value.

Element DIY IaaS PaaS SaaS SolaaS
Purchase Risk High Med Med Low Low
Deployment Risk High Low Low Low Low
Resignation Risk High Low Low Low Low
Time/Deadline Risk High Med Med Med Med
Counterparty Risk Low High High High High
Business Continuity Risk High Med Med Med Med
Hardware Failure Risk High Med Med Med Med

Purchase risk is the possibility of buying the wrong software, wrong capacity, or wrong platform configuration to support the software. It also includes not buying all the features needed to solve the problem.

Deployment risk is the possibility that the software is installed in a sub-optimal, unsustainable, or incorrect manner. It includes the inability to configure or complete the deployment.

Resignation risk is the risk that key personnel are lost to the project, or to the operational team. This risk is higher in smaller teams and when one individual delivers on multiple roles.

Deadline risk is the risk that project deadlines are missed because of delays in hardware and software procurement or its deployment. This risk includes the difficulties caused by infrastructure not being available for developers at the right time in a project.

Counterparty risk in this context is the possibility that a third party that is required to deliver a service does not do so.

Business continuity risk is the possibility that an organisation cannot continue its business due to a significant event. In this case we consider loss of datacentre or immediate inability for key staff to work.

Service failure risk is the risk that the infrastructure or “Service” is unable to be delivered due to an internal failure of the system, for example a disk, hardware, or database failure.

Types of Cloud Computing

Types of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing services broadly fall into three layers:

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

Avoids needing hardware skills and side-steps the capital cost and trouble of hardware procurement and hosting.

Delivers a solid, secure, and flexible foundation for all other services. This layer provides datacentre facilities and hardware (including operating systems).

IaaS is purchased to support your applications and underpins other services.

Pay for what you use; a fraction of a datacentre, part of a hardware server, some of a network, and use of a storage network, configured as you need, and managed by the vendor.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Avoids installation and support skills and side-steps the risks and cost associated with perpetual software licences.

“Platform as a service” adds “middleware” software to infrastructure to add significant functionality to the cloud service. PaaS requires you to develop your own applications to deliver any business value. PaaS includes database (DB2, Oracle, SQL Server), messaging (IBM MQ, IBM ACE).

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Avoids application development, infrastructure, data centre management, and perpetual licence costs. May side-step large support teams

“Software as a service” delivers a service that does not require further adaption to deliver business value. SaaS can often be configured to suit your unique needs, but this is optional.

SaaS includes accounting (Xero), Facebook, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.

Solution-as-a-Service (SolaaS)

Responsiv Cloud Custom Platforms are used to host custom and highly specific applications developed by Responsiv and delivered to you as a single package. SolaaS allows us to develop specific and distinctive capabilities for individual customers.

SolaaS services may have additional caveats in our support terms to reflect the unique nature of the solutions, however they are provided as a fully managed service.

Seven Reasons to Choose Responsiv Cloud

Seven Reasons to Choose Responsiv Cloud

Responsiv Cloud specialises in providing secure and reliable middleware platforms that can support your business automation, integration, rules, data, and API applications.

We use world leading software and hosting to assure your platforms perform when you need them. Our support engineers have the skills and capacity to effectively manage without you needing to.

Leave the installation, upgrades, patching, and incident management to Responsiv. Add support packages to enhance the service, including Custom platforms and solution as a service (SolaaS).

1. Your friendly cloud

Responsiv will work with your business users and technology teams to help you to get the best from your standing investments and from your move to cloud.

We have experience and strong partnerships that can address all aspects of your move, from the business initiative through to the physical networks.

Cloud repatriation is a growing trend in the current market. Enterprise business case studies show that some businesses are exiting the hyperscale cloud in favour of their own private environments. The reports suggest that colocation and private cloud are growing trends.

2. Reliable, secure, and UK-based

Responsiv Cloud is delivered from several UK based datacentres. Each centre is rated “Tier-3” and certified to ISO27001.

A Tier 3 data centre has multiple paths for power and cooling and systems in place to update and maintain it without taking it offline. It has an expected uptime of 99.982%, which means 1.6 hours of downtime annually.

3. Your data is your data

On the Responsiv Cloud your data is secured physically as well as being logically encrypted and access controlled. We can point to the physical location of your data on a map of England.

Responsiv does not access or monitor the content of your data without explicit permission in the situation of incident recovery or project work. Our interest is limited to monitoring volumes and measures that allow us to keep it secure and safe.

4. Secure network connections

Responsiv as the gateway to deploy your systems on the best cloud for the job, be it public, private, or colocation as an option in the same datacentre.

“By the end of 2024, 30% of enterprises will use SDCI services to connect to public CSPs, which is an increase from fewer than 10% in 2020”

Responsiv can provide Software-defined cloud interconnect (SDCI), to achieve secure, automated connectivity to any infrastructure-as-a-service environment.

If Azure is your preferred environment and you want to use Responsiv Platforms, then we can work with you to securely connect between the clouds, and to procure Azure cloud services in a single bundle.

5. Your Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Responsiv Cloud hosts specialised environments that deliver reliable and secure middleware platforms, including business rules, business process automation, integration, and databases.

Each environment delivers a specialised platform to host your custom applications. This means that you develop a rules package and host it in a PaaS environment to avoid infrastructure and middleware software costs.

6. Your Solution-as-a-Service (SolaaS)

Responsiv offer solutions as a service based on our PaaS offerings. SolaaS allows you to spread the cost of solution development along with the cloud fees, and to benefit from Responsiv supporting not only the platform but also the application.

Responsiv SolaaS gives you an efficient and low risk way to move to the cloud, and to try out some of the middleware platforms before you take the journey into digital transformation.

7. Your sustainable cloud

We cannot guarantee that our servers and software are coloured green, but the datacentres perform extremely well from a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) perspective. Look at how our datacentres are cooled and managed:

Data Centre Cooling Methods

How data centres can help your sustainability goals

Your Trusted Partner

Responsiv Consulting can support your digital transformation and move to cloud with specialist skills, cloud facilities, and by sharing experience. We can help you refactor your applications facilitate moving them to cloud infrastructure, while re-architecting them to make best use of the cloud environment.

Our consultants that support your design and build are then available to our support teams to help assure that your systems are maintained in top condition, and that future enhancements are consistent with the original vision and architecture.

 

Additional Links

Richard Whyte
Richard Whyte

Richard Whyte has been building enterprise IT solutions for over 20 years. He is known for creating innovative practical solutions that provide a strong foundation for future development, whilst solving immediate problems. Previously the European CTO and Principal Architect for IBM Systems Middleware at IBM, he has an MBA, a degree in Statistics and Computing, is a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered IT Professional, and Fellow of both the Institute of Technology and the British Computer Society.

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