Everyone knows the importance of picking the right tool for the job. Keen woodworkers have a selection of hammers, chisels and saws, golfers carry bags full of clubs, and even the most ardent sports car enthusiasts can see the limitations of a Ferrari when it’s time to take five kids to the beach.
The cloud is the same. We deal with a number of major providers, each with its own outstanding features and strengths. A business just has to identify its needs and pick the service that best meets those. Except why stop at one provider?
Let’s say, for the sake of an example, that a substantial portion of your compute needs are predictable, stable and that latency isn’t an overriding issue. You might consider a provider that offers a relatively inflexible service, doesn’t necessarily have data centres located close to your users, but that is highly cost effective. The lack of flexibility isn’t an issue because of the predictability of your requirements while the low cost makes it highly attractive.
However, let us also suppose that you also offer applications where latency is an issue and where it’s also important to be able to scale usage up and down do meet spikes in demand. A second cloud provider, one that has data centres close to your main users and that offers a flexible deal on capacity, is an attractive option even though its charges are higher than the first.
So, does it have to be an either or? Of course not. We live in a world where it’s possible to choose both.
However, as the psychologist Barry Schwartz has argued, choices can complicate matters. You have to understand which cloud provider excels in which areas, the likely impact of their terms and conditions, and you also have to have a breadth of expertise in order to take advantage of multiple platforms, both to develop applications within the different environments and to create the architecture needed so that data can flow easily between platforms where required.
This is very much one of Nordcloud’s roles, to act as an expert facilitator between customer and cloud providers. It’s our job to know how to match a particular offering to a particular requirement. It’s our job to understand the implications of each provider’s terms of business for our customers, and it’s one of our great strengths that we have the resources to supplement our customers’ in-house technical expertise with our own. So, if your team’s proficiencies allow you to manage one provider’s platform but not another, we can help you to clear that hurdle. Our expertise in building a businesses’ Security & Governance models and core infrastructure, as well as delivering data centre migrations and optimised Cloud environments in a consistant way across the major Cloud platforms has allowed us to become one of the most trusted providers.
Though we were already working with a number of excellent cloud providers, we have partnered with Microsoft to offer Azure cloud services to our customers. Azure offers particular advantages that make it an attractive option for businesses looking to locate some or all of their compute needs in the cloud.
For starters, there’s the familiarity of the MS environment, though it should be pointed out that Azure is equally adept at hosting Linux-based applications. Windows is ubiquitous and Microsoft’s range of tools and apps is beyond comprehensive.
Azure has put especially put emphasis on simplicity and speed. If you need to spin up a project quickly, you need to consider Azure. The human resources are easy to come by – most businesses have no shortage of people skilled in Microsoft-related development – and the tools are easy to use.
Azure has also addressed concerns relating to server stability with a comprehensive outage protection plan that mirrors users’ data to secure virtual environments. If the possibility of outages and lost data is a worry, then Azure is a good answer. Microsoft has an impressive data centre network with global coverage and is moving into Southern Europe, Africa and South America ahead of the competition. We’re confident that, as providers expand their infrastructure, Azure users won’t find themselves left behind. The business also offers great means of analysing and mining your data for business intelligence through its managed SQL and NoSQL data services.
Of course, the other cloud services that Nordcloud offers come with their own strengths, but a growing number of businesses, perhaps a majority, are now looking to mix and match with cloud providers to get the best of each to suit their specific needs. It’s a trend we only expect to keep growing.