Cloud drives innovation and differentiation

Cloud drives innovation and differentiation

19 April 2021

cloud
Hybrid Cloud
Technology review
Products & licensing

Data is the new oil and software is taking over the world. Sure, but how do you deal with that as a company? Do you swear by your own data center or are you better off in the cloud? And what does the cloud look like? The local service provider and global hyperscaler complement each other more than ever. Various experts discussed just that during Data News' Virtual Roundtable 'Data Centers and Cloud'. Our own Line of Business Manager Multi-Cloud was also involved. Here's a summary of his views.

How does a business choose between on-premise and the cloud these days?

Joeri Devisch, Line of Business Manager Multi-Cloud at Inetum-Realdolmen: "I prefer using the term cloud technology instead of just the cloud. You see, the cloud isn't so much a place, it's the technology that facilitates business innovation. The choice between on-premise, a local data center service provider or a hyperscaler must be made based on this innovation. The Belgian market may be lagging somewhat behind in this respect. In other countries, this debate has been going on for some time. By the way, it's almost never a strict either-or between on-premise and the cloud. The practical result is almost always a hybrid solution."

So we should consider the cloud not so much as infrastructure, but rather as an enabler for flexibility?

Joeri Devisch: "The flexibility a company is looking for can be found in the application. And the value lies in the data, not in the processing power. The hyperscalers are responding to this with solutions such as AWS Outposts, Google Anthos and Azure Stack, which enable customers to expand cloud environments and get more out of the hybrid cloud. At the same time, hyperscalers see that latency will determine the success of the cloud. To avoid dependence on telecom providers, they are investing in their own fiber-optic networks."

Cost

What about the costs of IT infrastructure? Is cost reduction a good reason to opt for the cloud?

Joeri Devisch: "Customers do ask this question, especially when they're considering the cloud as a shared infrastructure – which should be cheaper by definition than infrastructure that a company uses exclusively. They often forget that there are also hidden costs, such as for transporting data. In practice, it often takes a lot to remove data from a cloud. But when you put everything together, I think security is a much more important driver than cost. Security experts are difficult to find. In the absence of expertise, security is usually the first victim. However, this is where professional providers can make a difference."

Is the coronavirus crisis an extra incentive to do more in the cloud?

Joeri Devisch: "We're seeing strong growth in demand for home-working products, from purchasing laptops to the demand for more capacity in the cloud. Companies are increasingly making sure that employees can work anywhere."

Joeri Devisch

"The cloud isn't so much a place or part of infrastructure, it's the technology that facilitates business innovation."

Joeri Devisch | Line of Business Manager Multi-Cloud @ Inetum-Realdolmen

The role of the integrator

But how do you reconcile this continued evolution towards the cloud with the trend where companies are simultaneously investing more at the edge – in smaller, local data centers?

Joeri Devisch: "The integrator also has an important role to play. The need for local data centers – per city or agglomeration – continues, which means that there's still a need for integration with other clouds. Among other things, the sensitivity of certain data sometimes requires storage in a local data center."

Can accessibility and approachability, in short, the proximity of the cloud partner reallymake a difference?

Joeri Devisch: "Language and proximity certainly play a part. We also respond specifically to this with certain services, for example with a helpdesk where the customer can ask questions in their own language."

Innovation

How do you see the further development of the relationship between the data center and the cloud?

Joeri Devisch: "Anyone who doesn't think about the cloud today probably won't be there in three to five years' time. The use of cloud technology is becoming indispensable as a driver for innovation and differentiation."

You can read the full report of the roundtable here.

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