"We used to treat our servers like pets, giving them nicknames like Superman... Now we have entire farms of nameless “creatures”. This is automation. Cloud solutions never have IP conflicts or bring down your network and you only pay for what you use,” Grant Morgan, General Manager of Cloud at Dimension Data told the delegates at the inaugural MyBroadband Cloud & Hosting Conference at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, on 9 June. “The motor industry was mechanised to provide quantity and quality at the same time. Machines make fewer mistakes. Today, the same thing is happening in IT."
Among the potential benefits of cloud computing over traditional hosting, he noted, were the fact that companies using the former were not bound to fixed fee and long-term agreements, enjoyed term, volume and seasonal discounts and a 15-20% year-on-year reduction.
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"Disaster recovery insurance is fairly wasteful - with the cloud, you only pay for storage during the outage. That's potential 50-60% savings. Assets sitting around collecting dust can really blow your business case. Developers need consumptive and programmable infrastructure that the cloud offers and you can also commit to much higher service level agreements," he said.
"There's no doubt about it: the right to move to the cloud is now."
Morgan warned that in some instances, corporates were not getting what they paid for. "The cloud is a very expensive business. Dimension Data has spent more than R1 billion building platforms over the past year. Many companies claim that they are providing a complete cloud service, but all they may be doing is managing virtual servers on your behalf," said Morgan, adding that because of the expense, there was very little flexibility when it came to dictating hardware specifications."
When asked when an opportune time to approach a cloud provider would be, he left the delegates without any cause to wonder. "There's no doubt about it: the right to move to the cloud is now. Every time you invest in traditional IT infrastructure, you are moving further away from realising the benefits in the depreciation cycle."
He said the cost-savings at present, especially with erratic usage of facilities, justified an aggressive move to the cloud, but that the elimination of the African lag behind the rest of the world and tapering of server prices would make it even more enticing in future.