Axis and Rackspace - Timing is Everything
Recently Axis partnered with Rackspace Hosting to enable companies to safely and securely move test data to the cloud. The timing couldn't be better, with enterprises turning to the cloud more than ever. Security stakes in the cloud and virtualized environments are high, and with a joint Rackspace / Axis offering, customers are guaranteed a top productivity environment with ironclad data security. The risk of sensitive data exposure is totally eliminated, and all compliance regulations are met, allowing businesses to take advantage of all that the cloud has to offer while keeping data entirely out of harm's way. Having watched businesses in the process of recovering from Hurricane Sandy, another crucial reason for the "safe cloud experience" has become extremely clear. Companies are starting to assess any data that was lost due to the hurricane. There are back-ups, but these do not always have the most recent data. What was lost? What are the ramifications for financial transactions, healthcare data, and government processing? In addition to natural disasters, security breaches are skyrocketing, according to a recent report by the Ponemon Institute. Organizations, housing patient, employee, customer or credit or debit card transactions, must take steps to safeguard and prevent the theft of this data. Also, corporate intellectual property is being targeted by suspected organized criminals as well as rogue nations. Is it time to move this data to the cloud? Organizations need to find a way to effectively safeguard their data and maintain all their servers and provide continued system updates and availability. Moving to the cloud means purchasing virtualized services saving costs of server installations, upgrades and maintenance. Roles are reduced and simplified, although the liaison role with the cloud vendor becomes increasingly important. There should be less down time and access to support personnel should be more rapid as you are now dealing with a larger pool of these resources. Disaster recovery and resultant data loss is usually simplified and improved and the footprint, electricity, and number of vendors that you deal with should be reduced. In addition to safeguarding an organization’s environment, potential cost savings are achievable through the use of significant pooling of computing and IT resources. A cloud provider serves multiple customers using a multi-tenant model, with resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to demand. Shared costs and resources leads to reduced individual costs and increased individual savings. Labor costs are reduced by automating many repetitive tasks and achieving a greater server to employee ratio. Purchasing power is increased by leveraging discounts on hardware and software purchases available to the cloud provider. We can achieve savings on maintenance costs by having to use less hardware to power and maintain our environment. Large cloud providers can pay significantly less than the national average rate by locating its data centers in locations with inexpensive electricity supply and through bulk purchase. Also, moving to the cloud often fosters innovation, as the cost of scenario analysis of different configurations is reduced. Applications can be deployed with the minimum required storage, memory and CPU resources. As they grow, resources can be added as needed. Management can concentrate their focus on critical support areas. Determining what type of cloud and which cloud vendor will meet our needs There are several types of clouds that we may want to consider. Public clouds are virtualized servers hosted by third-party cloud vendors and/or service providers. Data is maintained by third-party cloud vendors in multi-tenant environments and infrastructure capital expenditures are incurred by the third-party vendor. Private clouds consist of an infrastructure that provides hosting and services while being managed by an organization’s own IT staff. Data remains under the IT’s control and infrastructure capital expenditures are incurred as a part of a normal IT budget. Hybrid clouds integrate on-premises IT owned infrastructures with virtualized servers hosted by third-party cloud vendors. Infrastructure capital expenditures are incurred as a part of the normal IT budget as well as by the third party vendor. Coming up with a plan to migrate to the cloud sensibly and with the least risk Our first outsourcing projects were those that were low risk. Failure would NOT cause a catastrophic event. We took safe steps to protect our businesses. Moving to the cloud can be done in the same way. One of the approaches that is catching favor is to have non-production (i.e.: test, QA) environments moved to the cloud to provide an initial experience while also generating significant savings. Data can be masked (aka de-identified), prior to movement to the cloud, so that there are no chances of a privacy breach. We are in a period where we are seeing increasingly violent weather and other natural disasters. Additionally, the threat of data loss due to malicious hackers and terrorism is increasing. Added to that, the environments that we live in and manage are growing increasingly complex. The growth of data is accelerating, there are new ways to access data and the legislative environment is getting more stringent. Organizations need to begin to understand where the cloud will help them and start to execute plans to move some or their entire infrastructure to a vendor whose primary job and expertise is in managing infrastructure- and this is where Axis and Rackspace come in.