Cloud Computing: regional vs. international providers

Cloud Computing Yorkshire

By 2012 the Cloud Computing market is predicted to be worth around £1.2 billion per year within the UK alone, and by 2015, Cisco predicts that the Cloud will account for nearly 34% of all data centre traffic in the world. This is no surprise as more businesses are realising the benefits of moving into the Cloud.

As the market expands, so do the number of providers and for this reason it is becoming increasingly important that you trust your supplier. Many companies are now choosing to create regional partnerships rather than national or international ones. So, what benefits does working with a regional partner provide?

Perhaps the most important benefit to working with a local provider is in knowing the exact location and the security status of your data. Through partnering with American companies a business’s data becomes subject to the US Patriot Act. Within this act all information relating to the company can be accessed by the government whenever they feel that there is any reason to view the data.

The US government is not obliged to tell you what information they have viewed, or even if they have accessed any at all, potentially having a major impact on the privacy of any business. An advantage of using a local provider is that the data protection act will prevent your personal data being stored outside the EU or a Safe Harbour Jurisdiction.

Another disadvantage from using an international partner is the often ambiguous terms and conditions. For example Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) service states that customers have a 99.95% availability for each region, which allows for 21.56 minutes downtime a month. If a business wants to increase their reliability it is recommended that they gain access to multiple zones within the region, at an additional cost.

Furthermore, Amazon’s EC2 service also states that in order for your service to be classed as ‘unavailable’ your business must “have no external connectivity during a five minute period and you are unable to launch replacement instances.”  This means that in addition to the 21.56 minutes of downtime per month customers may also be exposed to additional connectivity issues under a five minute period. By partnering locally, you can fully research the terms and conditions and discuss the specifications that you require in a face to face environment.

A further advantage of using a regional Cloud provider is the increased response time. For example, in April 2011, Amazon’s EC2 service suffered a four day outage that effected Reddit, Hootsuite and Quora. Anyone that was using the service at this time would have potentially had to call an international support number to speak to a technician.  This increases both call charges and waiting periods, particularly if the support desk was attempting to resolve several outages at once. By working with a local provider, companies typically have a direct line to a UK support network which can dramatically reduce response time.

It is also a comfort for most businesses to know that their information is locally stored, allowing them to visit the facility when they require to view first-hand the levels of protection that the centre offers. There is also a material advantage of a local partnership, cutting down transportation costs and valuable commuting time for businesses that would otherwise have been wasted. With all these benefits it is understandable why more and more businesses are choosing a local Cloud provider when implementing their I.T. solutions.

Virtual Data Centre Services (virtualDCS) are Yorkshire Cloud Computing experts, offering a range of high quality solutions to help businesses get the most from their I.T. infrastructure. For more information on moving into the Cloud contact virtualDCS on 08453 888 327 or visit our website.

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