Cloud computing, like many emerging paradigms before it, is beginning to demonstrate a growing maturity within the market.
In response technical decision makers are gradually realising that this model must be applied on merit and can be fashioned to the distinctive needs presented by individual clients. Simply put, cloud cannot follow a one-size fits all approach – it must be conditioned according to internal requirements and industry compliance expectations.
Hybrid cloud solutions – in which tactical elements of the cloud service are hosted on premise, are growing in popularity.
These offerings are distinct from consumer grade cloud services in that they equip the organisation with a level of direct control and administration that is not possible in remotely hosted environments.
This approach makes a great deal of sense for organisations that prefer to err on the side of caution when protecting sensitive corporate information, complying to judicial expectations or preparing for new legislative requirements such as the Protection of Personal Information (PoPi) act.
The biggest constraint on private and hybrid cloud solutions within the local environment, however, is technical maturity.
Virtualisation, which is required to realise an internal cloud model, is often accompanied by a host of challenges if applied incorrectly. These include virtual machine sprawl – in which an excess of simulated machines begins to drain available computing resources and the demand for an internal business process modeling structure and a comprehensive change management campaign within the organisation.
Despite this, the technology is certainly available. Many solutions providers, including Aptronics, are currently able to equip local businesses with the technical assets and services required to implement a private or hybrid cloud solution.
Although some might argue that on premise systems depart from the concept of cloud it is the automation of key functions that truly defines this service.
By implementing and automating an on premise cloud solution businesses can safeguard sensitive corporate information while reducing IT management overheads.
This is the fundamental benefit associated with a private or hybrid cloud approach. The only remaining question to answer is whether South African organisations possess the maturity and technical acuity to manage this process.