From security to stability, from migration to cost via artificial intelligence workloads – the questions asked on a very first CBR Intel Cloud Clinic video were many and varied. Drawing on a panel of experts from Intel, UKFast, and UKCloud, we sought out practical answers.
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The biggest selection of questions were security-related which was of little surprise given the Cloud Clinic Reader Survey found that security is the top issue among senior infrastructure, architecture, and transformation executives. Asked to name their biggest cloud adoption concerns, 55% of respondents named security, followed by costs (35%) and skills (20%).
Asked about improvements in cloud security, Stephen Crow, Head of Security & Compliance, UKFast, said: “One of the big areas that we’re focussing on is consolidating all the security products our customers use across hybrid cloud into a single pane of glass that’s leveraging all applications people use so that we have full network visibility.”
A question on cloud stability prompted Andy Webb, Director of Product Management, UKCloud to note: “When we look at cloud stability, the ultimate outcome is a service and application availability to a customer or end user. Typically, the way you get round that in the cloud – if you were building a cloud-native application – is to design it in from the start, design it in at the application level by choosing availability sets in an infrastructure-as-a-service world, or design highly-available applications in a more cloud-native world.”
Asked about the modern workforce and the impact of a distributed, multi-diverse workforce on cloud services, Bart Challis, Director of Product Manager, UKCloud turned the question on its head. “Cloud has driven the capability to do this,” Challis noted. “A lot of us were already using Skype, Teams, SharePoint etc. in a cloud environment but we happened to be sitting in an office consuming those services. By actually having to work from home we suddenly realise that these services do enable us to work remotely.” He said the challenge was to make those cloud service useful for organisations that won’t – or can’t – connect to internet services for reasons such as security.
Another reader wanted to know what questions you should ask of a cloud service provider when deploying artificial intelligence-based workloads. Chris Folkerd, Director of Enterprise Technologies, UKFast, said it came down to what kind of AI you are deploying. “It’s a very wide term covering everything from the very modern neural networks to statistical modelling that’s been in use since the 1980s,” Folkerd noted. “So it’s about making sure you’re using the right technology for you. If you are doing something like neural networks, for example, you need to look closely at what you are doing in what locations.”
A final question on cost came from a head of technology services at a charity who argued that the total cost of cloud ownership could often prove more expensive that an on-premise alternative. Chris Feltham, Industry Technical Specialist (Cloud) at Intel urged users to look closely at return on investment. “Cost means lots of different things,” he said. “Financial cost is clearly one but there’s the cost of inaction, there’s cost of reputation if something fails. I understand the comment that pound-for-pound you can probably do things cheaper on-premise but it’s important to take into account what cloud enables that on-premise does not.”