Aidan Donnelly, managing director, Servecentric

9 Nov 2010

I think there is an awareness of the cloud among Irish enterprises, but there is a lack of understanding of the impact it can have and what it can do for their business and this is going to be the next stage in Ireland’s cloud journey – a more pragmatic education is what they want.

Conceptually, it means businesses are beginning to understand they don’t need to have servers in their computer room, and we have been facilitating that for years around the outsourcing of IT, but what this does is it takes it on to the next level.

The easiest way to get them to understand is to two-stage it. The first one is: how do I optimise all the kit that I have? Virtualisation using VMware, Microsoft or Zen is the way to go, but you need to have the hardware for that.

Do you buy new hardware and virtualise it yourself or now that you have to make capital investment is there an alternative? The alternative is to move into a third-party virtualised cloud service.

In recessionary times, the postponement or abdication from having anything to do with capital investment is a huge benefit for businesses; they can buy computing as a service without buying hardware and software and move towards a pay-as-you-go model.

This provides enormous flexibility in business continuity and disaster recovery and makes it easier to back up data. This is a key element in business in Ireland that is underutilised.

Another area is expansion. Businesses that are expanding and need more hardware – stop, you have enough, now you need to optimise that hardware, and virtualisation is key.

Especially for companies that see business increase around Christmas, now it’s much easier to increase resources. New front-end platforms make it easier to provision hardware, storage and do it in a click and drag way has made it easier for people to control and get a read out on what it is costing.

The ease of this depends on the size of business you are. If you’re a small business, even for basic things like email, storage and desktop and accounting applications are available.

Having a real hard look at your requirements is essential. For larger businesses, it gets more challenging but there are big benefits particularly for companies that are growing and it gets them out of the cycle of large capital spend whenever they grow.

Read more from Aidan Donnelly:

The cloud is a real opportunity for Irish businesses