Aidan Donnelly, managing director, Servecentric

5 Oct 2010

The cloud is a real opportunity, particularly for Irish businesses, but it needs to be explained better to allay any scepticism or confusion.

What the cloud can do is reduce barriers for entry for a business that wants cutting edge technology. In the technology industry, however, some of the early adopters were setting up services for mainstream businesses without answering questions such as if there’s an SLA and other concerns people would have around an IT infrastructure.

We’re about to launch with a new cloud centre platform to address those issues to particular segments of the market. In effect this will be a private cloud network primarily focused on Irish value-added resellers (VARs). We have been delivering managed data centre services for the past eight years and we’ve been delivering infrastructure as a service so we’re well positioned to deliver the cloud for Irish business.

That’s our strength and we’ve been doing a lot of work in the Irish and UK market. What we find is the structure between the UK and Irish market is very different. Primarily here we recognise that key VARs in Ireland have specific customers and that is primarily driven by an expertise in a particular area of application.

Advantages to enterprise

But what are the advantages that cloud computing will deliver to an enterprise? You need to remember that cloud doesn’t suit everybody. In the SME market if you want everything from mail to SharePoint to the backbone you would be foolish to go setting up an exchange server by yourself; you can now get CRM packages on the internet that automate this for you.

I think for businesses starting out, one of the real serious options now is to remove capital investment and look at this per head.

Where the challenge comes in the larger companies is people care deeply about control of the data. Trying to differentiate difference between ownership of equipment and ownership of data is important.

I think there’s a number of larger companies looking at cloud computing, particularly the ones who have outsourced chunks of their IT. Where the challenge comes is those with large internal organisations.

In terms of smaller companies, cloud computing guarantees them more flexibility to compete in the global marketplace and at a bigger scale.