Cloud computing represents a fundamental shift in the way IT services are delivered. Cloud promises true utility computing where IT services can be dynamically provisioned, scaled according to demand and priced on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis. The benefits to business are clear; reduction in capital IT costs, reduced operational management costs, and improved agility. But businesses must also ensure they understand the security implications on their data.

Integralis and NTT Communications talk about the journey into the cloud and security issues that you need to address to help you on your way.

Living on Cloud 9

Cloud computing offers many benefits over traditional computing models including scalability, reduced infrastructure and operational
management costs, increased agility and improved service automation.

However, there are certain security risks associated with cloud computing. Embracing the cloud moves data and computing resources outside the corporate perimeter into a network provided by a third-party. ‘Workloads’ move dynamically based on resource utilization, load and performance requirements, thus requiring security policies to move with them. Virtualization, a key component of cloud computing, can shield traffic from traditional, physical security devices so that certain traffic bypasses firewalls and IDS/IPS systems.

Cloud computing implies significant trust between the customer and the cloud provider. As a provider, being able to answer the following questions is fundamental to achieving this trust:

  • How can I securely export and store data in the cloud?
  • How can I manage access to my cloud data?
  • How do I retain digital ownership and control in a virtual environment?
  • How do I maintain compliance?

So, to help you plan your journey into the cloud it’s important to understand the different cloud architectures and the benefits they bring.

Journey to the Cloud

Many corporate networks continue to work around a physical infrastructure. Applications exist on individual, physical servers sitting in one or more data centers. Servers are sized to manage peak load, as is the infrastructure for switching, security and storage.

New applications require new hardware which in turn requires additional rack space, power and cooling. This traditional data center model lacks scalability and makes inefficient use of hardware. Typical utilisation rates for enterprise servers are estimated at just 5% – 15% of the server’s total capacity, resulting in very low utilisation rates. The entire data center environment is built to cater for a peak load. Network bandwidth, CPU, memory, and input/output (I/O) are all provisioned for a worst case scenario – maximum number of connected users; maximum expected hits on a web site; peak bandwidth. Most of the time, the infrastructure is delivering way below peak load and capacity is sitting idle.

Virtualization can free up to 75% of this unused server capacity. With a typical ratio of 10 physical servers to one virtual server, savings of up to 50% on hardware and administration costs can be made in addition to the green IT benefits associated with reduced power, and cooling. Lastly, from a maintenance perspective, the cost of maintaining a piece of hardware over its lifecycle is typically four to five times more costly than the original purchase price, so optimising the hardware will have a significant, positive impact on the total cost of ownership.

In our next addition, you’ll find Step 1: Data Center Virtualization.

Download the full whitepaper from Integralis’s Alastair Broom, Solutions Director for further information on data center virtualization, security issues associated with switching to cloud and which solution is right for you.

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