Cloud & Virtualisation

Cloud Computing

“Cloud Computing” means different things to different people. Some people interchange its terminology with “virtualisation” and rack-colocation services from a 3rd party company. Essentially it is an abstraction of where computer applications and services are physically hosted, with the delivery of the service being the most important factor and location irrelevant (in theory). Cloud computing brings with it an associated advantage of reduced business costs and complexity, with no on-site equipment to install or maintain, bandwidth and storage savings, no unexpected expenditures, and eased administrative overhead.

Cloud-based services are now becoming a feasible option for smaller start-up SME businesses that can’t yet afford expensive ICT equipment, software and associated support internally. Using a cloud environment can sometimes be a good way of testing the water with new ideas, without the financial risks (e.g. signing up for a cloud-based service for a fixed number of months).

As a relatively new genre for implementing computer services on a wider scale, cloud technology integration with existing ICT services within a business needs careful thought. As a company, it may be logical to move some services into a public cloud environment for easier access and lower support overheads. Some examples that Wanwise can offer as either a reseller or referral partner include:

  1. Web Security – from Websense
  2. Hosted Email Security – from Trend Micro
  3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – from Netsuite
  4. Accounting – from Netsuite

Before jumping ahead with implementing any cloud-based services, it is important to consider some important factors, and to discuss them with your potential cloud vendors in detail before making your decision:

  • Data Protection Act – it is vital that your company is aware of the law in terms of where company and personal data is stored, and how any potential vendor protects its security and accessibility. As a minimum requirement, it is advised that the vendor’s cloud solution resides wholly within the United Kingdom, and is not otherwise affected by any cross-border issues if the cloud SaaS was physically located in another country (and thus potentially exposing the data to external government access, e.g. via USA’s Patriot Act)
  • How easy is it to terminate a cloud-based service and migrate the company data to an alternative provider? This may be an area that Wanwise can help in a consultancy capacity
  • Cloud security – does your data need to be encrypted? Can it be backed-up locally from the cloud environment? Can the vendor demonstrate adequate resilience of their platform?
  • Internet access – what are the business risks of losing Internet connectivity (e.g. a broadband connection fault) for any length of time? Are alternative “backup” Internet access options available, such as a 3G router to enable continued network access to cloud-based services if the primary Internet connection is unavailable?

Our general advice is to read any cloud service contracts very carefully indeed, so that the above points are covered adequately and contingency plans put in place for worst case scenarios.

It may be that some services can be moved to the “public” cloud (e.g. 3rd party and across the Internet), whilst for larger organisations an internal “private” cloud could be implemented to maximise the effectiveness of existing ICT equipment across multiple departments. Wanwise, in partnership with Dell, can help deliver such solutions.


Taking advantage of the maturing virtualisation technology may be another way that your business could make significant savings in overhead costs and support requirements.

For an established business the benefits of virtualisation are usually primarily cost savings. For many companies, the largest benefit of server virtualisation, which allows multiple operating systems to be installed on a single server, is in reducing the amount of hardware that is required to run all the software needed by the business. Consolidating servers using a virtualisation process not only provides savings in terms of how many physical machines must be bought and maintained, but also potentially reduces the amount of physical space and electrical power that a company needs for its servers or data centre.

Virtualisation is also a good way of improving business continuity by migrating legacy systems currently running on ageing (and possibly unsupportable) hardware to more up-to-date equipment, but still running as a “virtual machine”.

Popular virtualisation technologies are available from a number of vendors including VMWare, Citrix and Microsoft Hyper-V.

If you would like to discuss your company’s requirements in further detail, or would like more information on the cloud-based and virtualisation services that Wanwise can help deliver, then please get in touch.