Milliseconds matter when it comes to the cloud

CenturyLink’s Bruce Kipperman explores how, at a time when speed is of the essence, the combination of the right cloud, network and team of experts becomes critical

Bruce Kipperman
By Bruce Kipperman on 25 June 2019
Milliseconds matter when it comes to the cloud

This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox. 

The need for speed in business isn’t anything new. Pick the cliché that works best for you: losing an online shopper because checkout takes too long; losing millions of dollars on poorly timed stock market trades; or the difference between life and death on an operating room table. 

Yesterday, the difference between success and failure was measured in seconds. In today’s cloud-dominated technology landscape, we measure it in milliseconds. The blink of an eye, the flap of a hummingbird’s wings, a single beat of the heart are all measured in milliseconds.

A financial services company recently made a US$1.5 billion investment to reduce latency of transactions between London and Tokyo by just 60 milliseconds. It takes about 300 milliseconds to blink your eye once. That’s a US$1.5 billion spend to reduce the latency of operations by the time it takes you to blink your eye by only 20% of the way. 

When milliseconds matter like this, the combination of the right cloud, the right network and the right team of experts becomes critical. 

Cloud adoption, including Azure, has dramatically picked up over the past year. Enterprises aren’t just adopting one cloud; they are adopting many of them. We estimate that by the end of the year more than 70% of enterprises will have adopted a multi-cloud strategy. 

While there are obvious benefits to this adoption, there can also be complexities. Public cloud services are quick and easy to use, but not all applications in your IT portfolio are a good fit to move to the public cloud. Whether driven by security and compliance reasons or because it financially provides a better return on investment, a private cloud may be the best infrastructure for specific workloads and solutions. 

This process to the cloud is a journey. It’s harder with multiple clouds. Specific workloads probably are better suited for certain environments and certain platforms in different cloud platforms. The concept of hybrid is real and customers are going there.

A key is understanding how to operate when you’re managing workloads that are in multiple clouds. In a world where milliseconds can mean the difference between turning an exceptional experience into a poor one, the integration of all cloud application and services across the network, across distances, things like compliance and data sovereignty need to be understood. 

So how do you standardise your practices and procedures? How do you operate the tools that you use, the visibility that you have into it? How do you secure everything across the multiple clouds? How do you create one standard strategy and one standard approach to scale your resources? 

We all realise that some workloads will be on public clouds and others on private. As the number of these workloads grow, it’s important to consider the role of a cloud foundation. Think of a cloud foundation as an integrated stack of technologies to run and deploy hybrid clouds. It integrates cloud infrastructure (compute, storage, networking, and security) and cloud management services to run enterprise applications in both private and public environments. 

A cloud foundation better manages disparate cloud services that weren’t necessarily designed to integrate with one another seamlessly. It allows you to set policies leveraging a common infrastructure and consistent operational model, connecting your on- and off-premises data centre that is fully compatible and distributed. 

A key decision for hybrid cloud is where and how workloads will be deployed and managed. This includes selecting the right set of tools and environment to connect your data centres and clouds in real-time, providing control and flexibility needed, and better manage application quality and performance. You need to quickly make changes to your network ecosystem as applications and infrastructure requirements shift, including securing critical data, scaling to meet the needs of the business and meeting rising customer expectations. 

Selecting the right partners to provide 24/7 cloud and network support frees IT resources to focus on mission critical work. The right partner is also accountable for global service level agreements and pay as you go pricing models that eliminate upfront capital investment and long-term contracts.

With nearly three quarters of all enterprises using hybrid clouds by the end of this year, there will be many successes and failures. Selecting the right partner, with the right set of experts, and skills to increase performance can help avoid mistakes that will slow down your competitors.

Bruce Kipperman is vice president of Sales, Managed Services and Services at CenturyLink

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