Brexit – a short hop from the UK to the EU?

Since the United Kingdom declared its intention to leave the European Union, the news around ‘Brexit’ has consisted almost entirely of resignations and in-fighting or wild speculation about the future. But if you pick through some of the more responsible studies and articles focusing on the potential impact on business planning, it does look likely that, while it may not drive businesses away overnight, in time Brexit will open up more opportunities for continental Europe, and Amsterdam is likely to be one of the winners.

Eric Boonstra, Managing Director, EvoSwitch

As the dust slowly settles following the UK’s recent vote to end its 43-year membership of the European Union, it is still difficult to see exactly what will happen next. Working on the assumption that Brexit proceeds as originally envisaged in the referendum, what are the key questions and answers, firstly for business investment in general and secondly for IT infrastructure?

 

Q: Will we see a shift of investment?

A: Yes, but it is unlikely to be dramatic – more of a ‘continental drift’ than a sudden shift.

I believe we will see redirection of planned investment in jobs and locations to EU locations, rather than businesses packing their bags and getting the next flight out. There are signs this may be starting already: a number of leading businesses (Easyjet, Vodafone, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, HSBC1) have indicated their readiness to move to the continent, but more by way of reassuring investors than announcing concrete plans. Some external investors (Siemens and Visa have both made recent announcements) also seem likely to spend money earmarked for the UK elsewhere. Key factors here are likely to be:

 

– EU passported business activities: where the departure from the EU will inevitably lead to significant additional market complexity, for instance for airline operators and banks/financial service providers.

– Cost per employee: skilled international employees (e.g. programmers or designers from elsewhere in the EU) are likely to be more expensive in the UK in future.

– Electricity prices and security: this is of particular significance not only to the power-intensive data center industry but also to the emerging electric-powered era of smart cities and electric cars.  As a major importer of energy whose power prices are already high (in 2014, for example, a UK kW hour cost 76% more than a Dutch one2) the UK will need to tread very carefully and establish new secure energy planning that does not rely on current EU frameworks.

– EU-funded activities: these will definitely move, including ICT research projects in which the UK has shared. Some of these, like the €80 billion Horizon 2020 program, have huge budgets and also contribute to talent retention and generation.3

– EMEA HQ selection: this is potentially the biggest investment shift, as London has traditionally been the HQ city of choice for US tech businesses. These moves have to made with conviction, and while uncertainty over its commercial relationship with the EU lasts, it simply would not make sense to select the UK as a gateway to Europe.

 

Q: Which places are most likely to benefit?

A: Dublin, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. 

Dublin should do well where 100% English fluency is a critical factor or there is already significant investment in the country, which includes a large number of tech firms. Paris has size, standard of living and exceptional cultural attractions on its side, but there are (English) language, tax, transport and labour law issues. Frankfurt will have particular appeal to some financial players, with excellent transport and internet infrastructure, plus the fast-growing DEC-IX and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. For financial firms it runs a very close second to Amsterdam – at least that is what a recent New York Times piece4 suggests, awarding Frankfurt 54 points to Amsterdam’s 55. The author assessed a number of relocation-related factors – employment, transport and communications infrastructure, office and housing availability, schooling and culture/night life. It is ultimately subjective, but it makes interesting reading.

 

To these one might add a few infrastructure-specific factors:

– The Netherlands offers low energy costs (much lower than in Germany) and stable supply with high availability of renewables and exceptional levels of energy efficiency among newer data centers

– Amsterdam is home to one of the world’s leading Internet exchanges – AMS-IX – and is a landing point for 11 of the 15 transatlantic subsea cables.

– Amsterdam has a total of around 1.4 million square feet of datacenter space, with around 20% of this space currently available and rapid capacity growth.2

– The Netherlands is home to a third of Europe’s current multi-tenant data centers (by operational square feet)

– Amsterdam is perfectly located for transport as well as low-latency data reach, adjoining Germany and Belgium and just a short hop away from Europe’s biggest market – London.

 

In conclusion, I wish the UK well as they chart their course outside the EU. We all know it is impossible to predict investment trends with any degree of accuracy, and in a fast-changing world they have every chance of success. That said, it is reassuring for the Dutch workforce and its infrastructure and colocation providers to know that we can make a strong case as a European base for successful firms looking to expand, and also that this is appreciated and echoed on the other side of the Atlantic.

 

Further Reading

– Vodafone is threatening to move UK jobs to the EU, and Goldman says banking jobs could go’ – Oscar Williams-Grut, UK Business Insider1

– ‘These Companies Are Already Threatening to Move Jobs Out of the UK’ – Clare Zillman, Fortune Magazine1

– ‘Amsterdam Multi-Tenant Datacenter and Hosting Market: Market Forecast, Sept 2015’– Penny Jones and Rory Duncan 451 Research2

– ‘The British exit and tech: After the shock, uncertainty is the only certainty’ – Andy Lawrence, 451 Research3

– ‘After ‘Brexit,’ Finding a New London for the Financial World to Call Home’ – James Stewart, The New York Times 4

 

Eric Boonstra has been Managing Director of EvoSwitch since 2009.  His focus on attracting international customers to EvoSwitch has been helped by his multi-sectoral experience, which includes a degree in Law and senior management roles in Siemens, Staples and ABN Amro.  View full bio

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Beyond The Edge: Will you need Microsites?

As I mentioned before, the Internet of Things (IoT) is making new demands on data center infrastructure, and will create a functional division between ‘slow’ data at core facilities and faster analytics (and response) at datacenters on the edge, where the bulk of data is generated, aka ‘edge analytics’ . In this post I’d like to look briefly at analytics ‘beyond the edge’ – the ubiquitous super-fast processing and response IoT will demand in some industries. This looks likely to be delivered by a new breed of tiny off-the-shelf data centers or ‘microsites’.  Is your data disparate and ultra-latency-sensitive?  Will this mean you need microsites? If so, how might they feature in your infrastructure planning?

 

Patrick van der Wilt, Commercial Director, EvoSwitch

 

The logical next step

Edge Analytics – the location of automated, intelligent analytics near where the data is generated — is gaining widespread acceptance as a practical response to the data tsunami forecast from IoT.  Data that falls within normal parameters would be ignored or routed to lower cost storage for archival and regulatory reasons, while that which falls outside the norm could trigger an alert and be sent to a primary data platform like EvoSwitch for further analysis.  However, logically, service providers and enterprises in many industries will need to go further still, as pointed out in a recent piece by, Rhonda Ascierto and Andy Lawrence of 451 Research

 

Extending the edge

In essence, the paper, entitled ‘Datacenters for the Internet of Things: diverse, cloudy and connected’, takes the infrastructure argument and adds a new layer beyond the edge; a distributed network of ‘micro-modular data centers’.  These tiny sub-100kW self-contained prefabricated units – aka ‘microsites’ or ‘data centers in a box’ – would be located one step closer to the IoT action, gathering and processing particular latency-sensitive sets of data from sensors and IoT gateways. For manageability, the data would be triggered only if it stands out from the norm, and if every millisecond counts.  Not every IoT-enabled business would need this type of coverage, but for some applications – things like latency-sensitive mobile apps, distributed fire detection or vehicle and traffic management – it would be vital.

This graphic (with thanks to 451) captures the impact on infrastructure neatly:

IoT beyond the edge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early movers

It’s an interesting proposition, and while take-up is not currently widespread, some power operators (Schneider, Emerson) and public cloud providers (think Google ‘fiber huts’) are already moving in this direction.  As it begins its journey towards becoming a fully-distributed utility, the most important initial questions will be who is best placed to provide the microsites, how close together will they need to be, and how will they be integrated with existing infrastructure and services? The onus will be on power providers, major public cloud providers, and network service providers to partner up and invest, followed swiftly by the largest and most innovative enterprises and public sector organizations. Does that list include you?

Further Reading

– ‘Datacenters for the Internet of Things: diverse, cloudy and connected by Rhonda Ascierto and Andy Lawrence of 451 Research

– ‘IoT data analytics spurred on by big data’s expansion’ interesting short piece on the practicalities of upgrading vehicle data analytics applications.

 

EvoSwitch Commercial Director Patrick van der Wilt has more than 13 years of commercial experience in the data center market, having worked with TelecityGroup and IO.  The success of his sales and marketing strategies is dependent on profound market understanding and insights into the implications of the latest commercial trends. View full bio

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Edge Analytics – What, How, Where?

Internet of Things (IoT) is too big for traditional data processing solutions.  Edge analytics may be the key to exploiting the oceans of data it generates. Identifying critical data sets and processing them close to source will be critical to the success of new services, and for speed and compliance it is likely that a lot of this analysis will take place in edge data centers.

 

Patrick van der Wilt, Commercial Director, EvoSwitch

 

Here Comes the Flood

According to Gartner, IoT will include 26 billion devices by 2020. Organisations in virtually every industry are using these devices to drive higher levels of efficiency, reduce costs, generate new revenue, and understand customers at more granular levels. However, not all of these organisations are prepared to deal with the deluge of data they will bring. The huge amount of data streaming from IoT could easily saturate datacenter networks, storage and processing capacity.

Enter Edge Analytics. An increasingly popular way of addressing these challenges is to put automated, intelligent analytics at the edge — near where the data is generated — to reduce the amount of data and networking communications overhead. Data that falls within normal parameters would be ignored or routed to lower cost storage for archival and regulatory reasons, while that which falls outside the norm could trigger an alert and be sent to a primary data platform for further analysis.

 

Islands of Data

A section of this compute, storage and analysis could take place in the Cloud – for instance via specialist machine data analytics firms like Splunk or Sumo Logic.  But for a lot of organisations the data will need to be processed closer to source (and faster) in specialist edge data centers such as EvoSwitch facilities. This applies in particular where companies don’t want any of the compliance headaches of manipulating private customer data in the cloud.

 

The Prize on the Horizon

Enterprises who do not have a clear Big Data strategy by now need to get a move on. Recent research indicates that the majority of Fortune 1000 firms now have at least one instance of big data in production – twice as many as in 2013 – and over half are creating new senior data-specific roles, in particular that of Chief Data Officer.

At the service provider end the prize is even bigger. Cisco claim that in what they call the ‘Internet of Everything’ there is $4.6 trillion of ‘value at stake’. Whether or not you would go that far, the prize for the winning data processing solution will be huge, and all the leading players are forging ahead with their offerings. SAP are evolving their HANA database solution; Cisco has bought Cologne-based edge analytics specialist Parstream; Dell continue to work with Intel on their IoT Labs and IoT Gateway servers, and IBM and HP are both investing heavily.

The greatest prize will undoubtedly be in the interoperation of IoT networks; where one dataset meets another and they generate something new and valuable.  Today there are plenty of networks of data, but they don’t talk to each other.  Edge analytics -whether they take place in edge data centers or in the cloud – will be the key to realizing this value.

 

Further Reading

 

451 Research: Why IoT is Driving Analytics to the Edge of the Network– a short overview article by Jason Stamper of 451 Research

Information Week: Edge Analytics An Antidote To IoT Data Deluge

Information Week: Big Data Goes Mainstream: What Now?

 

EvoSwitch Commercial Director Patrick van der Wilt has more than 13 years of commercial experience in the data center market, having worked with TelecityGroup and IO.  The success of his sales and marketing strategies is dependent on profound market understanding and insights into the implications of the latest commercial trends. View full bio

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System Integration In A Multi-Cloud World

This article was written by Pim Bilderbeek from the METISfiles, who spoke at EvoSwitch’s event ”System integration in a Multi-Cloud World” last week.

 

Business leaders are looking at technology as a key strategic asset for dealing with the accelerated pace of change. Managers of customer facing business units are eager to unleash the full potential of Big Data. The cloud is becoming the connection between business and technology. How can IT services players harness the power of technology, information and the accelerating pace of business change?

 

MultiCloud

Instead of focusing on outsourcing human skills and labour they should deliver automated services sourced from the cloud and operated within a shared multi-tenant infrastructure. These services should not be driven and priced by business process and service levels but rather by solutions to problems and business outcomes.

 

Through positioning themselves as cloud integrators and orchestrators IT services vendors can continue to play an important role for their customers. While for some this means that they will remain distinctly local and provide their own private, hybrid and public cloud offerings, others have started to forge alliances with global cloud providers to complement their own offering.

 

In the longer term, smaller IT service providers will start to phase out their own private infrastructure. By that time they can no longer compete with the innovation drive and global scale that the larger players offer. Instead they will focus on Multi-Cloud management. This will not be an easy switch, but those who can make it will get tomorrow’s enterprise business.

 

You can download your free complimentary copy of Pim Bilderbeek’s presentation “Van BPO naar BPaaS” here. This is the presentation that Pim delivered at EvoSwitch’s event ”System Integration in a Multi-Cloud World” on the 24th of March.

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BaaS – Building the Fourth Pillar

Eric Boonstra, Managing Director, EvoSwitch

Business-as-a-Service built from multiple cloud service providers is the next major value opportunity for the Enterprise. Cloud-neutral colocation providers should be bringing service providers and system integrators together to encourage the next generation of solutions.

Baas Pillars EvoSwitch

image credit: 451 Research

 

As 451 put it in a recent analysis, the first three ‘as a Service’ pillars of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS all to some extent “mirror…existing technology towers that the market is used to outsourcing.”  But BaaS – or BPaaS as it is sometimes called – tests the vision, and the nerve, of managers and consultants.

Sharing infrastructure, networks or applications is one thing, but is the outsourcing of core processes a bridge – or rather a pillar – too far? Should you allow partners to manage customer-facing processes? And if you are offering BaaS, how do you overcome these concerns?

For those businesses that are already well down the IT as a Service road, BaaS is a natural next step.  BaaS builds on the collaborative model of working with external service providers to leverage the cloud technology stack provided through solutions like EvoSwitch OpenCloud

 

The Most Valuable Service of All

Value is the key driver – do the benefits outweigh the risks involved? In this respect BaaS should, by its nature, far outperform the other pillars. Rather than tackling a lower value ‘transferable’ service which can be seen as peripheral to the core business, BaaS delivers high value business outcomes. With BaaS you can quickly accomplish a goal using business services orchestrated, managed, monitored, run and hosted in the cloud. Costs and results are both easy to measure, bringing businesses closer to achieving the original transformational promise of cloud technology.

 

Putting the BaaS Offering Together

From the solution integrator’s perspective, these benefits definitely make BaaS a worthwhile challenge, particularly when using a third party cloud-neutral provider like EvoSwitch.  TCO becomes easy to track, there is no need for Capex on facilities, and there is instant, secure, low latency access to a vibrant ecosystem of NSPs and CSPs, including the specialist service providers needed to tailor service levels for specific clients.

 

Make Space in your Diary

We want to be where the new BaaS solutions emerge: as an ideal incubation and launch location for the next generation of BaaS solutions, it falls to cloud-neutral colocation providers like EvoSwitch to bring the key actors together. On Thursday 24 March in Haarlem, the Netherlands, we’re organizing a half-day event around ‘the changing role of traditional outsourcing (BPO) in a multi-cloud world’. If you are interested in attending this Dutch-language event,  you can register here.

 

Further Reading

> Katy Ring of 451 Research on the value of BaaS and the demise of traditional outsourcing. Download your free copy of the report here

> Pim Bilderbeek of TheMETISfiles on BaaS challenges and opportunities research (Pim will be speaking at our event)

 

Eric Boonstra has been Managing Director of EvoSwitch since 2009.  His focus on attracting international customers to EvoSwitch has been helped by his multi-sectoral experience, which includes senior management roles in Siemens, Staples and ABN Amro.  View full bio

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How to Get Ahead with Data Protection

Eric Boonstra, Managing Director, EvoSwitch

Data Protection is set to be one of this year’s main headaches. This month has seen announcements about both the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in the EU and Privacy Shield agreement with the US, so progress is being made.   However for CTOs/CIOs on both sides of the Atlantic this means more new processes and potential shifts in strategy in an unsettled environment where there are no guarantees that today’s political agreements will turn into hard and fast law.

 

New Regulation, New Responsibilities

 

Following six years of discussion and debate a draft of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation has been released.  The new Regulation, set to become law in 2018, will replace the Data Protection Directive (DPD), but there are still many questions around implementation and interpretation.  Responsibility for data protection has been extended from data controllers to data processors and now includes businesses with no physical infrastructure in the EU that nevertheless do business here. There are strict new regulations on, among other things;

 

 

Data collection/consent, classification, disclosure and documentation.

Individual data protection; at collection, during migration (‘right to data portability’, and thereafter (time limits to holding data and ‘right to be forgotten’)

Notification regarding data loss or security incidents (‘right to know when you are hacked’)

 

 

With fines for breaches of up to 4% of global annual turnover (or €20 million, whichever is higher), you don’t want to run the risk of non-compliance when the regulation launches.

 

EU-US Privacy Shield: Political Progress

 

Companies are also watching with some anxiety as the tug of war between US and EU data protection standards continues.  This month saw the provisional announcement of the new EU-US Privacy Shield agreement. The new agreement promises to enforce more ‘robust obligations’ on firms with access to personal data, with safeguards and transparency on US government access and a new ombudsman to handle user complaints. However, as with the defunct Safe Harbor agreement which it replaces, the new agreement could be overturned in the EU by both the CJEU (The European Court of Justice), or by individual national Data Protection Authorities.

 

Infrastructure Impacts: Securing your Clouds

 

From an infrastructure perspective, providers like EvoSwitch can offer a mix of solutions to support our customers’ data protection needs as they change.  With constantly expanding colocation space in both the EU and the US that meets the most exacting international security standards, secure data storage in the appropriate geography is not an issue.  For companies looking for a hybrid solution, the new focus in the regulation on the data ‘processor’ rather than data ‘controller’ is good news, as it shifts some responsibility for data handling and documentation to Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), and many CSPs are already well positioned to address the regulations through a mix of best practice and certifications.

 

Choose your Clouds Wisely

 

Choice is key here to ensure your CSPs are not only compliant but sufficiently agile to adapt to a regulatory environment that is still evolving.  This is something which, with some 25 CSPs including all the major public cloud providers, the EvoSwitch OpenCloud delivers.  The broad ecosystem we offer will avoid vendor lock-in, giving you strategic flexibility well beyond the start date for the GDPR, and enables you to leverage Public Cloud for less latency-sensitive data or applications, while keeping other data in a Private Cloud, for compliancy or latency purposes.

For more information and to request access, please visit https://opencloud.evoswitch.com

 

Further Reading

Short analysis by 451 of EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement: Download the full report here.

Summary of Draft EU Data Protection Regulation by 451: Download the full report here.

European Commission press release on EU-US Privacy Shield read here.

Two-page Article from Forbes on Privacy Shield Timeframe & Conditions by Lisa Brownlee here.

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The Paradigm Shift 5G Will Bring

This Blogpost was written by Eric Boonstra, MD of EvoSwitch

 

Although it is still a few years away, the mobile telecommunications industry is already abuzz with plans and visions for a 5G world. Slowly a picture is starting to emerge that promises to have deep impact on business models and the technologies that drive them. Many expect it to become the enabler of a truly connected world, of people and specifically, ‘things’.

 

The Internet of Things Enabler

As is often the case with new standards still in development, 5G means different things based on who you ask. Mobile operators, producers of hand sets, governments all have different interpretations. Sticking to specifics, these are some of the goals of 5G that are broadly supported and will have a big impact, especially on the Internet of Things (IoT):

 

Increased data volume

Low latency

Faster data transfer speeds

More devices per square kilometer

Energy efficiency

 

When studying the above aspects of what 5G will bring, it’s clear to see that IoT has been at the center of the development. To start, 5G will enable file transfers that are 1,000 times bigger than under current 4G, without performance impact. Consider that currently, an Airbus A350 comes equipped with close to 6,000 sensors across its body and wings, generating a staggering 2.5Tb of data each day of flight. Its successor in the same A350 model due for commercial service in 2020 will have three times more sensors collecting data.

5G will reduce latency, mostly in the connection between the endpoint device and the base station it is connected to. This will enable (near) real time control of applications on the same network, or elsewhere connected via the Internet.

Faster data transfers have always be the most noteable improvement with each generation of mobile communications. For 5G, it will mean 1-10Gbps (topping out at an incredible 20Gbps) connections to endpoint devices in the field, more speed than most current fixed broadband Internet offers.

The amount of devices that can concurrently communicate with base stations is a very important feature of 5G, important for IoT applications. Some estimates come to one million devices per square kilometer. Imagine the impact on logistics, where now packages are scanned at intermittent hops in the delivery process, to packages that communicate independently about their exact location.

To close off the list, improved energy efficiency will mean an improved action radius for applications, giving applications bigger autonomy between charges.

The impact will be felt in all sectors of IT. Logistics, Robotics, Big Data, Business Intelligence, immediately come to mind and will all have an enormous opportunity to prepare for in the coming years. Ubiquitous broadband connectivity for millions of mobile endpoints, starting in major cities, transport hubs and highways and gradually finding its way to all corners of a truly interconnected economy.

 

Impact On Data Centers

This impact will most certainly be felt in the data center industry, seen as a primary benefactor of this oncoming tidal wave of data. To be sure, a big chunk will go straight to big public clouds, interconnected at Edge data centers like EvoSwitch. But for companies to analyze, and take real time decisions, many organizations will look to hybrid cloud deployments at those same data centers to compute and store part of the data at least in a secure, scalable and compliant fashion.

“We believe that data center operators that provide interconnected, scalable, compliant and secure environments for organizations to build and host their Hybrid IT environments, stand to gain from the opportunity that is the Internet of Things,” agrees Andy Lawrence, Research Vice President – Data Center Technologies & Eco-Efficient IT at 451 Research and writer of ‘5G: Innovation, disruption and opportunity ahead’.

Finally, the term ‘mobile endpoint’ seems apt. In a human-driven mobile world that focuses mostly on pulling data, i.e. downloading content to a smart phone or tablet, the term has evolved from mobile phone to handheld device and we are now at ‘endpoint device’, but it still puts human control central. Under 5G, we will talk more of mobile endpoints, because SIM cards will appear everywhere and quickly overtake us as the prominent users. Who controls those SIMs, and whether they will be reprogrammable or not, will also play an important part in the enablement of the Internet of Things in the years to come.

 

Eric Boonstra, MD EvoSwitch

Download the complimentary 451 Research report here.

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Security for the modern business

This guest post is written by Andy Hardy, Managing Director EMEA for Code42. It was featured as an opinion piece on Computable on 12 June, 2015.

 

Today’s threat landscape is ever expanding, increasingly complex and consistently evolving. No business can ever be 100% secure in this environment, so the concept of building a bigger, stronger security perimeter offers no guarantees. The modern CIO and CISO realise that detection and remediation must now take precedence. They must form a key part of an enterprise security strategy, especially as security breaches are more a question of when rather than if.

 

The enlightened CIO and CISO, however, go one step beyond detection. They understand that endpoint data backup goes beyond just shifting data from A to B. In the current enterprise landscape, with its sophisticated security needs and mobile workforce, IT and security leaders realise that endpoint data protection is about giving companies real insight into corporate data. This includes a view of what’s happening on individual endpoint devices, no matter where they are, in near real-time.

 

To this end, today’s innovative and proactive CIOs and CISOs look for tools that can do the following:

 

  1. Deliver near real-time insight into data. The majority of enterprise data today is held on devices outside of the data centre. It is found at the endpoint – desktops, laptops and other mobile devices – with users that are constantly on the road, outside of the traditional enterprise perimeter. This makes data not only vulnerable but also hard to keep track of. The right endpoint data protection tool, such as CrashPlan from Code42, will allow the enterprise not only to protect data by backing it up, but also to find out when it is created, changed or deleted, by whom and from where. The ultimate solution does this silently from the cloud, in the background without ever asking the end user to proactively engage with it – it just needs to run seamlessly.

 

  1. Actively prevent access to sensitive information. With increasing reports of data breaches in the enterprise, data needs to be protected at all costs. Today, the CISO will admit that multi-factor authentication is the way forward. The best endpoint backup and sync/share tools use it to add a layer of security that makes access by attackers more difficult. Yet, only 37% of today’s organisations use multi-factor authentication, leaving themselves at risk.

 

  1. Go beyond compliance to regulation. With true globalisation of businesses and the rapid adoption of cloud services, endpoint data protection tools also have a role to play in helping you to go beyond compliance and meet regulation. Compliance alone is not enough. Take the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This regulation will harmonise and strengthen the current data protection laws in place across the EU member states. Essentially, it will mandate the way in which data is handled and where it is kept. Simply contracting with a US company that has built data centres in Europe will not keep your data safe. This is due to the USA PATRIOT Act. If requested, your data centre provider may still have to hand over your company’s data to third parties, such as the US National Security Agency (NSA). Your endpoint data protection solution should allow that to happen, of course. But with the right solution, such as CrashPlan, you hold the encryption keys, not your cloud data storage provider. Therefore, without your consent and individual access keys, third parties such as the NSA may be able to access your data in de-regulated form, but will not be able to decipher it. This will keep your business and your customers comfortable and secure – all while helping you to meet local / EU data privacy regulations.

 

  1. Commit to constant innovation. Whatever endpoint data protection product your business chooses, you have to ensure it is, as you are, committed to innovation. Your service provider should constantly be developing its product, with the key focus on driving better, more connected security throughout your organisation

 

Security for the modern business is of course about more than just the tools. Endpoint security should not just be seen as preventative. Instead it allows businesses to be competitive in the marketplace and unleashes their true potential. How can a simple security measure do that? Well, the reality is that having the right strategy, tools and people in place will free up the CIO and CISO from one more burden. This will give them time to help deliver new projects that could give your business a competitive edge in the market. They can focus on enabling the new devices your business needs, BYOD or virtualisation projects they need to undertake – all without worrying how they will protect the data once it has left the enterprise perimeter.

 

Ultimately, the right endpoint data protection and security tools in combination with a forward-thinking security strategy is an opportunity for the CIO and CISO to step into the light and drive for the modern business.

 

Read about Code42’s choice for EvoSwitch to accompany their European expansion strategy here.

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Naar een open interconnected hybride cloud

De vraag naar en aanbod van clouddiensten versnelt. Amsterdam en Nederland kunnen een leidende rol nemen binnen Europa, mits providers van datacenterdiensten inzien dat er een neutrale partner nodig is om alle clouds, service providers en bedrijven met elkaar te verbinden, ongeacht bij welk datacenter ze fysiek staan met hun infrastructuur.

Er wordt veel geschreven over de opkomst van cloud computing, de vroege adoptie ervan door midden- en kleinbedrijf en hoe cloud computing zijn intrede begint de vinden binnen grotere bedrijven en organisaties. Bij EvoSwitch zien we een opmerkelijke stijging in het aantal private en publieke clouds in zijn datacenters, gemeten in afgenomen stroom en ruimte als wel in glasvezelverbindingen tussen klanten.

Drie soorten cloud

Publieke cloud, private cloud en hybride cloud zijn grofweg de drie categorieën waarin cloud valt in te delen. De voordelen van elk zijn duidelijk omlijnd. Publieke cloud is ideaal voor doeleinden waar lage tco, snelheid van provisioning en lage data compliancy eisen gelden. Private cloud leent zich beter voor applicaties en data die latency-gevoelig zijn en waarvoor strengere eisen gelden ten aanzien van compliancy of privacy regelgeving. Hybride cloud tot slot is een oplossing die publieke cloud en private cloud verenigt. De applicaties of data zit in één van de twee type clouds, en kan gebruikt worden door applicaties, of kan data gebruiken die in een andere type cloud zitten. Het voordeel is dat de organisatie van beide kanten de vruchten kan plukken en zo met de beste mix van performance, TCO en compliancy kan bouwen.

Wat is de beste plek voor een bedrijf om een hybride cloud fysiek neer te zetten? Er zijn meerdere antwoorden, maar als het doel is een cloudomgeving te bouwen die op termijn uitgebouwd moet kunnen worden met meerdere type clouds, of waarbij de ene cloud provider snel moet kunnen worden vervangen door een andere (denk aan de prijzenoorlog tussen de grote publieke cloud providers), dan komt een provider van ‘carrier-neutrale’ datacenterdiensten al snel naar voren.

Carrier neutrale datacenters

De rol van ‘neutrale’ datacenters is aan flinke evolutie onderhevig. Historisch gezien waren het de datacenters ‘aan de rand van het internet’, waar grote content providers hun netwerken verbinden met lokale Internet service providers. Hoe dichter content bij de eindgebruikers staat, verenigd in de isp-netwerken, hoe beter de ervaring in het bekijken van bijvoorbeeld Youtube-videos. Omdat de datacenters zelf geen connectiviteit van en naar het datacenter aanboden, waren het ideale plekken voor netwerk service providers om hun diensten aan te bieden. Zo is de term ‘carrier-neutraal’ ontstaan.

Die interactie tussen internet-gerelateerde netwerken, aan de content- en aan de isp-kant, was lange tijd de focus van carrier-neutrale datacenters over de hele wereld waar het internet doordrong. Maar er was een ander soort partij die ervoor zorgde dat de relatie tussen datacenter en internetbedrijven sterk de nadruk kreeg in de afgelopen vijftien jaar: de neutrale internet exchanges, die verspreid over heel Europa in de grote (hoofd)steden, waar internationale telecomnetwerken samenkwamen, hun netwerken uitrolden over een aantal met elkaar concurrerende datacenters. Zij verbonden alle partijen in een virtuele laag bovenop de onderliggende datacenters.

Zonder deze internet exchanges had de groei beslist anders geweest, en had Amsterdam een kleinere rol op het internet gehad dan nu het geval is. In Nederland is de Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) als aanjager van het aantrekken van internetbedrijven naar Amsterdam zelfs uitgegroeid tot de grootste internet exchange ter wereld.

Doordat met elkaar concurrerende datacenters een rol gaven aan internet exchanges, werden steden als Amsterdam aantrekkelijk voor grote content providers en andere Internetbedrijven om hun netwerken te bouwen. Doordat de internet exchange alle datacenters met elkaar verbond, ontstond er keus voor internetbedrijven waar zich te vestigen, omdat men onafhankelijk van de fysieke locatie, zich kon verbinden met alle andere aanwezige netwerken. Daarmee kreeg de concurrentie tussen de datacenters een impuls, die zich over de jaren vertaalde in een toonaangevende rol voor Amsterdam in de wereld als vestigingsplaats voor Internetbedrijven. Dit heeft op zijn beurt weer een indirect positief effect op de economische ontwikkeling van Amsterdam binnen Europa als ‘digital mainport’.

Waarom is dit belangrijk te weten? Welnu, een segment dat voor deze carrier-neutrale datacenters lange tijd op de achtergrond lag, was enterprise. Immers, de vraag naar datacenterruimte werd ruimschoots opgepikt door Internetbedrijven, die bovendien een ecosysteem vormden met elkaar binnen het datacenter, wat voor een aanzuigende werking zorgde op dat segment. Het bedrijfsleven buiten het internet lag tot aan de de doorbraak van cloud bij de meeste datacenters veel minder in het vizier.

Het wiel opnieuw uitvinden?

Hybride cloud maakt van het enterprise segment een speler in een cloud ecosysteem, waarbij cloud providers, managed service providers, system integrators en bedrijven samenkomen en cloudoplossingen bouwen. Vanuit een neutraal datacenter, waar netwerk providers hen kunnen transporteren naar clouds van Microsoft, Amazon en Google, of binnen het datacenter zelf via glasvezelverbindingen naar lokale dependances van deze clouds of ‘nationale’ clouds.

Wat opvalt aan de datacenter kant is dat het succesvolle model van een neutrale internet exchange die klanten van alle datacenters met elkaar verbindt, nu lijkt te worden losgelaten in het opkomende cloud ecosysteem. Waar vroeger het besef heerste dat het afstaan van een specialistische rol rond interconnectie (en gerelateerde omzet) aan een partner die neutraal en expert is, heerst er nu bij de meeste datacenterexploitanten bij het opbouwen van cloud ecosystemen dat men zelf alle kennis en aantrekkingskracht bezit om een cloud ‘exchange’ te bouwen, en alle cloud providers en enterprise klanten naar hun datacenters te trekken.

Het resultaat is dat, in tegenstelling tot het ecosysteem rond internet dat in Amsterdam gedeeld wordt door alle datacenters met een AMS-IX knooppunt, men nu versnipperd en in concurrentie alles naar zich toe willen trekken. Het resultaat van deze beweging zal zijn dat één of twee aanbieders van datacenterdiensten zich straks ‘winnaar’ noemen, maar dat lang niet alle cloud providers ook daadwerkelijk daar fysiek gehuisvest staan.

Dit betekent voor enterprise klanten dat men straks, om flexibel hybride clouds te bouwen, niet in één, maar mogelijk in twee of drie datacenters moet staan, om zich met alle partijen waarmee men de hybride cloud wil bouwen, daadwerkelijk te verbinden. Dit brengt natuurlijk hogere kosten met zich mee.

Voor de cloud providers betekent het dat, door succes van één of twee aanbieders van datacenterdiensten rond clouddiensten, de keus voor een vestigingsplaats beperkt wordt. Immers, soortgelijke bedrijven zoeken elkaar het liefst op wanneer interconnectie een rol speelt. Dat zal op termijn mogelijk een effect hebben op de tco voor colocatie van publieke clouds en managed service providers in deze datacenters.

Amsterdam als mainport voor cloud

Maar een ander, belangrijker effect hiervan is dat het Amsterdam en Nederland als vestigingsplaats voor de grotere internationale publieke clouds en managed service providers, minder aantrekkelijk maakt. Als alle aanbieders van datacenterdiensten een ‘lock-in’ proberen te creeëren en een hoge muur trekken rond hun datacenters, werkt dat fragmenterend en verhoogt het onnodig de kosten van alle spelers in het ecosysteem.

Hier ligt een rol voor een neutrale partij, specialist in interconnectie tussen datacenters, zodat cloud providers, system integrators, managed service providers en enterprises elkaar kunnen vinden en met elkaar kunnen verbinden, ongeacht waar deze partijen in Amsterdam in een datacenter staan.

De meest voor de hand liggende partij is AMS-IX zelf, die na het bewezen succes rond internet interconnectie binnen alle grote neutrale datacenters in Amsterdam, over de infrastructuur beschikt, de expertise in huis heeft en tot slot een wereldwijde reputatie heeft voor het verlagen van interconnectiekosten. De AMS-IX bewijst Amsterdam al twintig jaar een grote dienst op de achtergrond in het bouwen aan onze internetinfrastructuur. AMS-IX kan in de komende twintig jaar eenzelfde rol vervullen rond cloud, waarbij iedereen wint. Immers meer cloudpartijen, meer flexibele keus en meer omzet voor alle datacenterexploitanten.

Amsterdam en Nederland kunnen enorm succesvol zijn in het aantrekken van belangrijke spelers rond cloud vanuit de hele wereld. Naast de relatief lage stroomprijzen, hoog opgeleide work force en bestaande interconnectie-infrastructuur is een open interconnect model voor cloud, waarbij een neutrale partij klanten van datacenters door heel Amsterdam met elkaar verbindt, een belangrijke missende schakel.

 

Eerder gepubliceerd op Computable.

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Huawei Technologies in the Spotlight

EvoSwitch is the preferred IT gateway to collocation services  to customers from all over the world. Recently we welcomed Huawei Technologies as a new customer to our AMS1 data center in the Amsterdam region.

Huawei Technologies, with its global headquarters in Shenzhen, China, is a leading telecom solutions provider. Through continuous customer-centric innovation, Huawei has established end-to-end advantages in Telecom Network Infrastructure, Application & Software, Professional Services and Devices. With comprehensive strengths in fixed network, wireless and IP technologies, Huawei has gained a leading position in the All-IP convergence age.

Huawei’s products and solutions have been deployed in over 100 countries and have served 45 of the world’s top 50 telecom operators, as well as one third of the world’s population. We sat down with Paul Broekhuizen, Sales Director at Huawei Technologies Europe, to find out why Huawei chose EvoSwitch, and how they leverage carrier-neutral and multi-tenant data center solutions as a building block in their own solutions portfolio.

Could you tell us something about Huawei and its product service portfolio?

“We provide independent, controllable IT infrastructure with high security and reliability, such as servers, storage devices, networks, security systems, and cloud computing, to ensure the security of policing of data sharing, service synergy and provide reliable services.” says Paul Broekhuizen. “Huawei is the only vendor that provides an end-to-end cloud DC solution, covering servers (entry-level, mid-range, and high-level), storage systems, network devices, and security devices. It also includes the Huawei-developed virtualization platform and converged management of a cloud DC.”   Could you describe Huawei’s selection process for

EvoSwitch and why Huawei decided to collocate at EvoSwitch?

Huawei has a very strict selection process for its partners with whom we work together in building solutions for our customers. EvoSwitch’s strong focus on sustainability and renewable energy sources, their flexibility in providing us the space and 24×7 support we require are but some of the reasons that drew us to EvoSwitch. As we are already actively serving customers out of the AMS1 data center, we have the first proof in hand that we made the right choice.

What type of customers will you serve from EvoSwitch’s data center?

“At our core, we are a hardware vendor, that builds solutions out of our own range of products. In some cases though, our customers ask of us to manage the designed solution. We rely on our partners to bring the specific parts together we do not have in-home as a service. EvoSwitch’s AMS1 data center is key, because it is where we build and our partners  manage these bespoke solutions for our customers.”

What are Huawei’s primary goals for 2014 in working with EvoSwitch?

“We’re looking to expand the relationship with our current partners and move end users on request from their private environment into the EvoSwitch AMS1 data center. We’re also focused on providing Disaster Recovery environments for our customers. At the same time, we are growing our relationships with European hosting providers to help them build cloud environments based on OpenStack.”

What is your long-term data center strategy? “We see the following major trends in the future of the corporate data center: We see increased demand for what we refer to as Virtualized Elastic Resources, the continued move to virtualize servers and the beginnings of private cloud environments and away from SANs. We see being low-carbon and energy efficient more and more as a hard requirement for our hardware that goes into the data center. We expect that Intelligent Unified Management and Control will become a hot topic, as IT infrastructure will grow to support growing sets of data across various systems and more and more public or hybrid clouds. To close, we see that the growing need and demand for standards-compliant security will make it more difficult for Enterprise customers to maintain their data centers in-home in some cases. This will create a shift towards the neutral, multi-tenant data centers that have been built around strict certifications and standards.”

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