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Private Cloud isn't a Hosted Service

By Terry Pullin

Gone are the times of cloud computing only being delivered by a provider as a hosted service. Cloud computing is usually defined as “the delivery of IT over the internet”, actually this is often not true.

Though hosting providers are embracing cloud computing as the underlying technology to deliver services in this way, the truth is cloud computing is simply the software that permits this.

A range of cloud enablement (aka cloud orchestration) software solutions are available within the market which gives the key cloud computing benefits to businesses that can't move their IT to a hosted environment.

To start to understand what this software achieves it's important to know the difference between cloud vs virtualization.

Virtualization alone isn't cloud computing. Virtualization is usually a key component to a cloud computing platform but isn't the finished product. Virtualization technology pools hardware resources from multiple usually underutilized hardware devices and makes the resources available as one pool from which virtual servers draw their requirements.

Cloud computing may be a layer above virtualization which allows many additional features and benefits, for instance, information technology colleges

 hybrid computing environments which use a mixture of physical & virtual server farms, multiple hypervisor control meaning you'll prefer to use different virtualization technologies for various servers, simplified management therein you'll manage these multiple infrastructures from one instrument panel, automation of the many IT tasks, and simple provisioning.

As aforementioned hosting providers who have re-invented themselves as “cloud” hosting providers use this software alongside their virtualization technology. the rationale for this is often simple, to regulate costs and make their services competitive.

Many of their cost savings are from the automation and simplified management of cloud computing instead of virtualization. They also make additional profits by having the power to quickly deploy new servers and services through automation of these workflows.

Now many businesses outside of the IT industry are using this software to form their own infrastructures more efficiently and fewer costly.

Though the power to deploy cloud computing across internal infrastructure has been reasonably hidden to mid-market and enterprise businesses because the focus has been on supplying the ever-growing public cloud market many non-IT industry businesses are now adopting this technology in-house and various established software providers are fulfilling the wants.

The cloud computing model has received such a lot of interest due to its claims to scale back cost and simplify IT, however, uptake in businesses that are either too large or for whom data security is important has been slower than expected because the choices are to maneuver data server processes to a hosting providers infrastructure.

With a personal cloud, in-house businesses are now ready to realize the advantages of cloud computing on their own infrastructure eliminating the risks related to the hosted model.

For more information on how Backbone Connect are deploying cloud computing to our customers why not start at our website www.backboneconnect.co.uk

About the author: Terry Pullin is Head of Cloud enablement services and is fast becoming one among the foremost established cloud thought leaders within the UK receiving regular requests to talk at industry events regarding cloud computing, why not follow him on Twitter for his personal insight on the technology.

CAPEX and OPEX an Accountants view

Laurence Moore is Chairman of Prime Accountants

Jonathan Toni (Strategic Alliances Director Compare the Cloud) has asked me to write down a guest blog about the advantages derived by moving from a CAPEX model to an OPEX model when moving to the cloud.

As a practicing accountant, he wants me to elucidate that to techy people that apparently see this as a serious benefit.

Interesting question because when recommending cloud technology to SME businesses I rarely, if ever, mention it. I probably should throw it in additional often, but don’t.

the reason is, I don't see that together of the advantages of driving this technology change but really an additional benefit as a bonus, resulting from the choice already made.

I hope Jonathan wasn’t hoping for an in-depth explanation of the various accounting treatment of CAPEX and OPEX because, if so, we'll all fall asleep at about an equivalent time.

The simple benefit to the companies I counsel from that aspect is the only cashflow – no big upfront payments, and reduced commitment, no long tie-ins. OK, that's the accounting bit done then.

So why am I hooked on the cloud?

Two reasons – benefits to a business – and secondly the benefit to my ability to advise and support businesses.

We all know the business benefits in terms of secure data centers, remote logins from multiple locations and multiple users, no need for local backups, simple updates, so I will be able to explain what it means for my accountancy business when advising clients.

Traditional accounting practice and its traditional client

The business installs Sage on PC in the office, hires bookkeepers who are reasonably good (problem no 1 – as how does the business owner know that?)

Bookkeepers ‘keep the books’ knock out the VAT returns, have a go at reconciling the bank and a couple of months after the top of the year send the accountant a backup.

Accountant tries to seek out an equivalent version of Sage or Quickbooks on his network, restores the backup, fiddles around with the numbers, enters them into his specialized accounting practice software, and prints the year-end accounts out.

He then either forgets to offer the client the adjustments to form to their Sage/QB or he sends them to the bookkeeper who ignores them as they don't understand them.

The client gets accounts 6 months after the year-end and sticks them during a desk drawer as too old to be of any use. Accountant sends client his fee note, client moans about it.

Go back to the beginning and begin again for the second year.

cloud accounting practice and cloud client

Accountant explains cloud accounting system to the client, sets it up, and provides client login(s) and training. Agrees fixed monthly fee for all services including cloud accounts subscription

Cloud accounts connect to the online banking industry automatically downloading bank transactions daily.

Client raises sales invoices within the office or out on the road on phone or tablet. Employees enter their expenses on a restricted login profile. Accountant answers any queries immediately they arise as he has constant live access to the only ledger which everyone shares.

The client scans his supplier invoices into Dropbox, shared with the accountant’s staff

Accountant enters supplier invoices into the cloud system and reconciles bank transactions. If required, sends statements to customers by email on behalf of the client. information technology consulting

 Perhaps gives the purchasers an immediate dial number in his office for any queries they need.

Accountant pays the client’s agreed supplier invoices via his secure BACS bureau using files extracted from cloud accounts, so no-one enters any payments into the banking industry or writes cheques out.

The client gets monthly accounts with explanation, possibly compared to the budget set at beginning of the year.

Straight after year-end, the accountant completes year-end accounts with any adjustments entered directly into the live cloud accounts system

Accountants' annual fee is a smaller amount than traditional costs of on-premise software, bookkeeper(s), and traditional year end accountant, which resulted in no useful information available to the business.

This is all happening now with real clients now.

And that's why I really like the cloud

Big Brother within the Cloud

Following on from my last Blog, “Data storage in and out of doors the UK”, i assumed that i might contribute an update on this subject.

For the advantage of those that didn’t read the last white book, well in summary it contained risks related to outsourcing data storage and therefore the data protection act (DPA).

So, on with the update.

In November I read a really embarrassing article (for Microsoft) and that I must admit, for the primary time I had some sympathy for the software giant albeit most resellers of their technology wouldn’t accept it as true with me lately (for obvious reasons). Back in June of this year poor old Gordon Frazer (use the term loosely), MD of Microsoft UK, announced to an area filled with journalists that he couldn't guarantee that data stored in Microsoft’s European datacentres wouldn't find yourself within the hands of the United States government.

Now, imagine the scene, he's announcing the highly publicized “Microsoft Office 365” product (at its launch) in London. The press had a field day and what came next was an onslaught of criticism from all sides of the space.

So why would “poor old” Gordon say this I hear you ask? Well since the September the 11th attacks on the planet Trade Centre (and the Pentagon), a replacement United States government act came into play – SEC 215, ACCESS TO RECORDS AND OTHER ITEMS UNDER THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT.

So, what does this mean? Well simply put it allows the FBI to get ANY data from European companies that have their data stored in US-owned datacentres, albeit the datacentres are based in Europe. If this wasn’t serious enough, the datacentre in question would be under a gagging order to not mention this to the individuals under suspicion.

Now in most circumstances people like you and that I wouldn't be worried about this prospect and live safe with the very fact that the nasty terrorists are being observed (which I 100% believe in), however, it’s the speculative reasons that I'm not overly happy about and let me explain why.

The above Government act (also referred to as the Patriot Act) is meant to be linked to terrorism, however, we'll not skills it’s getting used. actually, you never will and if you object to your data having the power to be within the hands of the United States government, you yourself will automatically come under scrutiny for being a terrorist by not cooperating, see the dilemma?

Just to boost another eyebrow, how about this. When Microsoft was asked to discuss this they declined. When HP and Amazon were asked, they didn’t even respond and Dell and Salesforce suggested that they didn’t have a spokesperson available! Interesting hey? So, it comes back to my first paper on where you ought to store your data, within the country you reside in. Unfortunately, this statement is not ok to guard the safety of your IP (intellectual property), now it goes one level deeper – is that the datacentre US-owned? Sound crazy? Then you'd be thinking like me and expect a visit from the FBI for being uncooperative. Seriously though, this has big ramifications to the web hosting marketplace and data security.

Imagine what data might be accessed without your knowledge? Financial data, Health records, IP that you simply are performing on, pictures of the ex-wife, well maybe that’s a touch too far but you get the purpose.

Many UK based companies are now considering this subject seriously and therefore the incontrovertible fact that this is often not commonly known and there's little or no if any, publicity on this issue makes me think. Cloud Computing may be a complex subject because it is with its own questions surrounding the variants of technology. This alongside the topics of knowledge sensitivity and security, could “Cloud”(pardon the pun) the difficulty even more and potentially steer people far away from the technology.

What do I think? Well, I can see a move to a more local approach to data storage. I'm a patriot of this country called Great Britain and wherever possible adopt and suggest this approach, this subject is simply one more reason for justifying it, one that I'm sure that the united kingdom government would accept as true with me on (G-Cloud).

For a more in-depth feature on this subject, please read the November issue of Computing (Nov 3rd), however, this text does raise both sets of arguments with a slant and large center on Rackspace, a US-owned datacentre.

CAPEX and OPEX an Accountants view

Laurence Moore is Chairman of Prime Accountants

Jonathan Toni (Strategic Alliances Director Compare the Cloud) has asked me to write down a guest blog about the advantages derived by moving from a CAPEX model to an OPEX model when moving to the cloud.

As a practicing accountant, he wants me to elucidate that to techy people that apparently see this as a serious benefit.

Interesting question because when recommending cloud technology to SME businesses I rarely, if ever, mention it. I probably should throw it in additional often, but don’t.

The reason is, I don't see that together of the advantages of driving this technology change but really an additional benefit as a bonus, resulting from the choice already made.

I hope Jonathan wasn’t hoping for an in-depth explanation of the various accounting treatment of CAPEX and OPEX because, if so, we'll all fall asleep at about an equivalent time.

The simple benefit to the companies I counsel from that aspect is the only cashflow – no big upfront payments, and reduced commitment, no long tie-ins. OK, that's the accounting bit done then.

So why am I hooked on the cloud?

Two reasons – benefits to a business – and secondly the benefit to my ability to advise and support businesses.

We all know the business benefits in terms of secure data centers, remote logins from multiple locations and multiple users, no need for local backups, simple updates, so I will be able to explain what it means for my accountancy business when advising clients.

Traditional accounting practice and its traditional client

The business installs Sage on PC in the office, hires bookkeepers who are reasonably good (problem no 1 – as how does the business owner know that?)

Bookkeepers ‘keep the books’ knock out the VAT returns, have a go at reconciling the bank and a couple of months after the top of the year send the accountant a backup.

Accountant tries to seek out an equivalent version of Sage or Quickbooks on his network, restores the backup, fiddles around with the numbers, enters them into his specialized accounting practice software, and prints the year-end accounts out.

He then either forgets to offer the client the adjustments to form to their Sage/QB or he sends them to the bookkeeper who ignores them as they don't understand them.

The client gets accounts 6 months after the year-end and sticks them during a desk drawer as too old to be of any use. Accountant sends client his fee note, client moans about it.

Go back to the beginning and begin again for the second year.

Cloud accounting practice and cloud client

Accountant explains cloud accounting system to the client, sets it up, and provides client login(s) and training. Agrees fixed monthly fee for all services including cloud accounts subscription

Cloud accounts connect to the online banking industry automatically downloading bank transactions daily.

Client raises sales invoices within the office or out on the road on phone or tablet. Employees enter their expenses on a restricted login profile. Accountant answers any queries immediately they arise as he has constant live access to the only ledger which everyone shares.

The client scans his supplier invoices into Dropbox, shared with the accountant’s staff

Accountant enters supplier invoices into the cloud system and reconciles bank transactions. If required, sends statements to customers by email on behalf of the client. information technology education Perhaps gives the purchasers an immediate dial number in his office for any queries they need.

Accountant pays the client’s agreed supplier invoices via his secure BACS bureau using files extracted from cloud accounts, so no-one enters any payments into the banking industry or writes cheques out.

The client gets monthly accounts with explanation, possibly compared to the budget set at beginning of the year.

Straight after year-end, the accountant completes year-end accounts with any adjustments entered directly into the live cloud accounts system

Accountants' annual fee is a smaller amount than traditional costs of on-premise software, bookkeeper(s), and traditional year end accountant, which resulted in no useful information available to the business.

This is all happening now with real clients now.

And that's why I really like the cloud

….and don't care about CAPEX, OPEX, EBITDA, PBT, EIS, FRSSE, and nor do my clients.

….and don't care about CAPEX, OPEX, EBITDA, PBT, EIS, FRSSE, and nor do my clients.