UKFast and Microsoft Navigate the Clouds

(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – The majority of business owners who have not invested in cloud technology admit that they are mystified by the jargon that surrounds the industry. They also say that they are concerned about security and performance if they migrate their websites and personal data to the cloud.

Responding to this concern, UKFast has run a series of round table events and produced a report that seeks to demystify the cloud for SMEs.

“There are so many terms being bandied around, it’s no wonder that people are confused,” says Lawrence Jones, managing director of UKFast. As a member of the Cloud Industry Forum, the hosting specialist decided to bring together leaders from across the industry and create literature and a suite of products that would make transition to this platform easier for managing directors.

Industry research carried out by UKFast suggests that while public cloud platforms can be responsible for drops in performance levels and threats to company data, dedicated private cloud environments present an entirely different proposition.

For that reason, UKFast has created a private cloud offering that is flexible enough to suit the needs and budgets of businesses of any size. Three different entry levels to the MyCloudStack series mean businesses from small SMEs through to blue-chips can reap the advantages that cloud technology offers without compromising on performance.

UKFast has worked closely with Microsoft on the development of its cloud technologies since early 2009, so much of the research behind the MyCloudStack product range is Hyper-V inspired.

The hosting firm is currently running a campaign in conjunction with the software giant that gives clients the opportunity to benefit from three months’ free hosting on MyCloudStack.

Andrew Lund, EMEA Director, Business services, Operator Channels, Microsoft says “We are seeing an increased ramp-up in cloud computing usage among small and medium businesses. These companies are impressed with the increased flexibility, scalability and cost savings of this pay as you go, on-demand computing model. They are seeing the benefits of working with companies such as UKFast to support their technical needs while they focus on running their business.”

He continues, “Yes, there are concerns; in fact, Microsoft’s own research of SME adoption of cloud services indicates that one in three have concerns over data security in the cloud, saying that cloud services are still unproven and too risky*. Yet these concerns are quickly dissolving as companies use them to build strong Service Level Agreements with their service providers and outsource their technical environment to a company that makes it a priority to manage and secure it. Rather than delaying, smart companies are looking for hosting companies that can answer these questions and provide them with the right advice about getting into the cloud.”

With three different cloud environments in the range from Virtual, through Private to Dedicated, MyCloudStack allows companies to maintain control of their infrastructure while enjoying the flexibility of the cloud with dedicated security and enhanced performance.

Each solution has bundled layers of defence, performance, storage, back-up and monitoring. This means businesses can build cloud environments that suits their exact needs, layer by layer.

The bespoke private cloud also addresses issues over data sovereignty, highlighted by Cloud Industry Forum research as a significant barrier to adoption. UKFast’s cloud network is entirely UK-based, with a number of data centres in the British Isles, so customers can be confident that their data resides here permanently.

Jones continues: “We’re demystifying the private cloud infrastructure and creating a flexible package that offers unrivalled technical support guarantees, scalability and defence combined with exclusive solutions that grow with your business. MyCloudStack is a fully-managed cloud with infinite scalability and data security, built to your exact requirements.”

As well as working closely with Microsoft, MyCloudStack works with open source technologies from VMware vSphere.

Jones also highlights the importance of a quality network on which to host a cloud: “The quality of the network is important for cloud. With a public cloud, the provider has to be prepared with an abundance of resource and bandwidth to deal with exponential growth so the quality of the network in terms of speed and performance is incredibly important. With, a private cloud, confidence in your network makes it easy to prepare and make sure you have the appropriate bandwidth.”

Get hold of UKFast’s report on Security in the Cloud by visiting their website at: http://www.ukfast.co.uk/cloud-security-report.html

You can also visit The UKFast MyCloudStack offer on Microsoft’s website at: http://www.microsoft.com/showcase/en/gb/details/047f20cc-7d19-480d-a7c7-d98ea649f672

The “Microsoft SMB Cloud Adoption Study 2011” research report http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2011/mar11/03-25SMBResearchPR.mspx

About UKFast

UKFast is one of Europe’s fastest-growing technical companies (as ranked by Deloitte) and has been at the heart of the UK internet industry for more than 10 years. In addition to being named as one of The Sunday Times best companies to work for, it won the UK IT Awards Employer of the Year in 2010. Previous accolades include the industry’s Best Customer Service Award in 2009 and being named the ISPA UK’s Best Hosting Provider four years consecutively. UKFast has over 400,000 web domains on its network and over 4,000 clients across all industries and is a member of the Cloud Industry Forum.

Clients include Virgin, Microsoft and UKTV. UKFast is a member of the Cloud Industry Forum.

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