21 August 2019

Finding the silver lining in the cloud 

By Adam Scully, Chief Sales Officer, NEXTDC

In this two-part blog post, I will explain how organisations of every form or function have moved past assessing whether cloud strategy is a viable way to optimise the value derived from their technology investments. Instead, they are now in the full-on engagement phase of the maturity ‘S’ curve where they are strategising on how to best procure, develop and deploy cloud platforms and solutions to obtain business benefits through digital innovation.

Part 1 - The cloud is lifting

There was great news for all government organisations in Australia last month with the Commonwealth’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) and AWS announcing they had signed a Whole-of-Government agreement enabling all agencies and departments across Australia to access AWS cloud services through a centralised procurement model.

This news was quickly followed by a similar announcement that the Federal Government has renewed its whole-of-government Microsoft Volume Sourcing Arrangement (VSA) for the fourth time. That new three-year deal further streamlines cloud access for the 98 federal agencies covered to Microsoft products and services including the Azure cloud platform, Express Route connections and Office 365.

Specific details of these deals were not disclosed, but any way you look at it, this represents a significant milestone. What these agreements do is to allow all Australian federal, state and territory agencies and departments – as well as Government-controlled corporations and public universities – to capitalise on the opportunities that the cloud represents. It enables them to better embrace the transformative power of hybrid cloud architectures seamlessly and at scale.

Congratulations are due to all the people who came together to facilitate this future-facing vision. It will now serve to accelerate cloud adoption roadmaps within Government Agencies as they seek to leverage the bottom-line business benefits inherent in enterprise-wide, cloud-first strategies.

The scale and capability of cloud

Government, and Enterprise for that matter, have come a long way in a short period of time in their understanding of the scale and capability of cloud. It doesn’t matter where you are located in Australia or what sort of organisation you are, everybody is in the same boat rowing towards the same goal of creating hybrid cloud environments that enable the continuation of digital transformation and process improvement.

The vast majority of our Enterprise and Government customers today are well educated on the opportunity that the cloud promises. Cloud has come a long way in a short time, and the opportunities it promises in the future aren’t empty promise at that. Cloud enables organisations to accelerate their ability to start realising new operational and bottom-line benefits through cost efficiencies, productivity gains and improvements in the quality and availability of the services they design and deliver to their customers.

As taxpayers, this is a win for us all, with the Government demonstrating its commitment to adopting a cloud-first approach to continue to reduce cost and work smarter. Government Departments and Agencies can now procure and deploy their cloud services in ways that will cost less, happen quicker and enable them to do more in a more effective manner.

Why do we feel so passionate about an announcement like this? First and foremost, our vision at NEXTDC is to help every organisation, private or public sector, harness the digital age and improve our society through the advancement of technology. It’s for this reason we worked with the Commonwealth on a similar Whole-of-Government agreement that enables all Government Departments and Agencies to procure direct cloud services that seamlessly connect them to their critical cloud services.

Connected clouds

It’s important to note that it’s not just the infrastructure that enables organisations to flourish in today’s landscape. Seamless connectivity to public cloud platforms such as AWS and Microsoft, are critical to optimal network and application performance and low latency connections cannot be discounted. This is where NEXTDC steps in and excels.

With connectivity underpinning every hybrid cloud strategy, getting it right is paramount - not only for our business but our cloud providers, partners and our customers. As home to the cloud, every NEXTDC data centre is highly connected. In fact, we house the largest footprint of AWS Direct Connect on-ramps of any colocation data centre services provider in Australia and we have a total of 10 direct connections to the world’s six largest cloud platform provisioners; AWS, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Google and Alibaba.

AWS alone has set up three Direct Connect Points of Presence (PoPs) across the NEXTDC footprint (Melbourne M1, Canberra C1 and Perth P1), which to this day remain the only Direct Connect hosting locations in Australia outside of Sydney. Additionally, Microsoft have deployed two ExpressRoute direct hosting locations located in Perth and Melbourne.

NEXTDC's connectivity story doesn’t begin and end, however, with just cloud platforms. We have a national footprint of nine data centres across five capital cities in play today. Our cloud onramps are only ever a fraction of a millisecond away from customers and partners of NEXTDC. Customers connect to these hosted onramps via a Cross Connect within the facility at as little as $150 per month, or via our nationwide AXON virtual connectivity network.

In addition, our flourishing ecosystem within those nine facilities extends to 550-plus national carrier networks, ICT providers and cloud providers who all colocate and deliver their services within the NEXTDC national footprint, for good reason. They are never more than a single Cross Connect away from each other in a collaborative fabric of cloud enablement that is unique in Australian data centre services provision.

We are not just talking about one-way connectivity here either. Our customers connect to their clouds and other critical IT services in multiple ways from inside any NEXTDC data centre. To my original point, connectivity is the cornerstone of all complex hybrid cloud strategies. If you don’t have a strategy around your connectivity points – including reliability, flexibility, scalability, affordability, and low latency – irrespective of how well you manage your environment, the outcomes will continue to be inhibited.

Contact NEXTDC to learn more.

Part 2 of this blog post – “Where does the cloud live?” is published here. I will take a deeper dive into why colocation facilities are critical to the success of hybrid cloud strategies because of the security and connectivity they enable as well as the innovative partner ecosystems they cultivate.