Claranet research report highlights need to calculate wider business benefits of cloud adoption
Less than 20 per cent of respondents say ROI calculations are the primary way to support the case for cloud adoption, according to new independent research from managed services provider Claranet.
The research also found that three quarters (73 per cent) of organisations believe that cost-based ROI is only one factor in their decision to migrate their IT into the cloud. The findings raise the important question of which other benefits organisations are considering, and whether decision-makers are calculating the ROI of these wider benefits to their business as a whole.
The report, The ROI for Adopting Cloud, is based on Claranet’s annual survey of cloud adoption and trends, which polled 250 senior IT decision-makers across a range of small and medium-sized businesses, enterprises and public sector organisations.
According to the independent research, conducted by Vanson Bourne, 93 per cent of all organisations that have adopted cloud services calculated the predicted ROI for adopting cloud services, largely against cost-savings made by the IT department. The research found that only around half of respondents were calculating the wider benefits to the business, such as better business performance (55 per cent) and improved employee productivity (49 per cent), when examining the ROI for cloud adoption.
Claranet’s UK Managing Director, Michel Robert, said that the cloud industry needed to ensure that it can clearly demonstrate the wider benefits of cloud services to help support the case for adoption within end-user organisations.
“It is very encouraging that so many organisations are making efforts to predict and to quantify the benefits of cloud adoption, but our research shows that there is significant scope for refining and improving these calculations,” said Robert.
The fact that 73 per cent of respondents say that cost-based ROI is only one consideration in the decision to adopt cloud services shows that organisations recognise that there are other important benefits to consider. Despite this, many are still not calculating the ROI of factors such as business efficiency, operational flexibility and staff productivity. These areas can all potentially be measured, and the challenge for the industry in 2013 is to help end-users understand these wider benefits, and to help them evaluate them in building their case for adopting cloud services, as well as to measure their ROI post-migration.
Robert is presenting the findings of the research at Cloud Expo, where he will be giving a keynote presentation on the ROI for adopting the cloud. Claranet customer Channel 5 will also be taking part in the presentation, which takes place in the keynote theatre at 3pm on Wednesday 30th January.
Majority say cloud is as secure as on-premises IT, finds Claranet’s 2nd annual adoption survey
The continued adoption of cloud computing is being driven by greater public trust, Claranet’s second annual cloud adoption survey has found. The report, released today, finds that more than half (54 per cent) of respondents believe that cloud computing is as secure, or more secure than on-premises IT. In last year’s survey the same proportion said that Cloud was riskier than in-house IT, suggesting that 2012 was the turning point for public trust and acceptance of cloud computing.
The survey, which polled 250 IT decision-makers from a range of small and medium-sized businesses, enterprises and public sector organisations, found that almost two thirds (62 per cent) were using some form of cloud service, which tallies with similar recent research from the Cloud Industry Forum. Significantly however, Claranet’s research found markedly greater acceptance of public and hybrid cloud services in 2012.
A quarter of respondents (25 per cent) in this year’s research reported using public cloud infrastructure, as compared to only 15 per cent in 2011. Meanwhile, almost one in three (29 per cent) said that they used a public-private hybrid, an increase of 21 per cent over the last twelve months.
Claranet’s UK Managing Director, Michel Robert, said that the results showed that the industry was making significant progress to allay the public’s legitimate concerns over security, which has traditionally been one of the main barriers to adoption.
In late 2011, more than half of respondents said that cloud computing services posed a greater security risk than in-house infrastructure, with only a third saying that it was an equivalent risk,” said Robert. “Those figures are now 46 per cent and 44 per cent respectively, which shows a narrowing of the gap on trust. These figures are supported by the significant growth in the take-up of hybrid and public cloud infrastructure. This suggests that the industry is growing more successful in reassuring customers about their main worries over public cloud, which last year’s research found to be reliability, data security and ease of migration.
“While these figures are encouraging for the industry there is, however, work to be done,” continued Robert. “Significant numbers of respondents said they had security concerns about cloud computing, with four of the most-cited worries being third-party access to data and issues with data migration, technical issues beyond their control, and data location. These match closely with the factors identified from 2011, signalling to the industry that more needs to be done to address these concerns.”
Robert said that providers who met these worries head-on would reap the benefits from customers, current and future, pointing to the success of Claranet’s own Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering, the Virtual Data Centre (VDC).
“Last month marked the first anniversary of Claranet’s VDC, and we have won a number of major awards for the service,” said Robert. “The service has been judged by panels of industry experts, analysts and end-users, and has been consistently praised not just for its capabilities, but also because it was specifically designed to address the legitimate concerns of end-users. This needs to be the philosophy of any cloud service provider and I think that we, as an industry, are making progress away from the days of ‘cloudwash’, into an era of greater transparency and better service.”
Managed services provider adds VDI and Unified Comms following acquisition of Star Technology Services
Claranet, one of Europe’s leading managed service providers, will be showcasing its expanded product portfolio at Cloud Expo Europe next week. Cloud Expo is the company’s first UK event since it acquired Star Technology Services late in 2012, creating Europe’s largest mid-tier provider of integrated hosting and network services.
Visitors to the show will find an integrated offering, encompassing Star’s unified communications and hosted desktop services into Claranet’s existing portfolio of managed hosting, network and application services – including Claranet’s multi-award winning Virtual Data Centre service.
Claranet will also speak on two of the hot topics of cloud computing during the show. Michel Robert, Claranet’s UK Managing Director, will be giving a presentation on Return On Investment for Cloud in the keynote theatre at 3pm on 30th January. Robert will discuss how the value of cloud services can be measured across a business, highlighting key findings from Claranet’s second annual survey into cloud adoption and trends. Meanwhile Clive Malcher, Head of Product Development & Technology at Channel 5 will discuss the broadcaster’s approach to ROI and how it assesses the value of their investment in cloud.
Later in the afternoon at 3.35pm, Claranet’s Senior Product Manager, Ben Crouch, will present on delivering desktops and applications successfully in the cloud, in the Cloud Service Providers & Ecosystem theatre, including a customer case study.
Cloud providers are working harder to demonstrate the business value of their services and to provide solutions to real-world problems and pressures, such as security and the Bring Your Own Device phenomenon. With the acquisition of Star, Claranet has added a very valuable product set that will enable us to better meet the unique demands of our customers.”
If you would like to arrange a briefing with Michel Robert following his presentation, or if you’d like to meet with Claranet to discuss its new product strategy, please contact the press office.
For additional information, or to request an interview with Claranet’s spokespeople, please contact the press office:
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has selected Claranet, the managed services provider, to supply and upgrade its wide area network (WAN)
This upgrade has brought together all of the charity’s thirty sites across the UK and now provides a high-performance resilient network. This will allow RNIB to provide blind and partially sighted people better on-line access to the charity’s full range of services.
Claranet has provided RNIB with a brand new WAN to keep essential applications performing and will enable the charity to ensure that it can provide greater access to online services and content in RNIB’s National Library, which includes the charity’s flagship service, Talking Books.
Jon Curry, Head of Information Technology at RNIB said, “Each day a large number of people rely on RNIB’s services including our helpline, library service, online support and access to information about sight loss. Although our existing network had served us well in the past, it could no longer meet increasing demands for real-time, communication, collaboration and access to data and applications.
Our new network enables us to run our internal systems to a level of performance that will enable us to continue to provide the highest level of support to those with sight loss. Not only has Claranet met our needs, they’ve provided us with a comprehensive technical package, tailored to our specifications, and all at a competitive price.”
Michel Robert, Managing Director, Claranet UK says: “We understand the importance of RNIB’s work and want to supply them with a network that meets their exact business needs. With the new WAN service from Claranet, RNIB will be provided with an ultra-reliable network infrastructure that will support current and future internal and external communications, application and service delivery needs.”
Let’s imagine that you have been using the VDC platform for a while and have multiple virtual machines running in your account.
To gain access to your virtual machine you will either have:
Setup a jump box to proxy access
To access the virtual machines, you will first need to logon to the jump virtual machine (AKA a bastion host), and then logon to the destination virtual machine, this can be achieved for Windows by a terminal server session or for Linux using SSH. Configuration for this on the firewall is a single firewall rule for either SSH (Port 22) or MS RDP (port 3389) from outside to the jump virtual machine.
Setup multiple port forwarding rules on the firewall
To access virtual machines you will need to setup specific rules for each server to forward ports to backend servers. For example if we had 5 Linux machines that needed SSH access from the public internet and you only had 1 public IP address, you could setup port forwarding rules as follows to allow this:
WAN Address Port 8022 forwards to port 22 on virtual machine 1
WAN Address Port 8023 forwards to port 22 on virtual machine 2
WAN Address Port 8024 forwards to port 22 on virtual machine 3
WAN Address Port 8025 forwards to port 22 on virtual machine 4
WAN Address Port 8026 forwards to port 22 on virtual machine 5
The disadvantages of this, is that you will need to remember which port maps to which server.
Utilize multiple public IP addresses from the Shared Internet Access (SIA) range, and implement 1:1 NAT on each interface.
Each pfSense firewall can only have 8 interfaces, so if you have two VLANs in the private range where you deploy your virtual machines, then you are limited to 6 public IP addresses, 6 1:1 NAT rules, and 6 virtual machines that are directly accessible.
Use a routed DIA range
Using this method you can have a range of IP addresses allocated to you that can be mapped as a Virtual IP (VIP) address on your firewall and then 1:1 NAT can be achieved for as many public IP addresses you have purchased.
This means that you can access virtual machines directly and securely from your PC or laptop.
Use an SSL VPN.
It’s a simple process to configure the pfSense firewall image to create a secure private tunnel directly into your VDC infrastructure. This can scale to many users and the users can directly access the virtual machines in your VDC account. This can be used in conjunction with many of the above methods to add flexibility, for example you could use a MPLS connection for users in static locations and use a SSL VPN connection for roaming users.
This post focuses on using a routed Direct Internet Access (DIA) range.
Install the pfSense Firewall
There is a special edition that includes the SSL VPN Client Export functionality that needs to be installed. This can be obtained from the following location http://www.fearn.me.uk/vdc/pfsense-vpn.vmdk , this will need to be imported into your VDC account.
Obtain the image at the above location, and using an FTP client upload to importer-uk-gsl2.cloud.claranet.com using your VDC account details as logon credentials.
After a few seconds the import process will complete and the image will appear in your application library, you may need to click on the refresh button highlighted in red below:
You will need to deploy the pfSense SSL VPN edition using the standard methods, making sure that you allocate an IP address from your DIA range for the WAN interface and make sure the WAN interface is is the first interface configured in the network section of the configuration.
The image has the following defaults:
1 vCPU, 1024MB Memory, 8GB Disk Space.
Admin username – admin
Admin password – v1rtu4LDC
Superuser user name – superuser
Superuser password – v1rtu4LDC
Management interface accessible on WAN interface via HTTPS on port 9443
To configure the WAN interface first deploy the pfSense SSL VPN edition and when configuring the instance, select the network tab:
Click the button to add an IP address.
Select the External Tab, and then select one of the DIA range IP addresses.
Make sure that the external DIA IP address is the first IP address in the list and also that the default route is listed in the same range as the DIA IP address.
When complete click on the Save button. Then deploy the machine as normal.
Configuring the pfSense Firewall
Logon to the firewall on the management interface (listed above) using an administrator’s account.
When logged on select System –> Advanced
Then the Firewall/NAT tab:
Then click ‘Disable reply-to on WAN rules’ check box.
Click ‘Save’. Next, go to the ‘System’ menu, ‘Advanced’ and click on the ‘Networking’ tab. Click ‘Suppress ARP messages’:
Click ‘Save’ to finish.
Next add the Virtual IP addresses by selecting Firewall -> Virtual IPs
On the ‘Virtual IPs’ tab, click the button to add a virtual IP address.
Make sure that you enter the details as shown above, with the exception of the IP Address and the description.
Click ‘Save’ to finish.
Click the ‘Apply changes’ button.
Next select Firewall->NAT
Select the 1:1 tab
Click the button to add a 1:1 NAT rule.
Enter the details as shown above, with the exception of the External subnet IP, Internal IP and the Description.
Click ‘Save’ to finish.
Click the ‘Apply changes’ button to apply the changes just made.
Finally we need to add a rule to allow traffic through.
Select Firewall – > Rules
Click the bottom mostbutton to add a new rule.
Enter the details shown above, with the exception of the Destination, Destination port range, and Description, changing these to be the rule you want to apply.
Note the destination IP address is the Internal IP Address you added when creating the 1:1 NAT rule above. And not the external IP address, this is because the NAT rule is applied first before the firewall rules are evaluated.
Click ‘Save’ to finish.
Click the ‘Apply changes’ button.
The 1:1 NAT should now be in place.
Assuming in our example you have an server running on 192.168.0.2 with a web server running, when you use your browser to visit 126.96.36.199 (in our example) a web page should now be displayed, as shown below.