Cloud services shouldn’t involve ‘building your own car’

Martin Banks Profile picture for user mbanks December 16, 2019
The ‘self-assembly car’ isn’t a mainstream phenomenon; DIY cloud needn’t be either.


There is no reason now for the vast majority of businesses to want to stay in the land of ‘cloud DIY’ – that is like buying self-assembly cars where the main pleasure is the cussed delight in the building process. Most people buy cars to get from A-to-B with the level of reliability and comfort they consider appropriate.

With the range of cloud service options available these days it is the same for users. And as with the biggest drawback of self-assembly cars, users can get to a workable – and working – result much faster. Whether one likes the phrase or not, cutting the `time-to-cash’ is one of the most important objectives going.

The food chain continues to expand as well, at both ends. At one end, service providers are coming up with ever-more functionally rich platforms which provide more and more of the base level service and applications they are ever likely to require. This trend is now starting to be picked by both the traditional Managed Service Providers and, slowly, the Value Added Resellers – especially those that have niche market IP of their own to add into the mix.

For the end user, we are fast approaching the point where they need little more than a business plan, a budget and the people to execute it to get themselves underway.

But even the DIY Co-Lo market is getting in on the act at the other end of the service food chain. A recent announcement by NTT Global Data Centers, for example, demonstrates that those providing data center facilities management services is moving up the food chain, offering floor space, power, air-con and coffee machines for the DIY community is no longer enough.

The company has now reached the ‘fit-out’ stage on phase one of a brand new 26,500 square metre data center facility in Dagenham. This, according to the company’s Chief Technology Strategist John Eland, places it just 16km away from London’s docklands, just at the time the congested docklands area is running out of capacity.

It also helps the company ‘encircle’ the UK capital, as it already has data center facilities to the west in the Slough/High Wycombe area and near Hemel Hemsptead. Eland explains:

The aim is to be a full stack data center services provider, ranging from facilities-only, self-service Co-Lo operations for the established major enterprises, through to fully managed services for the many smaller businesses and start ups that Docklands is creating. We want it to be the real one-stop shop for what any business requires.

Partner expansion

Part of that plan is the build up NTT has made in its range of partners. This now totals 150+ companies, including some of the major systems hardware and software vendors, such as Nutanix, Dell EMC, Cisco, VMware, Huawei and Lenovo; the major public cloud platforms,  such as Amazon AWS, Google and Microsoft; management services for it can also offer management services for major business management applications suites, such as SAP HANA and Microsoft. The aim is to be completely vendor-agnostic.

Eland also sees good opportunities in getting more involved with users in terms of delivering help and advice. As well as being able to offer formal consulting services, he also sees a need to get more involved with get them earlier:

We will be holding a series of Digital Disruption sessions, meet-ups where interested parties can network and exchange experiences. There will also be invited speakers to put over their own knowledge, experiences and views.

He is also looking to work with the local education authorities in Dagenham to develop at least some `spin’ to the local curriculum to ensure the company has a flow of suitable talent to work at the site:

This is important, as there is no degree course for working in a data center.

My take

When it comes to the cloud, users are increasingly faced with an ever-more-complex `food chain’ in terms of the levels of service available to them. This is a trend they should not ignore. Indeed, they should be trying to get themselves as far up the chain as possible, as quickly as possible.

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