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Managed Services, Databases and the Cloud

Today ‘cloud’ is the buzz word of choice. “You can put that in the cloud” people tell me…”sign up for our cloud service” I am offered. But what exactly does that mean for the conscientious IT manager and information services director in charge of a database estate?

The idea of cloud is that you are provided ‘something’ as a service; be that server, database or application. If you are using some sort of external managed IT service you can eliminate some of the expense by including it in the cloud offering. If you have an on-premise Microsoft or Oracle database solution it is very likely that there is some sort of Oracle DBA or SQL Server support present, be that by an in-house team with the backup of Oracle support UK, or a form of Oracle managed services provided by a third party.

Using the cloud offering allows you to pass part of the technology support to the cloud provider depending on the level of cloud service taken. The support of all components of the infrastructure below the service taken are handled by the cloud provider and can be eliminated by the customer.

For example, the entire stack is as follows:

  • Applications
  • Database
  • Operating System
  • Server
  • Network
  • Data Centre

For example, taking a ‘database as a service’ cloud offering would eliminate support of everything below the database, but leave support of the database itself and the application above it to the customer. Opting for a more hassle-free service, such as application as a service eliminates the need for database support, but will probably cost more. The real question is: does the reduction in support cost offset the expense of the cloud offering? This is a difficult decision for organisations which already have internal IT support teams but for those businesses looking to down-size their support team, or those who wish to use a technology for which they have no in-house support, cloud offerings offer a hassle-free, SLA driven service which is easy to manage and backed up by the supplier.

Is cloud right for everyone? There is no yes or no here, like all emerging technologies the question is: does a cloud offering fit into your IT strategy?

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