Migrating your business to the cloud?

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Here’s how your fibre internet connection makes the world of difference.

Opinion by Gary Webster, Head of Wholesale at MetroFibre Networx

With fibre rapidly rolling out to businesses and becoming as ubiquitous as cell phones are, cloud applications are now affordable and accessible solutions for any size business, from SMEs to large corporates.  And as the top global cloud providers commit to establishing data centres in South Africa, the high costs, IT and regulatory hassle that came with routing via the US and Ireland and precluded many businesses from embracing cloud connectivity have been removed – the bottom line is cloud has never been more accessible.

In a nutshell, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of on a physical hard drive. Hence one of the most crucial factors in implementing cloud solutions for a distributed workforce is the quality of the internet connection.  Because of its high capacity, reliability, security and relatively low cost, fibre internet connectivity provides the connection over which cloud connectivity takes place. Transferring data between users and the cloud is a bandwidth-hungry animal, requiring a connection like fibre that can carry trillions of bits per second. You need the stability of a fibre connection that provides symmetrical upload and download speeds and can handle the vast amount of traffic over the internet to and from your cloud host, with a minimum of latency - this is the time that it takes for data to travel between its source and destination, measured in milliseconds.

Another crucial fibre consideration when migrating to the cloud and having to transfer huge tranches of data from source to the cloud, is having scalable capacity. The initial data migration can be a daunting task and will require the moving of terabytes or even petabytes of existing data and files to the cloud.  During this initial migration, your business will need what is termed ‘burstable capacity’ - a very large capacity fibre connection to handle the data volumes of the initial data migration, and then able to scale that service back once you’re officially ‘in the cloud’ to your normal, operational needs on a day-to-day basis.  MetroFibre Networx is both a fibre infrastructure provider and provides ISP services, so this burstable capacity is easily facilitated on an ad-hoc basis, without having to sign up on a massive (and more expensive) fibre contract for a lengthy period when you only need it during the data migration.  Another key benefit of working with a fibre provider that can offer both the fibre infrastructure and ISP service in one combined solution is having the flexibility and additional capacity for disaster recovery planning and business continuity when needed. 
 
Global MEF compliance makes a big difference when it comes to cloud

The Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) program is a Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) framework, through which service providers and equipment vendors in any geography can demonstrate their compliance with globally recognised MEF Carrier Ethernet service specifications. CE 2.0 standards accelerate the deployment of Carrier Ethernet services (fibre) for business by reducing the time and resources needed to assess service offerings and equipment – since the MEF compliance immediately verifies that the services are fully standardised for global deployment.
 
MetroFibre Networx owns and manages SA’s first globally compliant Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) open-access fibre network which improves access, scalability and reliability for clients, and connects over 60 cloud, application, voice and Internet service providers with their customers.  Through strategic partnerships and relationships with Teraco, MetroFibre can also directly link customers to the world’s unrivalled cloud operators such as Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google.
The cloud provides many significant benefits for businesses – from distributed yet connected and collaborative workforces, access to files from anywhere, anytime, better security through access controls and encryption, easier back-up and recovery, a lower total cost of ownership in terms of hardware and software deployment, upgrades and IT maintenance, savings on storage space and expensive real estate – the list goes on. 
 
Underpinning it all, is a delicate, yet omnipotent fibre internet connection that makes ‘cloud’ happen. Symmetric speeds, bandwidth, reliability, burstable capacity, low latency and enhanced security are all important considerations that your fibre internet brings to the table when planning your cloud migration.