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Overcoming the barriers to cloud with software-defined availability

Businesses today are increasingly being evaluated on both their customer service levels and response times, as well as what they sell. With people accessing cloud services from portable devices that are connected to both the network and the services they want, how can a business ensure its services are “always there” and available to customers?

Availability is a critical element to conducting business, even if it’s not direct to the end user; think Twitter or Facebook. If either platform goes down it might be irritating to regular users who can’t get access, but it is catastrophic for the companies. Who can sell advertising when the space they’re selling isn’t being seen by anyone?

High profile IT outages in recent media reports have demonstrated the damage to financial, reputational and customer service goals that can be sustained following a period of downtime. Businesses need to capitalise on the options available to them to offer the benefits of cloud computing without the risks.

While security concerns have historically inhibited organisations from moving to the cloud, availability is fast becoming a bigger concern overshadowing the improved agility and economics that come with using a cloud infrastructure. To keep cloud applications up and running, they need to be designed to work around potential failures. For existing applications, that means rewriting code to make them “cloud-ready”.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Software defined availability is what we’re calling a software layer that makes decisions about where an application should run. It provides the right level of availability at the right time, per workload, and helps companies take advantage of the elastic nature of cloud.

While not everyone is ready or will even consider switching to a cloud environment, organisations that do need to make sure that their availability solution provides the real uptime, speed and ease of deployment to make this transition as smooth as possible. Doing this with a solution that is software-defined will bypass these barriers.

Dave LeClair is senior director of strategy and product management at Stratus Technologies.