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How hosting in the cloud can impact your business

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You’re probably moving some – or most – of your apps to the cloud, writes Martin Walshaw, senior engineer at F5 Networks.
Everyone is at the moment, lured by the benefits the cloud can bring, such as increased agility, scalability and reduced operating costs.
The cloud is marking a major shift in the way IT departments operate. Traditionally, everything was under one roof in your data centre, with perimeters that were easy to manage and secure. Managing the availability and delivery of applications was a fairly straightforward task.
Now IT departments have the cloud to contend with, so those applications are no longer entirely under IT’s control. And with ever-changing perimeters, the task gets that much harder.
Traditionally, application delivery services have helped a business ensure its apps are secure, have high availability and are delivered fast, wherever and whenever the user needs them. And as apps are moving to the cloud, so too are these application delivery services. After all, if that’s where your apps are, that’s where your services should be as well.
As more of the data centre becomes cloud-based and/or virtualised – what we call the software-defined data centre – it follows that the management tools businesses rely on should enjoy the same level of flexibility.
What’s important to businesses is having application services that can operate across cloud, on-premises environments, and hybrid deployments. Companies can then scale IT resources across those environments, offering the same optimisation, security and availability you would expect from a traditional deployment contained within a data centre.
As ever, security is vital. Cyber-criminals are highly funded, very skilled people producing incredibly sophisticated threats.
Even a simple DDoS attack can knock applications offline, stopping workers from being able to do their jobs. This can cost a company big in terms of lost productivity, revenue and customer loyalty. A combination of on-premises and cloud-based DDoS protection, offered through application services, can help mitigate attacks from outside the infrastructure.
This is very much an app-centric approach to availability services. It means fitting your infrastructure around the apps and the needs of those who use them, resulting in better speed, reliability, availability and security.
Ultimately, application services in the cloud are all about enabling businesses to fully tap into the benefits this environment brings. Decision-makers are increasingly aware of this, and are continually pushing for more flexibility and agility, without compromising any of the benefits of a traditional on-premises deployment.