Now that data’s moving up into the cloud, I thought it’d be a good idea to take a minute to understand what the cloud actually is, where cloud data is stored and how these locations can affect your organisations data usage and legislations.
What is the cloud and how does it affect our data?
In the traditional sense, data is stored on a database that sits on site at an organisation premises. This is then accessible to all who have permissions, and data can be up or down loaded to the server where it is stored and also backed up. The cloud offers the same usability, users can still up and down load their data and back up their databases, it just means that they won’t be using a database that is sat in the local server room within the IT department; now the data will be sat in a data centre, which is essentially a ‘super server building’ off premise; this is the cloud.
So where are these data centres?
Well depending on which cloud provider your organisation is engaged with, determines what geographical location your data is being held. Not only that, laws and legislations also come into play here as some organisations may be legally bound to keeping their data within the same country as their business.
The three main cloud providers; Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS) all have data centres based in Europe and is where the majority organisations within the UK, who are on the cloud, store their data.
Microsoft Azure has two locations in the UK; the first is in Cardiff and the other in the South of England in London. Their European data centres are located in Ireland, Holland and two in Germany.
Oracle Cloud host their UK based data centres at opposite ends of the landmass. The first, in a small town west of Edinburgh called Linlithgow and the second, again is in London. They also have European hubs in Holland and Germany.
AWS is the only provider out of the big three who isn’t currently providing a UK base solution. However, they have recently announced that they will be opening their first data centre within the UK, early 2017. They do nevertheless, offer European data centres which are based in Ireland and Germany.
It’s great having these data centres opening within the UK, but what does that mean for our data?
As mentioned earlier, some organisations must abide by certain rules and regulations when it comes to data storage; this could be due to sensitive information or records that must be kept in a certain manner. These types of legislations generally mean that the data that these organisations store must be either in the same building or if in the cloud, within the same country. Meaning that the UK based data centres will be where they will be looking to migrate to. This is great now that the big three have a presence within the UK.
However, this isn’t the only positive outcome of UK based data centres; data latency, the time it takes for data to travel to its storage destination and then be retrieved, will speed up massively. This means that organisations that need to access large amounts of data, regularly can do so knowing their data is local (geographically) to their organisation and moving back and forth safely.
Now that the big three cloud providers are investing more into their UK data centres, it means more availability for UK based organisations. Doors have opened for businesses who otherwise were unable to move to the cloud; now they can do so knowing that their data is safe, local and that they are not breaking any laws.
Our cloud team has first-hand experience with all of the big three’s UK and European based data centres and will generally know what’s best for organisations when moving to the cloud. They can migrate entire databases or create hybrid environments in the cloud, whilst providing support to these databases along the way, through their own Continuous Maintenance model.