The cloud is ubiquitous in today’s world. Many companies find that monitoring the various services and solutions is a challenge, both technically and logistically. Roger Süess, CEO of Green Datacenter, talks about how to develop a cloud strategy.
Which are the key questions a company must ask itself when considering a move to the cloud?
At the moment, I don't know of any companies capable of avoiding cloud usage. The cloud is driving innovation in all sectors of the economy and no company will be able do without it in the long term. That means it’s not a question of whether or not to use the cloud, rather about how quickly companies should transition and which parts of them should move to the cloud. When developing a cloud strategy, the first step has to be answering questions about setting priorities, data security and how companies will benefit from this transformation. Doing this will provide me with an initial roadmap that specifies where and how quickly I want to benefit from the cloud. The next step is about finding suitable partners who will guide me on my cloud journey and provide me with the most comprehensive support possible.
How does the cloud ecosystem ensure flexibility?
The cloud’s cost advantages can be exploited best if customers’ costs for hardware and server rooms are reduced. That might sound simple and logical, but in reality it’s actually quite complex. Take banks, for example, which still run a large number of in-house data centers. If they shift to the cloud, they need a new housing solution for their remaining physical IT infrastructure. Not only would this new solution have to satisfy high regulatory requirements, but its contracts would also have to be drafted flexibly enough to ensure that the transformation pays off on the cost side.
Which challenges do companies face in terms of cloud management?
Many companies are still in the transformation phase, meaning that they’re just starting to use public clouds and gain some experience. They’re doing so, however, using traditional applications and standard deployment methods. Most applications nowadays can hardly be considered cloud ready and definitely aren’t cloud native. What’s more, only a few of them make use of the new container technologies. That means acquiring the necessary expertise is the first big challenge. Promising solutions are already available for the technical aspects of cloud management, such as cloud brokers, built-in portals, independent “orchestrators” and even full container management.
Green serves hyperscalers with Switzerland's first high-density data center. How can other companies benefit from this special infrastructure?
Exactly. We’re already providing services to hyperscalers and are on track for further growth. We designed our new Zurich West 3 building with precisely that in mind. Since this data center is seamlessly integrated into the rest of our data center infrastructure, companies benefit from a very unique level of diversity when outsourcing, networking and housing their IT in a secure, georedundant location.
Which trends are currently visible in the data center business?
Because companies’ IT is fragmented, IT infrastructure networking is becoming increasingly crucial. The data centers that evolve into major hubs will be more advantageous to partners, businesses and cloud providers because they offer connectivity to all stakeholders and in all directions. Any other locations will be secondary. The second trend is the splitting of the market: Only very few providers can cover the needs of both hyperscalers and corporate customers in Switzerland. But this is precisely what I think both customer groups should find appealing. A comprehensive ecosystem can be enormously beneficial to them.
Roger Süess spent twenty years working at the two big Swiss banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, where he held several different managerial positions in the areas of cloud computing, IT infrastructure and IT innovation. He has been at the helm of Green Datacenter AG as its CEO since July 2019.