Internet Solutions has launched SkyLight, the first aggregated cloud services portal of its kind. SkyLight delivers the world’s biggest cloud by providing access to the foremost local and global cloud platforms through a single portal. This means that enterprises can finally create the virtual environments that are most appropriate for their business.
Andrew Aitken, executive: Cloud at Internet Solutions, says that enterprises have known for a while that cloud computing is one of the most important new technologies seen in decades. “CIOs and CFOs in particular are attracted by the proposition that cloud computing turns the economics of enterprise IT on its head. On-site data centres are prohibitively costly capital investments, whereas the cloud allows consideration of an operating expenditure model because those hard costs are eliminated. But in practise, there is a perception that shifting their invaluable data into the cloud is too difficult or too risky.
SkyLight delivers the promise of cloud computing by enabling the ease and flexibility of services that has been lacking, as well as the visibility that enterprises demand,” he says.
The world’s biggest cloud
With a single login and with one easy-to-use interface, SkyLight currently offers users on-demand access to cloud services from Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure, Internet Solutions Cloud and Dimension Data Cloud, with others to follow. Enterprises can select one virtual environment for their entire business, or select different environments for different departments, deployments or workloads. Provisioning or decommissioning machines as need dictates – whichever the platform – happens instantaneously via the portal.
“No longer must enterprises commit to a single platform that may not be ideal for their requirements, or face the laborious tasks of optimising and collating services across multiple platforms,” says Aitken. “This is probably the single biggest issue that enterprises grapple with when taking their data to the cloud. Our answer is SkyLight – one account, one login and one interface to select and deselect the cloud services that your business and your workload needs from what is effectively one mega-cloud.”
Manage more with less
Whether users provision a single machine or many, SkyLight enables a range of security and performance management functions across all virtual environments and on all cloud platforms, including monitoring of firewalls, networks, usage and load balancers. Custom permissions, detailed audit logs and roll-back functionality are built in, making it easy to maintain proper levels of IT governance in the virtual environment.
Aitken says that SkyLight offers an extraordinary degree of control over the virtual environment, no matter how simple or complex. “Having an immediate, holistic view of how virtual machines are performing – from both a usage and security perspective – means that CIOs and IT staff can make informed decisions about how to manage services in the most cost-effective and efficient manner.”
Financial flexibility and oversight
By eliminating contract lock-ins, enterprises can scale up or down their data requirements instantly. This flexibility means that business is not negatively impacted by delays on physical infrastructure or by paying for cloud services that are no longer required. “Instead of purchasing infrastructure based on requirements and financial projections decided years ago, through SkyLight an enterprise pays only for the IT services it needs, when it needs it, and at the appropriate scale,” adds Aitken.
SkyLight users will receive one consolidated bill – in Rands – with detailed usage statistics for all provisioned virtual environments and cloud platforms.
“Invoices typically provide very little information, which means that budgeting for unusual deployments or reporting on specific spend is almost impossible,” says Aitken. “SkyLight’s billing function, on the other hand, enables cost-tracking by the day which is not currently possible on other platforms.”
Internet Solutions’ managing director, Saki Missaikos, says that the company has invested more than two years into the development of SkyLight in order to transform cloud computing from a platform-centric to a user-centric service. “Cloud computing offers enterprises tremendous advantage from a financial, operational and sustainability perspective, but only if their business requirements are central to the design of their virtual environment,” he says.
Missaikos believes that with user-centric cloud services like SkyLight, enterprises can look forward to a future in which CIOs and IT departments are freed from managing physical assets like servers and data centres. “This is an exciting future in which the IT department is a creativity and innovation hub, properly leveraging its human capital to deliver business value,” he says.