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Prime Real Estate in the Cloud

In the physical world of real estate, value is all about location, location, location. In the virtual world of enterprise business, value is all about performance. The catch is that enterprise performance today is often driven by ... location, location, location.

When it comes to your digital transformation, and the migration of services to the cloud, the location of your data is paramount. To reach a customer looking to complete an on-line purchase or enable a group of employees trying to collaborate on a shared document, data needs to travel from one point to another — both the distance and the conditions of that journey impact performance and ultimately the user experience.

In the physical world, a 10-second delay can cause a retail customer to leave a sale at the counter. In the virtual world, a nanosecond lag can cost millions of dollars for high-frequency equity traders. Both are important but hardly life-threatening. Tomorrow, a nanosecond delay could mean life or death when we are relying on the communication among autonomous vehicles or a robot conducting a remote open-heart surgery.

But, isn't that what the cloud is for? Aren't we part of a globally distributed network that solves our latency and access issues? Perhaps yes, and perhaps no.

How much of the enterprise is actually in the cloud?

The majority of companies have only moved about 20 to 30 percent of their operations to the cloud. Moreover, most of these are business-critical (email, HR, CRM), not necessarily mission-critical operations. The mission-critical applications (those that have a direct impact on sales and revenue) are still housed in the legacy data center from yesteryear.

Why? Well, the risk of messing something up by moving those services to the cloud has outweighed the benefits that the cloud offers. Plus, the layers of security that took years to build, creating a safe haven around those applications, sit in the data center, not the cloud. As a result, the data that drives your business still runs through this data center, a central clearinghouse of sort.

So, if you are a retail site in Sacramento trying to access inventory information from a store in San Francisco, it would seem like that 'virtual journey' would be pretty quick. But, what if that inquiry first has to travel across the country to your company's main data center in Cleveland? You wouldn't travel from Sacramento to San Francisco by way of Cleveland, nor should your data.

Now, imagine if you are a surgeon in Seattle operating a remote robotic arm for an open-heart surgery in Albuquerque, but the company's main data center is at its headquarters in Zurich.

How does a company solve the geography issue?

Too often, the conversations about digital cloud transformation forget that the cloud is physical somewhere. To solve the challenge of geography and improve the performance for business and mission-critical applications, you need to bring your "data center" to the cloud… physically.

This evolution in the data center often called a "communication hub" or "cloud hub" by analysts, is new but growing rapidly. It provides enterprises the ability to rapidly deploy the applications, data, and security that surrounds them to the cloud with ease and flexibility. More importantly, the location of the hubs, called AppHubs at Apcela, solves the geography challenge that the transitioning enterprise faces.

While moving applications to the cloud still can't overcome physics, understanding the geographic presence of your company and implementing solutions that bring your data closer to the cloud safely, securely and at the speed of the Internet will make the difference between the winners and losers — no matter the industry.

By Sean Kaine, VP of Product and Marketing at Apcela

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