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cloud

Between on-prem and cloud: the reality is hybrid

Christophe Crous

Head of Cloud & Security at Proximus.

Simply put, the term 'cloud' means that information, applications or IT infrastructure are no longer located in your own datacenter, but reside at a service provider. “E-mail is a simple example,” says Christophe Crous, Head of Cloud & Security at Proximus. “In the past, a company would manage a mail server in its own datacenter; today businesses frequently opt for a solution in the cloud, such as Microsoft 365.”

This mail application is an example of SaaS (Software as a Service), in which the entire solution runs in the cloud. A company can also opt for a different level of service. With IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), only the infrastructure layer is located in the cloud, with the company managing the applications on that infrastructure itself. PaaS stands for Platform as a Service. The platform on which a company develops and manages applications is then located in the cloud.

Straight to work

“Flexibility and speed remain key drivers for the cloud,” said Crous. A simple example makes clear why. “Suppose you want to expand your own datacenter with a new server. Then you have to wait a few weeks before the ordered device arrives. After that, you still have to install and configure the server.” In short: the entire process takes weeks, maybe even several months. “In the cloud, you have a new virtual server up and running within minutes.”

And that’s not all. If, after a period of time, the company no longer needs that physical server, they can't exactly send it back to their IT partner. “In the cloud you do have that flexibility,” said Crous. “You simply switch off capacity that you don't need. That’s also typical of the cloud: you only pay for what you use.” Ease of use is also an important motivation. “Who is going to build their own solutions for e-mail, CRM or service management, if you can directly access applications such as M365, Salesforce and ServiceNow in the cloud?”

Will we soon be doing everything in the cloud? No, that’s not the way we’re heading. Businesses are increasingly making a very informed choice, sometimes in favor of their own, on-premise datacenter, and sometimes in favor of the cloud. The ideal solution is hybrid.

Companies around the world are rethinking the way they organize their IT, combining local assets in datacenters in Belgium with infrastructure in the cloud. Proximus and HCL Technologies have entered into a partnership in the field of IT infrastructure. This agreement will enable Proximus to innovate faster and strengthen its cloud portfolio for its Enterprise customers, while operating its data center infrastructure in a more sustainable and efficient manner.

Collaboration between Proximus and HCL Technologies

A thorough review

Does the cloud offer the best solution for every issue? “No, you can't look at it that way,” said Crous. “There's no one-size-fits-all in the cloud.” Not just because of the difference between IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, but also because of the types of cloud themselves.

“The decision to use the cloud should be preceded by a thorough analysis,” Crous continued. “Can you just put all your data in the public cloud? That's not always allowed. What about moving all legacy applications to the cloud? That's not always possible and, if it succeeds, it may cost a lot of time and money.” Which is precisely why, in practice, companies very often end up with a hybrid solution: partly their own datacenter, partly cloud. “Compare it to a hybrid car,” Crous explained. “In the city center the car runs on electric, on the highway the combustion engine kicks in.”


Look far enough ahead

This is no different in the cloud: depending on your needs, you can choose your own datacenter, private or public cloud. “And because companies do not necessarily limit themselves to one supplier for the cloud aspect, we get multicloud: the combination of on-prem and solutions from different cloud players.” It's an approach that prevents a company from being too dependent on one supplier: the dreaded vendor lock-in.

Anyone considering the move to the cloud should look far enough ahead. “The exit strategy also determines your choice,” said Crous. “Check your negotiating position with regard to the provider. See which agreements you can make regarding governance, which SLAs apply, at which physical location your data will end up, and so on.” If you consider all those elements, you won't just blindly choose the cloud. “We see that the enthusiasm for cloud-first is waning. Public Cloud is not always the first option. Companies are adopting a more nuanced approach. They are making a well-informed choice.”


Don't forget about IT security

Security concerns also play a role here. Anyone who purchases services in the public cloud still has to take the necessary security measures. “The hyperscalers have good solutions for this,” said Crous, “but you have to apply them yourself. Even though you are in the public cloud, you still have to make the same efforts in terms of IT security as in your own datacenter. So don't forget to take backups in the public cloud, for example.”

Christophe Crous
Head of Cloud & Security at Proximus 

"because companies do not necessarily limit themselves to one supplier for the cloud aspect, we get multicloud: the combination of on-prem and solutions from different cloud players."

Christophe Crous, Head of Cloud & Security at Proximus

“There's no one-size-fits-all in the cloud. Companies make a well-informed choice: every question gets the most suitable answer.”

Our cloud solutions

Dakwerken Roothans delighted with cloud application

Dakwerken Roothans' Internet server was in urgent need of replacement. Having thought about it carefully, the company opted for a cloud solution from ClearMedia. An operation that went smoothly and which manager Dirk has never regretted.

Christophe Declercq
Manager of Autofix

"It is important for the company that it can quickly connect a new store to its ERP platform.”

case Autofix

Autofix bases future strategy on network and cloud

To adequately support the rapid expansion of the company, Autofix started looking for a new ERP environment. “The choice fell on the Dimasys package from Infomat”, says manager Christophe Declercq. “But equally important was to first think carefully about how we would approach the underlying IT infrastructure.” At Autofix, the number of stores is steadily increasing. It is important for the company that it can quickly connect a new store to its ERP platform.

Autofix had already previously finetuned the connectivity of the company together with Proximus. The contact with Proximus led to IT partner Conxion. “In the end, the combination of the two made the difference,” said Christophe. In consultation with Infomat, Conxion built an ERP test set-up on Microsoft Azure. “That went very smoothly and laid the foundation for Autofix's current cloud-first strategy,” says Kristof Vansteeland, Executive Business Manager at Conxion. “Choosing the cloud offers Autofix the opportunity to scale the ERP solution, while keeping its management and IT security central and simple.”

Between on-prem and cloud: the reality is hybrid

cloud

Christophe Crous

Head of Cloud & Security at Proximus.

Simply put, the term 'cloud' means that information, applications or IT infrastructure are no longer located in your own datacenter, but reside at a service provider. “E-mail is a simple example,” says Christophe Crous, Head of Cloud & Security at Proximus. “In the past, a company would manage a mail server in its own datacenter; today businesses frequently opt for a solution in the cloud, such as Microsoft 365.”

This mail application is an example of SaaS (Software as a Service), in which the entire solution runs in the cloud. A company can also opt for a different level of service. With IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), only the infrastructure layer is located in the cloud, with the company managing the applications on that infrastructure itself. PaaS stands for Platform as a Service. The platform on which a company develops and manages applications is then located in the cloud.

Straight to work

“Flexibility and speed remain key drivers for the cloud,” said Crous. A simple example makes clear why. “Suppose you want to expand your own datacenter with a new server. Then you have to wait a few weeks before the ordered device arrives. After that, you still have to install and configure the server.” In short: the entire process takes weeks, maybe even several months. “In the cloud, you have a new virtual server up and running within minutes.”

And that’s not all. If, after a period of time, the company no longer needs that physical server, they can't exactly send it back to their IT partner. “In the cloud you do have that flexibility,” said Crous. “You simply switch off capacity that you don't need. That’s also typical of the cloud: you only pay for what you use.” Ease of use is also an important motivation. “Who is going to build their own solutions for e-mail, CRM or service management, if you can directly access applications such as M365, Salesforce and ServiceNow in the cloud?”

Will we soon be doing everything in the cloud? No, that’s not the way we’re heading. Businesses are increasingly making a very informed choice, sometimes in favor of their own, on-premise datacenter, and sometimes in favor of the cloud. The ideal solution is hybrid.

Companies around the world are rethinking the way they organize their IT, combining local assets in datacenters in Belgium with infrastructure in the cloud. Proximus and HCL Technologies have entered into a partnership in the field of IT infrastructure. This agreement will enable Proximus to innovate faster and strengthen its cloud portfolio for its Enterprise customers, while operating its data center infrastructure in a more sustainable and efficient manner.

Collaboration between Proximus and HCL Technologies

Christophe Crous
Head of Cloud & Security at Proximus 

"because companies do not necessarily limit themselves to one supplier for the cloud aspect, we get multicloud: the combination of on-prem and solutions from different cloud players."

A thorough review

Does the cloud offer the best solution for every issue? “No, you can't look at it that way,” said Crous. “There's no one-size-fits-all in the cloud.” Not just because of the difference between IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, but also because of the types of cloud themselves.

“The decision to use the cloud should be preceded by a thorough analysis,” Crous continued. “Can you just put all your data in the public cloud? That's not always allowed. What about moving all legacy applications to the cloud? That's not always possible and, if it succeeds, it may cost a lot of time and money.” Which is precisely why, in practice, companies very often end up with a hybrid solution: partly their own datacenter, partly cloud. “Compare it to a hybrid car,” Crous explained. “In the city center the car runs on electric, on the highway the combustion engine kicks in.”


Look far enough ahead

This is no different in the cloud: depending on your needs, you can choose your own datacenter, private or public cloud. “And because companies do not necessarily limit themselves to one supplier for the cloud aspect, we get multicloud: the combination of on-prem and solutions from different cloud players.” It's an approach that prevents a company from being too dependent on one supplier: the dreaded vendor lock-in.

Anyone considering the move to the cloud should look far enough ahead. “The exit strategy also determines your choice,” said Crous. “Check your negotiating position with regard to the provider. See which agreements you can make regarding governance, which SLAs apply, at which physical location your data will end up, and so on.” If you consider all those elements, you won't just blindly choose the cloud. “We see that the enthusiasm for cloud-first is waning. Public Cloud is not always the first option. Companies are adopting a more nuanced approach. They are making a well-informed choice.”


Don't forget about IT security

Security concerns also play a role here. Anyone who purchases services in the public cloud still has to take the necessary security measures. “The hyperscalers have good solutions for this,” said Crous, “but you have to apply them yourself. Even though you are in the public cloud, you still have to make the same efforts in terms of IT security as in your own datacenter. So don't forget to take backups in the public cloud, for example.”

Christophe Crous, Head of Cloud & Security at Proximus

“There's no one-size-fits-all in the cloud. Companies make a well-informed choice: every question gets the most suitable answer.”

Our cloud solutions

Dakwerken Roothans delighted with cloud application

Dakwerken Roothans' Internet server was in urgent need of replacement. Having thought about it carefully, the company opted for a cloud solution from ClearMedia. An operation that went smoothly and which manager Dirk has never regretted.

Christophe Declercq
Manager of Autofix

"It is important for the company that it can quickly connect a new store to its ERP platform.”

case Autofix

Autofix bases future strategy on network and cloud

To adequately support the rapid expansion of the company, Autofix started looking for a new ERP environment. “The choice fell on the Dimasys package from Infomat”, says manager Christophe Declercq. “But equally important was to first think carefully about how we would approach the underlying IT infrastructure.” At Autofix, the number of stores is steadily increasing. It is important for the company that it can quickly connect a new store to its ERP platform.

Autofix had already previously finetuned the connectivity of the company together with Proximus. The contact with Proximus led to IT partner Conxion. “In the end, the combination of the two made the difference,” said Christophe. In consultation with Infomat, Conxion built an ERP test set-up on Microsoft Azure. “That went very smoothly and laid the foundation for Autofix's current cloud-first strategy,” says Kristof Vansteeland, Executive Business Manager at Conxion. “Choosing the cloud offers Autofix the opportunity to scale the ERP solution, while keeping its management and IT security central and simple.”