Cloud Computing has been one of the most popular concepts in IT for several years. The phrase refers to the storing of data and the execution of programs in external computer centres instead of on one’s own desktop computer or own servers. Complete applications together with the associated databases can now be outsourced into the web, where they remain ready for use at any time.
For companies, Cloud Computing offers a hitherto unprecedented level of flexibility: IT services are available cost effectively and at the drop of the hat, anytime and anywhere. Dynamic and innovative solutions in particular can be tried out in the cloud at short notice, and ideas can also be realised quickly and economically. Companies determine the scope of cloud services flexibly according to their current needs. For example, if the company requires a specific quantity of memory space, operating environments or central processing units (CPUs), the cloud provides exactly this scope of performance. And should the requirements change, then the services will also change – automatically and flexibly.
Spoilt for choice
As every company has its own idea of how much control it would like to have over its own cloud service, there are two different approaches to cloud computing within the DB Group. On the one hand, it involves merely providing the cloud infrastructure at the sole responsibility of the customer (“unmanaged services”). On the other hand, DB Systel offers the all-inclusive package, in which the service provider performs virtually every task (“managed services”). The “unmanaged services” have been available for booking since 15 October 2015, while the “managed services” model will be available slightly later, at the beginning of 2016.
These services will be offered not only in Systel’s own computer centres, but also in collaboration with the world’s largest cloud-vendor, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Corporate customers benefit here from the extensive infrastructure of the market leader which has over 50,000 servers in Frankfurt alone and over a million worldwide. This means that DB Systel is in a position to offer services at normal commercial prices on a flexible and scalable basis. These services are billed on the pay-per-use principle, whereby the customer is only charged for the services actually used.
High-security German servers
It goes without saying that trust is needed when selecting a cloud supplier. Many suppliers are located in the USA, while other servers are distributed among computer centres all over the world, each with different regional and national data protection legislation. And by no means all standards are as strict as those in Germany. In the case of the DB Enterprise Cloud, however, the boundary conditions are very clear: the German data protection law applies, thus ensuring a reliable legal basis for the services on offer. This means that all servers are located on German soil (in redundant configuration) and are thus subject to German law. In addition, the computer centres meet all criteria demanded of a facility running IT procedures requiring a high level of protection and they also comply with stringent requirements for IT security.
Since the corporate committees have also confirmed compliance with the data protection laws, nothing now stands in the way of the introduction of corporate cloud services. For Erik Gailing, head of Pre-Sales & Consulting, this is a step in the right direction:
In addition to the typical benefits of flexibility and scalability, our products also offer integration into the corporate infrastructure. The DB Enterprise Cloud therefore brings with it great opportunities for changing and optimising IT within the DB Group.
Although the “unmanaged services” have only recently been offered within the Group, the level of interest is already high, although some questions remain. Apart from the topic of data protection, the capability for migration is being mentioned more frequently, i.e. which data and applications can reasonably be transferred to the cloud. In order to be answerable to the customer, DB Systel is currently setting up the Cloud Competence Team. This will offer consultation and advice to customers at all times.