Navigating Your Path to the Cloud


Joe McCourt

SVP - Enterprise Operations at Uniti Fiber

If you’re in IT, you’re probably either enamored with the cloud – or sick of it.

Seems like every time you turn around, there’s an article, statistic, consultant, or new product related to the cloud. While cloud workloads have exploded, figuring out the best way to connect to the cloud seems all too often to be an afterthought.

There’s a time-honored golf adage that applies here: There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.

Any of the golfers reading this – or folks who have any connection to outdoor sports – know that the elements are one of the key factors in sports. Golf isn’t played in a vacuum. You don’t always get perfect 70-degree weather with a light breeze. Battling varying weather conditions is a main component of successful golf outings.

The same is true for attaining success in your cloud strategy. Like weather to your golf game, connectivity to the cloud doesn’t always cooperate. From unpredictable performance to security vulnerabilities to hidden fees, standard internet connections to cloud providers are fraught with issues, which leads me to a corollary to the golf wisdom that applies to cloud connections:

There’s no such thing as a bad cloud application, only unpredictable connections to cloud.

That’s why there’s been an uptick in interest and conversations about cloud direct connects. More businesses are considering a private connection to their cloud resources versus using the public internet. Just like you can prepare for inclement weather as one way to improve your chances for success for your golf game, you can do the same for cloud accessibility by optimizing your network with a Layer 2 - fiber Ethernet connection.

At Uniti Fiber, we obviously believe in direct connects, which is why we offer our Ethernet-based Cloud Connect service. But it’s not just about selling our customers a one-off service – it’s about partnering with businesses to bring a holistic set of solutions. The majority of businesses use multiple cloud service providers, each with its own set of requirements. Like a good caddy, we’re in the business of surveying our customers’ IT landscape and taking note of internal factors and external conditions. It’s our job to know as much as we can about technology solutions and the implications for our business customers no matter the industry or application, so we can provide sound recommendations for a winning strategy.

In the case of cloud connectivity, we help customers analyze the myriad of factors and risks inherent in their cloud strategy and assess whether solutions like Cloud Connect are advisable. For many, direct connects are more stable and predictable than the internet and certainly less susceptible to security breaches and attacks. Cloud Connect via Ethernet also helps businesses by decreasing the egress charges from CSPs.

Beyond knowledge and advisement, the most impactful ways we deliver value to customers considering Cloud Connect are time and focus. Because we’re local to the businesses we serve, we can spend the time getting to know our customers’ operations, IT environments and growth goals. Through face time and regular contact, we get to know our customers’ needs, challenges and goals far deeper than those vendors who would just offer a quote for services.

And because we only offer business-grade solutions, we don’t get distracted in commoditized, high-churn services. Instead, we have a singular focus on delivering robust, scalable business IT solutions over a pure fiber, wholly owned network. As businesses decide which direct connect is right for their business, chances are they prefer the company that owns the network end-to-end and is willing to be accountable and available for its performance.

I started this off by sharing golf wisdom, so I’ll add a bit more to close this out. Sam Snead once said, “Of all the hazards, fear is the worst.” As you’re considering your options for technology, and cloud direct connects in particular, don’t get lost in all the hype or resort to the status quo of internet connections in your cloud strategy. There’s simply too much at stake to compromise your cloud connectivity strategy. Talk with someone who knows enough to provide guidance and cares enough to offer only what’s in your best interest. And if you can talk technology while catching a round of golf together, all the better.