Cloud storage economics don’t work for us, says on-premise National Theatre

By Peter Gothard
10 Mar 2014 View Comments
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The economics of moving to cloud "aren't great for organisations like the National Theatre", the arts venue's IT director, Joe McFadden, has told Computing.

McFadden identified transfer costs charged by cloud providers as still representing an unconvincing argument when considering the move to off-premise storage.

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"I just don't think at this stage I'd be saying to my board: ‘It's a cloud-first strategy - [vendors] need to convince me why someone should go into cloud. It would still be a case of: look at each service, seeing what the business priorities were for that service, and seeing if the right model of delivery was cloud, on-premise, or hybrid."

The National Theatre is undergoing an overhaul of its physical premises as its digital initiatives take shape, extending its popular NT Live events, which remotely broadcast live shows. At the moment, the theatre is storing 20TB of video data per year alone, but McFadden is still reserved about moving to cloud storage.

"It's [currently] the transfer costs particularly," he emphasised, "but obviously economics are under constant pressure from the public cloud vendors, and that affects the whole market. If you look at things like Amazon [Web Services] Direct Connect, then that changes the whole market again, so I'd certainly remain open-minded about it, but I think where cloud services work best is where you've got probably slightly less variety in terms of business units within the organisation, and less change in those business processes."

McFadden added that the National Theatre is currently "making use of AWS quite extensively on [the theatre's] current website".

"I think it's a great fit for services such as that," he said.

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