Microsoft's UK data centres and the impact of the cloud
Microsoft has opened the doors of its new data centres in the UK, which will help it sell its services to various British organisations - such as the Ministry of Defence and the NHS - which handle sensitive data.
Mark Skilton, Professor of Practice in the Information Systems and Management Group at Warwick Business School, is a researcher of cyber security and cloud computing. He offered his perspective on the news:
"The recent announcement of local UK data centres by Microsoft in London, Durham and Cardiff is part of a bigger picture of the large cloud computing providers 'setting up shop' on local territory, to provide better access and performance of their cloud products and services.
"It has been 12 months since the safe harbour agreement enabling EU citizen data to be automatically moved and stored in the US was ruled invalid, while its replacement - the EU-US Privacy Shield - has raised more concerns over EU citizen’s data and massive and indiscriminate surveillance by the US government.
"Large US cloud companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have much to gain and potentially lose in navigating these legal issues, yet the adoption and scale of cloud computing by organisations means demand is growing exponentially. With no significant EU alternatives, UK companies continue to move to the cloud as shown by the MOD's need to modernise its IT through the adoption of 'on-demand' cloud services.
"By being 'on-shore' some work-around can begin in placing EU citizen data within the country of jurisdiction. Modern cloud data centres have the ability to partition and rapidly accelerate access to software-as-a-service products and computing capacity for storage and data analytics.
"The economics of these centres are highly compelling for companies in pubic and private sectors, and with the addition of secure zones and security, they can offer private cloud services for tenants while gaining access to new modern software and rapid elastic capacity to meet flexible business demands.
"The fact that organisations like the MOD will consider external cloud data centres has been something of a turning point for companies that have originally been in the public cloud market and perceived as inherently insecure alongside all kinds of public tenants. Modern cloud computing security partitioning, software-defined networks and infrastructure are enabling new robust levels of encryption and secure access, enabling part or whole migration of organisation's content to be managed as a secure cloud service.
"The problems of security have not gone away, but cloud computing can, in some cases, speed up from weeks to seconds data analysis and produce a 70-80 percent reduction in operating costs. With the Internet of Things connecting potentially everything, the sea of data will get even larger and companies need to be able to access it while taking advantage of new advances in machine intelligence, automation and augmented reality services.
"Having cloud computing is a vital layer of infrastructure in the modern digital economy and that, along with broadband and network investment, will drive new levels of market penetration and enterprise performance for organisations."
Follow @ManufacturingGL and @NellWalkerMG
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.