Author Archives: CloudTweaks

On Rob Kaufmann’s Thesis: NAS vs Cloud Part 1

On Rob Kaufmann’s Thesis: NAS vs Cloud Part 1

On Rob Kaufmann’s Thesis: NAS vs. Cloud Part 1

A few weeks back KPI Analytics employee Rob Kaufmann suggested that network attached storage (NAS) solutions for data serving could in numerous cases provide a greater advantage than Cloud services. Specifically, he cited that it would be preferable for those serving massive files or very sensitive data. This was debated at a press conference on July 17th.

I’m here to suggest that although Kaufman is making some interesting points, his NAS route isn’t as promising as Cloud – even given the nascent form of the latter. On many counts that Kaufman cites as reasons to adopt NAS in preference of Cloud, technologies are already mobilising to close the gap. Despite this, NAS certainly has its place in smaller-scale set-ups. Let’s look at a few different arrangements.

Kaufmann’s principle argument comes from ‘the bandwidth problem’. A recent Cisco research study in to data creation predicted a global data production rate of 1.3 trillion gigabytes by 2016. That’s 3 times the data production rate in 2009. Couple to this another finding – that the number of web-connected devices was likely to rise from around 2.2 billion in 2011 to 5.1 billion by 2016 – and ‘the bandwidth problem’ does seem like a potential threat to the internet-connection-heavy Cloud service. Our current infrastructure can hardly cope with the rate of expansion – even in highly developed countries, the difference between peak and off-peak broadband capacity is fairly large – and so, suggests Kaufmann, Cloud is not a great service to be putting all your faith in. Network Attached Storage, however, being connected locally (and in server clusters etc.) will never suffer from this problem. The bandwidth of your network is down to your network.

There are a few things to say on this claim here. Firstly, Kaufmann’s argument seems to overlook recent successes seen by server- and client-side virtualisation technologies. These aren’t technologies just starting out – they’re tried, tested and, in some enterprises, established. Through clustering remote servers from across multiple geographical areas, most bandwidth issues can be avoided. In fact, most bandwidth use is by synchronisation protocols in running coherent virtualised servers. The amount the user actually draws is fairly small by way of comparison.

In a smaller, more focused enterprise, NAS might make any bandwidth concerns a non-issue: by locating drives locally, there’s no painful limiting of speed from an external network (such as the world wide web).

Kaufmann then cites another reason to adopt NAS in the place of Cloud – full control of redundancy, security and backup procedures. We are living in an age where these things should be automated. It’s considerably better to ‘set and forget’ automated backup procedures than to manually oversee them. There’s less risk. There’s less data exposure. And it’s very, very unlikely to fail (especially if we’re talking sizeable virtualisation here, in which node failure has little impact on data integrity). Am I just hoping we’ll ‘leave it all to the machines’? Isn’t that a bit Terminator 3? No! Of course it isn’t! ‘Leaving it to the machines’ is surely the appropriate thing to do in so highly automated an industry! We rely on automated routines to provide virtually every user interface we ever interact with in business. Computers are light years beyond where they were when they needed to focus on providing stable GUIs – they can handle little chores like backup routines (in fact, that’s just what they’re good at).

Again, this isn’t a wholesale argument – enterprises may again see benefits form adopting NAS, especially if they haven’t opted for a huge bandwidth via their internet provider. This goes for backups, too – if there’s the option, a local backup via NAS is handy to have as a second, and will make a trusty primary storage location.

Next article I’ll take a look at two additional points that Kaufmann makes, and explain why both of them need more beef to be more convincing given the service provision by some corporations out there.

By Joanna Stevenson

Joanna studied mechanical engineering in London, and currently works for an energy research and consulting firm. She enjoys writing tech and business articles in her free time. She aspires to be an intrepid tech and gaming enthusiast with the exploratory spirit and witty prose of her favourite author of Robert Louis Stevenson.  Treasure Island for the tech world.

How Do You Control And Keep Your Cloud Cost To A Minimum?

How Do You Control And Keep Your Cloud Cost To A Minimum?

We all agree that cloud computing can be cheaper than purchasing your own hardware and software and maintaining your own servers.  But, when it comes to cloud computing, one of the questions we need to be concerned with is what the real costs are?

In fact, it is difficult to understand what the costs are when starting out a relationship with some cloud providers, some cloud providers don’t make pricing available until you sign up for their service, while others use metrics to compute pricing that is different than what you would use in a physical system.  This becomes a real challenge for an IT manager who is researching cloud computing companies.

Read the fine print

The first thing you want to do is make sure you know and understand the terms of your cloud provider contract. You need to read the fine print and understand what you are going to pay for and how it will be measured.

It is important that you choose the right pricing model, the one that will suit your business needs, without using unnecessary resources. For example, you should decide if private, community or hybrid clouds are better suited for your business in terms of security measures and whether choosing a PaaS or IaaS over SaaS approach makes the most sense.

Establish clear management and maintenance costs

A cloud solution should raise profits. One of the biggest advantages for cloud computing is eliminating the maintenance responsibility. Well, the thing is, that is not always 100% true. Sometimes you will still have servers and resources that need to be supported by your own IT department, so you need to take that into consideration.

Also, individual departments are increasingly choosing their own technology, including cloud services, which are relatively easy to engage and use. IT departments and a company’s top executive may be totally unaware of what is being used therefore creating unplanned costs.

Monitor your cloud cost

At the same time, another useful option to achieve minimum cloud cost is using available tools or software that will help you monitor your accounts from a single dashboard. Once you sign up, you can add your cloud service accounts to your dashboard. This way, you have access to reports that help you allocate your monthly costs down to departments and individual employees and monitor overall usage and spikes so that you can plan for costs and tune your environment to decrease costs.

In the end, the answer comes down to how closely you are able to manage, follow and adjust your infrastructure. If you choose to just throw your applications into the cloud without monitoring, than you should be ready for a surprise when you get your bill, but if you thoroughly analyze and plan your goals and objectives, you will be successful in managing the costs and resources in your cloud.

By Rick Blaisdell/ Rickscloud

100% Cloud Based Companies? Yes, It’s Possible!

100% Cloud Based Companies? Yes, It’s Possible!

Everyone is talking about the cloud. Business applications are moving to the cloud. The shift from traditional software models to Internet based solutions has steadily gained momentum over the last 10 years. The next decade promises new ways of collaboration, via cloud computing and mobile devices.

Life before cloud computing for traditional business applications was always quite complicated, not to mention expensive. The amount and variety of hardware and software required to run them was daunting. You needed a whole team of experts to install, configure, test, run, secure, and update them.

Cloud computing is becoming ubiquitous in today’s businesses, particularly when taking into account the rising popularity of free SaaS applications like Dropbox and Google Apps, among others. For IT decision makers, dreams of migrating all back-end and mission-critical applications to the cloud is now becoming a reality.

The majority of companies are experimenting with cloud computing. For many businesses, cloud computing means cost savings and greater flexibility. But the most revolutionary aspect of the cloud is that it is creating a new generation of businesses, designed to run entirely on the cloud. These businesses are 100% cloud.

Today, my company operates as a 100% cloud company, we have no physical servers. Internally, all of our servers that support our employees are 100% SaaS based. We have standardize on SaaS based applications, SalesForce for CRM and outsourced exchange as well as other SaaS based business applications.  Externally, all of our customer applications leverage the fastest growing IaaS Managed Cloud platform and we then deliver pure SaaS or PaaS based systems to our customers. This allows us to achieve massive scalability while controlling our costs.

The single most important benefit of becoming a 100% cloud based company is for us to focus on our core competency. Cloud computing has eliminated the management of traditional software and hardware headaches, that now becomes the responsibility of an experienced SaaS vendor like Salesforce.com. IaaS now lets us leverage industry specific experts that manage a highly scalable, redundant and secure cloud computing platform and we pay for only what we use.  Now, we can focus on what’s most important for our company: creating the best software in the education industry.

The latest innovations in cloud computing are making our business applications even more mobile and collaborative. As consumers, we now expect targeted information to be pushed to us in real time, and business applications in the cloud will be able to provide this to us. Think about what it will be like when it is as easy to keep up with our work as it is to keep up with our personal life within Facebook.

Once more organizations become comfortable with cloud computing, and after all mental barriers are broken, the progression towards 100% cloud adoption will increase. With that being said, a general evolution to 100% cloud may take time but some day will become a reality.

By Rick Blaisdell / Rickscloud

Collaboration Clouds: The Logical Next Step To Cloud Computing

Collaboration Clouds: The Logical Next Step To Cloud Computing

Collaboration Clouds

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” – Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player ever.

For those who follow basketball, Michael Jordan needs no introduction. For the rest, here are the basic facts. Jordan holds the NBA (National Basketball Association) records for highest career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and highest career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game). In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN. His biography on the National NBA website states, “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.”

Now, what has this got to do with cloud computing?

The point I’m trying to make here is that even an exceptional individual performer like Jordan realizes the importance of collaboration, and this is a benefit of cloud computing that is often ignored among all the platitudes regarding cost savings, disaster recovery and scalability. Now, there’s no denying the importance of all these cloud attributes, but one cannot understate the business value that collaboration on the cloud can bring to the table.

Think about it. Through collaboration on the cloud, a business can leverage the joint competencies of multiple people at the same time without having to deal with troublesome knowledge transfers required by legacy IT. Thus instead of mailing files back and forth with updates that are difficult to track, several people can work on the same file at the same time if they are on the cloud. Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg of potential benefits that cloud collaboration can reveal, and Avaya is looking to bring them forth as the logical next step to cloud computing.

Recognizing the need for packaging collaboration on the cloud as a complete business solution, Avaya has introduced the concept of the collaboration cloud, an environment where participants can effectively build, deliver, use and enhance communications using cloud-based technologies. Combining the best that IaaS, PaaS and SaaS have to offer, Avaya is looking to offer CaaS or Collaboration as a Service. Considering the widespread business benefits that such a service can bring to organizations in terms of improved productivity, its success seems guaranteed.

This post is on behalf of the CIO Collaboration Network and Avaya.

By Sourya Biswas

Is The Future Of The Cloud Computing Open Source?

Is The Future Of The Cloud Computing Open Source?

Cloud Computing Open Source?

Companies are embracing cloud computing solutions because of their flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness, and those who have successfully integrated the cloud into their infrastructure have found it quite economic. They can expand and contract, and add and remove services as per requirement, giving them a lot of control over the resources being used and the funds being spent on those resources. This highly controllable environment not only cuts the costs of services, but also saves funds that are spent on the infrastructure of the company.

Replacement of Personal Computers with Personal Clouds

Cloud computing is not only becoming popular in business, but also among individual consumers. With the passage of time, personal computers are being replaced by personal clouds, and more and more companies are offering personal cloud services. People prefer to store their images, videos and documents online, both as a backup and to make them secure. Storing data on personal clouds makes it available anytime, anywhere. You just need a computing device and an Internet connection, and you can access all your photos, videos and documents.

Stability, Scalability and Reliability of Open-Source Software

Open-source software is becoming popular on an enterprise level because of its stability, scalability and reliability. Companies love to use open-source technologies because they are highly customizable, secure, reliable and accountable. With proprietary software, we are highly dependent on the software company for its development and support. But for open-source, we can find huge support from developers across the world, and we can tweak it according to our needs. Just hire a team of developers, and there you go.

Lessons Learned from Linux and Android

The Linux operating system running on Web servers is a great example of the success of open-source software. The ability of Linux to be customized has made it popular among the developer community. It is because of the openness of Linux servers that they are highly stable and scalable. Enterprise-level applications love to run on Linux servers. We can learn a similar lesson from the Android mobile operating system. When iOS was consuming the huge mobile market, no one thought that an open-source mobile operating system could snatch such a market share. These two operating systems prove that enterprises and individual consumers love transparency and openness in software.

Why the Future of Cloud Computing Is Open-Source

Just like Web and mobile space is embracing open-source technologies, cloud space will soon be embracing open-source software, too. Projects such as Openstack are playing a great role in making the cloud space open-source. Openstack is a project founded by NASA and Rackspace Cloud to develop an open-source cloud computing operating system that can run on standard hardware. This would allow anyone to deliver cloud computing services to others. Many renowned companies, such as Dell, AMD, Intel, etc., are also supporting this project. It has formed a nice community of individual developers and organizations around the world. This eagerness of the technology giants, small organizations and individual developers alike to make a massively scalable open-source cloud operating system shows that cloud space will soon be embracing open-source technologies.

By Seth Bernstein

Big Data Infographic: The 2012 London Summer Games

Big Data Infographic: The 2012 London Summer Games

Recent years have seen a lot of development in the cloud computing sphere. Big data is believed by many to be here to stay, and a lot of real investment is touted to happen in this particular area. Such a trend is quite exciting, as new, better and more powerful infrastructure will be needed to support all this. So,  a lot of further development is on the way to accommodate these computing perimeters. Continue Reading

Lets take a closer look at the global scale of Big Data and how it was utilized at The 2012 London Summer Games.

big data infographic

Infographic Source: NetApp

Advantages Of Cloud Based Applications For Small Business

Advantages Of Cloud Based Applications For Small Business

Improving SMEs operations in the most cost-effective manner possible is a major concern for managers and owners. The main reasons for which small business owners implement cloud based applications are: cost-effectiveness, ease of implementation, and the lower cost of purchase.

Cost

For most small businesses’ managers, saving money is the most important benefit of cloud-computing applications. And this is mainly because in the past, cost was one of the major difficulties for small businesses seeking to build and manage the hardware and software platforms effectively within their budgets. Today, start-ups costs are minimized because there is no software or hardware to purchase. SaaS providers generally price applications using a monthly or annual subscription, so now, the expenses are predictable. The costs for regular updates and upgrades are supported by the service providers.

Accessibility

Cloud based applications can be accessed by using an Internet connection. Applications are usually installed on a server which is accessible 24×7. This is the ideal solution for people who are always on the move or those working from home or other locations outside their business. Customers and clients can also access online services offered by the business, such as online appointment-scheduling or making payment.

This also enables team collaboration. Web-based documents can be accessed by multiple people at the same time, and even work collaboratively and see each other’s changes instantly.

Ease of Set-up and Use

Cloud applications don’t need to be installed, downloaded or upgraded. Applications are easy to learn and utilize and many of them are available for free trial to see whether it fits for a certain small business or not. Cloud-based software service providers can also tailor their products to the very specific needs of their small business client.

Scalablity is also an advantage in a cloud environment. As the business grows, additional resources are added in the environment to support the businesses growth. In a SaaS relationship, businesses pay more when they need more and pay less when they need less.

By Rick Blaisdell / RicksCloud

CloudTweaks Comics
Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations

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M2M, IoT and Wearable Technology: Where To Next?

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Four Reasons Why CIOs Must Transform IT Into ITaaS To Survive

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The Internet of Things Lifts Off To The Cloud

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10 Trending US Cities For Tech Jobs And Startups

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Disaster Recovery And The Cloud

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The Storytelling Machine: Big Content and Big Data

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Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

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Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

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Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

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How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

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7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

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