Author Archives: CloudTweaks

THE GOLDEN AGE OF WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY

THE GOLDEN AGE OF WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY

The Golden Age

One of the biggest fads in the technology sector right now is wearable tech. From Smartwatches that let you check your emails, chat with friends and search the web, to fitness accessories that monitor your heart rate and your sleep patterns, this is truly the Golden Age of wearable technology.

But some of these innovations are older than you think. Virtual Reality sets like Oculus and VR Lite can trace their origins back to 1963. This is when the idea of bringing the TV screen to you in order to create more depth and more immersion was first proposed. In the 1970s, the first calculator watch was created, and while this is someway from the Apple Watch, the beginnings are there and this was a huge innovation at the time.

(Infographic discovered via Siliconrepublic)

The-History-Of-Wearable-Tech

We may be living in an age that is dominated by technology, but a lot of the ideas that you think are new were actually formed many years or generations ago. The Tablet is a perfect example of this. We all think of the Apple iPad as the first tablet, but the name “Tablet PC” was actually coined by Microsoft, who released a similar device back in 1999. And even this device was predated by the Palm Pilot, the Newton and several other mobile PCs.

Of course, for every game-changing invention, there are a few obscure, baffling inventions that really shouldn’t have made it off the drawing board. And as this infographic proves, there have been no shortage of those throughout the last few hundred years.

By David Jester

CYBERSECURITY EXPERTS RACING TO KEEP PACE WITH GROWING CYBER THREATS

CYBERSECURITY EXPERTS RACING TO KEEP PACE WITH GROWING CYBER THREATS

The cyberwar is on!

At this stage of the game, the stakes are higher than ever, and safeguarding networks from cyberattacks is a devilish combination of Chicken and Cat-and-Mouse. Attacks are now so commonplace that many events of serious cybersecurity breaches go uncovered by mainstream media.

Despite the rapid advancements in IT security technology, hackers continue to invent even more sophisticated ways of infiltrating systems around the globe. No one is safe—and although the awareness is there, and the threats are very real, some companies still think they are safe and have it covered.

The fact is that it is second by second battle. Entire global networks can be comprised by a single click of the mouse or the press of a button at any given time. Everything is at risk: content, data and network security concerns for businesses, consumers and even governments. Although cyberterrorists always seem to find a way in, leaving the experts scratching their heads, the outlook is not at all as grim as one might suspect.

According to an August 22, 2016 article on Forbes.com magazine, “3 Hot Cybersecurity Stocks,” hacking is now a global growth industry! The cyberwar is on, which is why cybersecurity is the fastest growing sector in technology today. Not only do the good guys want to stop the bad guys—they want to make a profit doing it. It is a win-win from a business standpoint. Attached is an attractive security infographic discovered via IDG Enterprise.

security-defense

Close to 170 cyber attacks against corporations and other industry leaders have been documented by Privacy Rights Clearing House thus far in 2016. The massive breach upon DNC leading the pack as one of the most shocking.

What Companies Should Be Doing

Upwards of 40 percent of investment firms reported increasing the budget for cybersecurity for the year. Given the state of matters, IT security experts have a lot to say to those firms lagging behind. Cybersecurity is a daily investment every company can’t afford not to make.

From small startups to large corporations, everyone in business needs to put network and system security at the top of their priority list. The areas most in need of heightened security are application encryption, event and information management systems, user access management, data-at-rest defenses, and tokenization (the process of substituting a sensitive data element with a non-sensitive equivalent).

Even the little guy on the block should invest in professional IT security management. Your neighbor who just graduated from an online cybersecurity school might not have the chops under his belt to keep up with the lightning speed this cyberwar is gaining. You need serious guards against serious attackers who take no prisoners and spare nothing to get at information and control, sometimes just for the fun of it.

By CJ Callen

6 REASONS WHY BIG DATA ANALYTICS IS A SMART CAREER CHOICE IN 2017

6 REASONS WHY BIG DATA ANALYTICS IS A SMART CAREER CHOICE IN 2017

Big Data Analytics Career Path

With the inception of Big Data, we have witnessed a data revolution around us. Big Data Analytics is one of the biggest trends in IT sector at the moment and the buzz around it is not going to subdue anytime soon. Big Data is everywhere now-a-days, and if the industry forecasts are to be believed, then Big Data Analytics market will continue to grow bigger as businesses realize the importance of making data-driven decisions.

Wondering whether to take up a career in Big Data Analytics or not? If you are not convinced yet, then here are 6 reasons why making the switch to Big Data Analytics is a smart career move in 2017.

1. Exponential Growth Rate

Big Data sector has recorded six times faster growth than the average growth rate of IT industry in the past couple of years. According to the market experts, Big Data sector would sustain the momentum and continue to outpace other IT sectors by a significant margin in the years to come. Currently the size of Big Data Analytics market is around one-tenth of the global IT market, but it is expected to evolve to at least one-third by the end of 2020. So if you are looking to make a career in one of the fastest growing IT sectors, there is no better alternative than Big Data Analytics.

2. Soaring Demand for Qualified Professionals

Big Data initiatives were once reserved only for the giants like Microsoft and Amazon. That’s not the case anymore. Today, organizations of all sizes are venturing out to leverage the power of Big Data. As more and more IT companies are getting involved in Big Data projects, currently there is a big demand for engineers who can help process data at large-scale.

A closer look at the prominent job sites can give you a sense of the huge demand. There has been a steady increase in the number of job opportunities related to Big Data Analytics and the trend is still swinging upwards. It’s no wonder that qualified Big Data professionals are becoming the hottest targets of IT recruiters from all around the globe.

3. Lack of Skilled Professionals

Data is useless without the skill to process and analyze it. Being a relatively young field, the Big Data sector is currently witnessing severe shortage of technical expertise. While the demand is going up steadily, there is a huge deficit on the supply side. Lots of vacant positions have remained unfilled due to the scarcity of skilled professionals. In an industry where opportunities are plenty but skills are scarce, finding a suitable job shouldn’t be too difficult for the candidates having the right qualification.

4. Fat Paychecks

Thanks to the inadequate supply of Big Data skills, companies are willing to shell out lucrative salaries to attract professionals with the right kind of technical expertise. A quick look at the current salary trend for Big Data professionals indicates an exponential growth. According to a recent survey conducted by US-based recruitment agency Burtch Works, Big Data professionals tend to be the highest compensated group of IT employees with an average salary of $115,000 – which is around 30% more than that of other IT professionals with the same experience level.

5. Adaptation Across Different Industry Verticals

The astonishing growth of Big Data is largely attributed to its relevance across different industry verticals. All types of businesses can use the insights derived from Big Data to get an edge over their competitors. Besides the technology sector, Big Data is increasingly being utilized by other industry verticals for business intelligence, predictive analytics and data mining tasks.

Healthcare, consumer appliances, energy sector, manufacturing industry, and banking are a few of the verticals where Big Data has made its presence felt. As a result, the rate of Big Data implementation has increased by leaps and bounds. So the professionals with Big Data expertise can choose which industry to work for, based on their own preferences.

6. Wide Range of Roles and Responsibilities

Last, but not the least, Big Data professionals have a wide variety of positions to choose from. From Data Engineer to Business Analyst, Visualization Specialist to Machine Learning Expert, and Analytics Consultant to Solution Architect – there are so many options available for the aspiring professionals to align their career paths according to their interests and preferences.

Conclusion: Big Data Analytics help organizations derive meaningful insights from raw data to make the right business decisions at the right time. In today’s competitive job market, technology professionals with the right kind of skill-set are finding themselves in high demand as businesses look to harness the power of Big Data. With the increase in demand, shortage of talent, bigger paychecks, multiple job titles and relevance to different industry verticals, Big Data Analytics is certainly a smart career choice in 2017.

By Jack Danielson

Artificial intelligence In the Enterprise

Artificial intelligence In the Enterprise

Artificial Intelligence

Since the dawn of the computer age we have been enthralled by the prospect of Artificial Intelligence. It dominated the science fiction of the 1950s and 1960s, and it was a passion so strong that it bled into the fabric of day-to-day existence. Everyone wanted their own robot servant, everyone got a little giddy at the prospect of a walking, talking, thinking robot.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction did get a few things right about the future. But while the modern world is not too far removed from the imagined utopias of Arthur C. Clark and H. G. Wells, we are lacking that one key feature: an intelligent, calculating, man-made brain.

At least, thats what many of us believe. The truth is that AI is all around us. It powers many of the things we rely on and the companies that we love. Without it, we wouldnt be able to use the internet or play computer games, and the manufacturing world would look decidedly poorer as well.

So, while we dont quite have a robot in every home, our lives are still ruled by some form of AI. It may not be as advanced or as intelligent as those aforementioned sci-fi authors had hoped, but its more advanced than many of us realize.

And at least we dont have to worry about that AI overthrowing humanity and taking over the world. Not yet, anyway. Infographic discovered via ReadWrite.com

AI

Artificial Intelligence In The Enterprise

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THE ENTERPRISE

Artificial Intelligence

Since the dawn of the computer age we have been enthralled by the prospect of Artificial Intelligence. It dominated the science fiction of the 1950s and 1960s, and it was a passion so strong that it bled into the fabric of day-to-day existence. Everyone wanted their own robot servant, everyone got a little giddy at the prospect of a walking, talking, thinking robot.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction did get a few things right about the future. But while the modern world is not too far removed from the imagined utopias of Arthur C. Clark and H. G. Wells, we are lacking that one key feature: an intelligent, calculating, man-made brain.

Fintech-comic-cloud

At least, thats what many of us believe. The truth is that AI is all around us. It powers many of the things we rely on and the companies that we love. Without it, we wouldnt be able to use the internet or play computer games, and the manufacturing world would look decidedly poorer as well.

So, while we dont quite have a robot in every home, our lives are still ruled by some form of AI. It may not be as advanced or as intelligent as those aforementioned sci-fi authors had hoped, but its more advanced than many of us realize.

And at least we dont have to worry about that AI overthrowing humanity and taking over the world. Not yet, anyway. Infographic discovered via ReadWrite.com

AI

By David Jester

4 OPEN SOURCE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE TOOLS FOR BIG DATA REPORTING

4 OPEN SOURCE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE TOOLS FOR BIG DATA REPORTING

Open Source Business Intelligence Tools

It’s impossible to take the right business decisions without having insightful information to back up the decision-making process. Business intelligence tools make it easier to have our raw data analyzed and presented in a precise and readable format. In the economics of today’s Big Data projects, it is essential to utilize a proven BI suite to extract meaningful information in an organized manner.

BI technology can provide several potential business benefits, including historical trends, current state and predictive views of business operations with the help of easily understandable visualizations, charts and dashboards. These are pretty useful in analytical data processing, data mining, business performance reporting and benchmarking.

Data analytics and business intelligence solutions were traditionally used by large enterprises dealing with Big Data. But the scenario has changed rapidly in the last few years. Today’s BI solutions are increasingly getting used by small and medium-sized organizations to gain better insight into their own business operations.

big-data-job-growth-infographic

(Infographic Source: umuc.edu)

There are a number of business intelligence solutions in the market to choose from. Big names in the IT world, such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and SAP, have their own proprietary products which are immensely popular among the larger enterprises. While the commercial BI suites can be quite expensive – especially for the small businesses, luckily there are some great open-source alternatives as well. Licensed under GPL, these open source tools are typically used by small to mid-sized businesses, but a few are gaining traction among the large enterprises as well.

In this article, we present you a hand-picked list of 4 open-source business intelligence tools that are ideally suited for businesses with a limited budget.

1. JasperReports Server

JasperReports Server is one of the leading embeddable open-source business intelligence solutions in the market offering data analytics and reporting capabilities. It allows businesses to refine the decision-making process through highly interactive reports and dashboards. The product is bundled with a report builder interface, a reporting engine, a data repository and a mobile BI app. JasperReports is tailored to work with all operating systems and mobile platforms, including but not limited to Microsoft Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, Android and iOS.

The report builder allows you to customize the reports as per your requirements. You can even modify the code to suit your needs. It has a self-service portal that supports charts, graphs, widgets, crosstabs and other interactive reporting elements. JasperReports is compatible with any data source provider, allowing it to extend reporting capabilities to almost any third-party application. It supports data from both relational and non-relational data sources on a real-time or scheduled basis. JasperReports Server supports a wide variety of data types and formats. Reports can be generated in HTML, PDF, CSV, RTF, TXT, XML and XLS file formats.

JasperReports is compatible with LDAP and CAS for configuring single sign on. It also supports role based access control and has a flexible web-based architecture that can be easily embedded within your application.

If you are looking for support, you can check out the JasperSoft Community. It has excellent documentation and user guides that can help you get going. Moreover, the community maintains a detailed Wiki page and a Q&A forum to support the users.

2. BIRT

BIRT stands for Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools. It is an open-source software that provides a powerful set of features. BIRT has been around the scene for well over a decade and is often viewed as the standard in open source business intelligence.

BIRT is known for its strong design and presentation features. It has two main components – a report designer, a run-time environment and a chart engine that lets you add graphical representations to your reports. BIRT can either be deployed as a standalone reporting solution or embedded within client applications via its Design Engine API.

BIRT is compatible with all sorts of data sources – including SQL, XML and JDO. Reports can be generated in a variety of formats such as PDF, XML and CSV. BIRT enjoys a strong developer community support. There are plenty of resources and documentations available to help you with the BIRT implementation process.

3. Pentaho

Pentaho is a comprehensive business intelligence solution that caters to data integration, analytics, reporting and data mining. It is available in two editions – a subscription-based enterprise edition and an open-source community edition. Although the enterprise edition is loaded with some extensive features that are not available with the free edition, the open-source version is still very compelling and can serve the purpose of data analysis and reporting well enough.

The biggest strength of Pentaho is its ease of use. It has an intuitive web-based data access wizard and an interactive reporting interface. Interactive visual analysis allows decision makers to find patterns and anomalies, including geo-mapping, heat grids and scatter/bubble charts. Drill-down functionality in the reports and dashboards provides the ability to perform deeper analysis.

Pentaho is compatible with Windows, Mac and Android devices. It supports data integration across different data types. You can access, manage and blend data from multiple sources – from MS Excel to Hadoop.

4. SpagoBI

SpagoBI is a business intelligence and reporting platform fully loaded with features for data mining, reporting, and analysis. It’s a fully open-source project and there’s no premium version available. SpagoBI was introduced back in 2005. Over the years, it has built a strong base of users with great community support.

SpagoBI boasts of powerful features when it comes to data analysis and reporting. It offers developers a wide variety of analytical functions. Moreover, it has an impressive set of advanced data visualization features including geospatial analytics and mapping. OLAP analysis, user-defined KPIs, and real-time dashboards allow business users to dig into huge volume of data to gather decision-making insights. On top of these reporting and analytics features, SpagoBI offers metadata management and ETL functionalities as well.

Final Thoughts:

Alongside the traditional proprietary software products, there are quite a few open-source BI suites available in the market. Depending upon the scale of your operations, an open-source BI suite can be competent enough to meet your needs. Having said that, you should carefully evaluate all the options available in the market before making the final call.

By Jack Danielson

Jack is a tech enthusiast, geek and writer. He is particularly interested in the proliferation of Big Data tips ­ tricks around the web. He holds the position of consultant writer at Satellite Broadband ISP, a resource site to help people living in rural areas find high speed satellite Internet service providers in their area such as Wilblue Exede and HughesNet Gen4.

3 WAYS TO USE CLOUD-BASED INSIGHTS TO REDUCE PRINTING COSTS

3 WAYS TO USE CLOUD-BASED INSIGHTS TO REDUCE PRINTING COSTS

Reduce Printing Costs

For many organizations, office printing is one of the top expense categories — yet many companies pay little, if any, attention to this ongoing expense. When asked, they usually underestimate how much they’re actually spending on print each year. We’ve found the annual cost of printing is typically about $1,000 per employee, after factoring in paper, toner, equipment repairs, and recycling. For companies in print-intensive sectors like finance and healthcare, this figure can be much higher.

For organizations that have yet to analyze and reduce these often unnecessary expenses, every day that goes by without a print management strategy represents more wasted money. Inaction has a cost.

Today, it’s easy for companies to get started. With cloud-based print management technology, organizations can quickly gain insights into how print happens across their workforce. By revealing all print devices deployed across an enterprise and tracking all the documents submitted to those devices, company leaders can easily identify cost outliers and take informed action to help reduce those costs.

Deep Insights Made Easy

After a lightweight, cloud-based technology is deployed, all you need is a web browser to access a graphical representation of your organization’s print environment. This reduces the burden on the organization, rendering a visit from an expert unnecessary; an IT manager can implement it and begin to see actionable data in less than an hour. Business managers can then access the data on demand, rather than wait until the end of the month to receive a report on last month’s printing.

Separate logins for various job roles and departments make it easy for multiple stakeholders to get involved, including business leaders. After all, strong leadership is often key to successful cost savings initiatives.

Key insights — including how much expensive color volume is produced versus much cheaper monochrome, which applications are producing the most print volume, and which devices employees are printing to — all come together in a simple dashboard that helps IT managers and business leaders quickly establish a baseline of how print happens over a period of time. From there, you can set educated goals for reducing waste and costs and improve efficiency by consolidating the number of printers in your fleet and arranging them in the way that best serves your people.

Here are three ways business leaders can use the insights from a cloud-based print management system to save money and streamline print operations:

1. Build an informed and mindful workforce

As with any new initiative, it helps when company leaders openly sponsor a strategic print reduction program. This involves educating employees about the real costs of printing — in terms of dollars and sustainability metrics — and helping them establish more efficient and mindful printing habits.

Employees are usually eager to do the right thing, especially when they understand what’s really involved. An internal marketing campaign can show them how their printing habits affect the company and the environment and educate them on the benefits of the initiative.

2. Consolidate printers to serve a reduced demand for print

It can help to think of print optimization in terms of supply and demand. The goal is to evaluate how much your organization currently prints and how much of that volume represents business-critical documents rather than mere convenience printing. Cloud services can illuminate this and also help you see which printers across the enterprise see the most volume and which ones see the least.

Armed with this information, you can begin to educate employees about more efficient printing habits and then rethink the supply side: the number of devices and how they’re distributed across the organization. In other words, you can redesign your fleet so it optimally serves a reduced demand for printed documents. This is how to realize significant cost savings and waste reduction.

Another important factor in this is the overuse of personal desktop printers. Some companies fall into the habit of allowing personal desktop printers, often citing the need for document confidentiality. But the modern way to ensure document confidentiality is to deploy a secure pull printing solution on shared network devices. This technology requires employees to use their ID or access card to log in to a device before they can print. When people understand that printing is tracked and they have to be physically present at a shared printer to release and collect their documents, unnecessary printing volume inevitably goes down.

And the reality is that personal printers, while cheaper initially, end up costing companies a lot more in the long run. The ink is far more expensive and the desktop convenience of personal printers enables habitual convenience printing that’s not important for business.

In our experience, consolidating devices can reduce enterprise printing costs by 15-25 percent, and it also reduces energy usage, which leads to further cost savings.

3. Promote paperless workflows wherever possible

Simply not printing is obviously the best way to save on paper and ink, but that’s not always realistic. Educate employees on the true cost of printing, and establish clear policies that encourage mindful printing habits and electronic workflows where possible.

The browser-based user interface of a cloud-based system makes it easy for various business unit leaders to view their own departments’ printing activity and track costs. They can then issue their own policies and set distinct, department-specific goals for reducing print to business-critical documents and going paperless when it’s practical to do so.

How Much Can a Cloud-Based System Save?

Because cloud services reduce tasks for IT resources, it can be hard to fully estimate the cost savings that such a solution provides. However, it’s certainly the fastest pathway to gaining the insights required to create an effective print strategy and achieve significant cost and waste reductions.

In our experience, organizations with 10,000 employees can save $1.5 million or more in annual printing costs by implementing a comprehensive print management strategy, and cloud services are often the best way to get started.

More and more business leaders are becoming aware of the value that a cloud-based print management system can provide. Look closely at your organization’s printing costs; the opportunity for you to make a significant difference will become clear.
By Dale McIntyre,

Dale serves as a vice president at Pharos Systems International, an enterprise print solutions provider based in Rochester, New York. Dale provides strategic leadership in the areas of sustainability, brand, and customer engagement. He regularly shares his unique sustainability perspective on print strategy through blogs, webinars, and appearances.

MOOCS – CRITICIZED AND PRAISED FROM THE GLOBAL EDUCATION SECTOR

MOOCS – CRITICIZED AND PRAISED FROM THE GLOBAL EDUCATION SECTOR

Massive Open Online Courses

MOOCs (massive open online courses) have received both criticism and praise from the global education sector. A few consider this recent trend nothing more than that – a fad, here today, gone tomorrow, offering little real benefit. But although some of the MOOCs available fall very much into this first category, many others are proving to be robust educational programs that promise far greater accessibility than most universities could dream of.

Defining the MOOC

With the extensive reach of the internet, in many countries developed via rapidly spreading mobile technology, the model of massive open online courses makes it possible to deliver education to almost anyone in the world, with unlimited participation. MOOCs contain a range of course materials, including filmed lectures, interactive forums, access to professors and teaching assistants, and just about anything else their creators are able to deliver via the internet. Most of the early MOOCs focused on open-access features, promoting the distribution of content, while today we see many others using closed license which offer free access for registered students but which aren’t attempting to reach an unlimited audience.


Just as cloud computing has improved business operations through flexibility, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, it’s possible for MOOCs to transform professional training and development through the exploitation of online tools and platforms. Says Karsten Scherer, global analyst relations lead at IT staffing and talent management provider TEKsystems, “The opinion of businesses regarding online courses has shifted a lot over the last several years.” Although organizations may previously have questioned the legitimacy of online courses, the growing reliance on flexible structures is shifting employee education policies. Says Scherer, “They’re actively looking for partnership opportunities with MOOCs or encouraging their employees to leverage them.”

Improving Online Learning & Getting the Most out of MOOCs

The global demand for learning is being recognized by many top education institutions, and Harvard and MIT’s joint venture, edX, has seen over 27 million course enrollments since its launch in 2012. While such courses provide the opportunity for students to broaden their knowledge, Peter K. Bol, vice provost for advances in learning (VPAL) and the Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, believes these new platforms, in fact, offer a two-way flow of information. “… With large amounts of data available, we can actually figure out what works and what doesn’t work.” User data is already improving the structures of MOOCs but the data collected is also providing insight into the human brain. Says Robert A. Lue, professor of the practice of molecular and cellular biology and faculty director for HarvardX, “One of the critical priorities for HarvardX is using online learning for doing research and understanding not only what constitutes the most effective practice but also what this can tell us about how humans learn in general.

Unfortunately, according to Harvard Business Review, the majority of those who sign up for a MOOC don’t complete it. It’s suggested, though, that this doesn’t necessarily mean these students aren’t getting any value. Because many MOOCs provide the coursework for free, but charge for certificates, those users requiring only the knowledge have little reason to take expensive exams and apply for certification. Many other users are searching only for some of the information provided, and they can always come back for more at a later date.

However you choose to use this modern edtech, it’s a technique that is growing and advancing across businesses, schools, universities and colleges worldwide. The key, however, to successful MOOCs often lies with the student: by defining how best to make these courses work for them, taking only what they need, and thereby improve their prospects, MOOCs continue to advance opportunity.

By Jennifer Klostermann

THE PARADOX OF CLOUD AND COLOCATION SOLUTIONS

THE PARADOX OF CLOUD AND COLOCATION SOLUTIONS

Cloud and Colocation Solutions

According to Aberdeen Group and Ventana Research, one out of four enterprises surveyed expect their data to grow by more than 30 percent in the next year. In order to cope with the explosive increase in data, we can anticipate that the number of enterprises migrating to the cloud will continue to rise at a blistering pace. This will be the year when even the most conservative CIO and IT manager will shift their attitude toward cloud adoption from, “Let me think about that,” to cloud being perceived as a mission-critical business requirement.

A driving force in this transformation is the need to get out from under the burden of aging infrastructure, which is causing many enterprises to look at alternatives to traditional on-premises data center approaches. Namely, colocation and cloud-based infrastructure services.

Make no mistake, cloud-based applications and services increase organizational efficiency, reduce CapEx expenditures, are ideal for businesses with growing or fluctuating bandwidth demands, eliminate the high cost of hardware, and increase workforce collaboration and productivity across globally dispersed offices and employees. The cloud is even good for the planet. When a company’s cloud needs fluctuate, server capacity can be scaled up or down to match demand, thereby saving energy and reducing an organization’s carbon footprint.

 

Cloud and colocation offer companies comparable benefits, but each is best suited to satisfy different scenarios. For example, both help reduce costs through the use of shared facilities. However, the choice of one versus the other should be based on an organization’s specific requirements.

Not All Clouds Have a Silver Lining

For companies in certain sectors, not all clouds have a silver lining. For instance, the healthcare industry has been generating large volumes of data due to the rapid digitalization of manual patient records, spurred by legislative regulations and the need to provide better patient care at lower costs. For enterprises in the healthcare, banking and insurance sectors that deal with sensitive information, the cloud may not offer the necessary security to meet with regulatory and compliance requirements. If a company is subject to data privacy and protection regulations such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, or financial mandates such as Sarbanes-Oxley, it will have to ensure its cloud provider is able to demonstrate compliance, have appropriate certifications, maintain a high level of physical and cyber security, and follow mandated procedures to pass an audit.

Colocation: A Primer

The colocation data center market is big business and expected to hit almost $40 Billion by 2017. With colocation, companies own, use, and maintain their own equipment, but share the cost of power, cooling, communications, and data center floor space with other tenants. Colocation is a good choice for an enterprise that needs complete control over their equipment. This might be the case if it must maintain a level of control to satisfy regulatory or data protection requirements based on its specific industry standards.

data-center

Another reason to use colocation is to address the limitations of an existing data center. One industry survey found that 36 percent of data center facilities will run out of space, power or cooling capacity in the near future. If that dire prediction becomes true, the logic is that, rather than building a new data center, an enterprise can cost-effectively augment their current facility by using space in a colocation facility. Additionally, many enterprises use colocation to have a secondary site for disaster recovery purposes, avoiding the need to build a second data center.

Keep in mind, colocation still requires companies to purchase their own servers, storage, switches and software. Secondly, the enterprise IT staff must monitor and manage the equipment while conducting backups and maintenance. That said, many providers also offer managed services that can be leveraged to monitor and manage a company’s infrastructure. A provider that offers à la carte options allows a company to select what functions it wants a third-party to manage and those over which it chooses to maintain control.

Why the Cloud, Anyway?

There are some distinct differences with a cloud-based infrastructure service. Like colocation, cloud-based infrastructure services offer cost savings through the use of a shared facility. But there the resemblance ends. With cloud services, the cloud provider supplies and manages the enterprise’s full hardware infrastructure, including servers, storage and network elements. This eliminates CapEx costs and reduces OpEx costs, since the provider’s staff, not enterprise IT staff, are responsible for day-to-day administration, routine maintenance, troubleshooting and problem resolution.

Companies might turn to cloud services for a number of reasons. Many enterprises simply want to offload infrastructure management chores to free up their IT staff to work on projects that would help grow the business. Some companies select a cloud provider because they prefer the flexibility of being able to rapidly scale capacity up or down based on business needs.

So, Colocation or Migrate to the Cloud?

Colocation and cloud services offer companies alternatives to traditional in-house data center approaches. Based on the specific requirements of an enterprise’s particular deployment, each offers unique benefits and has its own criteria to consider. A company will want to examine their compliance and privacy needs, its need for direct control, as well as the need for always-on availability and uptime when deciding between colocation and cloud.

The major caveat to keep in mind is that whether a company is choosing colocation in a data center or migrating to the cloud, it’s likely its IT staff will lack the necessary expertise to execute either alternative. Some companies will need colocation and access to cloud service providers such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud. But a lot of the enterprises won’t know how to connect the dots. They’ll need the right connectivity to reach the cloud or other specialty hosting applications.

In Equinix data centers, for example, AWS Direct Connect customers can cut data transfer costs to AWS considerably, depending on data volume. Equinix has facilities in 11 metro area around the world offering AWS Direct Connect services, which provide ways to leverage high-performance private access. But if an enterprise IT staff is not versed in AWS’ peering points, they won’t be able to effectively access the world’s most popular cloud service.

As Katie Broderick, a Director at 451 Research, has stated, “Colocation is quickly becoming the nexus of both cloud and enterprise IT. The colocation market is serving as ‘data center arms dealer’ to both enterprises and the cloud. In this process, colocation is often becoming the strategic connection point between the two.”

Whether an enterprise is considering migrating to the cloud, hosting its data in a colocation facility, or some hybrid solution, an international Managed Services Provider (MSP) specializing in colocation and IP services solutions is the best bet to ensure its cloud or colocation strategies align with its business requirements and strategic objectives.

By Michael Hollander

CloudTweaks Comics
The Questions of Privacy In The Internet of Things Revolution

The Questions of Privacy In The Internet of Things Revolution

Privacy in the Internet of Things Revolution The Internet of Things (IoT) has been promising a lot to consumers for a few years and now we’re really starting to see some of the big ideas come to fruition, which means an ever-growing conversation around data security and privacy. Big data comes with big responsibilities and…

Business Analytics Vs Data Science

Business Analytics Vs Data Science

Big Data Continues To Grow Big Data continues to be a much discussed topic of interest and for good reason.  According to a recent report from International Data Corporation (IDC), “worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics will grow from nearly $122 billion in 2015 to more than $187 billion in 2019, an increase…

Why Cloud Compliance Doesn’t Need To Be So Overly Complicated

Why Cloud Compliance Doesn’t Need To Be So Overly Complicated

Cloud Compliance  Regulatory compliance is an issue that has not only weighed heavily on the minds of executives, security and audit teams, but also today, even end users. Public cloud adds more complexity when varying degrees of infrastructure (depending on the cloud model) and data fall out of the hands of the company and into…

A New CCTV Nightmare: Botnets And DDoS attacks

A New CCTV Nightmare: Botnets And DDoS attacks

Botnets and DDoS Attacks There’s just so much that seems as though it could go wrong with closed-circuit television cameras, a.k.a. video surveillance. With an ever-increasing number of digital eyes on the average person at all times, people can hardly be blamed for feeling like they’re one misfortune away from joining the ranks of Don’t…

Cloud Infographic – Interesting Big Data Facts

Cloud Infographic – Interesting Big Data Facts

Big Data Facts You Didn’t Know The term Big Data has been buzzing around tech circles for a few years now. Forrester has defined big data as “Technologies and techniques that make capturing value from data at an extreme scale economical.” The key word here is economical. If the costs of extracting, processing, and making use…

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing Despite the rapid growth of cloud computing, the cloud still commands a small portion of overall enterprise IT spending. Estimates I’ve seen put the percentage between 5% and 10% of the slightly more than $2 trillion (not including telco) spent worldwide in 2014 on enterprise IT. Yet growth projections…

Digital Marketing Driven by Cloud, Big Data and IoT

Digital Marketing Driven by Cloud, Big Data and IoT

Digital Marketing Successful digital marketing campaigns are being driven largely by trending technologies, specifically the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and The Cloud. These may be used for a huge number of marketing applications, from optimizing the performance of sports teams to improving science and research, even helping to aid law enforcement. Amazon Web…

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

The Hot Seat Five cloud questions every CIO needs to know how to answer The cloud is a powerful thing, but here in the CloudTweaks community, we already know that. The challenge we have is validating the value it brings to today’s enterprise. Below, let’s review five questions we need to be ready to address…

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…

New Report Finds 1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware

New Report Finds 1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware

1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware A new report published this morning by Menlo Security has alarmingly suggested that at least a third of the top 1,000,000 websites in the world are at risk of being infected by malware. While it’s worth prefacing the findings with the fact Menlo used Alexa to…

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks Does cloud security risks ever bother you? It would be weird if it didn’t. Cloud computing has a lot of benefits, but also a lot of risks if done in the wrong way. So what are the most important risks? The European Network Information Security Agency did extensive research on that, and…

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

The True Meaning of Availability What is real availability? In our line of work, cloud service providers approach availability from the inside out. And in many cases, some never make it past their own front door given how challenging it is to keep the lights on at home let alone factors that are out of…

Three Reasons Cloud Adoption Can Close The Federal Government’s Tech Gap

Three Reasons Cloud Adoption Can Close The Federal Government’s Tech Gap

Federal Government Cloud Adoption No one has ever accused the U.S. government of being technologically savvy. Aging software, systems and processes, internal politics, restricted budgets and a cultural resistance to change have set the federal sector years behind its private sector counterparts. Data and information security concerns have also been a major contributing factor inhibiting the…

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

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

How Formal Verification Can Thwart  Breaches Formal verification is not a new concept. In a nutshell, the process uses sophisticated math to prove or disprove whether a system achieves its desired functional specifications. It is employed by organizations that build products that absolutely cannot fail. One of the reasons NASA rovers are still roaming Mars…

Technology Influencer in Chief: 5 Steps to Success for Today’s CMOs

Technology Influencer in Chief: 5 Steps to Success for Today’s CMOs

Success for Today’s CMOs Being a CMO is an exhilarating experience – it’s a lot like running a triathlon and then following it with a base jump. Not only do you play an active role in building a company and brand, but the decisions you make have direct impact on the company’s business outcomes for…

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Cloud Email Migration In today’s litigious society, preserving your company’s data is a must if you (and your legal team) want to avoid hefty fines for data spoliation. But what about when you move to the cloud? Of course, you’ve probably thought of this already. You’ll have a migration strategy in place and you’ll carefully…

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

Embracing The Cloud We love the stories of big complacent industry leaders having their positions sledge hammered by nimble cloud-based competitors. Saleforce.com chews up Oracle’s CRM business. Airbnb has a bigger market cap than Marriott. Amazon crushes Walmart (and pretty much every other retailer). We say: “How could they have not seen this coming?” But, more…

Is Machine Learning Making Your Data Scientists Obsolete?

Is Machine Learning Making Your Data Scientists Obsolete?

Machine Learning and Data Scientists In a recent study, almost all the businesses surveyed stated that big data analytics were fundamental to their business strategies. Although the field of computer and information research scientists is growing faster than any other occupation, the increasing applicability of data science across business sectors is leading to an exponential…

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Customers in the Cloud Global enterprises in every industry are increasingly turning to cloud-based innovators like Salesforce, ServiceNow, WorkDay and Aria, to handle critical systems like billing, IT services, HCM and CRM. One need look no further than Salesforce’s and Amazon’s most recent earnings report, to see this indeed is not a passing fad, but…