Author Archives: Haris

The Converged Cloud – Is This What Businesses Are Looking For

The Converged Cloud – Is This What Businesses Are Looking For?

In a business environment different workloads are reserved to be in different places because they have diverse preferences and requirements. Keeping this menace in mind, HP alleges that its converged cloud solution lets enterprises envision and approach multiple clouds in a systematic and easy way.

Converged clouds empower customers and give them the capability to go back and actually look at the value of the services they try to deliver, rather than to be down into the infrastructure and understand where they are putting what. Digging in deeper, when a service claims that it lets consumers put things where they want to put them, it actually asserts that it is reducing friction between the different ongoing processes.

Let’s suppose that a business has a whole bunch of applications, a portion of which are really core to the way a business operates and to the value a company brings to its customers. These are the applications that the business categorically wants to keep close to home; probably first in a private and eventually in a managed cloud. Conversely, there also exist a whole lot of other applications which an enterprise certainly needs to have for running its business, but they do not differentiate the company from anyone else. A company does not want to bother getting involved with these applications; they may be put in a public cloud or in a managed cloud which is mostly handled by others. These applications fall under the set which one wants to run the fastest and the cheapest.

Once an enterprise has decided that an application is core and it has to run it in its private cloud, it needs to guess the capacity that it is going to need, when it is successful with its innovative product. Realistically speaking, in the practical world, a business would never want to be pinned down by the fact that IT cannot ramp up new service fast enough. So even if it is a private cloud environment, a business will want to burst out, for example to a managed cloud, so that the business can continue operating.

At the end of the day, by positioning appropriate services to their apt place, IT becomes the negotiator of services to a business in a cloud gamut, rather than just being the one who keeps the servers running. Originating from the notion that one size does not fit all, the HP converged cloud does sound like it is the next big thing for organizations all over the world. Let us wait and see how efficiently it can make the lives of corporates easier.

By Harris Smith

Uncertainties Surrounding Cloud Gamers

Uncertainties Surrounding Cloud Gamers

Cloud gaming has been embraced as a liberator for gamers who had been entangled in the thorns of conventional gaming. Contrarily, if one looks at the potentially darker side of the cloud, a thought-provoking viewpoint can be perceived which, to some extent, may amaze readers.

First off, in cloud gaming everything is done through the cloud. Even though this clause is seen as an advantage by most analysts, the downside is that users unknowingly become cloud dependent. The menace of potential outages is also included in this drawback. So, if an Xbox network outage occurs, this will not just mean that there will be no online gaming for a consumer; it will mean no gaming at all. If the network goes down, players will not be able to do anything.

Resale value of games is another issue cited by prominent analysts. The fact that in conventional gaming players can buy a game, play it, and then sell it at a reasonable price is respectable. On the other hand, in cloud gaming, games are believed to stay at the same hyped prices, even though distribution costs are eliminated. Also, some customers wait for a game to mature so that it’s price might fall and they can buy it at reduced cost; this will not be possible with cloud gaming. From a business perspective, gaming companies will be in favor of fixed-price gaming, but from a user perspective this is a major drawback.

Another shortcoming of cloud gaming originates from a “what if” scenario – what if big gaming companies teamed up and hiked up all the prices. Painting a wider imaginative picture, it can also be alleged that maybe these gaming giants are just waiting for consumers to migrate to the cloud so that once the majority of consumers are on the cloud, these companies could increase the prices and no one will be able to do anything about it. A worthy analogy can be made by looking at the cellphone industry. Consumers do not really control the services they get, and switching to other networks is surely not the best option for them.

At the moment, cloud gaming is a mouth wateringly great option for gamers to assemble on a particular platform. Moreover, the drawbacks of cloud gaming circle around hypothetical consequences and one can never be sure as to what will happen in the future. Only time will tell if cloud gaming really is the best option for gamers or not.

By Haris Smith

How The Salesforce Social Enterprise Cloud Bridged The Gap Between Activision And Its Gamers

How The Salesforce Social Enterprise Cloud Bridged The Gap Between Activision And Its Gamers

Social enterprise clouds enable organizations to collaborate, share information and, most of all, give people the tools to do this in an easy and approachable way. What social means for big companies is how they connect with their customers, and, more importantly, how the company listens to the customer. What social creates for the company is a huge amount of feedback, and it is then extremely important that the company communicates back to the customers in order to give the consumers a feeling that the company is listening and acknowledging whatever they have to say.

What affects customers the most is the language a company uses. Activision recognized that it had been using a distant tone, which made gamers think there was a gap between them and the company; there had been a lot of “Activision says,” instead of “I say, and I am here to help you”. If a company wants to have social as a channel, it has to spread it consistently across all its channels. Alongside 24/7 support, the aspect which is especially crucial for an enterprise is that the employee interacting with the customer needs to have the right level of skill.

With the vast volume of data in the social channel, it was critical that Activision sought the help of a social marketing cloud – Radian6. Salesforce came up with Radian6, which has completely revolutionized enterprises’ experience with their customers. This social marketing cloud gathers all the information together for Activision, and tells the listeners what the real-time experience of a gamer is. Arriving at solutions in a proactive way rather than a reactive way is the deal here.

Just like most big enterprises, Activision loves to engage with its customers, and the need to operationalize the whole experience of customer feedback and get to see what the customers categorically want from a certain game allows this enterprise to reach greater heights.

Salesforce allowed Activision to interact with gamers in a way that worked for them; whether that be through Twitter, Facebook or email. The swarming aspect for expansion is helping Activision solve problems faster and in a user-friendly way. By being a social enterprise and having greater insights into its individual customers, Activision is now able to tailor specific games for its users. Without the cloud, these things would never have been imagined, let alone possible. Technology truly has made us change the perception of the world around us!

By Haris Smith

Amazon Silk – Amazon’s Theories Sound Good

Amazon Silk – Amazon’s Theories Sound Good

Web browsers, as any other thing on our planet, need modernization, whether it be architectural modernization or radical dominance by a new product which completely wipes out any and all existing Web browsers. To take things easier and look at the modern scenario, there seems to be a need to stop and take a step back; to take a fundamentally new look at Web browsers and consider how they would be demarcated in terms of the cloud.

Taking a close look at the Web browsers of our time, almost all of them are entirely based on outdated designs from the mid-1990s, and back then, when the Web was much simpler, people did not have mobile devices, and big data had not been heard of. Today, two different viewpoints in the Web browsing industry exist. One perspective is of desktop computer users and the other perspective is of the mobile device users; often both these users are condensed into a single consumer who is agonizingly oscillating back and forth between the performances of these two species. Speaking in terms of Web browsing, what users really care about is having a page for which they do not have to wait to load. The experience of Web browsing on a mobile device makes users think that they have gone back in time to when browsing speeds were painfully limited.

Powerful desktop computers, by their very nature, are destined to process huge amounts of information. On the other hand, mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones need help, and as recommended by Amazon, this help can come from the cloud. The big task a cloud helps accomplish is that it does all the processing and handling of heavy data at its own end, while it just sends down the final product to the Web browser associated with it.

The Amazon Silk browser optimizes the Web browser by carefully analyzing the limitations of the user’s system. Limitations of the user can be thought of as screen size, pixel depth, or the processing speed of the device. Allying all these assets into one equation, and then giving an optimal result, is what a cloud helps Amazon Silk accomplish.

At the time of writing, Amazon Silk looks like the best Web browsing solution for the masses – an answer for most users facing the problem of higher load times and greater lag when using their mobile devices. Even though split-browser architecture is not new in the technology arena, Amazon does surround its users with an air of innovation.

By Haris Smith

Answers To Gartner’s Six Cloud Computing Risks

Answers To Gartner’s Six Cloud Computing Risks

Cloud computing has been the subject of ever-increasing hype. Anything exposed to such publicity is always accompanied by criticism, whether it be constructive or destructive. Gartner, an information technology research and advisory firm, has completed a report which signifies some crucial risks in the cloud computing industry.

Given below, with appropriate answers to each, are six risks highlighted by the Gartner report.

1: Privileged User Access: A risk which deals with who manages the data of an organization in the cloud. Interestingly, the way most datacenters operate is that there are not very many people around. It is largely an automated process; software is in control of other software or data. In contrast, an organization could have untrustworthy or unreliable employees at its on-premises datacenter. The very fact that automated processes look after an organization’s data means that clouds are more secure compared to data in the hands of the organization itself.

2: Regulatory Compliance: A risk regarding certifications and regulations in relation to a cloud service. Here, the argument is that it is in the cloud service provider’s interest to get as many certifications as it can. Owing to the fact that Gartner’s report on cloud computing risks was published back in 2008, prominent cloud providers have actually acquired certification for their services and datacenters.

3:  Data location: Organizations think of it as a big issue regarding what will happen if their data swims out of control. Taking a step back, if one pictures an individual walking out of his office with a laptop on which his critical data is stored, the chances are high that this laptop could be snatched from him. So, the risk of data location is much greater if one does not store one’s data in the cloud. An intelligent response to the menace of data location is to choose multiple cloud services and store different portions of data in different clouds, so decreasing the danger of data location.

4: Data Segregation: An aspect which deals with the issue that one’s data should not mix with someone else’s data. Yet again, the response to this issue is automation. Today’s cloud services use highly automated services which literally decrease the chances of data loss and data segregation to nearly zero.

5: Data recovery: A topic which implies that consumers might not be able to get their data back. Principally, if some data is mission critical to an organization, the organization will double or even triple back up. More importantly, an organization cannot blame a cloud service for a logical failure – an organization is responsible for deleting its own files, and it cannot hold a cloud responsible for its lost data.

6: Long-term Viability: An aspect which implies that the cloud provider remains in service for eternity. Ideally speaking, there are two aspects of this situation. The first facet, as mentioned before, indicates that an organization should keep its mission-critical data backed up with other cloud services or in-house datacenters. The second part deals with the continuity of a business service. A cloud provider can easily achieve a higher level than a business on its own, particularly in the case of today’s small-scale businesses. Looking at the cloud giants of today, they do not look like they are going to hit any difficulties anytime soon.

Going even further and taking a look from a different angle, there could come a point where cloud providers have grown to such huge sizes that it would not be in the interests of governments to intervene – similar to the banking scenario of today.

By Haris Smith

The Challenge For Cloud Computing

The Challenge For Cloud Computing

Consumers are driving cloud adoption far faster than enterprise IT can accept. Analytically speaking, consumers are driving this incredible rate of change for enterprise employers. The challenge one faces is that cloud computing is leading an enormous change in the enterprise IT environment, which can broadly be called the “consumerization” of IT, and this phenomenon has somehow to cater for the needs of consumers.

The problem that follows this “consumerization” prodigy is that while consumers are wandering around with their personal clouds in their pockets, a whole lot of that cloud belongs to someone else; it belongs to another interest. So one’s personal consumption of a cloud is quite literally a threat to one’s employer. To make things clearer, take the example of the padding oracle attacks, which were predominantly initiated by common users; common users who clicked on an attachment in an email and let the bad guys in.

For most of the enterprise world, the public cloud is nothing but a menace. Yet one sees clear benefits and enormous cost advantages in the public cloud. So, the main challenge is redefined: to try to evolve what today is an enterprise IT process built around people, and consequently translate it into something that is more efficient and that takes advantage of the revolutions in technology but does not throw out the baby with the bath water.

In a nutshell, the real challenge is how to adopt this technology in a world where the rate of adoption is governed not by the technology, but by the rate at which humans can evolve their skill sets as they face new technologies. Arguably, this is what enterprise IT is all about. Thought provokingly, the rate at which enterprise IT will adopt cloud computing is the rate at which one can retire legacy skill sets from the enterprise IT department.

The human race experiences and lives in linear time; we think about what to do tomorrow, but when tomorrow comes, technology has moved exponentially up the curve a whole lot more than the average person could ever grasp. So, here we sit as humans in what our rough experience of computers is, but the world is radically different in terms of innovation. The dare is how to make humans evolve quicker so that they can adopt these sweeping technologies and do so in a way that is safe and secure. For the human species, this is the challenge of cloud computing.

By Haris Smith

Cloud Computing – Explicitly Redefined For Enterprises

Cloud Computing – Explicitly Redefined For Enterprises

Companies are moving quickly to leverage the cloud for the services that most readily bring the greatest business value in the short term. And not surprisingly, the greatest growth in the cloud is in the CRM and collaboration tools sector.

Specifically, in the enterprise segment, the major focus is being put on complex engagements. Strictly speaking, complex engagements involve cutting-edge enterprises that are migrating to the cloud, and when these enterprises move to the cloud, there are facets of different technology and infrastructure that need to be handled. Such facets usually include large datacenters, and special focus is put on how to consolidate and order them in an accessible way so that different segments of the community can have access to the specific data they need.

A cloud is a paradigm in which one can get access to any resource or service on any device, anywhere on the planet. Keeping an enterprise in mind, the aforementioned definition of a cloud is slightly twisted. From an enterprise perspective, if one looks into the technologies, one sees that several services are running simultaneously. These services are powered by a portfolio of applications. What an enterprise is doing is rationalizing an application portfolio and keeping a lookout for the entire application portfolio – which applications should it keep at the core, which should it allow access to by partners, and which should be delivered by outside providers. For an enterprise, these questions are intelligently addressed to by a cloud service.

But the story does not stop here. Because of an architecture known as multi-tenancy, the enterprise does not have to pay for all copies of applications being used. On the contrary, there is one application which everyone shares, but which is flexible enough for everyone to customize to their specific needs. This means that applications are elastic and upgrades are taken care of on behalf of the business.

The world is now on the next wave of validating prototypes and searching for new applications that can help an enterprise when it enters the cloud world. For an enterprise, those are the applications that best leverage the cloud, those which necessitate a large scale (either geographic or computational) and entail a short entry or exit time into or out of the market. It seems that business models have finally matched their flow to the cloud.

By Haris Smith

Big Data And Cloud Computing – Friends For Life

Big Data And Cloud Computing – Friends For Life

Our age has moved into a complex situation. On the one hand, we are experiencing an ever-increasing level of home clouds and, while on the other hand, commodity data services are hungrily intensifying. In the midst of this chaos, big data and cloud computing have secured their bond, and their friendship has come forward. This has prompted a sigh of relief from the user group.

Data is a common problem in organizations, and hence they want to figure out how to get their enterprise data assets under control. The friendship mantra of big data and the cloud can be verified by analyzing the emergence of cloud computing with the processing power to manage exabytes of information. Being able to handle large amounts of information is a priority for big enterprises in the industry because organizations are trying to get their data under control. Nevertheless, learning from the great success of big data in the cloud world, many governments have also become active players in the cloud domain.

Emerging big data trends show that organizations are getting to the analytical states of their processes, gaining the ability to determine value, and getting to know what their data is doing in a particular state of their business. This also requires the combination of huge amounts of data into common, accessible points that provide mission-critical business intelligence (BI). Data warehousing and the ability to look the value of information, either in an operation state or in a decision support state, are also factors of prime importance.

Nearly all the latest market trends point to the notion of being agile and being customer responsive. Interestingly, not all big data cloud servers are the same. The technology that Microsoft provides is completely different from the technology that Google provides. The time it takes to push a big data project to completion inevitably depends on the technology used by the server. This leads us to the question of which service provider to choose and which to ignore.

To support an adaptive organization, big data is one of the critical elements. The ability of cloud computing to provision computer resources, storage, network capacity and, above all, do all this magic at a moment’s notice makes big data and the cloud the dearest of friends. There is a long way to go, but for now they seem to be friends for life.

By Haris Smith

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Consequences Of Combining Off Premise Cloud Storage and Corporate Data

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