Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Head To Toe Testing – Applications In The Cloud Environment

Head To Toe Testing – Applications In The Cloud Environment

Applications In The Cloud Environment

As the application performance is the main source to drive the business growth, testing the conventional software applications serves a critical role in the growth of any enterprise or organization. In conventional on premises testing scenarios, setting up an infrastructure for testing was the prime area of focus for the enterprises. However, with the growing dominance of cloud computing, testing applications in cloud environment has become a need of the businesses today.

Cloud testing enables businesses set up and maintain the testing environment in the cloud, eliminating the cost and overhead of capital expenditure, resource pooling and reducing the time for business offerings. Not only that, it brings end-to-end solution that transforms the way testing is carried out and help enterprises get a competitive edge while reducing the cost of testing mission critical applications. Let’s take a deeper look at what cloud testing is all about and what are the benefits it brings to the business. Also, we’ll cover some best practices to perform testing in the cloud environment.

So, what is cloud testing?

As the name suggests, cloud testing is nothing but a way of testing applications utilizing different resources over the cloud environment. It is important to note that the resources will be nothing but the hardware, software, infrastructure and other elements needed to perform testing. Cloud testing brings an end-to-end solution, which revolutionize the way testing is performed. It also helps businesses or enterprises to gear up the competitiveness while getting down the overall cost of testing.

With the help of cloud testing, organizations can easily cut-off provisioning time as cloud can test the servers on demand. This at the end ensures zero idle time of the unused servers over the cloud. Apart from all these, cloud testing brings tons of other benefits for the businesses. Let’s take a look at a few of the noticeable benefits of cloud testing:

  • Test environments are provisioned quickly: In a conventional testing, organizations have to spend a lot of time and money to set up and run testing environment. However, with the cloud testing, setting up and running the testing environment becomes easy and faster. The organizations won’t have to spend hours ‘n’ hours and they can fulfill the project timelines easily.

Also, it becomes easy for the enterprises or individuals to simulate the test replica of the project environment. This empowers testing teams to test for different business cases and identify bugs on the go.

  • Lower the cost of setting up test environment/infrastructure: If you’ve ever noticed, you will find that at least 30-50% of the servers are dedicated only for testing. However, not all of them are actually utilized because testing is performed at particular interval of time. So, most of the servers remain idle for the rest of the time.

On the other hand, in cloud testing, the businesses can easily set up testing environment when they require and free-up all the servers after testing is completed. This will at the end help enterprises or organizations to reduce overall cost.

  • Ease of customizing hardware resources: Cloud testing enables businesses to simulate the production scenarios in different ways through testing. It helps businesses to verify the load with the help of the performance testing. Also, it enables testing scenarios in different environments with multiple browsers and operating systems.

  • Support the concept of green computing: Green computing is nothing but a way of utilizing computing resources effectively and efficiently. Today, organizations extensively use servers and computers to perform various business activities. In such a scenario, opting for cloud testing will help organizations to reduce carbon foot print and becomes more environment-friendly.

  • More effective usage of the resources: Cloud servers could easily help businesses to improve the efficiency and utilization through an effective distribution of workload. It will empower organizations to leverage from the existing computing infrastructure from the vendor, which at the end reduce the overall cost of computing.

Okay, but how to get maximum benefit from cloud testing? Here’s the list of the best practices for testing cloud-based applications.

  • Get through the concepts of cloud computing. Well, this is the first and basic thing that every organization or individual should develop. One should understand the concepts of cloud computing and identify business risks to eliminate them.

  • Don’t forget to conduct pilot projects; it will help you identify the power of cloud-based testing for your business. Usually, pilot projects are less risky when it comes to evaluation of the feasibility of testing in the cloud. It becomes easy for the businesses to either test the cloud itself or host testing infrastructure in the cloud.

  • Intricate strategies are another great way to get more details on cloud testing. Elaborating strategies can include setting up criteria for testing applications, cloud vendors and levels of testing. You can easily get help from the cloud testing vendors and QA consulting firms for this.

  • Gear up interaction between the testing teams and be prepared for the complexities. There is no denying that testing cloud-based applications will increase time-by-time. Therefore, it is important to establish interaction between the testing and development teams. Also, enterprises will have to be prepared to test the additional complexities associated with the cloud-based applications.

  • Improve research. Of course, there are a lot of open issues and challenges exist when it comes to cloud testing. Therefore, rather than addressing such issues or challenges in separation, it is more advisable to conduct a detailed research on it with the help of researchers and practitioners.

Also, you can utilize various tools available in the market to perform cloud testing. You can use Monitis, Cloudsleuth, GFI, LoadStorm, CloudHarmony, BlazeMeter and so on are a few of the popular tools you can leverage from to perform cloud testing.

According to the recent reports from Gartner, most of the organizations will go for cloud solutions in the coming five years. Therefore, cloud testing will help enterprises leverage from better security and powerful tools. What’s your stand on this? Share your experiences or views in the comments…!

prashant

By Prashant Chambakara,

Prashant is a Test Consultant at TestingWhiz, is passionate about software testing and test automation. He loves to discuss issues on testing contributing to the testing communities through blogs, articles, and conference speaking engagements.He is the author of several articles on test automation process, covering the testing workflow. Follow his tech activities on Twitter (@prashant_geek)

The History Of Back-Ups

The History Of Back-Ups

The History of Back-Ups

There’s no doubt about it – we are spoilt. With external hard-drives, CDs, USB memory sticks, SD cards, online storage and multiple devices with vast memories we can save, access and back up our data more easily and more efficiently than ever before.

Backup

(Image Source: Maxim Yurin, SoftLogica

It’s not always been this way though. It’s not so long ago that floppy disks were prevalent, memory was measured in megabytes and smartphones were a mere glint in Steve Jobs’ eye.

CloudTweaks retraces the history of backing up from the advent of ‘modern’ computing through to today’s supercomputers.

The 1950s and 1960s – Punch Cards and Magnetic Tape

Modern computing can arguably said to have begun in 1949 with the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC), and it was swiftly followed in 1951 by the Universal Automatic Computer I (UNIVAC I). These computers used vacuum tubes as main logic elements, rotating magnetic drums for internal storage of data and punch cards to input and externally store data. The ‘UNIVAC Tape to Card converter’ could read UNIVAC magnetic tape by using a UNISERVO tape drive, and could then punch the data onto cards at a rate of 120 per minute.

Ultimately, punch cards were slow, low-capacity and required a lot of devices. Therefore, during the 1960s, the punch card was replaced by magnetic tape. One roll of magnetic tape could store as much data as 10,000 punch cards and thus became an instant success. A tape drive’s reliability, scalability and low cost mean it remains an attractive back-up solution even today.

The 1970s and 1980s – Floppy Disks

The first floppy disk was introduced in 1969. It was a read-only eight-inch disk that could store 80 kB of data. The physical size of the disk got continually smaller while the memory size got larger. By the time floppy disks eventually disappeared in the late 1990s, it was possible to store 250 MB of data on а three-inch disk.

Floppy disk backup was not as wide-ranging as tape backup, but cost and accessibility of the disks meant they quickly became one of the most prevalent backup media among home users and small businesses.

The 1990s – CDs

The CD was invented by Philips and Sony in 1979, and just a decade late both the CD-ROM and CD-R had also been introduced.

In the early 1990s CDs were not commonly used for backups because of their high costs. However, as soon as CD-ROM drives became common-place on all computers in the early 1990s, prices for CDs plummeted – meaning backup on CD became very popular and widespread. The introduction of 4 GB DVDs in the mid-90s only served to strengthen their stranglehold on the market.

The 2000s – USB Sticks and External Hard Drives

Portable USB flash drives were invented in 1998, and Trek Technology and IBM began selling the first USB flash drives commercially in 2000. They had a storage capacity of 8 MB, which was more than five times the capacity of the biggest floppy disks.

Fast-forward to 2013 and USB drives are a ubiquitous part of computing. A 1 TB drive was unveiled at last year’s Consumer Electronic Show, and it is expected that a 2 TB model will follow shortly.

The 2010s – The Cloud

The first introduction of cloud storage providers first occurred during the ‘dotcom boom’ of the late-90s, but the initial years of these large industry service providers was more about understanding the importance of the service than capturing market share.

Today, as personal and business data storage requirements increase, most providers position their services using the SaaS (software as a service) strategy. Companies such as Dropbox, Google and Amazon all have plans that offer consumers more than 1 TB in online space, while the Chinese firm Weiyun now offers a mammoth 10 TB to its customers.

Do you yearn for the days of a floppy disk? Were you using computers and punch cards as far back as the 50s and 60s? Perhaps you don’t even remember the 1990s and have only known USB sticks and cloud storage? Share you experiences in the comments below.

By Daniel Price

Pinup: CloudPhysics – Our Big Idea Starts With Big Data

Pinup: CloudPhysics – Our Big Idea Starts With Big Data

Pinup: CloudPhysics – Our Big Idea Starts With Big Data

One of the hallmarks of computing in today’s modern business world is the virtualized environment. A virtualized environment is where a virtual version of the components that make up a network, such as the server or storage device, is created. These virtualized components are integrated with actual equipment, which can result in an increased amount of complexity in managing them.

This is where CloudPhysics truly shines.

bioJohn

CloudPhysics is a big data startup originally launched in 2011 by John Blumenthal and Irfan Ahmad. The goal behind CloudPhysics is to provide assistance to system administrators in terms of making smart decisions when it comes to big data.

Co-founder John Blumenthal states: “Google uses analysis of anonymized traffic data from everyone’s GPS location streams to help users avoid accidents and bottlenecks and to make better driving decisions. CloudPhysics brings that same kind of power to IT so enterprises can make better operational decisions.”

CloudPhysics has received several rounds of funding from numerous sources, including investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, as well as the Mayfield Fund. All told, CloudPhysics has raised a total of close to $13 million in outside funding.

CloudPhysics has received numerous accolades from leaders of the computing industry. These include the Best Cloud Management 2013 award from Virtualization Review, one of the Most Notable Vendors at VMworld 2013 from EMA and the Best Innovation Award, VMworld 2012 from TechTarget.

CloudPhysics’ services deal with three primary areas. These include:

Validation: Trying things out before you implement them is an effective way to avoid costly errors in many different areas of big data and virtualized environments. CloudPhysics’ services allow you to run “what if” scenarios, allowing you to see how things work before they are actually implemented.data-screen1

Hazard Prevention: Given the sheer size associated with big data, it is quite possible for you to be unaware of different hazards and pitfalls that can be lurking in the background. CloudPhysics addresses this possibility in many different ways. These include the ability to find targeted Knowledge Base articles that are applicable to your network, and the capacity to receive early warnings on errors related to changes.

Efficiency: Nothing spells additional costs like an inefficient network. CloudPhysics allows you to identify wasted resources and tweak them to perform at their very best. This can include discovering ways to optimize network storage, as well as identifying connection issues between the network and its components.

CloudPhysics provides a software as a service (SaaS) model that is one of the leaders in terms of optimizing network performance and resources. If your company uses big data in any way, the analytical services provided by CloudPhysics are a must have.

By Joe Pellicone

Benefits Of Cloud Printing

Benefits Of Cloud Printing

Benefits of Cloud Printing

The cloud printing industry has been quietly developing alongside the growth of the wider cloud computing industry. In the consumer market, Google’s Cloud Print service has led the way, while in the professional market providers such as Ezeep and UniPrint Infinity are at the forefront of innovation.

We were already speculating that it was more than just a fad as long ago as 2011 – but why is cloud printing becoming so popular? What are its benefits for an end users? CloudTweaks investigates…

Printing from Mobile

In August 2011, IBM executive Mark Dean famously caused a stir when he referred to the world being in a ‘post-PC era’. Of course, rather than predicting the death of the PC, he was instead referring to how people are increasingly using mobile devices when they perform basic activities that are traditionally done on computers. One of these basic tasks is printing.

A Cloud-ready printer does not need to be connected to a PC or to a print driver; the printer is simply registered with cloud print services and awaits jobs sent from mobile devices. Useful for both personal and business users, printing from mobile will become increasingly normalised given the rapid shift to cloud-based applications and data storage.

Use Any Printer from Anywhere

Printers that are specifically recommended for cloud printing can be recognised by the ‘Cloud Printing Ready’ logo and can receive print jobs without being connected to a PC. However, virtually any printer can be used for cloud printing via Google Cloud Print.print-anywhere

This is accomplished through the use of a connector, a small piece of software that runs on a PC where the printer is installed. The connector takes care of registering the printer with Google Cloud Print and waiting for print jobs from the service. When a job arrives, the connector submits it to the printer using the PC operating system’s native printer software, and sends job statuses back to the service.

An obvious downside to this approach is that the PC must be powered on and connected to the Internet in order for print jobs to get to the connector – but on the flip side it will allow you to print from anywhere in the world.

Further Points

  • BYOD Benefits: Employees can use whatever device they have without worrying about drivers. This translates into reduced support, more convenience, and lower costs.
  • Software upgrades are automatic, and in real time: You will always be up-to-date with the latest features and fixes at all times.
  • The browser and the printer can be on separate networks: This gives flexibility so that someone doesn’t have to first log onto a network. As long as they are connected to the internet any way that works for that device, they can print.
  • Simplicity: For non-technical users, the lack software, drivers, and cables, combined with a fast and easy set-up, is considerably more appealing than traditional printing methods
  • No local server: From a business perspective, because there is no local server to install and maintain cloud printing is considerably less costly than investing heavily in your own IT infrastructure.

Do you use Google Cloud Print? Has your company implemented cloud printing in your office? Do you think cloud printing is easy or better than traditional printing? Let us know in the comments below.

By Daniel Price

RapidMiner Releases New PaaS Offering

RapidMiner Releases New PaaS Offering

RapidMiner Releases New PaaS Offeringrapidminer-logo-retina

RapidMiner, one of the predictive analytics market leaders, has today announced the release of a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) version of its RapidMiner Server solution. The company already boasts more than 35,000 deployments worldwide, including clients as diverse as Lufthansa, PayPal, Pepsi, and Volkswagen; they hope this latest release will help increase their market share further.

RapidMiner Server is widely considered to be one of the most powerful, comprehensive, and flexible data analysis solutions available. It uses the core RapidMiner Studio engine to provide powerful remote processing, an accessible web interface, and innovative design and collaboration options. It allows to users to run processes on enterprise hardware, schedule and run analyfeature_extensionssis, and get real-time results from anywhere.

The software was a surprise frontrunner in Gartner’s ‘Advanced Analytics Platforms Magic Quadrant’. Released in February, it ranked alongside SAS, IBM and Knime in the ‘Leaders’ quadrant. It is good timing from RapidMiner’s point of view, with Gartner estimating that advanced analytics is now a $2 billion market that spans a broad array of industries globally. The research firm predicts business intelligence and analytics will remain a top focus for Chief Information Officers until at least 2017.

RapidMiner already includes a vast number of methods for data integration, data transformation, data modelling, and data visualisation — with the ability to access data sources such as Excel, Access, Oracle, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL, Sybase, Ingres, MySQL, Postgres, SPSS, dBase, and Text files. Additional benefits of the new RapidMiner Server PaaS include a deployment time that can be measured in minutes, a high-throughput access to Amazon Relational Database Service, and programmable options such as scheduling, triggers and APIs.

Clients will also benefit from a cost reduction thanks to the removal of the need to develop server management expertise internally; the new RapidMiner Server PaaS is managed by a team of RapidMiner experts who are responsible for all aspects of operating the software, including installations, configurations, backups, maintenance, monitoring, and updates.

RapidMiner offer multiple pricing options. Their free offering only includes 1 GB of RAM, is only compatible with CSV and Excel file-based data sources, and does not support any database systems. The package they recommend to most users is the ‘Professional’ bundle. This includes 8 GB of RAM, supports all common types of file-based data, and is compatible with all database systems. It costs $9,999 per year.

The company hopes that the release of their PaaS offering will help eliminate the need for organisations to dedicate internal resources to purchasing, installing and managing hardware and software, and instead they can now focus on getting the most out of their data.

By Daniel Price

Moving HIPAA Compliant Healthcare Data Into The Cloud

Moving HIPAA Compliant Healthcare Data Into The Cloud

Moving HIPAA Compliant Healthcare Data

Complete HealthCare Solutions (CHS) is a large multidimensional healthcare computing firm headquartered in Palmer, Mass., and which serves 350 physicians, 12 hospitals, various group practices and individual patients throughout the United States. By 2009, their computing infrastructure had become a constraint on growth. Their existing network included many old, near end-of-life computers and proprietary systems that had been installed years ago, and scaling this computing capacity to meet demand was a constant challenge. Due to HIPAA regulations, CHS required a dedicated, secure, non shared computing environment, which made it impossible for them to collaborate with most traditional hosting solutions providers.

(Image source: Shutterstock)

(HIPAA refers to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which in essence establishes national standards for electronic health care transactions, protects the privacy of individuals’ health care information and encourages greater use of electronic data within the healthcare system.)

The CHS legacy systems, along with ongoing company growth meant that even maintaining the status quo was difficult, but CHS also further taxed their computing infrastructure by introducing new products and capabilities to benefit their clients. For instance, they wanted to provide physicians with the ability to access patient records securely from anywhere in the world, 24/7. This kind of capability is excellent for the end user, but it is expensive to develop and manage in-house. CHS therefore decided to explore the possibilities of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

After researching a number of potential providers, CHS teamed up with Florida-based Atlantic.Net, who designed a customized hybrid solution that combined Private Cloud and virtualization. Atlantic.Net confirmed that if CHS were to stay with an in-house HIPAA-compliant solution, it would have cost about $280,000 up-front, consisting of $80,000 for licensing and VPN, and $200,000 upfront capital expense for equipment.

In addition, an in-house system would have meant considerable ongoing expenses, including: colocation space for at least 2 racks in a data center (at least $6,000 per month, including power, space and bandwidth), staff costs for a new expert administrator to run the system, and continuation of existing management and consulting costs.

The approach that Atlantic.Net took involved installing and deploying customized hardware, specifically 15 high-end Intel Processor NE helm XEON servers. After installing the necessary software packages, they set up the network and secure redundant firewall system, while preserving and incorporating the necessary proprietary systems into the new IaaS package.

As a result of this work, 150 physicians were migrated seamlessly to the new system within weeks, while reducing deployment costs, ensuring compatibility, and establishing wide area networking to connect remote offices and the corporate office to the CHS core virtualized IT infrastructure at the Atlantic.Net data center. The fifteen new servers that were deployed not only avoided incurring any upfront capital expense, but also eliminated continuing in-house maintenance costs. In addition, by moving to a Xen-open source solution, Atlantic.Net saved its client $500 per month that had previously been spent on VMWARE vsphere hypervisors.

Joseph Nompleggi, VP of Product Development of Complete Healthcare Solutions put it this way: “Combining our medical software expertise with Atlantic.Net’s SAS 70 compliant data center facility, we are positioned well to become the medical software solution of choice for health care providers for all of their EMR/EHR data needs. Healthcare providers can now focus on their core business and leverage our expertise and software solutions to comply with the HIPAA and HITECH compliance requirements. Atlantic.Net’s reputation for 100% uptime, their secure infrastructure and expertise in Healthcare IT were key components in finalizing our partnership. Our partner’s financial strength and proven track record are something we view with great confidence.”

This is a classic case study,” says Adnan Raja, Marketing Director at Atlantic.Net, “of how organizations that don’t necessarily exist within the traditional business sphere – in this case dealing with private citizens’ health-related data – can take advantage of cloud technology and specifically IaaS, to better serve their client base in a cost-effective and secure way.”

Further details regarding the services Atlantic.Net delivers as a global hosting provider can be found at www.atlantic.net.

Post Sponsored By Atlantic.net

By Steve Prentice

Pinup: Sumo Logic Transforms Raw Data Logs

Pinup: Sumo Logic Transforms Raw Data Logs

Sumo Logic Transforms Raw Data Logs Into Wellsprings of Insight and Intelligence

sumo-logic-logo

Corporations today are generating data at an incredible rate. In fact, data generation has increased to the point where the average business collects the same amount of data in about 10 minutes as one would have throughout the whole year, just 10 years ago. With this increased influx of data comes the need for successful evaluation of the insights and intelligence that can be harvested from it. Enter Sumo Logic!

Originally launched in April of 2010 by Kumar Saurabh and Christian Beedgen, Sumo Logic provides the resources to leverage big data into a mountain of information vital to the growth and effectiveness of a company. Sumo Logic has received multiple rounds of funding from several investors, including Accel Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures.  Sumo Logic’s services revolve around a few major areas. These include:

Machine Data Analytics

One of the primary issues when it comes to the analysis of machine data is that many times operators are unsure what specifically to ask. Machine-data analysis can be separated into two areas: the questions you know to ask, and those you do not. Sumo Logic’s efficacy comes from combining both human interaction, such as search queries, with machine learning, to present a platform well able to handle these two areas.

Anomaly Detection

Sumo Logic’s Anomaly Detection service analyzes big data and detects and documents any anomalies it comes across. These are presented in an easy-to-read format and are categorized as events for simple research and reference.

LogReduce

With the increase in data generation comes the inevitable need to keep it in a clear and concise format that can easily be referenced for information and anomalies. LogReduce is a patent-pending service that can boil down thousands of pages of data into one central page of meaningful information.

Security DNA

Data security is always a concern when dealing with outside companies for assistance in management and intelligence gathering. Sumo Logic not only takes security seriously, they actually incorporate it into every aspect of their product platform.sumo-logic

This includes separating each customer’s data and securing it using customer-specific rotating keys. In addition, only employees specifically earmarked with a need to access production clusters are allowed to do so. Employees must provide multiple authentications and successfully pass security certifications and examinations.

Big data continues to grow at a geometric rate with each passing year, making the gleaning of insights and intelligence from it much more difficult. Sumo Logic recognizes these obstacles and is poised to deliver effective solutions at an affordable price.

By Joe Pellicone

CloudTweaks Comics
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7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

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