Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations

Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations

Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations

Everyone knows what the cloud is, but does everybody know where the cloud is? We try to answer that as we look at some of the most unusual data centre locations in the world.

Under the Eyes of a Deity

Deep beneath the famous Uspenski Cathedral in the heart of Helsinki lies a converted World War II bomb shelter, which sees an unlikely fusion of data storage and green technology.

Estimates suggest that in a typical data centre only 40 percent of energy use is for computing, with the remainder being used for cooling down the servers. The problem is so serious that data centres account for as much as 30 percent of a corporation’s energy bills and 1 percent of energy usage worldwide.

Finnish IT company Academica designed the 2MW underground data centre to try and address this problem. Rather than using a traditional means of power to try and cool the servers, they use pumped seawater from the nearby Baltic Sea. As the servers are cooled the water is heated, and this heated water is then used to provide warmth for 500 local homes, before being recycled back into the system.

The technology itself is not new, but there are no other projects in the world that operate on this scale. The centre now saves Academica a remarkable $235,000 a year in energy costs and is prompting other large data centre providers to follow in their footsteps, with Google now also operating two centres that run on recycled water.

In a Disused Coal Mine

While Academica’s $235,000 per year saving is impressive, it pales in to insignificance when compared with a $3,000,000 per year saving by Sun Microsystems.

The former cloud-computing giant lowered 10,000 of its self-contained Blackbox data centres into a 100 metre deep coal mine located in the Chubu region of Japan’s Honshu Island.

With groundwater used as the coolant and a constant site temperature of 15 degrees Celsius, no air-conditioning is needed outside the containers. This significantly reduces the energy required when compared with the surface-level Blackbox containers.

At the time, Sun stated that added benefits include security against unauthorised entry and terrorist attacks, and that have designed all the units to capable of withstanding 6.7 magnitude earthquake.

An Independent World War II Sea Fort

Few locations on earth have a story quite as unique as that of Sealand. Just six miles of the coast of England, the self-declared sovereign state has seen a hostile takeover, rebel government, and hostage crisis since coming into existence in September 1967.

The micronation is now home to HavenCo, a self-styled data haven that has no copyright or intellectual property on data that it hosts.

HavenCo was founded in the year 2000, but ceased operating between 2008 and 2012 as a result of a legal dispute over project financing. Since its rebirth, the company offers proxies and VPNs using European and American servers, whilst storing hard data on servers on Sealand itself. The only restrictions on hosted data are child pornography, spamming and malicious hacking.

Unusual-Data-Centers

 

Do you know another unique data centre location? Let us know in the comments below.

(Infographic Source: http://www.whoishostingthis.com)

By Daniel Price

BYOD Will Continue To Define Workplaces In 2014

BYOD Will Continue To Define Workplaces In 2014

BYOD Will Continue To Define Workplaces

The bring-your-own-device trend has been the subject of scrutiny ever since its initial formation. Given how quickly personal smartphones and tablets became a fixture in everyday life, it makes perfect sense that these mobile machines would slip into workplaces. While BYOD has caused headaches for many businesses, still others have discovered the benefits of it. This is achieved by recognizing that BYOD is not only inevitable, but also – as InformationWeek contributor Peter Waterhouse refers to it – “naturally occurring.”

More companies than ever are recognizing this as a key component to successful unified communications initiatives. According to Waterhouse, “BYOD is happening, whether IT likes it or not.” Personal devices in the workplace will continue to increase throughout 2014, and businesses will need to adapt to change in order to stay afloat.

Advancements In Technology Make Adoptions Easier

As mobile workforce management tools and techniques have matured, more companies have been able to integrate them as part of a UC program deployment. According to IDC analysts Christopher Chute and Raymond Boggs, this has been especially advantageous for small and medium-sized businesses. Their report, the U.S. 2014 SMB Corporate-Owned and BYOD Mobile Device Survey, determined that organizations of this size have seen the biggest increase in BYOD program launches.

With the availability of hosted software and easy-to-implement mobile solutions, SMB IT managers feel much more comfortable allowing personal devices access to internal IT resources,” Chute said.

Given that BYOD has shown no signs of slowing down, it is certain that more SMBs – not to mention major enterprises – will both have and need to manage personal smartphones and tablets in the office. This is especially true given that a new wave of devices is already on the horizon – wearables.

Wearable BYOD Tech To Enter Workplace

While it should still be a priority and must be addressed, mobile UC is expected to get a little more complicated in 2014. Much in the same way that tablets and smartphones started popping up in offices all over the world, wearable tech like Google Glass and the iWatch are highly-anticipated tools that will, with great certainty, enter the workplace.

These tools will ultimately be able to serve a wide variety of professional purposes, but BYOD strategies will have to be re-examined before wearables arrive. According to Krista Napier, IDC Canada’s manager for mobility research, there is a learning process that must occur for both management and employees regarding how these devices can and cannot be used for communications and other critical purposes.

By Katie Maller, Communications Manager at ShoreTel

(Image Source: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com )

Are Cloud Servers The Right Choice For Your Business?

Are Cloud Servers The Right Choice For Your Business?

Are Cloud Servers The Right Choice For Your Business?

Cloud servers offer power, flexibility, reliability, and client friendly hosting for small and medium businesses that have outgrown shared hosting.

New business hosting clients are bombarded with an incredible diversity of different choices for their site’s hosting. It can be a challenge to negotiate the range of platforms and the marketing hype that many hosting companies use to promote their products.

Given the complexity of the hosting market, it’s possible to get decision fatigue and opt for a choice which at first seems to offer great benefits and prices, but may not turn out to be the best choice in the long-run. It can be a pain for a business to move from one hosting company or platform to another — although it’s certainly possible — so it’s best to make a choice that will provide the best foundation for your business well into the future.

With that in mind, in this article we’re going to focus on one form of hosting: the cloud server. Let’s take a look at what a cloud server is, how it differs from other hosting such as shared hosting or a dedicated server, and when it’s the right choice for a business.

What Is A Cloud Server?

A cloud server shares some features with both shared hosting and dedicated server hosting, but with a number of extra features that make it a very different beast from both.

A cloud server is a virtualized server. That means that cloud servers are virtual machines that run on a physical server, which can host multiple virtual cloud servers. Cloud servers are a complete server environment with full root access. They also usually include a guaranteed level of resources like processing power and memory.

To some of you, that might sound exactly the same as a virtual private server, but there are significant differences. The most important difference is the pricing model. Whereas virtual private servers are usually sold with per month contacts, cloud servers are on-demand machines that are charged for by the hour, so users pay only for the resources they use.

Is A Cloud Server Right For Your Business?

The major benefits of cloud servers are:

  • Flexibility — Cloud servers are the most flexible hosting option: they can be created, destroyed, replicated, and resized as needed.
  • Scalable – Hopefully, your business is going to grow, and that means more traffic to your website. A cloud server can grow with your business by simply increasing the resources available to it — known as vertical scaling. It’s also very easy to spin up additional servers to create a cluster of cloud servers. For example, you could replicate your web servers and put them behind a cloud-based load balancer — this is horizontal scaling.
  • Reliable — If you have a dedicated server and something goes wrong with the hardware, then your site goes down. Because cloud servers are so much more flexible, you can have redundant servers waiting to activate in case of a problem. You can completely back-up a cloud server and have a replica up and running in seconds. High availability cloud servers are configured so that there is no single point of failure. Using failover systems, proactive monitoring, and recovery, it’s possible to achieve levels of reliability that would be vastly more expensive with dedicated servers.
  • On-demand Pricing — Businesses pay for only the resources they use, and are not committed to a long-term contract.

If you think your business site has outgrown shared hosting and that you need flexibility, scalability, reliability, and a client-friendly payment model, then cloud hosting is for you.

By John Mack / Technical writer for Datarealm

Cloud News Round Up Post – February 15th

Cloud News Round Up Post – February 15th

Here is your cloud news round up post for the week.

front-desk

Front Desk Raises $4 Million to Expand Mobile Cloud Platform – Don’t turn your nose up at Front Desk, as the software startup are preparing for big things. Specifically, Front Desk are looking to process more than $100 million in payments in 2014. Spanning 20 countries with around 1,000 business signed up to make use of Front Desk’s payment offerings, that money could help them to process even more payments on mobile especially, where over 60% of their business takes place. Only around for one year, Jon Zimmerman, Front Desk’s co-founder and CEO says “This has been an incredible first year for Front Desk, and [they are] delighted to secure this financing from such a well-respected group of investors and entrepreneurs. The funding will help [them] step on the gas to meet [their] growing demand.” so that funding will be of good use.

Cloud Startup LoginRadius Raises $1.3 Million in FundingLoginRadius, the flagship product of a Canadian tech startup called Nya Concepts Inc., has successfully raised $1.3 million in a recent round of funding. The team behind the service, which allows users to register and sign up for websites by way of their Google and Facebook profiles (along with Yahoo, etc.), is set to use the money to “help businesses engage and understand their users by simplifying how users connect to the web. This financing gives [them] additional resources for rapid growth and product innovating so that [they] can continue to transform the way users connect to the web and mobile applications”, according to Rakesh Soni, co-founder and CEO of LoginRadius. The service seems to be useful, and the money will go a long way to furthering that, so it will be interesting to see where the tech goes in the future.

Microsoft Release Details on Oracle on Azure Cloud – It was recently announced that Satya Nadella would be Microsoft’s new CEO, and he was previously one of the driving figures behind Microsoft’s work with the cloud. Now, one of the very first outcomes of that has become apparent as Microsoft have no revealed information on the Oracle on Azure partnership that the tech company have been working on. In a new statement, they have said that “Beginning 12 March, [Microsoft] will charge for the Oracle software running in license included Oracle VMs in addition to [their] charge for the Windows Server VMs in which the Oracle software runs.” but as that’s not set to go live until next month, we’ll keep you posted once we know more.

By Jennifer Livingstone

Cloud Infographic: Preventing Disasters In The Cloud

Cloud Infographic: Preventing Disasters In The Cloud

Cloud Infographic: Preventing Disasters In The Cloud

Data backups form an important part of an enterprise’s Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity planning (DR/BC). Traditionally the data was stored on tapes and physical media, at an off-site location, to mitigate the effect of the disaster. Saving the data on-site would have negated the benefit of having a backup, since there is a high probability that the backup would have been as compromised as the original. Now, the availability of cloud based backup and recovery services have created an option for enterprises to store at a virtual drive off-site.

Included is an infographic provided courtesy of the group at Novastor

Backingup-cloud

Infographic Source: Novastor

Microsoft CEO Shows That Cloud Is The Way Forward

Microsoft CEO Shows That Cloud Is The Way Forward

Microsoft’s new CEO appointment shows that the world’s largest desktop software developer has seen that the cloud is the future of enterprise IT.

Microsoft’s long and public CEO selection process has come to a close, with veteran Redmond employee Satya Nadella taking up the reins to lead the company through what will be a period of unprecedented change.

In the four decades since Microsoft was founded both the enterprise and consumer IT space has undergone radical evolution. It was Microsoft more than any other company that lead the way in past decades, shaping the industry with its massively popular enterprise, productivity, and operating system software. But, although Microsoft is still the dominant player in those arenas, that dominance is being challenged by a changing environment. Those changes are largely the result of new IT paradigms brought about by the cloud, including SaaS applications and IaaS platforms.

Microsoft is a huge company with fingers in many pies, from gaming with the Xbox, to mobile devices with Windows Phone and its recent purchase of Nokia, and from productivity and collaboration software with Microsoft Office and SharePoint, to its own cloud services like Windows Azure and SkyDrive.

Microsoft-cloud

(Image Source360b / Shutterstock.com)

The choice of CEO for a company that has only had two leaders in the past, Bill Gates and his close friend Steve Ballmer, is a crucial indication of where it sees its future. The selection committee might have chosen to double down on the traditional PC market, put its entertainment division first and foremost, given the reins to someone with mobile experience — Steven Elop was considered a front runner by some — or brought someone from the outside to take the company in a new direction. Instead they chose Satya Nadella, an insider to be sure, but an insider who has had more influence than anyone else in shaping the company’s cloud and services strategy.

The 46-year-old Nadella has been with the company for over two decades, previously having worked at Sun Microsystems. He is currently head of cloud services and enterprise business, and his appointment clearly demonstrates where Microsoft believes its future revenue lies. The PC market is stagnating, including the market for enterprise desktops, and although it’s unlikely to dwindle significantly any time soon, that traditional cash-cow can’t be relied on to generate new business.

In spite of Xbox and its constant experimentation with consumer devices, the enterprise has always been Microsoft’s major money-spinner. In the modern IT space, enterprise IT spending is being increasingly transferred to the cloud as businesses seek to exploit the cost-benefits, reduced management burden, and scaling advantages of cloud platforms. If Microsoft is to flourish, it must provide cloud solutions that will enable it to generate revenue that will supplement its less successful operations. That makes Nadella the perfect choice — he knows how to build services and platforms that give businesses what they need.

We’re in a transitional phase between legacy IT strategies and new cloud paradigms. Microsoft was the winner in the legacy IT world. Nadella’s appointment shows that Microsoft is determined to win in the cloud too.

By John Mack,

John is a technical writer for Datarealm, one of the oldest web hosting companies. You can follow Datarealm on Twitter, @datarealm, Like them on Facebook, and check out more of their web hosting articles on their blog, http://www.datarealm.com/blog.

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – #NerdLove

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – #NerdLove



cloud_185-valentines-day

By David Fletcher

Are you looking to supercharge your Newsletter, Powerpoint presentation, Social media campaign or Website? Our universally recognized tech related comics can help you. Contact us for information on our commercial licensing rates.

The Sticking Points Of Security And Privacy

The Sticking Points Of Security And Privacy

The Sticking Points Of Security And Privacy

No matter how many times a privileged straight white male technology executive pronounces the death of privacy, Privacy Is Not Dead. People of all ages care deeply about privacy and they care just as much about privacy online as they do offline” (Danah Boyd)

cybersecurity_infographic

Security and Privacy are the two sticking points when it comes to moving business systems into the cloud. Out of the two, security is obviously the most important. After all, you can securely store data in a way that doesn’t ensure privacy, but you can’t maintain privacy if your supporting systems aren’t secured. Thankfully, there are a number of straightforward internationally agreed upon standards and best practices that companies can use to ensure that their servers are secured either in-house or in the cloud. Privacy however is a much newer field, and although everyone seems to have their own opinion about what constitutes adequate privacy protection, the law may have a different opinion than you and doing business in the cloud you may be dealing with conflicting privacy regulations that span multiple countries and industries.

As we’ve seen with recent controversies such as the NSA scandal, this is still a relatively new area of concern and the courts are struggling to catch up with new developments. Although we can’t offer any legal advice, we would like to present some good general tips that companies should consider when evaluating the privacy of their data in the cloud.

1. Limit the Data you Collect – It’s common sense that protecting a small amount of personally identifiable data should be easier than protecting a very large quantity, and you should also ensure that any personally identifiable information that you collect should be obtained in an open, transparent and lawful manner. As privacy regulations continue to change and evolve you should expect to see a growing trend where notification and consent will be required from consumers. And as consumers become more knowledgable about their rights you can expect to see an increase in the number of disclosure requests or lawsuits made by consumers. By minimizing the amount of the data you keep on file, you minimize both the risk and the cost associated with administrating the sensitive information.

2. Limit the Use of personally identifiable information. – This includes letting them know why you need this information and what will be done with this information once it’s been collected and once you’ve collected this information don’t share it with anyone or use it for purposes other than those agreed upon by you and the client.

3. Keep the Data Secure – Make sure that you have tight controls in place to prevent privacy breaches or data leaks. Once personally identifiable information goes into your possession, you have a responsibility to protect it against unauthorized use, theft, improper disclosure or deletion. Talk to your IT department and make sure that you have all of the proper mechanisms in place to protect yourself against hackers, viruses, data storage theft and other technology attacks. Even if this data is stolen and misused by a 3rd party without your permission, the victims and the courts will still hold your company responsible

4. Set Policies for Retention – Regarding the limit of use, many people will mistakenly assume that an alternative method will simply be to collect data, use it and then destroy it when they’re done. Although this approach is good in theory, many regulations stipulate that business documents and collected customer information must be retained on file for several years. If you store data for too long you increase your exposure, but if you deleted too soon, you can fall out of compliance and face stiff penalties. Judges are also very aware of the fact that digital data can be easily altered without leaving a trace. So your company should have controls in place to ensure the integrity of the data and demonstrate to a judge that it hasn’t been tampered with.

5. Set policies for destruction – When you delete a file and empty the Recycle Bin you only erase the label and address which points to the data, the actual data blocks that make up the file are still on your hardrive and can be retrieved using special software. In order to completely destroy a file you must 1st delete it and then write over those data block with random bits. Let’s suppose that you are hosting a virtual server with a cloud provider. If that the cloud provider moves your virtual server to another physical device, the actual moving leaves out residual data blocks at the original location. If this section will be assigned to another client, they could potentially discover your data. How can you been absolutely sure that this data has really been destroyed?

So how do you make sure that you are protected in the cloud?

Cloud Providers are frequently audited by governments, stakeholders or larger customers in order to ensure that the proper security procedures are being strictly followed. For small businesses with limited IT resources the cloud is a good option because these service providers have much stricter security measures in place. But you shouldn’t rely on this alone. There are also mechanical precautions you can take in order to make sure your cloud data is destroyed. By encrypting your data blocks using strong encryption standards, such as 256 bit AES, you can store your data on a cloud provider servers without exposing it.

By Roland Conner

CloudTweaks Comics
Cloud Infographic: IoT For Automotive Deconstructed

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Is The Fintech Industry The Next Tech Bubble?

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Cloud Infographic – Big Data Analytics Trends

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

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

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5 Considerations You Need To Review Before Investing In Data Analytics

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Moving Your Enterprise Apps To The Cloud Is A Business Decision

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Containerization: The Bold Face Of The Cloud In 2016

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Are Women Discriminated Against In The Tech Sector?

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Women Discriminated Against In Tech Sector It is no secret that the tech industry is considered sexist since most women are paid less than men; there are considerably fewer women in tech jobs; and generally men get promoted above women. Yet the irony is twofold. Firstly, there is an enormous demand for employees with skills…

Smart Connected Cities Must Learn To Efficiently Collaborate

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Smart City Collaboration A study from research firm Gartner demonstrates how smart and connected cities require a large number of players to collaborate efficiently, in order to unlock the huge potential associated with cities of the future. The study focused on Europe and showed clearly how a number of Northern European and Scandinavian mid-size cities…

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

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The Rise of BI Data Every few years, a new concept or technological development is introduced that drastically improves the business world as a whole. In 1983, the first commercially handheld mobile phone debuted and provided workers with an unprecedented amount of availability, leading to more productivity and profits. More recently, the Cloud has taken…

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

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Out-of-the-box Cloud Solutions Although people may argue that data is not safe in the Cloud because using cloud infrastructure requires trusting another party to look after mission critical data, cloud services actually are more secure than legacy systems. In fact, a recent study on the state of cloud security in the enterprise market revealed that…

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

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