Category Archives: Cloud Computing

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – The Meaning Of Cloud

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – The Meaning Of Cloud



cloud humor
By David Fletcher

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What You Need To Know About Data Centres Before Choosing A Cloud Computing Provider

What You Need To Know About Data Centres Before Choosing A Cloud Computing Provider

What You Need To Know About Data Centers Before Choosing A Cloud Computing Provider

When choosing a cloud-computing provider, the data center is one of the most important factors when making a decision. The data center in the place where your information will be stored, and the point from which it will be accessed in the future.

It is imperative to research the data center used by your service provider. Below we have listed the most important things you should know about data centers.

Location

Is the data center close to your service provider? Are they able to freely access the building if a problem were to arise? Data centers need to be staffed at all times in order for constant monitoring and maintenance. Does the location of the site pose risks? Can it still function in extreme weather conditions such as snow and rain?

Security

protection

As well as a data center being constantly manned, it is also essential to know the level of security in place. What security does the physical perimeter have (gates, CCTV, locks, scanners)? You also need to be aware of in-house security, what level of security clearances do they have for staff?

Disaster Recovery

A major concern when data is being kept off-site is the dangers posed to the building and equipment. What would happen if there were a fire or a natural disaster? Does the data center have fire and flood detection? Do they have fire suppression and redundant cooling? Is all of their equipment and data is fully protected?

Power

Does the data center have enough accessible power for the hardware and cooling systems to work at optimal levels? If something were to happen, do they have alternative power sources such as generators?

Connectivity

As it is imperative for you to have the ability to access your stored data, data centers need to have range of connectivity options. What options are in place and do they have a choice of connectivity providers?

The Environment

Many companies need to report on their carbon emissions. It is vital to know what emissions the suppliers of your suppliers are producing. Do they meet the requirements of the EU code of Conduct for Data Centres? Does the facility take energy efficiency into consideration? What efforts are they making to reduce their carbon footprint?

References

What companies use the data center? Knowing who also relies on the site and what they say about the level of service being provided is essential before making a decision.

Accreditations

Does the data center follow the necessary industry standards? Have they been awarded the ISO standard for security management or superior environmental management?

We hope that after reading through these areas of consideration, you have a better understanding of what to look for in the data centers used by potential cloud computing providers.

By Kamran Maqbool,

Kamran is the Managing Director at Green Cloud Hosting. Green Cloud specialize in cloud services for SMEs, including cost-effective hosted desktop solutions. 

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

The Dangers Of European Clouds

The Dangers of European Clouds

A recent study by ITIL just predicted that the US cloud industry stands to lose $21.5 – $35 billion over the next few years related to loss of market share due to PRISM. Is the marketing arm of US cloud providers on vacation?

Europeans (including residents of the UK and other parts of the world) have been justifiably outraged by the revelations of Edward Snowden about the US’ data mining of non-citizen information. Maybe. The truth is that most European governments can access their citizens’ data when held in country with far less due process than the US requires. Further, the US press hasn’t bothered to report much about the fact that the GCHQ (Britain’s version of the NSA; its motto: “Keeping our society safe and successful in the Internet age”) has their own version of PRISM: Tempora. With the secret cooperation of BT, Vodafone, Verizon, Global Crossing, Level 3, Viatel and Interoute, GCHQ gets details of telephone calls, emails, FaceBook posts and other online traffic by monitoring undersea fiber-optic cables – the ones that make up an enormous share of the backbone of the Internet.

So, excuse me for laughing at the hyperbole around the dangers of US cloud providers because of PRISM. The proposed solutions from abroad are even worse. Fears of US government surveillance have sprouted such nonsense as a UK-only cloud or legislation restricting EU members from using foreign clouds.

Me thinks there is more behind the proposed isolationism than data privacy. The US absolutely dominates cloud computing. I don’t know why really, but I can make some guesses. One would be the relative strength of the US economy versus Europe in the last ten years when cloud computing has mushroomed. I have another theory that is related to privacy. The reality is that the US has lax privacy laws and the EU has restrictive privacy laws that don’t play well in a cloud environment. It’s normal for the law to lag behind technology, but in this case, the US’ dearth of regulation has allowed the cloud industry to develop relatively unhindered. Europe’s privacy laws from the nineties don’t help.

While both US and European cloud providers serving EU residents need to comply with EU law, in my experience many US providers don’t bother. I blame that on ignorance and arrogance. As many lawyers as we have in the US, cloud providers just don’t think they have to worry too much about legal requirements. And if they stay within our borders and don’t handle financial or health related data, they don’t have much to think about. So, why not allow users from other countries? The US doesn’t regulate transborder data flows.

I’m not advocating for PRISM or Tempora (or the next secret government program that will be revealed). Nor do I believe all privacy laws are useless. But so far, there has been a major disconnect between what cloud users expect, believe and actually get related to privacy – whether their data is in the cavalier US or the tight-lipped EU.

By Cindy Wolf

Google Earth Journals To Peer Editing: The Cloud In English Class

Google Earth Journals to Peer Editing: The Cloud in English Class

Recently, a Chicago teacher published a lesson on a popular teach networking website that turned a few heads. For a world literature class, the teacher integrated lessons that incorporated students creating and maintain Google Earth journals. As the class progressed through each reading and author covered in the curriculum, students participated in assignments that both integrated and relied on Google Earth and related Google programs to produce assessments. Students interacted with each other via Talk and Hangout, collaborated and helped each plan and design their respective journals, and shared out findings and interesting connections in a group setting. Essentially, the class gave students not only a literary grounding in the world literature community, but also a visual one. The incredibly important job of providing meaningful context in an English class is made incredibly easier for teachers by projects like these. With cloud services like Google bringing in reference points and making it easier and easier for students and teachers to gain useful information immediately at need in the classroom, there is no doubt the cloud has re-shaped the way English teachers approach their instruction.

While this project and curriculum was certainly an effective and innovative idea, perhaps more useful for English teachers has become the growing number of texts available via the cloud for free, as well as through providers like Amazon, Google Books, and Barnes and Noble. Quickly the days when dusty and torn paperbacks were used again and again by classes until they literally fell apart. Instead, teachers can assign readings and homework without worrying about providing student access to the text outside of the classroom. PDFs of English texts are useful for many other reasons as well. Most notably, students deft with programs like Adobe Reader can annotate, navigate, and print from PDFs, giving them constant engagement with the text without needing to be concerned about maintaining the condition of the book itself.

English classes have long been thought of as the musty antique rooms of the modern middle and high school. Whereas subjects like science and math, responding to changes in the economy and the workforce, have leaped ahead in integrating new technologies and cloud services into instruction, English classes continue to rely on hard copy books, written assessments, and traditional instruction. However, this is no longer true for the majority of teachers, and indeed is rapidly becoming ancient history in many school districts. As both teachers and students continue to grasp the excitement and opportunity afforded for both instruction and collaboration through the cloud in secondary classrooms, ideas continue to spring up that may revolutionize the future of English education to the same extent math and science instruction has been changed. While lessons like the Google Earth journal and new resources like digital texts offer numerous potential limitations as well, some of which are still unidentified, the massive crowd of teachers experimenting with these technologies across the country seems to indicate that innovation will continue to respond to the new needs of the 21st century English classroom.

By Adam Hausman

Cloud Commerce – The Power Of IBM Cloud

Cloud Commerce – The Power of IBM Cloud

There’s no reason putting any further emphasis on the importance of eCommerce and with Cloud, it has just become even more easier to get your own shop up and running in minutes. All the way from shopping carts to CMS driven product galleries, the world has experienced a boost in the automation and computerization of shopping. Cloud has also started to revolutionize the field of eCommerce just as it has shown its competence and ingenuity in other interest areas of the enterprise. Cloud based maintenance of eCommerce related records and scheduling of the incoming orders based of cloud paging techniques has really elevated the key performance variables for the business domains. The advancement in cloud based eCommerce solutions has achieved the critical penetration with the advent of remote shopping carts services across the web, Cloud practitioners are keen to grab the opportunity of depleting all the short comings and latencies in this specific area.

IBM Smart Cloud for eCommerce is one of the leading cloud based e-commerce solutions which has been considered as a hallmark achievement and a benchmark infrastructure for all the upcoming progressions in the cloud based business solutions. IBM Smart Cloud provides business infrastructure, software and hardware, provisioning, management resources, integration and security that serve as the underpinnings of a private or hybrid cloud eCommerce.  IBM smart cloud services provide refined integration for the third party services, for example, the third party integration of Tivoli management system is really being considered as productive and usable platform for the masses.

The Smart Cloud enterprise+ platforms which are based on IBM Smart Cloud are surpassing the eCommerce giants like Amazon and IBM Cloud while providing more robust and productive mechanisms in order to optimize the buying, selling, marketing and other business related procedures independent of the underlying platforms. IBM Sterling Order Management and IBM Payment Systems, IBM Commerce on Cloud offers on demand provisioning of the resources and the users can change the interface whenever they want to provide the end users with a friendly and customized look and feel.  The standardization of the IBM smart cloud allows secure transaction and on premises delivery. Cloud standards like CCRA and Open group compels the service providers’ or third party integration services to stick to the protocols of service which elevates the user trust level and helps avoids of security breaches. IBM web sphere architecture based on smart cloud allows automation of customer offers and promotions which are critically necessary to grab the traffic and business promotions in the eCommerce industry. IBM smart cloud for eCommerce has numerous success stories under its belt that augments it usability and importance.

By Salman UI Haq

Five Reasons SMBs Fear The Cloud

Five Reasons SMBs Fear The Cloud

Five Reasons SMBs Fear the Cloud

Fear of the cloud has been around since the Cloud began. SMBs were traditionally afraid of security issues, while large companies fretted about increasing the complexity of their IT infrastructure.

What many budding start-up companies don’t realise is Cloud Computing helps place them on a level playing field with big businesses. This new technology allows SMBs to cut IT costs, scale up and down easier and collaborate more effectively. However, ComScore reported roughly 40 per cent of SMBs are still not using cloud service providers due to fears surrounding cloud computing.

Let’s discuss five reasons why SMBs fear the Cloud:

  1. I don’t know what Cloud Computing is

SMBs fear the cloud for the same reason you fear trying the new burger at McDonalds. You’ve no clue what it’s going to be like, and by the time you realise it’s terrible, it’s already too late. Most people aren’t big risk-takers when it comes to new technology, especially where their business is concerned.

A lack of education regarding what Cloud Computing is, and how it works is why many SMBs are afraid of this service. Basically, it’s a fear of the unknown. Most aren’t even aware they utilise the cloud in daily life, such as social media, online productivity tools like Google Apps and personal devices like mobile phones and tablets. What it comes down to, is that SMBs don’t know enough about the cloud to invest in it.

  1. It’s not cost effective

The primary reason cloud computing gives SMBs a foothold in the league of big businesses is because it converts capital expenses to lower operating costs and provides instant scalability. This is especially significant with SMBs because they are constantly striving to grow and expand, and can upgrade computer power and data storage quickly, without additional staff, labour and hardware costs.

However, not all cloud solutions are cheaper than on-premise solutions, so it’s important to choose the correct type of cloud, private, public or hybrid to avoid spending more than necessary. For example, a public cloud is an inexpensive setup, and allows businesses to pay for what they use. But if you need your resources quite consistently, shared resources through a private cloud could be a cheaper alternative.

  1. My data will not be secure

This SMB fear is perhaps the least unfounded of the five. The fear stems from the fact anything adrift on the Internet is at risk of a security breach from data-stealing malware. Also, accessing confidential information from personal devices puts your data in peril if they haven’t been configured with correct security settings. Outsourcing IT also means fault tolerance and redundancy is not under your business’s control. Although you should keep in mind information kept in data centres is probably more risk of being lost than data that’s been replicated and geographically distributed to other devices for safe-keeping.

Nonetheless, most SMBs can’t afford the enterprise level firewalls and security systems service providers can deliver. Not only this, if vendors are getting business, they’re probably pretty good at protecting data. You can expect their authentication, authorisation and access control to be pretty rock solid, since there would otherwise be painful consequences for their reputation.

  1. My system will run slower

Your system’s performance depends on several factors. Some SMBs fear migrating to the cloud will make data storage, application access and other processes more complex. While it’s true the cloud can increase a company’s architectural complexity, this depends on your company’s needs and requirements.

Previously, IT departments only had to manage a few software applications and data security. The adoption of cloud-developed applications necessitates higher computer power and more changes to your system, which would ultimately give your business a more complex IT infrastructure.

However, the speed of your system and applications is contingent on Internet connection, the types of applications and other factors. By using the cloud, you’re effectively putting the Internet between your business and its storage, and whether you can expect your performance to improve, suffers or stay the same should be discussed with your vendor.

  1. The Cloud Service Provider might fail

There have been a few instances in the past where major cloud service providers, such as Amazon have failed and put fear in SMB owners who can’t afford any downtime when they are trying to grow.

What’s worth noting is Amazon obviously doesn’t use geographical redundancy, but gives you the option of building it in. Also, you’re in an equally troublesome position if your data center fails. Using the cloud allows SMBs to have a failsafe set up somewhere else to ensure reliable service continues without interruption.

Why do SMBs fear cloud computing?

Ultimately, SMBs fear cloud computing because of a lack of education. They don’t know what it is, how it works or what it does. And if you don’t know what something does, how can you make an informed decision?

Whether cloud computing is advantageous for you depends on your business’s current state, and your thoroughness in forecasting its future. Obviously, cloud computing is not for everyone, but if you’re deciding whether your SMB should migrate to cloud computing you need to look at three things. What your present requirements are, where your business is headed and the terms in the service agreement from your chosen vendor.

gordon tanBy Gordon Tan

At 31 years old, Gordon Tan is the Managing Director of one of Australia’s fastest growing IT Support Companies R & G Technologies which employs over 30 staff. Having started the company 10 years ago he is passionate about educating others on how to grow successful and sustainable businesses.

Cloud Startup: RealtimeBoard

Cloud Startup: RealtimeBoard

Cloud Startup: RealtimeBoard

realtime-logo

RealtimeBoard: Collaborative Virtuoso for Offices on One Visual Cloud Platform

Zeroing down to a profile, SWOT analysis, staffing roles, specific images, and most importantly, any ongoing projects, all in one dashboard, requires a lot of tech resources. This is why there is now a cloud collaborative platform, RealtimeBoard. With its base in Russia, the design of the cloud startup is to create an open visual plane where each staff member can augment what others are doing by attaching files, generating infographics, analyzing works through standard methodologies like the SWOT analysis, and even engaging in creativity, including generating random sentences, to tackle a big data problem.

What is Whiteboard?

According to the 13-member team, RealtimeBoard is bespoke of both its web appellation and board surname. In the former sense, it allows users to ‘discuss web-site or product interfaces,’ while in the latter context, it lets the peculiar nature of the internal cream of an organization to collaborate through ‘screen shots, markup…and mini-charts.’

The management itself is an epiphany of coordination par excellence, so to say. The top team consists of founders of other tech companies who needed an app that could allow them expedite and visualize concepts on a single platform, before they could then invite other stakeholders to chip in to the big picture. The lower echelons of management consist of designers who love their art if the meticulous interface of their whiteboard is anything to go by, as well as, aptly, entrepreneurs.

The Shopping Round: Synchronization

Needless to say, undertaking projects of similar scope as those of online whiteboard would require vast cloud space and window-shopping for applications for display and file attachment. The answer from this team is that of using easily compatible web resources, including Google Overdrive, PDF, and its own RealtimeBoard, the latter to encapsulate the former two in one space. In theory, when one has incorporated all those maps from Google Maps, brought in the treasure-trove of private content via a browser, used the RealtimeBoard dashboard to allocate them visible presence, and then used all design or attachment prowess to bring in images, one finally has an orderly mishmash of exactly the entire organization’s contribution to an ongoing project. It is possible to add various signatures and presentations using the good old PDF. Then one can trust on the Software as a Service (SaaS) environment to allow convenient temporary storage for all apps in use in the visual project. Needless to say, it is real-time.

How It Compares With File-Sharing Technologies

Because many of this online whiteboard’s applications rely on sharing content, albeit on a single board, it can compare with giants in the niche like Dropbox. For example, it is possible to embed not only online and PC-composite content for others to view on the other extension, but, just like Dropbox, vector content, including pictures, is also attachable. One can use standard images from the RealtimeBoard interface to augment what one has already. Most vector images include those of popular apps like in the social media, only that it offers one the ability to extend the applications to convenient sizes. Thus, the major innovation here is the fact that, sharing can be visual in a centralized place for all, unlike in cases where each user of a file views it from his or her end, singly.

Solving Complex Odds

How many companies wish they could clearly illustrate their paradigm diagram of the organization without using time-tasking academic analyses? This is where RealtimeBoard steps in by bringing in simplified images including Fishbone and Venn diagram. The former works as a way of tabling links and then undertaking analysis of the possible hitches that will beset a project, the academic way. The latter is for organizing otherwise complicated explanations, like the structure of an organization, by presenting them in a few overlapping circles, each with a meaning. There is also an extra tool: that of taking random big data, to solve organizational matters. One has just to take random words and then arrange them logically on the board before trying to decipher possible meaning from them. Zany or not, it eventually works, according to the team.

Pricing

Just like one would expect of a cloud startup racing up the ladder to the top, pricing is critical and has to bear dual approaches if it were to work. This is why there is the Free and Pro plans. The former allows users a trio of independent boards, as well as, endless shared boards. One can also use the free version to store as much as a hundred files with 100 megabytes of space. Like the uncharged version, the Pro one enables countless members to collaborate, but has a 3-gigabyte storage allowance. There are also backup plans and contacting help via electronic mail all days of a week. Additionally, independent and shared boards are accessible in an unlimited premise.

Thus, RealtimeBoard appears like it might be the next big thing in visual presentations for companies. This allows a hundred thousand persons to see a singe board simultaneously. It has this one strength on its side: innovativeness and a nose for synchronizing existing applications that can help perpetuate its agenda.

By John Omwamba

CloudTweaks Comics
Utilizing Digital Marketing Techniques Via The Cloud

Utilizing Digital Marketing Techniques Via The Cloud

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The Cloud Above Our Home

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Cloud Infographic: Programming Languages To Build Your Cloud

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Why Hybrid Cloud Delivers Better Business Agility

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Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid: Which Cloud Is Right for Your Business?

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How Your Startup Can Benefit From Cloud Computing And Growth Hacking

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

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Cloud Infographic – Interesting Big Data Facts

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Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

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