Category Archives: SaaS

Pinup: Skyhigh – Finding And Managing Your Employees’ Cloud Services

Pinup: Skyhigh – Finding And Managing Your Employees’ Cloud Services

Pinup: Skyhigh – Finding And Managing Your Employees’ Cloud Servicesskyhigh

It would be difficult to argue with the contention that cloud services have truly revolutionized the way we do business and handle information. The capability to access, change and share information, regardless of where you may be, is one of the best ways to grow a business in today’s interconnected world.

There is, unfortunately, a negative side effect of the extreme proliferation of cloud services. With so many different cloud apps and software available, your employees may begin to use an unsecured program, which could put your company’s vital data at risk.

This area is where cloud-startup, Skyhigh, truly reigns supreme.

Originally founded in 2011, by former Hewlett-Packard general manager Rajiv Gupta, Skyhigh is designed to identify which cloud services your employees are using, regardless of which computing device they are using it from, or where they may be. Skyhigh has received over $20 million in series-B funding from venture-capital firm, Sequoia Capital.

As Rajiv Gupta, CEO of Skyhigh Networks, puts it, “We provide real data around cloud usage, adoption of enterprise-ready services, the category of services demanded by employees, as well as malware and other vulnerabilities from these cloud services. It’s this type of data and analysis that CIOs use to maximize the value of cloud services and help drive an organized, productive, and safe movement to the cloud.

Skyhigh’s services cover many different areas and functions. Most notable of these are:

Discover

Skyhigh is extremely effective at identifying which cloud services your employees are using on their computing devices. Skyhigh identifies unrecognized services that may have slipped by your firewall or proxy server. Skyhigh can also actually reduce the time spent authorizing new cloud services by up to 90 percent!

Analyze

Skyhigh will identify which cloud services are most used by your employees, allowing you to approve those compatible with your security as quickly as possible. In addition, activity that may indicate a breach of security is analyzed, which allows you to respond to potential problems as quickly as possible.

Secure

Given that unencrypted data is an attractive target for would-be thieves, Skyhigh’s ability to encrypt data is most welcome. Skyhigh can encrypt data directly in the cloud, as well as allow you full control over the encryption keys. These actions combined form a powerful defense against exposure to potential security breaches.

Conclusion

With so many cloud services available free for anyone to use, the potential for security risks from unsecured apps and services increases by an order of magnitude. Skyhigh expertly addresses these issues and provides exceptional solutions, which will effectively shield your network from potential incursions.

By Joe Pellicone

Cloud Computing At Its Best: Multi-Tenant Database Architecture

Cloud Computing At Its Best: Multi-Tenant Database Architecture

Cloud Computing At Its Best: Multi-Tenant Database Architecture

Software as a Service (SaaS) denotes a novel and innovative paradigm, and the fact that companies do not have to purchase and maintain their own Information Technology (ICT) infrastructure; instead services from third party are acquired. Multi-tenancy permits SaaS providers to provide similar service to various customers (tenants), which share physical and/or virtual resources transparently.

Multi-tenancy database architecture essentially forms a design in which a single instance of the software is run on the service provider’s infrastructure, and multiple tenants access the same instance. Simply put “A multi-tenant application lets customers (tenants) share the same hardware resources, by offering them one shared application and database instance, while allowing them to configure the application to fit their needs as if it runs on a dedicated environment”.

One of the most conspicuous features of Multi-tenant architecture is that allows for consolidating multiple businesses onto the same operational platform or system. Multi-tenancy invariably takes place at the database layer of a service. As an analogy, think of a rental apartment building with numerous tenants, each having its own requirement of storage, space, and utilities.

data-tech

Easier application deployment for service providers, improved rate of hardware utilization, and reduction in overall costs especially for SMEs are core benefits of Multi-tenant model.

Multi-tenancy was in fact pioneered by salesforce.com. In traditional single-tenant software development, tenants usually have their own virtual server. This set-up is similar to the traditional Application Service Provider (ASP) model. However, in the SME segment, for instance, server utilization in such a model is low. By placing several tenants on the same server, the server utilization can be improved.

There are three different kinds of Multi-tenant models that exist in database applications today are as follows:

  1. Separate application, separate database, and infrastructure (Isolated Tenancy)
  2. Separate application, separate database, shared infrastructure (Infrastructure Tenancy)
  3. Shared application separate database, shared infrastructure (Application Tenancy)

Shared application, shared database, shared infrastructure (Shared Tenancy) is perhaps the ‘purest’ form of Multi-tenancy environment. The above figure illustrates various Multi-tenant approaches as a continuum paradigm. The far left (Isolated Tenancy) depicts each tenant with its own application instance running and as we move further towards the right, sharing of tenancy increases, ultimately reaching the far right side (Shared Tenancy).

From the functionality point of view, the multi-tenant system have limited modifications to the software, because multiple customers are running the same instance of the software and their data is being placed in a pre-configured database format. Multi-tenant SaaS providers generally do a very good job of anticipating the needs of current and prospective customers and the standardized functionality that is often needed by a company.

Due to the low number of instances, multi-tenancy sounds like a maintenance dream. Deployment of software updates becomes much easier and cheaper, due to the fact that a much smaller number of instances has to be updated. However, the complexity of the code does increase, that may possibly lead to maintenance issues. As cloud computing technology continues to grow and mature, further research related to reviewing real world cloud implementations, challenges, benefits, and lessons learned will benefit organizations that are currently considering or planning a SaaS based implementation.

By Syed Raza

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Pinup: ClearDATA Brings Quality Services For Health Care To The Cloud

Pinup: ClearDATA Brings Quality Services For Health Care To The Cloud

Pinup: ClearDATA Brings Quality Services For Health Care To the Cloud 

clear-DATA-logo

Technology has gone to great lengths to open up the door for new and exciting devices and software of all types and functions. One of the areas that technology has made the most impact is healthcare, with different devices and information resulting directly from tech advances saving lives each and every day.

However, one of the areas that has been neglected up to this point is a service that provides not only effective cloud solutions for healthcare providers, but also one that complies with the different strictures laid down by HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

In this area, ClearDATA truly appears to be at the top of the pile.

ClearDATA is a cloud-computing startup whose primary goal is to move medical information and applications to the cloud, which would allow users to access it over a private and secure internet connection. ClearDATA has raised over $14 million in series-B funding from firms, Norwest Venture Partners and Excel Venture Management.

“The IT demands on healthcare organizations are greater than ever, and they will continue to grow as Big Data and analytics take hold in the industry,” says Chris Bowen, CPO of ClearDATA. “ClearDATA is addressing major issues in the healthcare industry by improving the manageability and accessibility of patient information. Organizations can now analyze vast amounts of data from multiple sources, resulting in an improvement in patient health.”

HIPAA Compliant Cloud Hosting

ClearDATA is the only provider of cloud hosting that is 100 percent dedicated to the healthcare industry. This hosting covers a wide variety of different areas, including applications, infrastructure, servers and data storage, to name a few.

All hosting is HIPAA compliant, shielding patients from unauthorized access. ClearDATA’s service offers a guaranteed 100-percent uptime, 24/7 systems and network monitoring and end-to-end security, all of which will provide excellent protection, without sacrificing speed and quality.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Storage and access are not the only services provided by ClearDATA. Protection of said data from loss or breach is just as important as having a place to store it. ClearDATA provides both Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO), both of which can be customized to fit your needs perfectly.

Without a clear cloud solution, such as what is found with ClearDATA, the healthcare industry would be unable to take advantage of all the positive aspects of this type of access. ClearDATA aims to provide these services, to any healthcare company, regardless of size.

By Joe Pellicone

Which Big Data Start-ups Have Received The Most Funding?

Which Big Data Start-ups Have Received The Most Funding?

Big Data Start-ups

The big data industry has been growing at an incredible rate over the last few years. Several start-ups in the sector are now undertaking truly innovative projects that are changing everything from the way we travel to work to the way we negotiate air travel.

Which of these start-ups have proved most attractive to investors, venture capitalists, and established companies? Crunchbase, a subsidiary website of TechCrunch, helps us find the answers.  The website, which was established in 2007, is arguably the world’s most comprehensive dataset of start-up activity. They teamed up with SiSense and The Big Data Group to undertake an analysis of funding for big data start-ups.

cloudera

1. Cloudera – $1.04 billion

Cloudera is a California-based company that provides Apache Hadoop-based software, services, and training to business customers. The company really took off when three engineers from Google, Yahoo and Facebook (Christophe Bisciglia, Amr Awadallah and Jeff Hammerbacher) joined former Oracle executive Mike Olson at the company in 2009.

In March 2014 Cloudera announced a $900 million funding round, with Intel Capital directly responsible for $740 million. With such vast amounts of funding it is no surprise that Cloudera has received nearly twice the amount of money as its nearest rival. They have more than 570 employees and have won several industry awards, including Morgan Stanley’s ‘CTO Award for Innovation’ and CRN’s ‘Coolest Emerging Vendors For 2012’. Additionally, Chief Scientist Jeff Hammerbacher was named “Best Young Tech Entrepreneur” by Bloomberg BusinessWeek in 2010.

2. Palantir – $650 million

Like Cloudera, Palantir is based out of Palo Alto in California. The company employees 1,200 people and specialises in data analysis. Its primary clients are the US government, public service bodies, and more recently, industry-leading financial firms.

After being founded in 2004, the company was quick to receive $2 million in funding from the CIA and a further $30 million from one of the founder’s other companies, Founders Fund. Since then the company has gone from strength to strength; in 2010 the US Vice President Joe Biden credited Palantir with the success of the fraud-fighting ‘Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board’, and in 2013 they received a further $196 million of funding – valuing the firm at almost $9 billion. They are expected to close $1 billion of contracts in 2014.

3. Domo – $250 million

With $250 million of funding, business intelligence firm Domo are some distance behind both Cloudera and Palantir, and are the first of three companies that are within $50 million of each other. Based out of Utah, the company received its first funding from a pooled investment which included capital from Salesforce and Morgan Stanley – an early indicator of the company’s potential in the market.

In 2011 they were included in Forbes’ ‘Top 100 list of America’s Most Promising Companies’ and in 2012 were listed in first place on UV50’s ‘Top Start-ups to Watch’. Their clients included such notable names as Nissan, National Geographic, eBay and Xerox.

4. Mongo DB – $231 million

The cross-platform document-oriented database has its origins in a 2007 PaaS offering similar to Windows Azure or Google App Engine, before becoming an open sourced as a stand-alone product in 2009. In April 2014, MongoDB was reportedly the fifth most popular type of database management system, and first place for NoSQL database management systems.

In late 2013 the company received $150 in funding, the largest round ever for a database company. At the time Bloomberg reported that the investment resulted in Mongo DB’s value soaring to approximately $1.2 billion – making it the most valuable internet start-up in New York.

5. Mu Sigma – $208 million

Founded in 2004, Mu Sigma is an analytics services provider based out of Chicago which has already amassed more than 2500 employees. The first four years of the company’s existence were uneventful, but in 2008 they received their first significant funding round of $30 million from FTVentures. They added a further $125 million in 2011 before MasterCard were convinced to invest $45 million in 2013 – an investment that meant the value of the firm broke $1 billion for the first time.  Dhiraj Rajaram, the company’s founder, has received multiple accolades – featuring in Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40 list in 2013 and winning the Ernst and Young ‘Entrepreneur of the Year India’ Award in 2012.

By Daniel Price

Pinup: Bitium Consolidates All Of Your SaaS Apps

Pinup: Bitium Consolidates All Of Your SaaS Apps

Pinup: Bitium Consolidates All Of Your SaaS Apps and Credentials Into One Central Location

Each and every day, more and more companies are moving the lion’s share of their business into the cloud. While the benefits of doing so are legion, unfortunately, not all things become easier when things are moved to the cloud.

logo_white

For example, once files and data have been put in the cloud, entrance to them must be closely guarded to ensure that no unauthorized access is made. This will cause the number of authentications and permissions that need to be regulated and controlled to increase in step, resulting in huge headaches if they are not managed properly. This area is where Bitium truly shines.

Bitium is a Los Angeles-based startup company that emerged from the Amplify accelerator program in 2012. Bitium was founded by Scott Kriz and Erik Gustavson and was designed as a centralized platform for all SaaS applications.

scott-krizAs Bitium co-founder and CEO Scott Kriz puts it “Our vision is to change how people and companies work by fundamentally changing the way they interact with software. We’ve created an open system that’s self-organizing. It’s like letting people pick what they want off the menu rather than telling them what’s for lunch.”

Bitium has received several rounds of funding from investors, starting with $2.4 million in April of 2013 from a group that included big southern-California names like Double M Partners and Karlin Ventures. This continued in 2014 with an additional $6.5 Million in series-A funding, provided by Polaris Partners.

One Password To Rule Them All

One of the primary benefits of using Bitium is that all of the different logins and authentications needed to access cloud-based apps and projects are boiled down into one. Not only does this bypass the obstacle of each employee having to remember multiple authentications, it also allows managers to keep track of the progress of projects and which apps are being used to complete them.

Delegation Made Easy

Once an employee signs in, supervisors can delegate access to different apps without the need for additional passwords. This is all done in one, central interface, making the processes of monitoring, access and feedback much easier to perform. Bitium is an excellent solution for any corporation planning to make substantial use of cloud-based apps and storage. By combining all login and authentication credentials into one central location, Bitium is poised to save you big in time, money and frustration.

By Joe Pellicone

If you are a new cloud startup and have a promising service, contact us to see if you qualify for free exposure under our CloudTweaks Pinup series. Please mention “Pinup” in the subject title.

How Cloud-Based Channel Management Is Automating Critical Business Processes

How Cloud-Based Channel Management Is Automating Critical Business Processes

Interview: How Cloud-Based Channel Management is Automating Critical Business Processes for Large Technology Manufacturers

By Steve Prentice/CloudTweaksCSank-001

Recently, I spoke with Chandran Sankaran, Founder and CEO of Zyme Solutions in Redwood Shores, CA. Before Zyme, he was Chairman and CEO of Closedloop Solutions, a senior consultant with McKinsey & Company, and also held engineering and management positions with Hewlett-Packard. He has a Masters’ Degree from Yale University, and a Bachelors’ in Electrical Engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

Q: What are the issues that channel management in the cloud solves for large corporations?

A: We started Zyme in 2004, in response to a mandate from the SEC regarding revenue recognition rules for manufacturers, which required them to report on inventory in the channel to avoid channel-stuffing accusations and be compliant with revenue recognition rules. As a result of that, the transparency and visibility of their sales transactions downstream in the channel went from being a “nice to have” to being a “must have.” That was really the trigger for us.

Then, we found ways to tap into important new data sources, with granular sales intelligence and an unprecedented level of visibility into a trillion dollar flow of commerce through global indirect channels for technology products. The opportunity was there for a transformational shift for large vendors in how they sell, how they market, and how they manage inventory. We could help enterprises smarten up and data-enable traditional business processes that have been suffering from an absence of data. When we started, only a small trickle of data was flowing from distributors and retailers to manufacturers, and today that has become a flood of data.

Q: How extensive is your reach today?

A: We’ve built out a large, cloud-based management platform and a network of reporting channel partners. We’re now aggregating data from over 180 countries, more than 40,000 data feeds a week. As our customers are trying to cope with the increased importance of this data and the failure of their internal systems, they’re looking into the solutions market and discovering that a third-party platform like Zyme is really the answer.

CH-Data-001

Q: Can you give an example of how your customers leverage your technology?

A: Let’s say that a customer, a large disk storage company, receives an order from Best Buy to ship 10,000 units of a disc drive to the Waltham Massachusetts warehouse of Best Buy. In yesterday’s world, when an order was placed, it was processed quickly because it was business, and the salespeople wanted the revenue. But in the new world of visibility into the channel, after management learns that there are 10,000 units unsold of a previous generation product, that order for new product is no longer going to be processed, with so much old inventory still sitting there. This results in a significant value creation for the vendor, by reducing the risk of inventory being written off six months down the line. This also adjusts the risk balance for the retailer, the channel participant, because they are not left stranded with old inventory. In order to capture the value, there’s got to be an understanding of how to use this new information transparency in core business processes.

Q: Do you have another example? 

A: Sure. About ten percent of all sales in the technology channel today get paid out as back-end rebates, price protection, market development programs, and so on. They are paid back to the channel partner, and that’s an important source of money for them. The margins on tech products are typically quite low, and resellers look to make up the difference with the back-end programs. Then, a vendor who has clearer visibility into how many transactions were actually done in the channel at a much more finely-grained level has the ability to say, “I’m going to pay these back-end programs in a much tighter way linked to that information, as opposed to paying those back-end programs whether or not the sales were actually accomplished.”

With better information transparency, vendors are going to pay out incentives more smartly to the partners who are most deserving. They’re able to micro-target their resources to elite, successful, nimble partners rather than spreading them out in a less impactful way.

Q: So, is this all about optimizing how many products are where? 

A: Yes, it’s about how much product is where at any given moment, in an industry with shortening cycles and inventory risk. But it’s also about understanding who is acting on your behalf. This whole premise of the indirect channel is that it’s a shared sales infrastructure for an entire industry, which means if I, as a vendor, am to be successful leveraging this shared resource, I’ve got to – without overspending – motivate the channel to act in my best interests. When a customer walks in the door, you want the reseller to sell my product, not my competitor’s product. The sales intelligence and how you link it back to the incentivization of the channel, and the flow of money into the channel that aligns to people behaving in a loyal and positive way towards you – I think it’s going to be quite different in the near future than the way it looked ten years ago.

Q: How do the channel partners benefit from this?

A: Well, several of our customers, large manufacturers, have begun offering favorable incentive terms to partners with higher information transparency. The logic is if you’re transparent about how you’re doing on my behalf, I’m going to favor you in the way I structure incentives and programs and price protection and payment terms and those kinds of things. So this is a non-trivial change that we’ve begun to see. It will have favorable impact on the early compliant movers among channel partners in the market. That’s one dimension.

The second dimension is in introducing information transparency of a really interesting sort into the market. For instance, a distributor might be able to see the geographic spread of their reseller network based on this data, which they may not be able to see today. Manufacturers and distributors alike are able to identify up-and-coming resellers who are worthy of added attention and investment.

Q: What kind of ROI do your customers experience? 

A: The ROI falls into several buckets. Number one is seeing revenue opportunities sooner. This is about seeing, for example, an uptick in three resellers’ sales in the last two or three weeks and having your local account manager contact them and figure out what they’re doing differently and why. It’s also being able to see potential lost revenue before you actually lose it from resellers who have begun switching away from your products and being able to get in front of that.

Second, there is significant cost reduction for the vendor, in terms of leaky incentivizing. Because it’s a trillion dollar industry, a hundred billion gets paid every year in back-end rebates and programs, and we estimate about 15 to 20 percent of it is mispaid, either to the wrong reseller or in the wrong amount, and overpaid most of the time. What often happens is that a dealer claims a rebate, and you don’t have the mechanism to verify that they’re selling on your behalf, and you don’t want to sour an important relationship, so you pay it.

We have seen one of our customers save $7 million in one quarter, in one small region, by using this channel data. They were more selective about paying out all the incentives that were claimed, and were much smarter about what they paid out. There’s significant ROI there.

There’s also ROI associated with inventory risk, both for write-offs and stock-outs. One is revenue impacting and the other is meaningful cash and balance sheet impacting. Those are the sorts of ROI levers associated with the data, and we’ve identified six broad consumption areas in the business where there’s significant ROI as a result of this data, and we’ve done some value engagements based on this for some of our customers.

Some major industry analysts have interviewed our customers and discovered a very large ROI. For one tech company, a very conservative ROI of 200% was identified. While the ROI for the vendor is quite clear, the ROI for channel partners who are smart and early movers will be high too.

Q: With more visibility it seems that there is also more accountability.

A: Yes, business processes that don’t have adequate data and information transparency get cobwebby and stale. The channel has largely grown up in a non-information era. A lot of habits and processes have accumulated that are outdated, and those of us who have worked in the manufacturing and tech sector for a while have got used to “the way things are.” We memorialize this lack of visibility and transparency in terms like the “Bullwhip effect.” You can’t see what’s happening, and so you overcompensate and mistime your business actions. Because there’s been no visibility, we’ve all built processes – we call them approximations – to deal with the lack of data.

If you don’t have transparency, you’ve got to spread the wealth among your channel partners using more approximate methods that value historical relationship more than performance. I do think it’s really the classic visibility argument – add data transparency to let sunlight into old dingy processes, and you find all sorts of opportunities for improvement. The global management of the indirect channels arena is ripe for that, because the information flow itself is a relatively recent development.

Q: Okay, so you’re suggesting that companies “let more sunlight into dingy processes.” Can you expand on that?

A: Sure. It astonishes me how much value gets locked down in a business by virtue of having designed the company in an era when complete information about the business didn’t exist. When you don’t know how much inventory is in your channel, and you’re worried about it being depleted, what do you do? You make more inventory, right? And you buffer more. If, on the other hand, you are worried about how much of your channel inventory is going to be returned to you and what the exposure is, you record reserves and liabilities on your balance sheet to insure against the old stock that might come back to you from the channel. You build your business around approximations and insurance policies in the absence of real information flow. And then, the moment the information flow starts becoming available, and there is more sunlight, it frees up all those pockets of value that have been locked down in the business during the pre-information era.

This is the way I like to think about what Zyme is doing – we’re bringing in more light and enabling an information flow that injects more data into these corporations, to transform old business processes and puncture the airlock where all this value has been trapped, because people designed the businesses around a lack of information.

Q: So, when you have a better idea of what each channel partner is doing, you can manage them better?

A: Sure – and much more dynamically. For instance, if you didn’t know which of your channel partners have switched away from you in the last three months, and are now perhaps working with your competitors promoting their products, you would still be paying those partners who are no longer loyal to you, giving them incentive payments that you computed based on last year’s information, because you didn’t know that they have shifted to your competitors’ products. You do the best you can with the information you have, and all these business processes relating to the channel were designed around slow aggregated anecdotal information flow that results in a ton of value being locked in the enterprises that can be released and used to their advantage.

Q: In a sense, it seems that channel visibility is a new way of creating more sales intelligence for companies that didn’t have it before. 

A: That’s right. Downstream sales intelligence is the most powerful penetrative information – it changes the way you market, changes your view of customers, changes your view of partners who are enabling that flow, changes your view of shifting market dynamics sooner, rather than later, and causes you to alter the course of your business. Indirect channel sales intelligence has been hard to come by, and the world has designed itself around slow-moving, inefficient aggregated information. This is a very transformative instrument – very, disruptive – and very value creating.

As an example, this visibility shines a spotlight on a potential billion dollar misallocation of marketing funds for the trillion dollar tech sector.

Q: How does all this fit with the broader trends of business intelligence we are seeing in enterprises? 

A: One way of looking at that is to see where venture capitalists are investing. There are three or four private equity firms, and venture capitalists who are now investing only in firms that are driving what they call “data-enabled businesses.” These investors are looking for companies that are making transformations based on data enablement. The whole thesis here is business transformation with information. And companies that enable that are unlocking the next wave of value.

Contact information for Zyme Solutions  is available here

Whitepaper Friday: PaaS – The Next Cloud-Based Battlefield

Whitepaper Friday: PaaS – The Next Cloud-Based Battlefield

Whitepaper Friday: PaaS – The Next Cloud-Based Battlefield

Readers who subscribe to our newsletters will know that we always recommend a whitepaper that is related to one of the big news stories of the week. These whitepapers have proved to be very popular, with several subscribers sending us feedback to comment on how useful they found our recommendations.

With this is mind, we have decided to add this as regular feature on the main site each Friday.

The new feature will give a brief summary of one news story of the week, before suggesting three whitepapers for you to enjoy over the weekend that will help further your understanding of the story in question. As always, we welcome your feedback while we fine-tune this feature over the coming weeks.

PaaS – The Next Cloud-Based Battlefield

March 2014 saw Google slash the prices of its IaaS offering. Prices dropped by 32 percent for Google’s cloud services in all regions, and storage now costs just 2.6 cents per gigabyte. Just a day after Google cut prices, market leader Amazon Web Services made a similar move. It was the 42nd price cut that the company has made to its services since launch. The cost of the S3 object-storage service went down 51 percent, RDS, went down 28 percent, and the Elasticache caching service dropped 34 percent. Not to be out-done, Microsoft dropped the price of its Azure services as well.

The question is, now that IaaS providers like Amazon, Google and Microsoft have cut prices considerably, will PaaS providers pass on the cost savings on infrastructure to PaaS customers?

For a reliable PaaS provider, IaaS is a considerable portion of their pricing. Cloudways co-founder Aaqib Gadit claims that “[The IaaS] price war will surely lower PaaS overheads, the benefits of which should be forwarded to customers”. Whilst Aaqib is good to his word – Cloudways slashed its prices last month – it remains to be seen if all PaaS providers will take the same approach.

Of course, competition also plays an important role. With an ever-increasing number of PaaS providers in the marketplace, competitive and clearly structured pricing models will become increasingly important. Many experts feel a PaaS price war is certain to follow the IaaS price war.

Not everyone agrees though. Apprenda’s Chief Executive Sinclair Schuller believes that, “More realistically [than a price war], these services will plough added savings back into R&D or other parts of their businesses”, while Appirio’s Co-Founder Narinder Singh wrote, “Given how small a percentage of the cost IaaS is of PaaS providers, I expect we will not see any substantial drop on public pricing”.

What do you think? Are PaaS prices due a drop, or will good PaaS plans continue to charge the $60 to $100 average?

PaaS

Whitepaper One: ‘PaaS – Powering a New Era of Business IT

This whitepaper is published by PaaS provider OutSystems. It will answer your questions regarding why PaaS has become so popular, what the opportunities and considerations of using PaaS from an application development and deployment perspective are, and how PaaS can help enhance developer productivity at your organisation.

Whitepaper Two: ‘Different PaaS for Different Players

This comprehensive analysis includes a seven-point comparison of architecture, performance, ease of use, fitness for purpose, stability, support, and value. The paper provides enough information to help IT executives determine which product matches their needs and requirements.

Whitepaper Three: ‘Coming to Terms with Platform as a Service

This paper explores some of the practices most relevant to achieving success with PaaS, focusing on ways to identify how PaaS can be best utilized within an organisation’s overall IT needs. Topics covered include understanding scalability and infrastructure aspects of PaaS deployment, the need for coding wisdom in otherwise “codeless” environments, and integration with on-premise systems.

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

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