Category Archives: SaaS

Cloud 2014 – What Are The Experts Anticipating?

Cloud 2014 – What Are The Experts Anticipating?

Cloud 2014- What Are The Experts Anticipating?

2014-cloud-predictions

It isn’t far now; the celebrations of next year are just around the corner. Many are looking back over the year and studying what has already come to pass, while others are pondering on what’s to come. Many trends have been offered as possibilities surrounding Cloud Computing. However, what I am tremendously interested in comprises of budgets, security measures and consumer outcomes. Considering that this time last year there were high debates as to how big the Cloud would actually get, to what extents it would be used and how much it would be worth by the end of the year.

Now that the Cloud is bigger than ever, what are the analysts saying about the Cloud; what do they predict for 2014?

Securing the Data

Long time analyst James Staten puts a strikingly long collection of expectations to come including that of security in the Cloud. Staten suggests that due to the vast numbers of devices being used away from the workplace and the troubles we have seen over this past year with securing those devices that security will shift away from attempting to secure each device to focus more on securing the data that is circulating throughout them all.

Budgeting – How Much Will Be Spent on the Cloud?

Many are agreeing that what is currently being spent on the cloud will increase by a whopping 25% over the next year to surpass well over $100 billion. Other payout predictions include an increase by 30% on big data tech to reach over $14 billion, as well as a 5% swell in IT spending as a whole to get well over $2 trillion.

Also, with the drastic increase in use of platform as a service, PaaS, much will be put into enhancing these to best suit their clients; moving away from what is standard today and becoming increasingly more specific for each unique need.

What’s in it for Consumers?

Based on what analyst Alex Gorbansky predicts, consumers will have great power over the Cloud and what it offers due to the vast growth in number of sellers. Though there may be pressure to settle with one company over another, it is important to remember that there are so many choices out there and our choices are expanding weekly, do not settle. While it may be difficult to distinguish between the many, Gorbansky suggests that ease of use and depths of storage will set them apart.

Now that the experts have spoken and after all you have seen over the past year with Cloud growth, security troubles here and there, and everything going mobile, what do you predict?

By Glenn Blake

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Cloud Computing 2014: Five Cloud Trends To Look For

Cloud Computing 2014: Five Cloud Trends To Look For

Cloud Computing 2014: Five Cloud Trends To Look For

All tech giants are aiming at cloud computing as the cloud landscape is all set to dominate the technological world. As mentioned on NY Times, the biggest tech giants including IBM, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are expected to invest $1 billion annually in cloud computing in the upcoming years. cloud-looking-ahead

all the companies are developing knowledge through their cloud services of how to run truly huge Internet-based computing systems — systems that may soon be nearly impossible for other companies to match

It is evident that 2014 will see some of the biggest players in the IT industry trying to develop high-end cloud computing applications. The consumers can expect an increase in platform independent services in the near future. Some of the expected trends in 2014 are discussed in brief.

1. Development in web-powered apps sector: Some of the most noticeable features of cloud computing involves the scalability and efficiency it offers. In 2014, we can expect development of new web-powered apps with platform independence as their key feature. According to the chief executive of SoftLayer, cloud-computing company, IBM will put more than 40 infrastructure services including mobile applications development and big data analysis as their cloud computing offerings.

2. Hybrid cloud will be the key: The future belongs to hybrid clouds with the security of private cloud and scalability of public cloud services. Hybrid cloud will offer affordable infrastructure to small-scale enterprises and custom solutions for big data analytics.

3. Development in security policies: There is no doubt about the seamless accessibility, convenience, and flexibility offered by cloud. However, it poses a serious threat to the security of information and its use by the service providers. In 2014, there will be a development in security measures and policies.

4. Platform will be a driving force: As mentioned on Forbes, “companies will not only look for broader cloud business process suites as described above, but they will also expect these applications to look and perform similarly, and interact with one another seamlessly.” Companies will look out for cloud-based applications that can unify their information and apps through a single data model.

5. Industrial Internet might take off: Industrial Internet will reach the real-time industrial processes and reduce the inefficiencies with smart data. Industries will be able to use real-time data for improving their processes and use the information to take action. Cloud computing will play a key role in creating intelligent machines with a central controllability.

By Walter Bailey

Cloud Infographic: The SMB 2014 Wish List

Cloud Infographic: The SMB 2014 Wish List

Cloud Infographic: The SMB 2014 Wish List

For many small businesses, resources are already stretched thin and owners cannot afford to spend money that is not directly related to business development and results. The cloud is an ideal solution because it’s less expensive than on-premise options. With lower subscription and maintenance costs, small businesses can focus their resources on developing their companies, not buying software and infrastructure. Many SaaS applications give users free trials or accounts, which lets businesses test out different solutions. Small businesses can try out various options until they determine which ones best fit their company and employee needs. Companies that invest in on-premise solutions may find that the tools do not align with their business activities and they can ultimately lose money from unused solutions.  Read the full article by Anthony Smith / CEO of Insightly

Included is an infographic courtesy of J2Global.com which highlights the growing SMB interest in cloud services and adoption in 2014.

SMB-Cloud-Growth-2014

Infographic Source: J2Global.com

Collaborative Economy – Customer Appreciation Day

Collaborative Economy – Customer Appreciation Day

Part 2 – Collaborative Economy – Customer Appreciation Day

This is part 2 of a 2-part post on disruptive technologies and the collaborative economy. Click To Read Part 1

Customer Appreciation Day

Customer Appreciation Day. Signs bearing this message have appeared regularly in store windows and print ads throughout the decades past – a well-intentioned effort to reinvigorate customer loyalty by demonstrating that for one day per year at least, the customer is truly appreciated; which begs the question, how do retailers feel about their customers the rest of the year? In truth, of course, the customer has always been portrayed as “king,” but power was measured in macro-vision, with stores and suppliers responding to requests or complaints over weeks, months or years, and always in line with their own projections of trends and fashions. The customer was king in name only.

Customers, retailers and suppliers exist now in an age of disruptive technology, where real-time access to cloud-based communication and big data has shifted the power balance by 180 degrees and has truly put him/her in charge; and more specifically each individual customer is now king, rather than the collective customer base. This increased level of access and interaction has led to major changes to the speed by which reaction to a customer and innovation happen; and it also challenges the silo mentality of the traditional Business-to-Consumer model, resulting in some innovative collaborations.

Take car manufacturers, for example. They are just one of many big-ticket item suppliers who have recognized that many consumers in the younger demographic are just not buying cars like their elders did. A combination of a shaky economy, bleak job prospects and a heightened sense of mobility and independence have moved younger customers away from long-term commitments such as car payments into shorter, just-in-time relationships with car-sharing services such as Car2Go, AutoShare and ZipCar, where cloud-based reservation and payment systems give greater choice and flexibility. In a fascinating demonstration of the collaborative economy at work, traditional car manufacturers such as Toyota are starting to offer rentals from their dealerships, while Dodge is calling upon family and friends to pitch in towards the cost of a new Dart through crowdsourcing.

Banks such as ING are providing networking and small business virtual offices for their customers and prospects, and airlines are teaming up with taxicab companies to become group carpooling matchmakers.

Retailers and organizations are recognizing that the future of customer relationships is based on individual data gathering and collaboration, especially data that can be gathered through techniques such as gamification, in which customers are invited to log on to a retailer’s website through their FaceBook account, which opens up a whole collection of likes and habits that can be used to create a customized experience. Imagine, for example, a business traveler, landing at JFK airport, receiving a custom text from her favorite running shoe company stating, “Hey, welcome to New York! Since you enjoy open-air running so much, we have sent you a map of an excellent running route through the Upper East Side, close to Central Park. By the way, click here to download some excellent running tunes that match your existing musical likes, and a scannable barcode for a free post-run coffee.” This approach requires dynamic, real-time intelligence on individual tastes and buying habits, and simultaneously demands seamless crossover between vendors of different, yet complementary consumables.

This direct and collaborative relationship between the customer and the supplier is now being referred to as ZeroDistance, and it has implications well beyond traditional retail. Employers, too, are starting to recognize that customer demand has equivalence within the workforce, as more and more employees seek a more flexible and personalized approach to work that includes flex-time, telecommuting and using their own computers and apps (BYOD) rather than company-issued tools. Those who do not see progress in these areas are likely to turn to an unprecedented collection of job-finding and freelancing resources, where yet another layer of the collaborative economy exists, with freelancers providing their skills to employers anywhere in the world.

Simply put, this is all about the consumer bypassing traditional inefficiencies to become the company, which has to be of great interest and concern to any CIO who now sees him/herself like the captain of a schooner, caught in a wild storm on the Niagara River: wind and rain in all directions, masts and booms flailing left and right, while the Falls themselves draw ever closer. The security and reliability of IT must co-exist in careful balance with the need for extreme market agility and reactiveness to customers inside and outside the organization. IT must now start to represent more than just the nuts and bolts of a network, while the marketing department itself must become more real-time data driven; IT faces the grim reality that users are opting for uncontrolled SaaS applications to solve immediate problems (e.g. cloud-based apps), while the various Lines of Business within an organization demand explanations as to why market formation is not coming in fast enough.

ZeroDistance provides an opportunity for a CIO to eliminate the gap between him/herself and the rest of the organization. By mirroring the results of ZeroDistance between customer and supplier, the CIO stands to take on a role as a central architect of a company’s future: a navigator rather than a mechanic. As the C-Suite observes the profound changes occurring in the a wholly customer-driver big data economy, it must recognize that now, more than ever, the silos that defines each officer’s role are as dated as that “Customer Appreciation Day” sign in the window.

Sponsored by T-Systems and the Zero Distance community

By Steve Prentice

IBM To Acquire Aspera To Help Companies Speed Global Movement Of Big Data

IBM To Acquire Aspera To Help Companies Speed Global Movement Of Big Data

IBM to Acquire Aspera to Help Companies Speed Global Movement of Big Data

aspera

New Capabilities Allow Organizations To Reduce Transfer Time For Large Data Files From Hours To As Little As Seconds

ARMONK, N.Y. – 19 December 2013: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Emeryville, CA-based Aspera, Inc. Aspera’s technology helps companies securely speed the movement of massive data files around the world. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Licensed to clients and partners either in the cloud or on premise, Aspera’s high-speed transfer technology reduces transmission times for large files or data sets by up to 99.9 percent – potentially cutting a 26 hour transfer of a 24 gigabyte file, sent halfway around the world, down to just 30 seconds.  Aspera’s patented fasp™ technology overcomes inherent bottlenecks in broadband wide area networks that slow the transfer of extremely large files, such as high-definition video or scientific research files, over distance.

Companies today are struggling to manage increasing volumes of structured and unstructured data created by everything from sensors to social media. They must accelerate the velocity of sending and receiving this data to improve competitiveness in a variety of ways – including the ability to more quickly uncover valuable business insights, bring products to market faster and improve employee productivity. This becomes even more critical with the growing adoption of cloud computing, where companies need a more effective way to transport extremely large files to and from cloud platforms. Aspera moves Big Data to, from and within the cloud faster than traditional methods while providing security, bandwidth control and predictability.

Aspera solutions solve data transfer problems across numerous industries and scenarios such as: 

·        Life sciences organizations sharing genomic data in the quest to find the next medical breakthrough;
·        Media companies shortening production cycles or uploading hit television shows and blockbuster movies to popular consumer streaming services;
·        Gaming companies receiving the latest software build from third party developers to enable rapid game development;
·        Any individual within an enterprise trying to share and synchronize large files over distance between multiple devices such as a laptop, mobile phone or tablet.

Our experience working with thousands of clients on Big Data projects tells us that companies can better compete and win when they can quickly extract value from massive volumes of data,” said John Mesberg, Vice President, B2B and Commerce Solutions, IBM. “With this acquisition, IBM addresses a key challenge for globally integrated enterprises by allowing them to move large data files much faster to the individuals who need them, wherever in the world they may be.”

Our team has redefined how the world’s biggest data can be moved quickly, securely and reliably around the world,” said Michelle Munson, president and co-founder, Aspera. “By tapping into IBM’s innovative capabilities and global resources, we will solve ever expanding data movement challenges for our customers now and in the future.”

Aspera advances the transfer of large files where traditional network protocols limit speed and reliability. Typical data transfers over TCP/IP are hampered by network delays or packet loss, even over the fastest broadband networks. Aspera’s fasp protocol delivers the industry’s fastest transmission speeds over any network link regardless of file size, transfer distance or network conditions. Aspera ensures secure encryption of the files in transit or at rest.

By combining Aspera with the power of cloud computing, customers have a practical way to transport big data files to and from the cloud. Aspera makes cloud computing even faster, more predictable and more cost effective for big data transfers such as enterprise storage backup, sharing virtual images or bursting to the cloud for increased computing capacity. Its fasp technology is licensed to many leading cloud computing services and will be integrated with IBM’s recently acquired SoftLayer cloud infrastructure later next year.

This acquisition builds on IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative by allowing businesses to accelerate their digital supply chains between partners and suppliers. This also extends IBM’s market-leading capabilities in Managed File Transfer with a complementary set of capabilities to help enterprises further gain control and oversight of their data transfers.

Aspera recently received an Emmy® award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development in recognition of its fasp protocol. The academy commented that fasp is an “an industry game changer” used by “virtually all the major broadcast television networks, Hollywood studios and CG/animation houses.”

The acquisition of Aspera is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter 2014.

Cloud Storage And Co-Working: Building A Relationship

Cloud Storage And Co-Working: Building A Relationship

Cloud Storage and Co-Working

Cloud storage is perfect for freelancers. It’s perfect for students, CEOs, and stay-at-home moms. It’s also perfect when you don’t have a permanent office. That’s why cloud storage is great for co-working spaces.

Co-working has moved beyond just a place to drink coffee and respond to emails. Many cities have made co-working spaces into some of the coolest places to collaborate – and a lot of that has to do with the technology. Here are a few ways that cloud storage and co-working are building a stronger relationship, and creating different trends.

co-working

Cloud and co-working: Partnerships

Many large companies have begun to partner with co-working spaces – Verizon FiOS Internet recently partnered with HarlemGarage to offer fiber optic Internet. But Verizon isn’t the only one. Tons of spaces have Skype-only conference rooms, and are supported by Google Drive data storage, DropBox and PayPal.  Cloud storage like DropBox can mobilize Web-based information system infrastructure use across a number of businesses that may or may not share a database or shared network.

Now that open access applications have even come to include software applications via cloud computing, and developer communities share new application scripting features, the force of Web-based IS infrastructure has caught on as a mobile co-working experience.

Cloud and co-working: Mobile

With the introduction of mobile apps platforms, employees, consultants, outsourced team members, and start-ups can harness even more flexible talent. The fact that co-workers and partners can tap into a company’s shared network, attend a meeting, and deliver content from any location at any time, maximizes stakeholder decision.

Cloud and co-working: Efficiency

Synchronized data management and administration increases efficiency and effectiveness. Cloud computing has quite literally optimized the co-working process to the point that start-ups can function like established businesses.

Cloud and co-working: Long-distance support

The results to data driven strategies organized between cloud computing service providers and co-working groups are everywhere. For instance, the shared developer exchange program partnership between Cloud Elements in Colorado and Piloto151 in Puerto Rico illustrates the impact of entrepreneurial ecosystems in staging new B2B programs and support systems for start-up ventures across geo-distance.

The Cloud Elements – Piloto151 partnership reflects the virtualization trend in co-working, and the concise solution this singular model of business process infrastructure offers start-up strategists faced with multiple organizational problems. In addition to flexible participation from multi-geographical locations, cloud computing also solves the carbon footprint issue even further.

Co-working is here to stay, which means cloud computing is too. It’s only getting smarter, bigger and more instrumental for daily tasks. Keep an eye on new developments from Amazon and Google to see what the newest trends in cloud computing are – because you can bet that you’ll be seeing more from them in 2014.

By Sam Melton

How To Use Remediation To Accelerate Your IT Transformation Journey To The Cloud

How To Use Remediation To Accelerate Your IT Transformation Journey To The Cloud

How To Use Remediation To Accelerate Your IT Transformation Journey To The Cloud

In my last article I discussed the importance of conducting a comprehensive assessment of your current IT environment before deciding on any kind of a cloud strategy. To summarize: you must know exactly where you are before you can accurately chart a course to where you want to be along the IT transformation journey.

Usually, there is a clear business case for performing systematic and strategic remediation of your onsite IT environment to get it running as effectively and efficiently as possible. Unless, of course, your assessment revealed so many problems that you no longer want to operate your own IT environment and are in a position to make an immediate and total move—i.e., start over— in a cloud environment.

Your cloud environment will be a totally honest reflection of your on premise environment. That means, if your on premises environment is under- or over-utilized, your cloud environment will be as well. Simply moving an inefficient environment to the cloud will not by itself make it any more efficient.

The best approach—and the focus of this article—will be how to get the greatest payback from the information you collected during your assessment by performing remediation of inefficient systems—physical and virtual. The good news is that there are many short term benefits from remediation as part of a thoughtful strategy that ensures the upgrades you make to each component contribute to the development of a converged infrastructure. To avoid bouncing off the guardrails on your IT transformation journey you need to align each new project that crosses your desk with your long-term vision. The strategic choice might be more expensive in the short term, but nothing is as expensive as finding yourself in a technological dead-end that forces you to start over.

Let’s look at a few key topics.

Virtualization

Many IT directors think they are much more virtualized than they actually are. According to reseach, a typical IT environment is about 50 percent virtualized. That, obviously, leaves the other 50 percent to be virtualized. The ROI and other benefits of extending virtualization are well established.

Besides the need to extend virtualization, most organizations need to rationalize the systems they have virtualized. It is all too common to see where 100 physical servers have been transformed into 200 or more…sometimes many more…virtual servers.

It doesn’t take much to create them, but virtual machines have the same support, security and compliance issues that physical machines do. The cost of server sprawl, as a result, can be significant. After evaluating one organization’s virtual environment recently, for example, we told them that, if they spent some money on remediation, we would be able to charge them half of what it would cost per month if we had to manage their existing environment unchanged. The bottom line: Every dollar they invested up front would be paid back manyfold in a short period of time.

Remediation of virtual environments is directly related to remediation of management abilities through the development and execution of ITIL best practices as part of an IT service management (ITSM) strategy. We’ll return to this topic in a subsequent blog. Let’s go back to the physical enironment for a bit.

Blade Servers

Blade technology has initiated a wave of change through everything in the data center. Blades are modular, need fewer cables, require less floor space, use less power, require less cooling and can be managed by integrated management tools. These and other dramatic efficiencies enabled the blade form factor to take the data center by storm. A key advantage of introducing blades to your data center is that your investment in the blade chassis is protected over time because you can always add additional blades, unlike money spent on maintaining older technology for which there is no roadmap to the future.

Converged Storage

The prevailing tendency in most organizations has been to buy more storage than you need—“just to be sure.” Predictably, the tendency to over-buy has filled many data centers with a variety of storage devices all performing at a small percentage of their designed performance—kind of like where servers were before virtualization when the rule of thumb was a server for every application.

Ultimately, you will be able to implement a common storage platform that will make it possible to dynamically select the best storage configuration for a specific application from a menu that includes all the choices. In the meantime, organizations need to carefully select a specific storage solution that meets their current needs and leaves their future options open.

That means implemening converged storage area networks (SANs) for your virtual server farms. Converged SANs lets you assign virtual storage and provide high availability with commands from the hypervisor environment, just the way you manage virtual servers. That your attached storage is controlled and managed by hypervisor is what makes it “converged.” We do have to keep an eye on the industry and where storage is headed. Recent advancements in flash and direct-attached storage may soon provide services that were traditionally only supported through a SAN.

The ideal goal, of course, is to get everything into the converged infrastructure where you have lowest costs per port, the lowest cost for SAN storage, for compute resource…for everything, compared to a discrete physical environment; and you can take advantage of the dynamic movement, self provisioning, scaling and all the benefits of shared resources model.

My next article will look at how to can break down the traditional silos of specialites that exist today in most IT departments like feudal baronies in constant territorial disputes with each other. To advance along the IT transformation journey, your IT team is going to have to learn to get along.

By Kevin Gruneisen, Logicalis Senior Director Cloud and Data Center Solutionskevin

Kevin has nearly 30 years of experience in the Infrastructure Technology business. His key responsibilities at Logicalis are focused on matching Logicalis’ capabilities with the cloud and data center needs of its customers. Kevin joined Logicalis in 2004 when Logicalis acquired Solution Technology, Inc. He began his career in technology with IBM in 1984. 

For more information, Kevin recommends IT pros explore the IT Transformation Journey, a microsite dedicated to this topic, at www.unlikeanycloud.com.

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