Category Archives: SaaS

15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

(Updated: Originally Published Feb 9th, 2015) We have decided to put together a small list of some of our favorite cloud performance monitoring services. In this day and age it is extremely important to stay on top of critical issues as they arise. These services will accompany you in monitoring your data and safeguarding critical applications and websites in real-time. This list is in no particular order of preference. When selecting a new service, please do your own due diligence during the selection process.

CopperEgg

copperegg

Copperegg has been in business since 2010 and has made a good name for themselves securing clients such as: Juniper Networks, REAL Networks and SEGA. Some of their features include the ability to monitor server CPU Processes, receive real-time alerts as well as collect, analyze, and alert on any metric.

DataDog

datadog

DataDog is a startup based out of New York which has recently secured $31 Million in series C funding. They are quickly making a name for themselves and have a truly impressive client list with the likes of: Adobe, Salesforce, HP, Facebook and many others.

Keynote

KeynoteSystems

Keynote has been around since 1995 and have an impressive client list with the likes of: Akamai, AT&T, BBC, IBM, SAP and many others… Keynote solutions test from the user perspective, delivering high-volume traffic on demand and accurately modeling interaction, arrival patterns, and geographic diversity.

Kaseya

Kaseya-Traverse

Kaseya Traverse has been in business since 2000 and is a cloud and service level management platform, with proactive monitoring and powerful root-cause analytics for all aspects of the IT environment – applications, databases, network infrastructure, cloud services, servers, data center equipment and VoIP. They have several case studies with a large client list including: Staples, University of Kentucky and Virginia Tech.

Soasta

soasta

Soasta was founded in 2006. They provide seamless integration of test design, monitoring, and reporting of high quality Web applications and services. Their client list includes: Hallmark, Microsoft and Nordstom among many others.

UptimeSoftware

uptime-software

Up.time began in 2002 and provides deep server monitors that monitor the performance of critical applications, databases, Web servers, network devices, and critical system-level services. You can choose from any of up.time’s built-in server monitors, application monitors and quickly define your own custom probes. Their impressive client list includes: Cisco, NASA, Sony, Ford and many other high profile brands.

Solar Winds

SolarWinds
SolarWinds has been in business since 1999. There services can monitor all the infrastructure in your datacenter using WMI, SNMP, CIM, JMX & VMware® API protocols. Their client list includes a high number of Governmental agencies most notably: NSA, U.S Army, Department of Homeland Security and many others.

Monitis

Monitis

Monitis has been in business since 2006 and their client list includes the likes of: AVIS, Survey Monkey, Stanford University and the University of Cambridge. They offer a Universal Cloud Monitoring Framework, Monitis can sync to other Cloud computing providers such as Rackspace, GoGrid, Softlayer, and many more. Their Universal Cloud Monitoring Framework will automate monitoring in highly dynamic cloud environments.

Opsview

opsview

Opsview has been in business since 2002. Opsview provides advanced auto-discovery and integrated GUI with quick straightforward configuration. Some of their clientele includes: Active Networks, Cornell University and MIT. 

Apica

Apica

Apica was formed in 2005. Apica offers companies and developers, cloud-based load testing and web performance monitoring tools to test applications for maximum capacity, daily performance, improved load times, and protection from peak loads. Analyze online performance and pinpoint bottlenecks quickly and effectively.  Their partners include: Rackspace, Rightscale, AWS and many others.

LoadStorm

LoadStorm

Loadstorm has been in business offering SaaS products since 1999. Their Load testing service allows web developers to know how their applications respond under heavy volumes of HTTP traffic. LoadStorm puts massive cloud resources in the hands of web developers to enable them to improve the performance of their web applications. Create your own test plans, and generate up to 50,000 concurrent users in realistic scenarios.

CloudHarmony

CloudHarmony

CloudHarmony are relatively new in comparison to their counterparts. They formed in 2009 and have been developing some very useful tools. You may use their extensive and continuously updated benchmarks to view and compare performance metrics from various cloud providers and services. One of our favorite areas is the useful Cloud Square provider directory.

Amazon CloudWatch

Amazon CloudWatch
Part of the highly cost efficient Amazon Web Services (AWS) group, CloudWatch is a fairly basic, though very dynamic, tool that collects, monitors and tracks customizable data metrics. The Dashboards are interactive, allowing you to manually change categorizations and matrices through a very accessible API.

Oracle Cloud

Oracle Cloud
Oracle Cloud utilizes a complex interchange of software to provide insights on actual, and applicable, data flow. It is a tool that is flexible and can provide massive insight with any set of data. Oracle offers “experts in every industry” and is truly well rounded, reaching 110 million households and extracting data from 1,500 partners.

SevOne

SevOne
SevOne boasts ‘user friendliness’ with the ability to view metric, flow, and log data, all in a single dashboard. With alliances like Cisco and Dell, SevOne is far reaching, utilizing Networks, 4GLte, and the “Hybrid Cloud” to standardize cloud infrastructure and alleviate visibility gap risk. In 2013, SevOne received a $150 million investment from Bain Capital, and in both 2015 and 2016, received various awards for business promise and software success.

By Glenn Blake

Why Organizations Move To Amazon AWS

Why Organizations Move To Amazon AWS

Maximization of Cloud Opportunities 

Sponsored series by CloudMGR

When linked with the correct choice of provider, visibility and control in the cloud provide organizations with security as well as cost savings, speed, agility, efficiency, and innovation. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one such provider which allows for the maximization of cloud opportunities, promising scalability, the elimination of capital expenses, and no latency.

Why Organizations Move to AWS

Economics & Infrastructure

Pay-per-use models are attractive to both small startups and gigantic corporations, and significant cost savings are available for those with unique and individually defined computing needs. Moreover, AWS requires no investment in physical hardware or space due to their globally distributed data centers, and when implementing AWS, organizations benefit from enhanced performance and improved disaster recovery.

Outsourcing

While AWS provides a self-service model, organizations typically don’t require the same quantity and level of IT staff. Tasks such as data center maintenance are managed by Amazon, and many organizations make use of management providers for superior optimization and governance.

Innovation through Responsiveness & Agility

Organizations are working hard to out-perform, out-deliver, and out-innovate their competitors, and with its majority cloud market share, Amazon is one of, if not the, fastest innovators in its space. Further, AWS lets companies develop and deploy applications quickly with instant access to nearly limitless computing power. It is an enabler of corporate innovation due to the fact that companies running AWS can move faster and be more agile than their competitors.

Outsourcing

While AWS provides a self-service model, organizations typically don’t require the same quantity and level of IT staff. Tasks such as data center maintenance are managed by Amazon, and many organizations make use of management providers for superior optimization and governance.

secure-device

Responsiveness & Agility organizations to quickly increase capacity, reduces downtimes, encourages rapid experimentation and innovation, and increases global reach. Additionally, AWS lets companies develop and deploy applications quickly with instant access to nearly limitless computing Security

With security one of the biggest concerns in all of IT, Amazon holds a range of the most essential certifications, including HIPAA, PCI, ISO, and Sarbanes-Oxley. It also maintains separation of logical and physical access to data for further protection, and it’s unlikely that more than a handful of businesses around the world are able to match Amazon’s provisions.

data centers are distributed across the world, and multiple, independently operated data centers per region provide different failure domains. When implementing AWS, organizations benefit from enhanced performance and improved disaster recovery.

5 Steps to Organization-Wide Visibility & Control of AWS

craig-devesonThough the choice drivers for AWS adoption are clear, organizations often fail to realize the promised benefits of cloud due to a lack of visibility and control of their cloud infrastructure at each stage of their cloud adoption journey.

Craig Deveson, founder, and CEO of CloudMGR, suggests a five-step plan for organization-wide visibility and control of AWS:

 

  1. Develop a visibility framework
  • Determine what’s actually running.
  • Bring visibility to cloud consumption with tools such as AWS console, AWS API, 3rd party billing, and cost management devices.
  • Standardize which services are used so that business units can build on and adapt them.
  • Control shadow IT.
  1. Tap into the partner ecosystem
  • Use technology partner tools to simplify billing and cost management, set up a self-service portal, and perform optimization tasks.
  • Leverage the consulting partner network to perform migration tasks, develop governance practices, and outsource service management.
  1. Move culture from CapEx to OpEx
  • Because CapEx has long been the central budgeting mechanism for businesses, OpEx will require a change in thinking from IT and finance: establishing comfort with distributed access, resource responsibilities beyond IT, and avoiding “out of sight, out of mind” thinking.
  1. Create a governance structure
  • Needless to say, maintaining compliance with best practices, corporate governance requirements, and security by corporate users and service providers is essential. Develop a usage and control policy, control risk with cloud governance, manage access and permissions, and review compliance via regular audits.
  1. Build self-service capability
  • Finally, giving teams the agility to experiment and be innovative, provide controlled access that lets team members manage their own resources. This includes on-demand access, automation tools, and cost control mechanisms

CloudMGR

CloudMGR’s objective is to “give businesses the visibility and control required to get the most from their cloud” by connecting all of an organization’s important systems into a single platform. CloudMGR develops a visibility framework and allows the creation of a central control dashboard. This means moving from a CapEx to OpEx culture with chargebacks and cost centers, as well as the development of self-service capability through the CloudMGR White Label service. Making it easier for teams and leaders to understand cloud resource usage, CloudMGR recognizes that a move to the cloud doesn’t guarantee full exploitation of its many benefits and so provides the tools companies need to achieve maximum operational efficiency from their cloud environments.

 

By Jennifer Klostermann

5 Ways Cloud Computing Is Having an Impact on The Energy Sector

5 Ways Cloud Computing Is Having an Impact on The Energy Sector

Cloud Computing Energy Sector

We’ve discussed here in the past how cleantech (a blanket term that includes technologies that affect recycling, renewable energy, transportation, and others) is moving energy efficiency into the cloud, and how there are many very well-known technology brands dipping their toes into this arena, most notably well-known brands Apple and Facebook building cleaner data center solutions focusing on renewable and hydroelectricity.

The next step for cleantech is developing technology that will help manage these emerging solutions in a more integrated and seamless way, using the software-as-a-service (SAAS) model. There is quite an opportunity presented to the software industry as more decentralized energy markets emerge: smart technology that is invading both our home and commercial buildings, the aforementioned data center footprint explosion, smart grid storage, solar, and many others.

As these sectors grow and new clean solutions take over traditional or outdated technologies, there will be an increasing need for software solutions to make them run even more efficiently than their predecessors. Here are five companies whose cloud computing solutions are having an impact.

Safety and Compliance

One obvious area that’s improving because of the cloud is in ensuring safety and compliance. Enviance’s cloud-based platform provides a number of environmental, health, safety, and sustainability solutions to help their clients and partners “manage what matters“. These solutions help energy companies, like those that provide electric and natural gas services, in effectively managing compliance obligations and regulatory responsibilities.

The platform’s environmental solutions collect data in areas such as compliance, permit management, greenhouse gases, and emission inventory. RSIGuard is the company’s award-winning desktop office ergonomics software. JHA (Job Hazard Analysis) determines controls to eliminate risk and provide relevant training.

Solar Efficiency

solar-power

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Recently recognized as a 2015 Bloomberg New Energy Pioneer, Locus Energy provides comprehensive data acquisition hardware and software solutions to help pave the way for solar adoption while also reducing the cost and complexity of solar monitoring.

With over 104,000+ solar systems installed and 53+ Billion data points collected, Locus is helping states like California hit new records in today’s “solar generation“. Their Solar NOC (Network Operation Center) application improves fleet management and efficiency across many dimensions including region, equipment size and type, installation needs, and more. In addition, their Solar-OS helps these installers and fleet managers understand performance data and analytics through a user-friendly web interface.

Electric Charging Stations

ChargePoint is known for operating the world’s largest EV charging network, with a mission to get more people driving electric vehicles and making sure they have a place to charge them wherever they go. The company provides solutions to both businesses who want to get more involved in offering EV station options to employees or customers, and those who are looking to charge their EV at home.

What ChargePoint is also doing is building the infrastructure in the cloud to make sure their current and future systems of EV charging are easy to manage for these consumers and partners. With over 21,000 charging stations across the US, ChargePoint is able to provide real-time data usage and use this data to make better decisions that influence the next location to penetrate, as well as providing these cloud services to other charger manufacturers.

Digital Grid Solutions

Well-known energy powerhouse GE recently aligned with Alstom Grid to form the GE Grid, a joint venture with over 200 years of combined experience in providing advanced energy solutions. Alstom Grid’s Agile Digital Substation solution brings together over 400 interactive tools help customers explore grid challenges and solutions in areas like substation digitization, distribution automation, and system integrity protection.

In addition, Alstom Grid’s cloud support port provides access to online tools and services for maintenance customers, user groups to continue building their technical users community, and offering over 200 training courses through the Alstom Grid Technical institute. It’s through these technology acquisitions that the GE brand continues to grow as the world’s leading digital industrial company.

Collaboration

Technology is beginning to shape the future for how energy companies communicate with one another. One of the more well-known advantages for cloud based services in business is the fact that we can share any important data at anytime from anywhere. Energy consulting firm Opportune LLP recently noted that, “Oil and gas companies and energy consulting firms are increasingly relying on partners, service organizations, and individuals outside the firewall to share the increasing costs, risks, and access to the limited industry expertise. Cloud-based systems naturally allow for much broader collaboration as stakeholders are no longer bound to internal fixed assets and sites.”

The moral of the story is that cloud based platforms are becoming widely integrated in a large spectrum of businesses for different reasons. When speaking about the energy sector, though, there is a lot of room for advancement. These five areas are proof that cloud computing and energy companies are going to produce some pretty fascinating solutions in regards to energy consulting and efficiency.

###

ericBy Eric Hebert

Eric is the senior marketing strategist for evolvor.com, where he helps educate business owners about digital marketing. Some of his work has appeared on Entrepreneur, Search Engine Journal, and ClickZ.

How To Use Technology To Increase Productivity

How To Use Technology To Increase Productivity

Increased Productivity

Sponsor series in collaboration with Hubgets.com 

Technology has improved overall workplace productivity dramatically, with communication and collaboration technology enabling remote and flexible employment structures, advanced team interaction, and better information management systems.

The Benefits of Employing an Appropriate Platform

Businesses that implement appropriate and constructive communication and collaboration technologies improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs, and work more efficiently. Moreover, employing one platform that successfully manages the majority of these needs prevents confusion and distraction.

management-layer

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

The following benefits of such technology ultimately result in greater productivity and business success:

Secure, consistent access to information

  • Because you’re able to react quickly and appropriately to new information and developments, you have a competitive edge. Fast and reliable communication and collaboration tools allow employees to access information in real time.

Any time, any place

  • The remote tools within the right collaboration platforms allow team members to stay productive while on the move, and the communication tools available enable them to connect with their workmates in real time.

Comfortable environment

  • We’ve all had a text message misinterpreted or an email reply stranded at the bottom of the inbox, which is why today’s top communication systems include a number of channels to choose from, as well as the ability to record and track interactions. Smooth collaboration between employees, customers, partners, and suppliers is an indispensable method of boosting efficiency, and features such topic-centric group chats with file sharing, voice, and video help maintain an aligned and contented workforce.

Mobile to the nth degree

  • Communication and collaboration platforms allow employees to access the company phone network wherever they are. It’s no longer necessary to bounce from one answering machine to the next, but instead, one phone number can ring on multiple devices, making missed calls and message slips a thing of the past. Customers always get into contact with the right person, teammates can communicate instantly, and staff can access communication channels from anywhere.

Reducing travel time

  • Not only is time spent traveling a cost to the company, it negatively affects productivity. Topic-centric group chats as well as one-to-one instant messaging with file transfer, voice and video tools can reduce off-site meetings, impacting positively on staff time and safety concerns.

Employee satisfaction

  • Inefficient communication tools lead to duplication of effort, mistakes, frustration, and ultimately, employee unhappiness. By implementing the right collaboration and communication technology, you ensure your staff is untroubled by workplace practicalities and instead invested in their core objectives.

A Steady Focus

Hubgets provides collaboration and communication solutions that encourage transparency and enhance productivity. Their intelligent presence system is a unique feature that detects when users are too busy to be disturbed, so while other applications may compete for a user’s attention, Hubgets keeps teams connected and avoids distracting, counter-productive interruptions. Consider the amount of time spent attending to distractions; research has highlighted that we spend an overwhelming amount of time changing focus from core tasks to side notes, providing feedback, emailing, and attending meetings, and this means less time put into our actual jobs. However, these functions are necessary and can’t be entirely ignored. This is where a tool like Hubgets, featuring chat, voice, video, file sharing, and team knowledge management capabilities, puts a business ahead of the game.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

While Hubgets recognizes the benefits of chat tools, they’ve adopted a notification system that adapts to your mood. Besides the “Busy” option that puts notifications on hold and the “Available” option that leaves you wide open to conversation, they’ve implemented a third option called “Hubgets Knows Better” that uses an advanced algorithm. The catch behind this unique presence feature is that it allows Hubgets to interpret whether or not you’re too busy to be interrupted, based on your activity. While replying a direct message or participating in a Topic conversation you probably have time for notifications, but when deeply focused in a different browser tab or some document, Hubgets knows not to disturb you. Of course, all communications are stored and made available for when you do have the time to interact. The handy Team Board makes it easy to check out what fellow team members are up to, ensuring everyone’s always in the loop.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Customers in the Cloud

Global enterprises in every industry are increasingly turning to cloud-based innovators like Salesforce, ServiceNow, WorkDay and Aria, to handle critical systems like billing, IT services, HCM and CRM. One need look no further than Salesforce’s and Amazon’s most recent earnings report, to see this indeed is not a passing fad, but the early days of a transformational shift in the way Enterprises (large and small) purchase technology services. Enterprises are capitalizing on cloud infrastructure in creative ways, rapidly enabling offerings like Adobe Creative Cloud, Audi On-Demand car sharing service, and a myriad of Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives across verticals that are debuting on the market.

The Cloud as an Enabler of Growth

Companies have handled non-essential operations in the cloud for a while now, allowing them to focus on their enhancing their core capabilities. Increasingly, organizations are utilizing cloud solutions to handle mission critical components as well. Cloud billing has flourished in recent years and is surprising a lot of people with its ability to disrupt traditional transactional business models. Once considered mundane, cloud billing is now an enabler of more predictable recurring revenue and customer success.

cloud-billing

Outdated legacy systems that were built for longer production cycles and static market dynamics simply aren’t cutting it anymore. The cloud-based enterprise billing system is in a unique position to accelerate customer success with technology that speeds time-to-revenue of desired products and services, and subsequently allows rapid iteration of those offerings once launched. This process of innovative iteration is a true win-win in that it increases customer satisfaction, and ultimately customer lifetime value, and thus a company’s recurring revenue.

Modern, agile cloud billing systems are the new enablers. This has spawned an enormous market opportunity—recent estimates put the cloud billing market at $5.5 billion according to MGI Research. And the IoT market, projected by IDC to reach $7.1 trillion in 2020, will only increase recurring revenue numbers by the very nature of how IoT services are consumed per use or over time.

Back Office Goes Front Office

One of the primary values of recurring revenue initiatives is its inherent ability to grow customer satisfaction, as the majority of revenue happens post-sale. The goal is simple: keep the customer happy and retain/expand the relationship. Cloud billing has made its way to the front office, providing a strategic lever to impact customer lifetime value.

Analysts such as THINKstrategies have made the correlation between agile billing that powers predictable revenue streams and customer satisfaction, pointing to a shift in the way back-end finance systems can impact customer satisfaction initiatives. Agile cloud billing platforms provide a better overall customer experience by offering the ability to quickly iterate on offers and promotions in response to customers’ changing wants and needs. Designed with APIs and integration frameworks, they can also provide a unified customer view with the ability to serve upsells and cross-sells throughout the customer lifetime. The single customer view also enables a plethora of features like built-in provisioning, account management, promotions, self-service, customer support (today’s customers really don’t like dealing with call centers, and most companies really don’t like the exorbitant costs of staffing them). The result is increased efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Targeting Customer Centricity

Shop-Tech

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

As we focus on turning one-time customers into longtime champions, business success depends more and more on creating an exemplary customer experience. Many enterprises are looking to reshape themselves like agile startups—requiring more from their legacy systems that are too rigid and expensive to modify in order to satisfy the needs of an ever-changing on-demand market. Simply put, today’s Enterprises have lost patience with the inability of legacy systems to support their need for speed and agility, attributes without which they cannot effectively compete in the disruptive markets that surround us all.

The wave of enterprises turning to cloud-based innovators for a competitive advantage will continue to swell. Leaders will take advantage of these technologies to satisfy their customers, which in turn will maximize customer lifetime value and increase recurring revenue. Conversely, followers are likely to find themselves lost in the clouds.

By Tom Dibble

Judging Panel Announced For 2016 Stratus Cloud Awards

Judging Panel Announced For 2016 Stratus Cloud Awards

2016 Stratus Cloud Awards

The deadline for the 2016 Stratus Awards is edging closer and innovators in the cloud computing space are encouraged to enter before the nomination deadline of June 3rd, 2016.

At a time when the cloud computing revolution is gathering pace and changing the way we all do business, the Stratus Awards are a way for the industry to get to know more about each other and to discover which companies are doing inspiring, ground-breaking work in the cloud.

egnyte

Last year’s winners included organizations such as Egnyte who won Enterprise Cloud Company of 2015. Dave Wright, the founder and CEO of SolidFire was named as “Cloud Executive of the Year” and the three “Cloud Disruptors of the Year” were Illumio (Startup), ComputeNext (Small Company) and Adaptive Insights (Enterprise). See the full list of last year’s winners.

This year three new awards categories have been added to reflect the dynamic and shifting nature of the cloud. Those awards are for Cloud Collaboration, Storage Technologies and the Internet of Things.

People’s Choice Award

And in a dramatic departure from previous awards, a People’s Choice Award has been added to the Startup, Small Company and Enterprise awards in the categories in order to reflect the popular vote amongst the cloud computing community.

Inclusivity and crowd-sourcing are watchwords for the Stratus Awards and the judging process is no exception. As the organizers of the awards, Business Intelligence, explains on its website: “Our industry awards programs rely on industry leaders who volunteer to read, score and judge nominations. But what is unique about our model is that judges not only score and rank nominations, they also have the opportunity to share public and private feedback so that winners can maximize the third-party acknowledgement of their performance and all nominees can reflect on how they can improve their overall approach to the market.

It’s a unique model designed to grow the industry as a whole and lift up standards for everyone.

nikolett-bascoSome of the remarkable judges for the 2016 awards include Jim Melvin, Senior Vice President at SevOne, Inc who has held CEO and leadership roles in software, hardware and SaaS business for over 20 years, Nikolette Bacso of Odin, a strategic, collaborative team leader with 14 years of experience conceptualizing and implementing world-class global programs, and Tim DaRosa of  Captricity, who has amassed more than 10 years of experience working in data-driven, digital marketing leadership.

These are just a few names in a stellar lineup of judges who are set to investigate thoroughly the state of the cloud and determine where the cutting-edge, breakthrough work is being done and who deserves the recognition of their peers at this moment in the evolution of the cloud.

Check out the full list of judges for the 2016 awards here.  The deadline to apply for award consideration is June 3rd, 2016.

By Jeremy Daniel

New Exciting Design Tweaks And Tools In The Cloud

New Exciting Design Tweaks And Tools In The Cloud

Design Tweaks

Web- and cloud-based tools have been broadening individual and organizational prospects for some time, providing design tweaks and tools to functionality otherwise inaccessible. Though flexible cloud services are now infiltrating just about every function imaginable, design is an area particularly well-supplied with cloud tools and innovations. Before even choosing the cloud-based design tools for use, cloud computing has transformed collaborative design processes into intuitive practices that allow real-time communication, maximized creativity, and practical administration. And once the project is up and running, designers have a plethora of cloud resources to choose from.

Design Tools A to Z

Today’s designers need access to research, typographic, and layout tools, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They also need a strong base for tackling branding and presentation, photography and illustration. And behind all of these concerns, robust, hi-tech hardware to seamlessly run each tool selected. The vast number of options can be a little daunting, but getting in tune with what’s available promises gains in design quality and designer enthusiasm.

We’ve curated a small list of some of our favorites discovered at precisionprinting.co.uk which provides a nice list of over 30 different design tools.

Collect and express ideas via the drag and drop interface of Niice. Search for inspiration, create your own mood boards, and collect your images in your very own private space. Now with sub-boards, Niice promises effortless presentations with boundless creativity.

Designer Tweaks

A logo creation tool with countless customizations and alterations available; “create a logo in one minute or less” suggests GraphicSprings, but if it’s all too much for you, experienced graphic artists are standing by to assist.

Design Tweaks

A free online design tool that lets you collaborate with a team in the creation of websites and applications. Powerful design prototyping tools, seamless communication, design-driven project management.

invision-saas

For website design or application development, this online wireframing tool and design tweaks lets you create a mockup for initial approval before putting too many resources into the design work. “Show what’s important: the idea, the information, the interaction.

Creativity is often a collaborative effort, and Dribbble is the place to connect with designers from around the world. It’s a “show and tell” platform that encourages debate and feedback around a designer’s choices and takes some isolation out of the cloud design process.

A sketching and doodling app for taking notes, marking up photos, and creating diagrams, charts, and other drawings when pen and paper can’t be found.

From MuseWorks, PicLab lets you easily and attractively layer text over photos. With a wide range of fonts available, you’ve got control over size, positioning, color, and opacity. But don’t limit yourself; take advantage of the artwork and stickers, collage features, filters and creative overlays too.

Photo editing the easy way. PicMonkey lets you add dimension with one-click effects, and the advanced tools let you touch up photos like a pro. “Cool backgrounds, infinitely magnifiable overlays, scads of fonts.”

Upload an image, get a complimentary color palette. Easy as!

This online presentation software lets you combine videos, images and text, and then spice it all up with included effects. Run presentations as executable files or share directly from the app across social networking sites.

Create responsive grid templates in a jiffy; customize to suit your content quickly without the need for tricky and time-consuming calculations.

Helping designers create “visual and semantic designs”, Typecast checks your work for readability, rendering, and aesthetic value, and helps ensure uniformity across devices.

A free drag-and-drop application for creating stunning presentations. Customizable templates offer inspiration, and you’re able to access your presentation from anywhere on any device.

Cloud tools for design tweaks are ideal for building mockups, collaborating, brainstorming and just plain creating. Their flexibility and innovation tend to have a liberating effect as designers find themselves less restricted by rules and limited functions. And as a bonus, their value for money ensures accessibility almost as well as their form promises wide availability.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Eventually Everything Will Wind Up In The Public Cloud

Eventually Everything Will Wind Up In The Public Cloud

The Public Cloud

“Eventually everything will wind up in the public cloud.” Diane Greene, Google’s New Cloud Chief, May 6, 2016

Private cloud is what most companies are adopting.” “No, public cloud is better and will dominate in the end.” “Nonsense, hybrid cloud is the way to go.” Need an answer? It’s in Manitoba!

CIOs report that private cloud is all the rage now. The Cisco’s of the world argue that hybrid cloud is the optimal path to adoption. Meanwhile, the big public cloud providers like Google and Amazon argue that it’s just a matter of time before most computing is done on public platforms like theirs. Each party with a dog in the fight proclaims they have the one true path.

malware

Who is Right?

Why is this happening? Believe it or not, we have been to this movie before – more than 100 years ago when many companies had VP’s of Electricity. Are there lessons in it that will help us in our current controversy? Yes, but there are several nuances that also need to be incorporated and they come from our transitions to new forms of energy. Let’s explore.

Much has been written about how the cloud makes computing much more like a utility than it ever has been in the past. It’s ubiquitous, metered, easy to start and stop and increasingly inexpensive. One of the best books on this, published in 2009 – just as cloud really started gaining momentum – is “The Big Switch: Rewiring the World from Edison to Google” by Nicholas Carr.

Carr paints an easy to understand tale of how electricity first derived from individual power plants, then evolving into large centralized utilities parallels what we have seen in the provision of information technology. There we started with original walled gardens tended by elite acolytes and evolved to today’s cloud and the Consumerization of IT.

Carr also correctly points out some of the limits of the analogy but the lessons are nonetheless striking; especially, how each vested interest sought to advance their model while retarding the others. But in addition to the vested interests championing their preferences, there are fundamental economic forces that foster the private, public, and hybrid cloud frenzy.

Economics of Energy

Vaclav-smilHere is where we turn to the lessons of energy transformations and Manitoba. Vaclav Smil is a prolific writer and Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. His research and explanations on the economics of energy provide the other part of the analogy to understand the emergence and transition to the cloud. While Smil is writing on the time it takes to move to renewable sources of energy, two of his observations help us understand why the many cloud deployment models are all present at the same time.

First, the amount of sheer growth required from providers just to meet the needs. Just like renewables have been around for a short time and despite accelerated adoption in many countries they still only meet a small fraction of total energy needs. Likewise, cloud too is relatively young (Salesforce.com was established in 1999 and Amazon Web Services in just 2006).

Gartner projects worldwide IT budgets for 2015 equal about $2.69 Trillion. The IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) providers will do about $21+ Billion, or so, in revenue. Now, consider the implication. Cloud is certainly growing fast but in the big picture it is tiny and constitutes less than one percent (0.78%) of the total IT annual spend. Even when you toss in all the SaaS (Software as a Service) providers you are still only a drop in the bucket. There is an enormous build out required to meet just the current capacity need.

And that brings us to Smil’s other observation. The switch to different forms of energy took anywhere from 50 to 75 years because of the huge size and investment in the infrastructure. Likewise, electronic computing as we know it has been woven into business, government and academia since the 1950’s. Granted, a lot has changed and the technology refreshes itself ever faster but there are still a lot of investments in equipment and applications that need to be amortized. Not to mention old skills unlearned/new ones acquired. That sort of thing takes time – probably not 50 or 75 years but certainly not just 10 or 15.

Where does that leave you?

Be prepared for a longer haul. Private and Hybrid clouds are in many ways the logical transition deployment as the shift occurs to increasing Public cloud. Vaclav Smil leaves us with another point that we should keep in mind. These shifts in energy sources are daunting because they involve rejecting a way of life deeply ingrained. This will be no less true with cloud computing.

By John Pientka

CloudTweaks Comics
Cloud Computing – The Good and the Bad

Cloud Computing – The Good and the Bad

The Cloud Movement Like it or not, cloud computing permeates many aspects of our lives, and it’s going to be a big part of our future in both business and personal spheres. The current and future possibilities of global access to files and data, remote working opportunities, improved storage structures, and greater solution distribution have…

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

The Legal Battle For Privacy In early June 2013, Edward Snowden made headlines around the world when he leaked information about the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans. It was a dramatic story. Snowden flew to Hong Kong and then Russia to avoid deportation to the US,…

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Analytics Trends

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Analytics Trends

Big Data Analytics Trends As data information and cloud computing continues to work together, the need for data analytics continues to grow. Many tech firms predict that big data volume will grow steadily 40% per year and in 2020, will grow up to 50 times that. This growth will also bring a number of cost…

5 Reasons Why Your Startup Will Grow Faster In The Cloud

5 Reasons Why Your Startup Will Grow Faster In The Cloud

Cloud Startup Fast-tracking Start-ups face many challenges, the biggest of which is usually managing growth. A start-up that does not grow is at constant risk of failure, whereas a new business that grows faster than expected may be hindered by operational constraints, such as a lack of staff, workspace and networks. It is an unfortunate…

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

The Internet Of Things In 2020 The growing interest in the Internet of Things is amongst us and there is much discussion. Attached is an archived but still relevant infographic by Intel which has produced a memorizing snapshot at how the number of connected devices have exploded since the birth of the Internet and PC.…

Infographic: The Evolving Internet of Things

Infographic: The Evolving Internet of Things

Evolving Internet of Things  The Internet of Things, or IoT, a term devised in 1999 by British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton, represents the connection of physical devices, systems and services via the internet, and Gartner and Lucas Blake’s new infographic (below) explores the evolution of the IoT industry, investigating its potential impact across just about every…

5 Surprising Ways Cloud Computing Is Changing Education

5 Surprising Ways Cloud Computing Is Changing Education

Cloud Computing Education The benefits of cloud computing are being recognized in businesses and institutions across the board, with almost 90 percent of organizations currently using some kind of cloud-based application. The immediate benefits of cloud computing are obvious: cloud-based applications reduce infrastructure and IT costs, increase accessibility, enable collaboration, and allow organizations more flexibility…

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery  Ok, ok – I understand most of you are saying disaster recovery (DR) is still a critical aspect of running any type of operations. After all – we need to secure our future operations in case of disaster. Sure – that is still the case but things are changing – fast. There are…

Containerization: The Bold Face Of The Cloud In 2016

Containerization: The Bold Face Of The Cloud In 2016

Containerization And The Cloud “Right now, the biggest technology shift in the cloud is a rapid evolution from simple virtual machine (VM) hosting toward containerization’’ says the CTO of Microsoft Azure, Mark Russinovitch, a man who deals with the evolving cloud infrastructure every day. In his words, containerization is “an incredibly efficient, portable, and lightweight…

12 Promising Business Intelligence (BI) Services For Your Company

12 Promising Business Intelligence (BI) Services For Your Company

12 Promising Business Intelligence (BI) Services Business Intelligence (BI) services have recently seen an explosion of innovation and choices for business owners and entrepreneurs. So many choices, in fact, that many companies aren’t sure which business intelligence company to use. To help offer you a solution, we’ve compiled a list of 12 Business Intelligence companies…

3 Keys To Keeping Your Online Data Accessible

3 Keys To Keeping Your Online Data Accessible

Online Data Data storage is often a real headache for businesses. Additionally, the shift to the cloud in response to storage challenges has caused security teams to struggle to reorient, leaving 49 percent of organizations doubting their experts’ ability to adapt. Even so, decision makers should not put off moving from old legacy systems to…

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Security In The IoT The network security market is experiencing a pressing and transformative change, especially around access control and orchestration. Although it has been mature for decades, the network security market had to transform rapidly with the advent of the BYOD trend and emergence of the cloud, which swept enterprises a few years ago.…

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Incident Response Planning – Part 1 The topic of cybersecurity has become part of the boardroom agendas in the last couple of years, and not surprisingly — these days, it’s almost impossible to read news headlines without noticing yet another story about a data breach. As cybersecurity shifts from being a strictly IT issue to…

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Once upon a time, only a select few companies like Google and Salesforce possessed the knowledge and expertise to operate efficient cloud infrastructure and applications. Organizations patronizing those companies benefitted with apps that offered new benefits in flexibility, scalability and cost effectiveness. These days, the sharp division between cloud and on-premises infrastructure…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

Box.net, Amazon Cloud Drive The online (or cloud) storage business has always been a really interesting industry. When we started Box in 2005, it was a somewhat untouchable category of technology, perceived to be a commodity service with low margins and little consumer willingness to pay. All three of these factors remain today, but with…

Cost of the Cloud: Is It Really Worth It?

Cost of the Cloud: Is It Really Worth It?

Cost of the Cloud Cloud computing is more than just another storage tier. Imagine if you’re able to scale up 10x just to handle seasonal volumes or rely on a true disaster-recovery solution without upfront capital. Although the pay-as-you-go pricing model of cloud computing makes it a noticeable expense, it’s the only solution for many…

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Cloud Security Mindset Businesses are becoming wise to the compelling benefits of cloud computing. When adopting cloud, they need a high level of confidence in how it will be risk-managed and controlled, to preserve the security of their information and integrity of their operations. Cloud implementation is sometimes built up over time in a business,…

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Hybrid Cloud Environments After several years of steady cloud adoption in the enterprise, an interesting trend has emerged: More companies are retaining their existing, on-premise IT infrastructures while also embracing the latest cloud technologies. In fact, IDC predicts markets for such hybrid cloud environments will grow from the over $25 billion global market we saw…