Category Archives: SaaS

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 5

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 5

Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 5

sales-force-marc

Marc Benioff has been called a pioneering “guerrilla marketer” of Software as a Service. USAToday credits him with “turning the software industry on its head” as he used the Internet to “revamp the way software programs are designed and distributed”.

Salesforce.com

Benioff grew up in San Francisco, and joined Oracle soon after graduating from USC in 1986. Unlike so many of the Silicon Valley legends, Benioff’s educational background was not in computers, but in Business Administration, although he did have a computer background as a kid. He was named Rookie of the Year at Oracle, and within three years became the company’s youngest Vice President. In March 1999, he helped to found salesforce.com, and became a leading evangelist for Software as a Service.

Salesforce.com started in a small San Francisco apartment with a stated mission of “The End Of Software”. The software/hardware debate goes back to the earliest days of personal computing and the Menlo Park Homebrew Computer Club where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak got their start. Software is the heart of the giant Microsoft as well as many other notable tech firms.

When Benioff calls for the death of software, what he means is the end of buying software and putting it on your own computer. Salesforce.com was developed on the model of Software as a Service (SaaS), where the software a business uses is accessed through the Internet on a Cloud application. Benioff’s partners in salesforce.com had previously worked on Clarify, and developed a sales automation software.

Considered a leader in enterprise cloud computing, CRM, Customer Relationship Management is the heart of salesforce.com. Their products include the Sales Cloud, the Service Cloud, the Force.com platform, Chatter, Wor.com, AppExchange, and other services.

The cloud used by salesforce.com is hosted by Oracle. In fact since leaving the company to form salesforce.com, Benioff has maintained close ties to his mentors at Oracle, but as the importance of Cloud Computing increases, the two companies find themselves as competitors, often not friendly competitors. Salesforce.com is increasing its commitment to the open-source database PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL is seen as a threat to Oracle’s core database offering.

By Peter Knight

Cost Effective And Flexible Solution For Companies To Meet Their IT Needs – Part 1

Cloud Computing – Cost Effective and Flexible Solution for Companies – Part 1

What is Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is gaining popularity since last few years. It is a computing model that uses shared infrastructure to provide computing resources to companies dynamically over a cloud, such as internet. It enables companies to use data storage, software applications, and computer processing power owned and maintained by cloud service providers through the internet or proprietary network of the service provider.

The cloud computing services are broadly divided into three categories:

1. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

2. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

3. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Alternatively, some providers use some different nomenclature, e.g. Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) for IaaS and only SaaS for later two categories.

Cloud computing allows enterprises and small businesses to user a shared infrastructure as a service. It brings freedom from maintaining and configuring local servers by allowing the usage of distributed servers and computers maintained and configured by cloud computing service providers. These service providers are essentially well equipped and capable of operating distributed computing infrastructure than a small business or enterprise that does not specialize in IT infrastructure and services thereby allowing them to concentrate on their core business.

The cloud also allows companies to use the computing resources as needed by making them a service. For example, a retail business that requires more computing resources say the number of servers for certain months of a year due to the high volume of business while its needs drop to a few servers for the rest of the year. By using cloud from a cloud service provider, such retail business can save capital investment that remains idle most the year.

The same is true about ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) provided by cloud computing providers. Companies can purchase monthly or quarterly subscriptions instead of purchasing complete license and become worry free from its becoming obsolete in a few months or a year. Traditionally, newer versions of software require companies to purchase them again, and sometimes these newer versions also need enhanced infrastructure due to added functionalities, and thus add up to investments in infrastructure. Cloud services, both infrastructure and software allow companies to cut cost on repurchase of newer versions and upgrading of infrastructure.

How Companies Benefit from Cloud Computing

Companies can readily benefit from cloud computing. Some of the benefits cloud offers to companies are:

1. Time to start using the infrastructure and services is significantly reduced. Since cloud providers can extend services quickly, companies do no longer need lead time for bidding, purchasing, installation, and configuration of hardware and software

2. Costs on software licensing are reduced as companies can use online services in the cloud

3. Companies no longer need dedicated human resources for IT infrastructure and thus save administrative costs

4. Since cloud service providers specialize in infrastructure and software, they can offer more availability and reliability than a small in-house IT team could provide

5. Companies no more need to maintain their servers. This reduces maintenance cost

By Krishan Lal Khatri,

Krishan is a technology researcher and writer with over 12 years experience in telecommunication industry. He has a masters degree in Electronic Engineering and is member of IEEE and ISOC. He has worked with leading telecommunication service providers in Pakistan and United Arab Emirates for 10 years and then switched to teaching and research by joining a public sector university. He is currently pursuing PhD in Electrical Engineering.

The Fine Line Between SaaS Business Optimization And Innovation

The Fine Line Between SaaS Business Optimization and Innovation

Let’s take a minute to talk about optimization vs. innovation, especially where it applies to software, namely SaaS software. There is a very clear and distinct difference between these two core concepts, and not understanding this difference can doom you from the start. Often, people will label optimization of a design to be a form of innovation, and will often even go as far as to market it as such.

They rarely get called out on this, as consumers aren’t tech experts, though they’re far from stupid. Oh, they know something’s up, they just couldn’t point out exactly what, and so they remain silent and contemplative, tolerating the nonsense as best as they can. Well, this isn’t right, so tech people, consumers, everyone else – let’s talk about the differences between them.

Let’s cite a couple hypothetical scenarios, one is innovation and the other is optimization. Examples are the best way to learn and demonstrate, obviously, and they’re much more pleasant to read. Pleasant reading is of course retained reading.

Let’s begin. We will be looking at the fictional company, BlueRodent Graphics, a respected and successful developer of SaaS graphical development tools for cooperative cloud GD.


Case #1 – Innovation

The R&D lab at BlueRodent has been watching the trends with graphics and graphical needs. They see the forthcoming need for vastly easier 3D modeling, a feature their suite, GoldenRing, doesn’t even support. They’ve stayed away from 3D design for the longest time due to the extreme computing cost of modeling, coupled with past SaaS latency, along with the difficulty inherent to 3D modeling software on a usability end.

Alas, graphics design software is beginning to be judged not just for its 2D capacities, but for its 3D, and so BlueRodent can no longer refrain from trying to support the burgeoning medium. Conventional 3D modeling interfaces are baffling and difficult, and while modern web tech will allow for responsive interface at long last, they don’t want their famously easy-to-use GoldenRing suite to become a mess.

The brilliant R&D lab, in accompaniment with a team of UX experts, has come up with a novel new idea to represent 3D as a series of 2D sheets. In order to shape basic 3D models, all that must be done is for the user to draw lines and curves onto this sheet. They can then cut them and fold them with easy 3D motions, like origami. Anyone who’s ever made a paper airplane can easily get the basics of this modeling concept in a few minutes. Those serious about 3D, and who are used to the sleek design GoldenRing already has …  well, they can master yet more innovating 3D modeling in days or weeks, rather than months or years. The origami modeling system is innovative, new, and completely changes the way 3D is to be approached. In the following years, everyone will try to imitate BlueRodent’s origami modeling technique.

Case #2 – Optimization

While the R&D lab toils to solve the 3D barrier for GoldenRing, the rest of the development staff sees another issue that’s a little more pertinent for them to address. Why is the vector graphics engine so slow and non-responsive? Pixel-based art works at lightning speed and the latency between cooperative users through the server is less than 5/1000 of a second, and yet, vectors are slow. Vectors use less data, since they’re just geometry and math, not boxes of individual colors.

This is a problem, given how popular vectors are, and how otherwise lauded GoldenRing’s vector design interface and capacity is. If it just didn’t lag so much when more than one user was working on a design in unison.

And then, one single programmer, on his third cup of coffee, has an epiphany. The pixel data for regular graphics is being handled by relaying a color and coordinate directly to the server where it echoes it back to other live users. Vectors are being sent to a secondary block of PHP where it renders the image, and redraws it for everyone. It’s still giving everyone pixels, just way too many way too quickly.

And so, the rest of the BlueRodent team listens with much eagerness as he outlines a plan to shift the vector rendering to the local interface, using HTML5 to draw the vectors live, client side, just as it has been doing for pixels the whole time. No longer will PHP draw the entire image every time, and then require it to be re-loaded by clients. And as such, the vector methods for GoldenRing become faster than Flash or Illustrator with a simple optimization of how it is handled.

This is optimization, the refinement of an existing structure to remove inefficiencies and make it perform much better.

And thus, as we followed two issues that BlueRodent addressed, we see clearly the demonstration of innovation – a new, never before conceived concept, even to solve a known issue. And we see a demonstration of optimization, to make something already in place work better just by shifting the strategy for how it is handled.

Guest Post By Omri Erel,

Marketing director at WalkMe and lead author of SaaS Addict

Using The Cloud For Better Business Continuity

Using The Cloud For Better Business Continuity

Using The Cloud For Better Business Continuity

Planning for your cloud application or website to go down seems like it should be a no brainer. We assume that every business is aptly prepared; in fact most people reading this probably believe theirs is. It is, right? Right? Turns out it only takes one extreme incident to show us that keeping websites and applications online no matter what the circumstance really is an after thought for many organizations. For instance, sites like Gawker, Gizmodo, and Huffington Post all went down during Hurricane Sandy last fall, as did hundreds of other businesses’ critical infrastructure. While I can’t speculate as to what kinds of IT practices these businesses had in place, we can assume their business continuity planning wasn’t as strong as it could have been – despite being in a region of the country that gets hit with hurricanes on an annual basis.

Now it’s one thing for websites to go down, it’s another thing for applications that house critical data – that needs to be accessed on a dime – to suddenly be inaccessible. Depending on the industry, the risks of this inaccessibility can be grave. For instance, the stakes for healthcare, eCommerce platforms and SaaS/PaaS solutions providers are extremely high if data suddenly becomes unavailable.

Think about it – natural and unnatural disasters strike every day, everywhere in the world. We can count on it. Yet businesses still leave their data at risk of being “lost,” if even for a short time. In an era when about everything lives in the cloud, BCP can no longer be left on the back burner. Here are some ways businesses can leverage the cloud for smarter BCP.

Resources on Demand

Businesses used to balk at BCP simply because of the time it took to implement such a plan. Ordering new hardware, provisioning circuits and signing contracts with a colocation provider could literally take months. The cloud removes all of those steps. Organizations can literally spin up a virtualized machine within minutes in another location, resulting in very little to no downtime. The instant spin up and switch down aspect of the cloud is particularly handy when preparing for seasonal events like hurricanes. These tend to hit the coast at about the same time every year and subside a couple of months later. An IT director could replicate his environment a month before the hurricane season starts, stand it up in a region that is untouched by hurricanes (like Arizona), and turn the deployment down a month or two later. If the season is a little prolonged than usual, there is no need, as with a traditional hosting contract, to sign up for another year, when the environment could be used for only a couple of weeks.

Better and more resources for efficient failover means cloud infrastructure is perfect for replicating applications and databases across a multitude of environments and geographically diverse infrastructure. This enablement means enterprises can easily redirect their traffic to any number of failover facilities using DNS management, thus greatly lowering the risk. This amazing agility can make the preplanning and nominal additional cost worthwhile. The geographical diversity of cloud providers is key here. Tornado risk in the mid-west? Move the workload to an east coast cloud node. Hurricane risk on the east coast? Replicate the workload to a cloud node in Arizona. Earthquake risk in California? Re-locate to a node in Texas. None of this is a hassle with cloud infrastructure.

Redundancy no longer costs an arm and a leg

Cost has been a huge factor that prevents businesses of every size from implementing effective business continuity plans. The cloud makes this a moot (or at least much more palatable) point.

Hot / Cold business continuity configuration – As mentioned, when the cloud is used for BC solutions, resources like processors, RAM, and storage allocations can remain practically dormant until the moment the business needs them, at which time, these resources can be scaled up quickly to manage the production load. A cloud business continuity solution can be deployed so quickly that active users (on the website or application) don’t even notice a blip. With cloud, enterprises and SMBs alike can now have BC plans with global infrastructure in place without breaking the budget.

Hot / Hot business continuity configurationDNS management tools enable IT stakeholders to mirror a production hosting environment, in its entirety, to a secondary location. The geo-location features of DNS can play a role here too, providing a performance boost as requests can be routed via load-balancing to the most local production node. Running two deployments ‘live-live’ where Web servers and possibly even data base servers share the load between the two locations, is a good option for highly transactional businesses, where even a moment of interruption leads to revenue loss.

It’s remarkable how many companies still rely on traditional (dare I say outdated) back up practices such as weekly back up to tape. Cloud can be a game changer for IT, lowering the price of a business continuity solutions, while at the same time providing more businesses better access to robust and protective options quickly.

danielbeazer

 

By Daniel Beazer

Daniel Beazer has an extensive history of research and strategy with hosting and cloud organizations.  As director of strategy at FireHost, Daniel Beazer oversees interactions with enterprise and strategic customers. In this role, he identifies pain points that are unique to high-level customers and utilises his significant knowledge of cloud computing and hosting to help them. 

 

Understanding Cloud Washing & Its Tricks

Understanding Cloud Washing & Its Tricks

It is particularly common in our society that imitators try to make the most of popular products/services by any means possible. There are many vendors and producers of IT equipment and software tools across the globe –many of these vendors do not have a satisfactory reputation and look for any way possible to exploit the ill-informed. Many of these so called “Cloud” vendors are simply imitators that try to make the most of the catchphrase “The Cloud”.

Normally, these imitators and sometimes, a few reputed companies can also be swayed by the attraction of profits and subsequently they start polishing up their old or low grade equipment under the buzzword and sell it for good margins. The act of these vendors and marketers is called cloud washing. Cloud washing today is prevalent because it is immensely lucrative due to the popularity of the phrase ‘the cloud’.

These vendors, developers and marketers use cloud washing for their old or low standard products to sell at exceedingly high prices. It is a similar concept to that of green washing, which has been popular in the industry due to environment affiliation.

It is imperative for the people involved in IT and related fields to have a clear understanding about both the cloud and the cloud washing to avoid any trick played by these kinds of vendors. Cloud Computing services and systems are capable of following functions and features.

  • Capability of Virtualized infrastructure
  • Billing on the basis of Pay-as-you-use
  • The capability of being a multi – tenant architecture
  • Linear and Modular Capability for Scaling up or scaling down
  • Ability of user self provisioning
  • Easy and Secure Management Tools etc.

These capacities are normally associated with the cloud services or the products – any kind of mismatch with above mentioned services should be doubted to avoid any kind of trick played by the imitators or the extra grabbers.

As you know, the market of cloud computing based services and products is getting more and more popular; and hundreds of new providers and operators are emerging in the domain of the cloud market – they are offering different kinds of services and products with the help of cloud-washing disguises. It is highly recommended to follow the guidelines provided in this article before purchasing any kind of services or products related to cloud computing or saas related technology.

By Walter Bailey

Cloud Infographic: Global SaaS Revenue 2010 To 2015

Cloud Infographic: Global SaaS Revenue 2010 To 2015

Cloud Infographic: Global SaaS Revenue 2010 To 2015

The year 2012 proved to be one of the most effective years that helped the establishing of the SaaS (software-as-a-service). After having got the proper assertion and the definition of the SaaS service in the year 2012, the year 2013 is associated with the refinement of SaaS services of cloud computing – the following given are the key factors that can help SaaS services to be the most effective and efficient in the domain of cloud industry.

Staff-Infograph_SaaS-b

Infographic Source: Staff.com

Major Factors In The Industry For The Refinement Of SaaS Services In The Year 2013

Major Factors In The Industry For The Refinement Of SaaS Services In The Year 2013

The year 2012 proved to be one of the most effective years that helped the establishing of the SaaS (software-as-a-service). After having got the proper assertion and the definition of the SaaS service in the year 2012, the year 2013 is associated with the refinement of SaaS services of cloud computing – the following given are the key factors that can help SaaS services to be the most effective and efficient in the domain of cloud industry.

Mobile Computing: It is no more the afterthought; mobile clients are on the rise now with the increase in efficiency of mobile applications. SaaS has let mobile computing initiative to increase. But the New Year needs more than just your easy clientele; a need has arisen for sophistication. 2013 requires SaaS to market its unique features through mobile computing. This can be done by incorporating systems beyond legacy software, through mobile computing; ubiquity, collaborative capabilities, services based on locations and cameras. Extending the power further than desktop applications to mobile computing will reap enormous results!

Tools for Big Data Analysis: The vast ranges of 2012 technologies celebrate the association of SaaS with big-data (extraordinary storage and computational capacity). By offering both of the above mentioned features of the services, a SaaS surpasses the expense and losses of big-data, in-house systems that were not feasible for 24×7 running. Instead of trying to sustain losses, in-house systems can be replaced by the storage capacity and the computational elasticity of big-data systems based on SaaS.

Telecommunications: Partnering with telecom carriers that have high ranking infrastructure owing to claims of strength and speed is another prospect for 2013. SaaS providers are highly dependent upon telecommunications despite the condition of the infrastructure even in the U.S. and the unlikeliness of an all fiber-optic system. The insufficiency of telecommunications has been removed as a hindrance as AT&T offers providers with scalable networks dedicated to communications for SaaS. A low latency, high speed network is provided by removing traffic from public networks, although this increases costs, but their significance in sustaining healthcare and manufacturing industries cannot be denied.

SaaS Ecosystem: With the growing demands of users and their increasing need for assurance and information, SaaS services should look for partner service providers. With the on-site service model becoming unfit as the move is towards apps that are mission-critical, SaaS needs to make some improvement. These include organizing, making more efficient and active channels for partnerships between cloud brokers, consultants, WARs and system integrators.

Security: Although on a descent, SaaS corporate security concerns still unravel the causes of unauthorized mobiles and consumer applications that are not secured which has even distracted information technology from the cloud’s emergence. These challenges have posed a greater threat which needs to be eliminated with the help of applications for desktops and mobiles with feature-rich, security features. Consumer applications should be replaced alternatives that are secure and attractive. A collaboration between SaaS and IT in a secure enterprise could become the highlight of 2013!

By Walter Bailey

“The Dr.’s Tablet Will See You Now”

“The Dr.’s Tablet Will See You Now”

Health care is as much about Information Management as it is about patient diagnostics. Whenever a patient interacts with a health care professional, there is a record made of the encounter.

This benefits the patient, because his course of treatment is tracked and monitored, helping to ensure that no steps are missed or forgotten. The same benefit reaches to the Health Care professional as well, enabling them to more efficiently do their job and treat more patients.

Electronic computers have become more than labor saving devices, they are an indispensable tool of everyday life which have practically replaced the work that has traditionally been done using paper and pencil. In many ways the tablet computer is latest step in the evolution of portable computing. On the surface they would appear to be a natural fit for medical professionals.

Doctors, COWs, and Tablets

Not everything is quite as it appears, however. Tablet computing has not been as universally accepted in the hospital environment as would be expected. Dr.s can and do make use of computers to record their notes of patient examinations, for example. Over the last decade or so the most common interface has been with “computers on wheels” or COWs, or some sort of laptop application.

COWs and laptops are subject to the obvious limitations of full sized (or nearly full sized) Windows based computers; they are somewhat slow in addition to their physical size. However, they are thought to be very secure. In fact, compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is based on full sized computers.

Portability And Accountability

HIPAA is primarily designed to protect patient confidentiality and privacy. Medical facilities which break privacy protocols can find themselves subject to fines. Until recently, the most popular of the tablet computers, the Apple iPad, was considered to not be HIPAA compliant.

Medical IT professionals site the statistic that 40% of all HIPAA Privacy breaches are the result of mobile device usage. However, closer examination reveals that the greatest portion of these breaches are from unencrypted lost or stolen laptops.

As it turns out, thanks to native security features of the iPad, the tablet is more than HIPAA compliant, and Android based tablets have the potential to be even more secure in the medical environment.

As Electronic Health Record Systems (EHRS) come on line, less and less patient data is actually stored locally. In many cases, patient data is being handled by a Cloud based system, usually incorporating a Software as a Service (SaaS) application handling not only record management, but security as well.

By Pete Knight

CloudTweaks Comics
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