Category Archives: Technology

Transforming The Travel & Transportation Industry With IoT

Transforming The Travel & Transportation Industry With IoT

Travel and Transportation Industry

The travel industry is a huge infrastructure of roads, water, rails, air and more. What if there was a greater force behind all these moving parts, something to help travel and transportation companies maximize profits and the customer experience? Consider for a moment the involvement of IoT and what this means for travel.

With estimated 64,285,009 km roadways worldwide, there were approximately over 7 million drivers in the US involved in property damage crashes in 2013 alone. In 2012, 808 million passenger cars and 291 million commercial vehicles were used throughout the world. It may also be alarming to find out that drivers in the US wasted 9 Billion hours by being stuck in traffic.

iot-travel-makeover-infog

(Infographic Source: IBM)

However, the travel system doesn’t stop with commercial roadway traffic; in fact, by the end of 2013 148 cities around the world had a metro system that made 150 million passenger trips every day, which wasted 3 billion gallons of fuel.

Trade and transit is also affected. On average, to move containers from Los Angeles ports to the city of Chicago is 120 hours. In 2014, the top 10 airlines around the world shipped 85,858 million freight tonne-kilometers.

While these statistics may be alarming, by the year 2035 U.S Commercial air carriers will transport 1.14B passengers a total of 44 trillion miles. So what could the future of IoT hold for the travel and transportation industry? The data collected allows transportation companies to drive better efficiency and lower their costs by enhancing the delivery and travel experience of their customers. This type of data is a pathway for companies to maximize their performance and profits.

By Shirley Lange

SaaS Growth Hacking Do’s And Don’t

SaaS Growth Hacking Do’s And Don’t

SaaS Growth Hacking

Thanks to a few phenomenally successful campaigns and visions of best case scenarios, growth hacking tactics have received a lot of positive attention in recent times. But as the techniques and their results are analyzed it’s becoming apparent that there’s a right and a wrong way to use these tools. Or, at least, there’s a time, a place, and an implementation. Cloud Based Software As A Service (SaaS) companies such as Dropbox, Pinterest, and Airbnb boast a few of the most wildly successful strategies contrived to date (Excellent 2015 Marketing Statistics List), but with the ever-evolving global tech and business climate, ‘old’ tactics aren’t likely to yield positive results without new twists on the invention.

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The Dos

Never again will we see massive success stories that are merely revamps of old hits – unless you’re writing teen vampire novels, in which case give it 10 to 15 years. Video marketing is a trend expected to flourish in 2016, and additionally ensuring your growth hacks account for the massive traffic routed by search engines and social networks could ramp up achievements.

  • A few key points to keep in mind: Match-make growth hacking and products/services: You’re going to need a synergy between the two, ideally with a key representative closely involved in the development of both.
  • Spot trends: All the information you could possibly need is flying about, but Big Data often results in a case of not seeing the wood for all the trees. Learn to extract pertinent points but also know when to back off. Just because you think something rocks, doesn’t mean anyone else is going to care, and a rework is likely to yield better results than soldiering on.
  • Change the way you think: Growth hacking comes into play when traditional marketing methods aren’t likely to succeed. This isn’t the time for crossing your ‘T’s and dotting your ‘I’s. Be creative, think outside of the box, and be willing to take calculated risks.
  • Communicate & Incentivize: Creative doesn’t mean disorganized. Ensure your communication is easily understood and followed by both your team and your potential customers. And then save money by getting your customers to market for you – a little freebie often goes a long way to positive word of mouth and heightened product uptake.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

The Don’ts

  • Sadly, there is no growth hacking template or checklist. Strategies and tactics often work only once, and success usually boils down to the right attitude, genuine curiosity, and the ability to try, and fail, adapt, and invent.
  • Popularity alone only survives through high school: Simply creating a buzz isn’t enough. If you’re building products or services that don’t have the end users in mind, no amount of popularity will result in success. Unless you’ve built a pyramid scheme that is, at the very least, frowned upon in many countries, illegal in most. Back to the drawing board, please.
  • Don’t forget about loyalty: Many businesses focus on building up new users before ensuring the satisfaction of the loyal early adopters. Growth hacks that run roughshod over your faithful flock in an attempt to recruit new masses miss the success that personal referrals, word of mouth, and client satisfaction promise.
  • Don’t be aggressive: This isn’t telecanvassing. Aggressive, underhanded strategies trample on your reputation and miss the point of the clever loopholes that drive customer numbers as well as satisfaction.

Unless you’re selling thin in chocolate sauce, your product won’t sell itself: Don’t let the beauty of your growth hack so over-awe you that you forget to measure its success. Analyze your data, find out what’s working, and optimize it. Repeat…

By Jennifer Klostermann

Help Your Business Improve Security By Choosing The Right Cloud Provider

Help Your Business Improve Security By Choosing The Right Cloud Provider

Choosing The Right Cloud Provider

Security issues have always been a key aspect of business planning; failure to properly protect your assets, your inventory, and your customer data is guaranteed to set a company on a road to ruin.

In the pre-digital age security was reasonably easy to manage, but the introduction of computers and the onset of cloud-computing has quickly expanded the number of weak points in an organisation’s set up, not to mention provided a new opportunity to a different group of would-be criminals.

Make no mistake – cloud computing brings a huge number of benefits to any organisation, but it would be remiss to suggest that it doesn’t also bring challenges. Properly securing your company’s vital data is one such challenge.

That’s why it’s so important to choose a reputable and dependable cloud provider. While lesser-known providers may appeal on cost, a closer look may reveal serious flaws in other areas of their offering such as support, service level agreements, or security.

The Risks of Poor Cloud Security

It seems increasingly rare that a week goes by without news of a data-breach or security hack hitting the headlines – in the last eighteen months alone we’ve seen internationally-recognised companies such as JP Morgan, Ebay, Home Depot, and Target all fall victim, along with countless lesser-known companies and small or midsize businesses (SMBs).

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The risks of a security breach are huge. Firstly, there are significant monetary costs associated with disaster recovery, data loss, crisis management, and implementation of new defences. For example, in America most states require firms to notify their entire client database if a breach is suspected, with the costs of doing so estimated at approximately $30 per client.

Secondly, there are opportunity costs with regard to lost intellectual property and loss of customer confidence. This loss can have a knock-on effect across all facets of a company, from shareholder value and corporate stability to business reputation and financial performance.

Alternatively, perhaps a company could find itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit from damages to customers, or there could be an e-business interruption arising from either a security failure or an internet virus.

Who is at Risk?

If you’re an IT professional or Business Development Manager in an SMB, it’s easy to read an article such as this and assume that it will never happen to you or your organisation. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

All companies are at risk, no matter their size or their location. For example, recent research suggests that half of all companies that suffer data breaches have fewer than 1,000 employees, while the perpetrator of the attack is equally likely to be one of your most trusted employees or sitting at a computer on the other side of the world.

The solution is using a reliable and secure cloud vendor.

Why Choose Microsoft Azure?

Why should you and your company choose Microsoft Azure over similar offerings from Amazon and Google? It’s an important question to consider, but the answer quickly becomes apparent once you delve into the respective services’ features.

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Firstly, there is the issue of familiarity. Windows is comfortably the most-used operating system in the world, and for those users Azure will be quick to learn and understand. It naturally has excellent integration with existing on-premise systems such as Windows Server, System Center and Active Directory, and therefore Azure will be faster and simpler to implement.

Secondly, there is Microsoft’s commitment to a hybrid cloud strategy. Amazon (and to an extent, Google) have typically been somewhat dismissive towards the benefits of on-premise private clouds – and this is short-sighted. For example, lots of businesses need (and want) to keep sensitive data within their own data centres, and will utilise public clouds for other reasons. The ability for Azure to offer this benefit along with a consolidated platform for managing hybrid cloud components makes it the best choice.

What makes Azure so Secure?

Microsoft has always adopted a policy of responsibility when it comes to their Azure offering. In a recent blog post, they explained they had “three foundational pillars of the Azure security infrastructure” – to protect infrastructure, to detect fraud, and to respond to incidents.

Indeed, Azure is designed from the ground up with security in mind. For example, they have a “Secure Development Lifecycle” that seeks to embed security policies into every phase of the software design process. Part of this process is their “Assume Breach” strategy, whereby a product is designed under the assumption that a breach has already occurred, and they have a dedicated team of experts who simulate attacks, thus testing the products ability to detect and protect.

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(Image Source:Shutterstock)

Beyond that, they have an “Operational Security Assurance” offering, which works to increase the infrastructure’s resilience by decreasing the amount of time needed to prevent, detect, and respond to security threats.

Once a product is live, Microsoft offers a global incident response team that is constantly working to negate the effects of any cyber-attack. The team is split in two parts – engineering (who investigate and resolve the issue), and communications (who draft information and guidance for affected customers).

Azure also makes use of the latest technology in the area of encryption and key management. It uses industry-standard protocols for data being sent between user devices and data centres, and includes an option for businesses to encrypt traffic between virtual machines and end users. For data that’s merely being stored, AES-256 encryption is used.

Lastly, their network security will use firewalls, partitioned local area networks, and physical separation to prevent unauthorised traffic being sent to and within their data centres.

Next Steps

If you know your business could benefit from making the jump to the cloud, but are concerned that security could be an issue, you can stop worrying. The simple advice is to make sure you choose an experienced provider that invests heavily in their own back-end security and that is transparent with their customers about what steps they take to maintain client safety.

With this in mind, there is no better choice for your organisation than Microsoft Azure – contact them for more details about what they can offer.

This post is brought to you by Microsoft Azure and Cloud for Tomorrow.

By Dan Price

Driving Success: 6 Key Metrics For Every Recurring Revenue Business

Driving Success: 6 Key Metrics For Every Recurring Revenue Business

Recurring Revenue Business Metrics

Recurring revenue is the secret sauce behind the explosive growth of powerhouses like Netflix and Uber. Unsurprisingly, recurring revenue is also quickly gaining ground in more traditional industries like healthcare and the automotive business. In fact, nearly half of U.S. businesses have adopted or are planning to adopt a recurring revenue model, now one of the dominant sales models in today’s connected digital economy.

IoT-DeviceToday, 226 million-plus adults take advantage of online subscription models, and the average consumer spends more than $850 in monthly subscription services, including: auto insurance, cell phone plans, health care premiums, and, of course, household utilities (cable, Internet, etc.). While impressive, these numbers will skyrocket as businesses continue to move towards usage-based services at the core of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is expected to total $8.9 trillion in sales by 2020.

Yet, success isn’t as simple as the plug and play philosophy that some might suggest. Selecting the right technology, business process, and pricing model is just the beginning. Seasoned pros measure performance every step of the way to maximize customer lifetime value and success.

I’ve tapped the experts and asked them to weigh in with their “winning formulas.” Their responses reflected that while there’s a core set of key indicators, there’s plenty of discussion about which “go to” metric best predicts recurring revenue success.

And while there’s no particular order to the core metrics listed below, the importance of each varies with the individual business and its goals. Each is a solid indicator of a healthy (or unhealthy) recurring revenue business. Helping businesses get and stay competitive is the impetus.

Here are six favorite metrics for measuring recurring revenue success:

  • ARB – Annual Recurring Billings
    Formula: The sum of all customers’ annual subscriptions and/or usage

My personal pick is a summation of the expected total yearly billings of your customers’ annual subscriptions and usage fees. ARB is what I call the “true north” because it represents the actual cash flow irrespective of GAAP revenue recognition. All roads lead to ARB, including: annual contract value, renewed bookings, upsells, cross-sells, and retention. It’s essential in understanding your success in building customer relationships.

ARB shows you the big picture over time of how your recurring revenue efforts are performing, but you can also use it more granularly. For example, you can track recurring revenue generated from new sales versus renewals or from upsell/cross-sell. Conversely, you can also apply ARB to monitor losses from downgrades, churn, and so forth.

  • Usage Level Deciles
    Formula: To Calculate a Decile or Any Quantile

Aria Systems’ co-founder, Brendan O’Brien, looks to Usage Level Deciles to make business decisions based on customers’ consumption over time. A decile is simply defined as “any of the nine values that divide the sorted data into ten equal parts, so that each part represents 1/10 of the sample or population.” Correspondingly, Usage Level Deciles look at usage across the entire customer base, and then break everyone into ten groups. With this, you can then graph usage patterns and study how these patterns change over time. “Usage Level Deciles provide actionable insight into whether the customers I am losing, gaining, or keeping use and value the service I provide,” O’Brien says. For example, “you can study churn rates for each decile to gain insights into customer behavior and improve retention. If customers in high usage deciles are churning at accelerated rates, product and customer experience needs to improve. If customers in low usage deciles are churning more frequently, further training and adoption measures might be in order.”

  • Total Contract Value (TCV)
    Formula: TCV = (MRR x # of months) + any one time revenue + any contracted services revenue Or TCV = (ARR x # of years) + any one time revenue + any contracted services revenues

A key metric from Andrew Dailey, Managing Director of MGI Research, measures Total Contract Value (TCV). It is the summation of the values of all contract terms, inclusive of all revenue types and length of term. “TCV is a key financial indicator of a business and a prerequisite for undertaking proper analysis and valuation of a company,” said Dailey.

  • Average Revenue Per Unit (ARPU)
    Formula: ARPU = Total Revenue ÷ # of Subscribers

A metric from Ted Brookbank, Senior Vice President of Advanced Technology Group, determines the average revenue per unit (ARPU). The ARPU is a revenue calculation often used by communications and networking companies and other subscription-based services where users pay varying fees depending on the type of contract and usage. Brookbank says, “ARPU has always been a key benchmark in communications and other services industries because it provides insight into which product lines are profitable and driving growth.”

  • Conversion Rates or CR
    Formula: # of unique trial plan subscriptions ÷ # of unique visitors Or # of paid plan subscriptions ÷ # of unique visitors Or # of upgrades from free trials to paid plans ÷ # of free trial plan subscriptions

Karishma Karnik, Senior Program Manager of HERE, a Nokia company, looks at conversion rates (CR). CR includes the percentage of unique website visitors who sign up for a plan (free or paid) and the percentage of those who sign up for free trials and upgrade. “Conversion rates impact recurring revenue by giving us insight into consumer behavior, the usability of our website, and the popularity of our various product offerings,” Karnik explains.

  • Customer Net Profitability Value, or CNPV
    Formula: CNPV = Revenue – Customer Acquisition Costs

Jeffrey Kaplan, Consultant at THINKStrategies, favors Customer Net Profitability Value (CNPV). It measures the cost of acquisition and retention against the revenue provided by each customer. “CNPV provides a better metric for properly targeting a company’s sales and marketing efforts to attract profitable customers,” says Kaplan.

As noted, an increasing number of businesses are adopting recurring revenue models. They allow customers to have a plethora of options, including more creative packaging, promotions, and delivery of goods and services.

And, while these metrics are valuable, they aren’t created equal. It’s important to understand what the business’ individual goals are and pay attention to metrics specific to measuring against those goals. Choose ones that fit your business model, pay attention to what they tell you, adjust accordingly, and then repeat. Quarter after quarter. Year after year.

For more information and additional metrics, see the corresponding infographic below.

Aria_Recurring-Revenue-Infographic_Final-1-4-15_001-compressor (1)

By Tom Dibble

 

5 Early CES 2016 Announcements Placing The Cloud Front And Center

5 Early CES 2016 Announcements Placing The Cloud Front And Center

5 Early CES 2016 Announcements

The annual Consumer Electronics Showcase (CES) kicks off in Las Vegas this morning, and already there are a slew of high profile, cloud-related announcements from a wide variety of companies. From big names like BMW and Samsung to startups trying to break into the public eye, it’s clear that the Internet of Things and cloud-based connectivity is gathering pace and will dominate the technology conversation for many years to come.

We’ve sifted through much of the PR to find a few key cloud innovations that are lighting up the annual Vegas tech fest.

Let’s take a look at some of the key early offerings:

Tech blog ZDNet is reporting on Cisco’s plans for the cloud – “Building off its recent acquisition of cloud video startup 1 Mainstream, Cisco is bolstering its Infinite Video for delivering live and on-demand video content to via local network or over-the-top (OTT) TV services. Cisco’s plan is to blend cloud hardware with open source software to streamline and speed up these operations.”

Smart Autos

Meanwhile Slashgear is impressed by the evolution of the BMW’s very own Internet of Things – “BMW’s Internet of Things grows with the intelligent Open Mobility Cloud, connecting such systems as BMW i3 and Smart Home devices – like your phone or your smart watch. To grow their own Internet of Things, BMW has devices like the Mobility Mirror to act as display medium and mirror at the same time, connecting to the cloud as it does so. BMW Connected is a prototype personalized digital assistant – a bit of software for multiple devices – apps and programs. This system works with the Open Mobility Cloud, allowing the user to connect at home or outside the home, in the user’s vehicle, or on public transport. – SLASHGEAR

Personal Storage

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Personal cloud storage is a fast-growing area of focus for many companies and renowned blog MacRumors.com showcased the Apollo from Promise Technology – “High performance storage solutions company Promise Technology today announced its first foray into the consumer electronics market with the Apollo storage bank. The new device lets users, and a personal circle of private members, store and share data collected in the Apollo with the help of a companion app available to download from the iOS and Google Play App Stores. “Apollo marks a significant milestone for our company, and we are very excited to tap into the consumer market with a personal cloud device that makes it easy to store and share digital media,” said James Lee, CEO of PROMISE Technology. With Apollo, however, PROMISE has delivered a personal cloud storage device that’s affordable, secure, robust and—most importantly—easy to use.

BYOC

The Cloud is seen to be a powerful new weapon in the fight for a healthier planet and popular hardware company Acer is launching some pioneering new software, according to DigiTimes – “IT vendor Acer is showcasing cloud computing-based health monitoring and remote diagnostics solutions through cooperation with hardware and software partners at its BOYC (build your own cloud) exhibition booth at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. The health monitoring solution is for users to continually measure vital signals such as blood pressure and home air quality and upload data to a cloud computing-based management platform through the Acer Open Platform (AOP) for analysis by medical professionals, Acer said. If abnormalities are detected, medical professionals will provide medical advice or notify providers of health care services.”

The Fridge

Finally, consumer electronics giant Samsung wants to be central to the evolving internet of things and is showcasing the Family Hub at CES.

British tech publication IBTimes reports, “The fridge, with an internal camera, can display on its giant screen all the contents, apart from letting the user have a peek into the fridge without opening its doors. Additionally, one can check on the contents remotely on a smartphone, through an app that connects to the fridge’s internal camera. Grocery shopping will no longer involve forgetting items as users can remotely check on what is available and what needs to be stocked up.

These are just five incredible innovations that are kicking off CES 2016 in what is being unofficially dubbed “The Year of the Cloud”. No doubt there is much more to come over the next few days but we can already safely say that, judging from CES 2016, the cloud definitely has a silver lining.

By Jeremy Daniel

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 cloud technology that saves significant operating system overhead costs and dramatically improves application time-to-market.” Increasingly, it’s becoming the standard when it comes to cloud-based apps.

mark-russinovichWhile cloud computing has been a buzzword in business circles for years, it’s only recently that it has crossed over into the public domain, to the extent that many are hailing 2016 as The Year of the Cloud. More and more organizations are relying more and more heavily on this sophisticated technology that provides efficiency and flexibility across the web. The cloud has evolved to respond to this surge of interest, and the lines between PaaS and IaaS have begun to blur. Russinovitch explains that “this “blurring” is important because as more things are moved to the cloud, making them work together seamlessly is not just a ‘nice to have’—it’s a critical necessity.

Containers are a key component of the uptake of cloud services. So what exactly is containerization? Webopedia defines it as “a lightweight alternative to full machine virtualization that involves encapsulating an application in a container with its own operating environment.”

What this effectively means is that “you can pack many more containers on a host machine than you can virtual machines. That stands to reason, because each VM is a self-contained system in its own right, with its own operating system and virtualized hardware and its own unique resources allocated to it,” according to ServerWatch.

Container Growth

The stellar growth in the use of containers is in large part due to a company called Docker, which has used open-source software to revolutionize the deployment of applications. With Docker, you can build your applications from microservices “without worrying about inconsistencies between development and production environments.” You are also able to ship the app and to deploy scalable services in a reliable manner on a wide variety of platforms.

infographic-docker-survey

(Infographic Source: Stackengine based on 2015 Survey)

Essentially, what Docker has brought to the market via the cloud is a simple, reliable and affordable way to quickly ship, build and run distributed, scalable applications.

Simon Crosby, CTO of Bromium explains the appeal of containers: “Instead of having 100 VMs per server, what if I can give you thousands of hardware-isolated applications?” Crosby said. “And, it’s not just about efficiency. I don’t want to have to boot an instance of Windows or Linux every time I want a new application. That’s just a total waste of time.”

Mixed Views

To be fair, not everyone is as bullish about this development. Brian Kirsch, an IT architect and instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College: “I see container nightmares coming because of the chance of a shared back-end failure causing widespread outages,” Kirsch said. “One of the biggest things when you look at the benefits of container-based virtualization is its ability to squeeze more and more things onto a single piece of hardware for cost savings. While that is good for budgets, it is excessively horrible when things go bad.”

But with high-level organizations such as Spotify, Paypal and Rackspace all investing serious time and energy into containerization, it seems assured that we’ll be hearing a lot more about containerization in the near future.

By Jeremy Daniel

Evolution of Enterprise PaaS

Evolution of PaaS

New Technologies Evolving From Older Concepts

Concepts of Platform as a Service (PaaS) originate from shared IT services (Shadow IT model), wherein multiple tenants run applications on shared systems (local data center, under your desk…. etc.).

Over the recent years, Enterprise IT was understandably reluctant to provision business-critical applications on the cloud. Lately, I found Enterprise community retracing its conversations to unlock the larger potential of PaaS platforms and augment their existing investments in SaaS applications. With the advancement of containerized, multi-stack PaaS software, it’s worth looking at how private/hybrid PaaS can enable new ways of deploying and hosting applications within the enterprise.

saas-vendors

The Evolution of Virtualization

Before IaaS, the IT community hosted our business applications on bare metals. We would have regional data centers, full of racks, servers (dedicated OS), web servers, dedicated database servers, Routers and everything in between.

Concepts of Virtualization has evolved from IBM Mainframes tracing back to the 1960’s. Instead of running individual physical servers for each application, we spun out VMs for specific applications. Although each VMs would need to be provisioned in advance, it added the much-desired benefit of remote management and segregation of resources, while avoiding the pains associated with managing individual bare metals for each application. This provided Enterprises a way to share or spread its IT investments across multiple business applications.

As we migrated to the Cloud, this notion of virtualization has been carried forward by the vendors. NIST requires Cloud Computing Vendors/Products (NIST’S Definition of Cloud) to have the below essential characteristics:

  1. On-demand Self-Service
  2. Broad network access
  3. Resource pooling
  4. Rapid elasticity
  5. Measured Service

Note that ‘Virtualization’ is not listed as a required characteristic listed. Although many would detest this definition, we all concede that without some form of Virtualization, these key characteristics could not be delivered.

What is Virtualization?

Virtualization allows us to run one or multiple Operating Systems (guest OS’s) on top of an Host OS, while allowing hardware resources to be shared across all the guest OS’s.

P.S. – We will NOT be discussing Bare-metal Hypervisors in this post.

This often creates the misnomer that Virtualization (Hypervisor technologies) will continue to drive Paas (Cloud) adoption.

One significant limitation of Virtualization is that VMs remain tightly coupled to the underlying OS as well as to the application it hosts. This created a performance roadblock of Scaling Out these applications (as opposed to Scaling Up).

We can argue about cloning entire VMs to spin out multiple instances (e.g. VMIs on AWS or VMs on Azure). However, there are significant CPU and Memory overheads which make VMs slow to deploy and boot. Not to mention the need to boot up the Guest OS’s.

Lastly, the licensing costs associated with OS licenses for each VM (E.g. Windows). This significantly limits Dev Ops agility, which is a key benefit of adopting Platform-As-A-Service (PaaS). The need for Continuous Delivery (CD) and Continuous Deployment (CD) inherently depends on our ability to efficiently provision instances (Dev, QA, Test, UAT etc…) as needed and automating the release processes.

Enters Containerization

Containerization is an ability to virtualize the OS resources instead of the underlying hardware while it sits directly on top of the bare metal. Thereby allowing to eliminate the need for multiple OS’s for each Container.

Although, this has been a natural evolution from the roadblocks of Virtualization. But, one can trace the concepts of containerization to early 2000’s from FreeBSD Jails and eventually from Oracle Solaris’s Zones.

docker-containers-vms

Simplicity always encapsulates the complex world beneath. (Image Source: Docker Inc.)

It allowed to install a Container engine which hosted Containers to share the underlying OS. Linux Containers (LXC) predominantly has gained popularity since Docker challenged the Virtualization market. With LXC, individual applications can run within their own container (dedicated file system, storage, CPU & Memory) while sharing a common Linux kernel. Unlike VMs, there is no abstraction to the hardware.

The key benefits convincingly demonstrated so far are:

  • Speed of deployment
  • Migration of Legacy applications (does not follow Microservices architecture)
  • Density of Apps (due to low footprint of Containers)

At the time of writing this post, Windows Containers have been released by Microsoft (Hyper-V Containers). Hyper-V Containers take a slightly different approach to Containerization for stricter isolation. We can review that in a future post.

While Security around Containers has been a concern in mass adoption within Enterprises , it is being addressed aggressively. Since a common Kernel is being shared across Containers, the primary concern being addressed is in further reducing the security/attack surface area in this architecture. We will discuss security vulnerabilities further in future posts.

security-looming

Major PaaS providers, like Azure, AWS, Salesforce and others solve many of the problems we faced with environment provisioning, expensive or non-existent fail-over options for web applications and networks, costly management, barriers to continuous delivery (CI/CD/CD), and inherent technical debt. While none presents the single bullet, these companies are leading the innovation to True PaaS.

For optimal leverage, these technologies also mandate us to redefine (read rewrite) our applications to follow the principles of micro-services architecture, which has its roots in Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).

Let’s toast to 2016 and our quest for Continuous Evolution (CE?)

By Paul Sourin

Wearable Tech and IoT Take Center Stage

Wearable Tech and IoT Take Center Stage

Wearable Tech and IoT Buzz

CES 2016 only begins officially on Wednesday, but tech firms are already sneaking out press releases and early launches, whetting the appetites of both soon-to-be attendees of the Vegas show and cyber participants alike. With start-up exhibitors of the show raking in more than $1 billion in investment over the past four shows, launches of outlandish devices such as robot projectors and vibrating gaming chairs, and 3,200 vendors participating in this year’s event, it’s clear the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has come a long way since its launch in 1967 when it featured just 14 vendors and was dominated by television.

Internet of Things (IoT)

This year, early releases and sneak peeks suggest IoT and Wearable Tech will be playing a dominant role in the tech event. Technogym and iFit are going head to head in the fitness tech arena with a treadmill that plays a “personalized music soundtrack” adjusted to the speed of the user, and a treadmill fitted with an OLED screen using data from Google Maps to create the feeling of running in “exotic locations”.

IoT-Connected-Devices

Petnet unveiled a SmartBowl helping owners ensure their cuddly consorts don’t pack on the pounds, and in the human food management arena, Samsung has launched a fridge providing an internal camera that allows users to look inside their refrigerator without opening the door. While this may sound like something out of a psychological thriller, the energy saving benefits are, in fact, the real aim here. Perhaps a little more light will be shed on this innovation once the show begins…

And with hoverboards banned from use in this year’s CES showrooms, Acton’s electronic skateboard could be the alternative for those too cool (or lazy) to merely walk from stall to stall. Controlled by a small handheld device or smartphone app, the Blink travels up to 12mph and takes its cues from last year’s most talked about product, RocketSkates.

Wearable Tech

Of course, not all of us have the core strength and Zen-like balance skateboarding may requiring, thanks in part to another glutinous festive season, and so Digisole is offering instead a smartshoe. With a toe-warming system, built-in torch lamp, and the ability to count your steps, it’s described as ‘trendy’ by the French startup. A matter of opinion certainly, but considering some of my boxed up ‘80s and ‘90s wear that offered nothing but neon, who am I to judge?

wearable-fitness

Gymwatch has revealed that its weightlifting-tracking wristband is now able to communicate with the Apple Watch, and Kopin has announced the world’s smallest display for eyewear. A host of health monitoring devices are making headlines, from Omron’s smartwatch-like blood pressure monitor to ReleifBand’s morning sickness bracelet, but FashionWare continues to encourage the techies to keep it cool. Developers and designers are collaborating to create stylish yet functional wearables, and the number of wearable tech exhibitors at this year’s CES has tripled to 41, taking up 9,400 square feet of floor space.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality continues to storm the scene, and in answer to this growing trend, CES has more than 40 VR exhibitors represented, an increase of 77% on last year’s show. With the expectation that sales of VR headsets will increase by 500% in 2016, projecting around 1.2 million units sold, and revenues of $540 million, major contenders such as HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, and Oculus Rift may have their own showdown in the coming days.

By Jennifer Klostermann

CloudTweaks Comics
Mobile Connected Technologies – The Future Of The Healthcare Industry

Mobile Connected Technologies – The Future Of The Healthcare Industry

Mobile Connected Technologies Clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities are embracing new mobile technologies in order to be more efficient in their daily tasks. With faster communication and better collaboration, clinicians can spend much less time handling medical devices and more time administering care to their patients. Industry experts are stating that mobile connected technologies…

Business Analytics Vs Data Science

Business Analytics Vs Data Science

Big Data Continues To Grow Big Data continues to be a much discussed topic of interest and for good reason.  According to a recent report from International Data Corporation (IDC), “worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics will grow from nearly $122 billion in 2015 to more than $187 billion in 2019, an increase…

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Predictions By 2023

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Predictions By 2023

Big Data Predictions By 2023 Everything we do online from social networking to e-commerce purchases, chatting, and even simple browsing yields tons of data that certain organizations collect and poll together with other partner organizations. The results are massive volumes of data, hence the name “Big Data”. This includes personal and behavioral profiles that are stored, managed, and…

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

There is a Difference – So Stop Comparing We are all familiar with the old saying “That’s like comparing apples to oranges” and though we learned this lesson during our early years we somehow seem to discount this idiom when discussing the Cloud. Specifically, IT buyers often feel justified when comparing the cost of a…

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…

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…

Five Signs The Internet of Things Is About To Explode

Five Signs The Internet of Things Is About To Explode

The Internet of Things Is About To Explode By 2020, Gartner estimates that the Internet of Things (IoT) will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion worldwide. It’s an astoundingly large figure given that the sector barely existed three years ago. We are now rapidly evolving toward a world in which just about everything will become…

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact In 2016

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact In 2016

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact The technology industry moves at a relentless pace, making it both exhilarating and unforgiving. For those at the forefront of innovation it is an incredibly exciting place to be, but what trends are we likely to see coming to the fore in 2016? Below are six predictions…

Cloud Computing Price War Rages On

Cloud Computing Price War Rages On

Cloud Computing Price War There’s little question that the business world is a competitive place, but probably no area in business truly defines cutthroat quite like cloud computing. At the moment, we are witnessing a heated price war pitting some of the top cloud providers against each other, all in a big way to attract…

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Is The Fintech Industry The Next Tech Bubble?

Is The Fintech Industry The Next Tech Bubble?

The Fintech Industry Banks offered a wide variety of services such as payments, money transfers, wealth management, selling insurance, etc. over the years. While banks have expanded the number of services they offer, their core still remains credit and interest. Many experts believe that since banks offered such a wide multitude of services, they have…

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

DDoS Attacks October 21st, 2016 went into the annals of Internet history for the large scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that made popular Internet properties like Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify and Box inaccessible to many users in the US. The DDoS attack happened in three waves targeting DNS service provider Dyn, resulting in a total of about…

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…

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

7 Common Cloud Security Missteps

Cloud Security Missteps Cloud computing remains shrouded in mystery for the average American. The most common sentiment is, “It’s not secure.” Few realize how many cloud applications they access every day: Facebook, Gmail, Uber, Evernote, Venmo, and the list goes on and on… People flock to cloud services for convenient solutions to everyday tasks. They…

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

The Digital Twin  How smart factories and connected assets in the emerging Industrial IoT era along with the automation of machine learning and advancement of artificial intelligence can dramatically change the manufacturing process and put an end to the dreaded product recalls in the future. In recent news, Samsung Electronics Co. has initiated a global…

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Hyperconverged Infrastructure In this article, we’ll explore three challenges that are associated with network deployment in a hyperconverged private cloud environment, and then we’ll consider several methods to overcome those challenges. The Main Challenge: Bring Your Own (Physical) Network Some of the main challenges of deploying a hyperconverged infrastructure software solution in a data center are the diverse physical…

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

ERP Deployment You know how ERP deployment can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and more popular, it is worth…

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…

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

The Catch 22 The very same year Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world, the Chief Information Officer of the United States was announcing a major Cloud First goal. That was 2011. Five years later, as both the private and public sectors continue to adopt cloud-based software services, we’re interested in this…

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…