Category Archives: Technology

Confused By The Cloud? A New eBook Reveals All…

Confused By The Cloud? A New eBook Reveals All…

Confused By The Cloud?

Cloud computing can be a difficult concept to grasp. For those who have not yet started to use the plethora of services available, either on a personal or enterprise level, it’s
difficult to know where to start. What’s the difference between SaaS and IaaS? How do you know whether your organisation needs a hybrid cloud or a private cloud? What level of support, service, and security do you need?

Luckily, an excellent new eBook has just been published by Dell which aims to explain some of these questions. Titled “Demystifying the cloud: A guide to understanding cloud computing”, the publication acts as a complete walkthrough of the industry, bringing the differing parts of cloud computing that you need to be aware of into focus.


It is available in both web format and as a pdf download with no registration required.

What’s In The book?

The book is split into six chapters, each of which tackles a different aspect of cloud computing.

Chapter 1, “What makes cloud so mysterious?

The opening chapter looks at what exactly the cloud is, how it works, and the different ways of deploying it. As it tries to explain what the cloud is, it discusses the different models of computing (such as ‘Mainframe computing’, ‘Utility computing’, and ‘Grid/distributed computing’), before drawing the conclusion that “Cloud computing shares characteristics with [lots of models], but none of them – by themselves – completely describe cloud computing”. It then moves on to teach users about public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds, and the differences between IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS.

Chapter 2, “Why cloud technology is miraculous

The next section addresses the cloud’s benefits and talks you through what it can offer to companies. Topics covered include how the cloud can “reduce IT costs and increase business agility” by offering just the right amount of computing capacity, how innovation becomes easier thanks to the lack of need for a data centre, and how the cloud has become for catalyst for the phenomenal growth now being seen in the Internet of Things. It even includes a mini quiz!

Chapter 3, “Multi-cloud Challenges

Chapter 3 assesses some of the issues and problems that users need to plan for and tackle. The biggest takeaway from the section is in the opening line, “Those easily-acquired, amazing services can accumulate quickly, and if left unchecked, they may unleash chaos across your company. Plan for the big picture before you jump in”.

It then lists a series of helpful questions that would-be users need to consider; what kind of availability does your provider guarantee? Does your provider apply different security measures to different types of data? What plans are in place to recover from security breaches as well as man-made and natural disasters? Does your provider offer support 24/7 all year long? It concludes by saying that if you’re unsure how to create a fully unified cloud environment, you should use a cloud broker.


Sponsored eBook Giveaway By Dell

By Daniel Price

The Apple iWatch – Fashion Hype And Knockoffs

The Apple iWatch – Fashion Hype And Knockoffs

The Apple iWatch Hype – Is It Justified?

By now, you’ve heard talk of Apple’s upcoming device, the Apple Watch. As a long-time collector of fine wristwatches, I’ve been skeptical about the device. I don’t want to be closed-minded, but I prefer to keep the two separate. Millions of Apple evangelists strongly disagree with me, though. The Apple Watch is so insanely hyped, in fact, that knock-offs are already for sale in China.

CNN reports: “The Apple Watch doesn’t go on sale officially for more than a month, but China is already awash with clones. Knockoff versions can be found at electronics markets in China, and others are being sold nationwide via popular e-commerce websites. The fakes mimic the design and style of Apple’s new offering, right down to the digital crown. They cost between 250 yuan and 500 yuan ($40 to $80).”

There isn’t much the Apple Watch will be able to do that a smartphone can’t do now. But starting at US $350, is all the hype warranted? Or should consumers wait until the technology improves and does more impressive functions? I don’t think a luxury gadget can work.

Vox agrees: “Apple clearly knows it has to make not just the tech case for the Apple Watch (which it barely even needs to do, given the tech news and blogosphere’s obsessive coverage of all things Apple) but also the fashion case. Making sure the product is highly visible not just in Macworld and TechCrunch but in fashion publications, like the Self cover and Vogue spread, could go a long way toward making people see the watch as attractive…but never before has that attractiveness bar been set so high for Apple.”

Still, some disagree and think that the Apple Watch could be a game-changer.

According to Forbes: “Apple wants to marry its concept of the technology treadmill to the luxury market and the margins that come with it, and if it can get the rich and flashy addicted to $10,000 watches every two years, it will have a serious new win on its hands.”

While the innovative technology really is awe-inspiring, this stage in its innovation, the iWatch appears to be a wannabe luxury item and little else.

So what is an Apple Watch? For those unfamiliar can have a quick refresher below. The infographic is provided by



By Jason Sander

Are You SURE You Are Ready For The Cloud?: Security of Business

Are You SURE You Are Ready For The Cloud?: Security of Business

Cloud Business Security


Last month I went into the financial side of moving to the cloud. This month I am going to focus on the other main reason I have seen customers migrate to the cloud: Security of business. When I say security, I do not mean username and passwords, but a stability of the environment factor that causes companies to have a sense of security. Nobody wants their environments to be affected by uncontrolled or outside forces. Whether that is mistakes by companies digging in the ground around your datacenter or office, or the electric company not doing a good job in keeping the power flowing. Things happen, and allot of times, there is nothing you can do about it.

There can be tons of reasons why you are concerned about the stability of your environments, but the main idea is to make sure you have your data available to your company when it needs it.

Moving To The Cloud


Moving to the cloud is one way of assisting you in your endeavor to stabilize your company. You now have a company that is responsible for your environment, and depending on your company of choice, they can provide support to you 24 hours a day.

So, what parts, if not all of your datacenter, are you going to move to the cloud? That is a personal question that you and your company as a whole need to evaluate. Every company is different, and no two datacenters are ever exactly the same.

You may have several application servers that could go, but then you need to think about the databases that they need to communicate with. You don’t want to worry about paying for bandwidth charges for your apps to communicate with your local company because you separated the frontend with the backend.

Another situation may be providing better customer facing apps. This is one of the most common reasons why companies go in the cloud direction. If your customer facing applications are busy all the time, the cloud can provide a more robust environment at a cheaper cost that you may be paying for co-location services with a third party company.

Managed Services


Another reason companies move, is the backup capabilities that the cloud provides. This is sometimes overlooked when companies start evaluating is they should take advantage of the cloud. Some cloud providers offer managed services, which take care of your instances on a more personal level. How?

Depending on your cloud provider, it could mean keeping your instances patched on the operating system, backing up your instances to another facility, or taking snapshots of your instances and putting them on separate storage. One cloud provider I worked with actually helped me customize my environment so I could do my own form of managed services through automated scripts. This practically negated the need to have the client pay for the managed services to begin with.

Do you need managed services? That is a question you need to answer for yourself. There are added expenses if you choose to have managed services, but it can also allow you to trim down your support teams that are taking care of your systems. That is something you really need to think about thoroughly first.

So, we have two of the main reasons why most companies in my experience move to the cloud, financial and security of business. But now that you have your reasons why you should move to the cloud, you still have to answer one question: “Where do I start?

We will cover that topic in more detail next month.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Richard Thayer

Cloud Infographic – Workplace Tech

Cloud Infographic – Workplace Tech

Workplace Tech Revolution – Key Trends

BYOD has been discussed on CloudTweaks several times over the past number of years.

As mobile workforce management tools and techniques have matured, more companies have been able to integrate them. According to IDC analysts Christopher Chute and Raymond Boggs, this has been especially advantageous for small and medium-sized businesses. Their report, the U.S. 2014 SMB Corporate-Owned and BYOD Mobile Device Survey, determined that organizations of this size have seen the biggest increase in BYOD program launches.

Attached below is an infographic provided by the team at Insight UK which offers an interesting look at how the workplace is changing.


Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

The Hot Seat

Five cloud questions every CIO needs to know how to answer

The cloud is a powerful thing, but here in the CloudTweaks community, we already know that. The challenge we have is validating the value it brings to today’s enterprise. Below, let’s review five questions we need to be ready to address when it comes to the cloud.


1. Where do you start?

In today’s technologically advanced world, the cloud is everywhere we turn, referenced in every magazine we read and a focal point of every IT event you attend. While the support for the cloud is overwhelming, many CIOs are hesitant to invest, unsure of where to start. For these CIOs, my advice is to start small and learn to walk before you run.


As a starting point, review your list of 2015 initiatives and see which ones can be addressed with a cloud solution. Software as a Service, SaaS, is a proven safe launching pad for many companies looking to enter the world of cloud services. Moving to Office 365 has served many IT departments well. Office 365 has been a welcome solution by providing a cost-effective license model, while enabling the mobile and remote use. In addition, you can streamline business operations and enhance office productivity by sending infrastructure to the cloud, allowing your IT employees to spend more time focusing on more important business objectives. Imagine your company with secure smart device and desktop email access and no more phone calls about the mail system being down—all in a cost effective, flexible pricing model. Sounds like an easy decision. Other good SaaS choices include ERP, help desk and accounting solutions.

The cloud can also be useful for creating a test and development environment. This gives you the ability to test cloud services while creating a very cost-effective test and development environment. By allowing you to turn on and off the environment as needed, the public cloud allows companies to cut down costs by only paying for what they need, when they need it. This eliminates the allocation of hardware for test environments, resulting in a positive reduction in depreciation costs due to obsolete equipment.

2. What benefits can the cloud provide?

The cloud can deliver numerous benefits, but the most impactful ones are cost savings, scalability and agility. Many cloud solutions can deliver up to a 25 percent reduction in bottom line costs for CIOs. The cloud’s ability to provide agility and unlimited scale that cannot be achieved effectively internally positions your department to take on whatever the business units will need now and throughout the year. Additionally, the cloud can enable IT executives to say “yes” to the business units and not slow down the company’s objectives, effectively taking back control of IT and minimizing the shadow IT movement.

3. Why invest in the cloud?

What better reason to invest in the cloud than when it aligns with your brand’s top initiatives? Based on a list of top 10 CIO priorities released by Information Management, disaster recovery was ranked number nine. Over the last couple of years, disaster recovery services have gone from big-ticket items to cost-effective solutions offering aggressive service level agreements. One of the main drivers of this decreased cost and increased service is the proliferation of cloud-based disaster recovery providers.

In the same poll, cloud services were ranked as the number two priority for CIOs. Other initiatives on the poll were cost reduction and consolidation. In most cases, moving servers to a cloud provider will reduce server, storage and hardware costs by up to 25 percent over building the same solution in-house. IaaS services can also facilitate data center consolidation projects or allow companies that have not completely virtualized their operations to do so, thereby reducing cost while consolidating their server and storage footprints.

4. How can the cloud impact your role?

CIOs need to realize that the cloud is key to elevating their seat at the executive table—an elevation that can take them from technology implementer to driver of business strategy. Though not a magical pill, the cloud is a requirement for this type of transformation in today’s business landscape.

The cloud enables an agile, scalable and cost effective infrastructure, allowing IT to quickly accommodate even the most demanding business requests. Delivering solutions to the business in a timely and cost-effective manner builds credibility and showcases IT as a “can do” organization versus a roadblock. With a renewed reputation, the business units will pull IT into their projects proactively, thereby reducing the shadow IT movement and in turn returning control back to IT. With this precious new gift of trust, combined with the cloud, IT can provision application on their private cloud when a higher degree of security or compliance is required, while leveraging the public cloud for applications that have lower security requirements but need to burst. The increased efficiency, business trust and reduced shadow IT will enable IT to begin driving the digital transformation, rather than viewing it from the sidelines.

5. What’s important when selecting a cloud provider?

The cloud has changed the mentality of outsourcing in many ways. For example, companies no longer want to sign 7-10 year contracts with their providers. Many are keeping their contracts to three years or less. Technology is changing too fast and companies need to remain flexible in order to adapt to the latest trend or technology. CIO’s are also now open to finding the best of breed providers to address their business initiatives, and if that means spreading the opportunities across multiple providers then so be it. Multisourcing, working with multiple providers, is now an accepted and preferred method while the once common practice of using a single provider is now thought to be “old school thinking”. Work with a provider that is both willing to add value beyond their basic services and determine if the provider is progressive and will be able to deliver the next disruptive technology you may need to transform your business.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Marc Malizia

Wargames In The Cloud – Putting Your Systems To The Test

Wargames In The Cloud – Putting Your Systems To The Test

Wargames In The Cloud

A lot has been made of the cloud’s role in Business Continuity. How, for instance, a mountain can become a molehill thanks to shelving off your hosted data to a third party in a secure location. How, when offices are unavailable for any particular reason, employees can access their files and their work anywhere in the world.

That’s great. It sounds like sales patter, though.

Have you tested it? Have you tested all of your Business Continuity plans at all? I’ve been sitting in on a few wargames of late, and while it may seem like the geeks have finally inherited the earth, they’re proving invaluable in testing Continuity plans and ensuring their robustness. The banks know it – or they’ve been told it.


In every wargame, the cloud is turning out to be the ultimate defence. So how do you get the best out of wargaming?

War games are nothing new in business – we’ve seen them in various contexts. Marketing teams test their strategies by running market scenarios, while customer service teams are adept at understanding what can happen if you haven’t planned.

There are a number of different types of wargame within business. There are wargames where two sides are considered enemies (e.g. rival companies) – and then there are wargames where two sides compete to achieve their goals in apparent disregard for each other. In between, there’s a more competitive type of wargame.

The cloud’s relevance to wargaming often turns up in the first instance – where there is a direct threat. However, it can happen in the other two instances, as we will see…

Business is War…

The most immediate threats to our business often are not competitors, they are influences beyond our control. If your office is next to a river, you know you could flood in the winter. If you are reliant on your staff coming in to work on the tube, you know there’s going to be a tube strike at some point.

At its most simple, a Business Continuity plan would rely upon the presence of cloud servers so that people can work remotely – but are they tested in a wargame scenario? What are the potential threats to people getting access to their cloud-hosted files?

Take an objective approach and run through every scenario – test, test and test again. As Russell Cook says, never make it easy – make it as complex a test as you can. Leave no stones unturned.

Business is a Game

Business Continuity isn’t just about immediate natural threats. What if, for instance, your competitors are able to display more agility in the face of such threats? The visibility of this agility through social media these days can prove a competitive advantage.

By viewing the wargame in a more competitive light, as opposed to “do or die”, you start to reveal other elements of a more complete Continuity plan. What competitive edge can you gain while others are suffering from similar threats? Think again of the banks and how some have suffered from IT lapses while others have strengthened their market share as a result.

It’s not about staying alive, it’s about using the fact that you’ve stayed alive to prosper.

Business is Business, after all

Of course, business is neither a war nor a game – and threats are often more subtle than “we will go out of business”. The point of wargaming is to analyse exactly how your systems will cope with different scenarios, and how sub-scenarios can put pressure on your systems. If, on top of this, you can define a competitive advantage thanks to your greater agility, then the wargame is won.

I would recommend reading the excellent guide on wargaming techniques from the BCI magazine if you’re interested in finding out more about the strategy.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Gareth Cartman

12 WordPress CMS Managed Hosting Services

12 WordPress CMS Managed Hosting Services

WordPress CMS Managed Hosting Services

WordPress has exploded in popularity as a blogging tool and content management system in recent years, and is now used by more than 23.3 percent of the top 10 million websites worldwide. Due to its popularity, several web hosting providers have chosen to offer ‘managed WordPress hosting’; a concierge service where a wide range of technical aspects of running a WordPress site are managed by the host (for example, security, speed, WordPress updates, daily backups, website uptime, and scalability).

WordPress VIP


WordPress VIP is operated by WordPress itself. They are two levels of service – ‘cloud hosting’ and ‘support’. The prior (which includes unlimited traffic, backups, SaaS, and round-the-clock support) costs $5,000 per month, while if you want to host the site yourself and just want their support on optimising and scaling your site, it costs $1,250 per month. With a range of blue-chip clients, such as NBC, TED, CNN, Time, and UPS, you know you’re in good hands.

A Small Orange


They offer six different plans to choose from (shared hosting, semi-dedicated hosting, business hosting, dedicated servers, cloud VPS hosting, and reseller hosting) which range from $5 per month for the cheapest shared plan (5GB storage, 50GB bandwidth), to $275 per month for the most expensive dedicated plan (a Dual Intel Xeon E5-2620 server with 12 Cores, a 12,947 CPUMark score, and 32GB RAM).




Clients such as Tecturized, Tarambuka, and ECOFYS all giving glowing testimonials about CloudWays. Standout features include the ability to deploy unlimited applications on top of ‘super-clouds’ (such as Amazon’s EC2), a VMAN stack configuration that guarantees 40-50 percent better page load times than a traditional host, and a dedicated security team. Prices range from $5 per month to $855 per month.



FlyWheel’s personal plan (25,000 monthly visits, 10GB disk space, 500GB bandwidth) starts at $30 per month, while their ‘Agency’ plan costs £250 per month but includes 30 WordPress installs, 600,000 monthly visits, 120GB disk space, and 8TB bandwidth. With well-known brands such as The Washington Post and Wyman on-board, they’re a name we can expect to hear a lot more about.




One of Kinsta’s biggest attractions is its ability to choose your location. They understand that the nearer the data centre is to a site’s core user-base the faster its page will load, and while WPEngine offer three data centres, Flywheel offer five, and Pagely only offer one, Kinsta have fourteen locations across four different continents. Prices start at $157 per month and go all the way up to $487. Existing clients include The Daily Banter, Sleeping Baby, and




LightningBase offer four plans – $9.95 per month for 1 WordPress site, 10,000 pageviews and 1 GB SSD storage, $19.95 per month for 3 WordPress sites, 25,000 pageviews and 3 GB SSD storage, $49.95 per month for 10 WordPress sites, 100,000 pageviews and 10 GB SSD storage, and finally $99.95 per month for 25 WordPress sites, 250,000 pageviews and 25 GB SSD storage.




MediaTemple’s web hosting and cloud services now power more than 1.5 million websites in 100 different countries, and boast some of the world’s biggest brands as their clients – including Samsung, Aiga, Obey, and a range of famous designers, artists, bloggers, and entrepreneurs. Their personal plan costs $20 per month, but for larger sites they will create a custom plan for you and then give you a quote.




Based out of Phoenix, Arizona and Bristol, England, Pagely was the first ever managed WordPress hosting platform. They have a hugely impressive list of clients, such as Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, Vonage, and a string of other Fortune 500 companies, governments, and universities. Plans start at $99 per month (three sites, 10GB disk space) run up to $999 per month (35 sites, 50GB disk space).




With large clients such as Cisco and the UN across sectors as diverse as financial services, government, healthcate, media, and technology they immediately demonstrate that they offer a viable solution no matter what your industry. They claim that recent tests demonstrated they had the fastest average response time out of all the benchmarked providers, and also came through with no errors, even under heavy load. Prices go from $25 per month to $400 per month.




Their cheapest plan is $149 per month and their most expensive plan is $299 per month, though they will give you an individual quote if you have special requirements. Clients include Fredo & Pid’jin, Motivation Grid, and Segment Next, and they have data centres in North America, Europe, and Oceania.




Websynthesis’ biggest clients are BlogWorld and GeekBeat TV. On their website they claim their five biggest selling points are a) superior uptime and page load speeds, b) keyword and social media research, c) enhanced security defences d) content and website optimization, and e) their influencer outreach tools. Their standard plan is $47 per month, while their most expensive one is $300 per month.




WPEngine, one of the industries foremost managed WordPress hosts, has a personal plan available for $29 per month (25,000 traffic, one install), a professional plan for $99 per month (100,000 traffic, 10 installs), and a business plan for $249 per month (400,000 traffic, 25 installs). Clients include,, and Kalzumeus Software.

By Daniel Price

Cloud Computing Services Perfect For Your Startup

Cloud Computing Services Perfect For Your Startup

Cloud Computing Services

Chances are if you’re working for a startup or smaller company, you don’t have a robust IT department. You’d be lucky to even have a couple IT specialists. It’s not that smaller companies are ignoring the value and importance of IT, but with limited resources, they can’t afford to focus on anything other than the core elements of their business and why they require cloud computing services.

This often leaves smaller businesses at a disadvantage when trying to compete with large companies and big budgets. Fortunately, new cloud tech advancements are helping level the playing field, so that even with limited IT resources, smaller organizations can have access to cloud technology and quality performance typically reserved for larger, enterprise businesses

BYOD and DaaS

The best way to describe how cloud computing is perfect for your organization is with practical examples. For example, if you’re running or working for a startup, chances are you’re operating on some kind of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. Many smaller companies go this route, as it saves having to pay for machines and software licensing. Also, many startups either have a small workplace or allow their employees to work from anywhere, meaning portable devices are a necessity.

This presents a unique challenge. If employees are constantly switching between smartphones, tablets and laptops, it can be difficult to keep everything stored in one, easy-to-find location, as if they were operating on one machine. Of course, there are services like Dropbox and Google Drive to help improve collaboration and file sharing, but they often lack the business tools necessary to match the performance of enterprise cloud computing services.

This is why many companies have adopted a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). VDI offers a number of advantages over traditional infrastructures. The biggest being the ability to access desktops remotely, regardless of the devices being used. That means someone could seamlessly start a project on their tablet and finish it on their laptop. It doesn’t matter where you are, you can easily handoff projects between devices.


However, as useful as a VDI is, it’s often out of reach for smaller organizations. That’s because of the heavy upfront costs. While an effective means of simplifying mobile access to desktop applications, VDI requires the purchasing and managing of a centralized VDI in a data center or private cloud. This is where Desktop as a Service, or DaaS, becomes incredibly useful. With DaaS, organizations can pay cloud providers to host and manage the VDI, thereby avoiding those heavy upfront costs. Those considering DaaS as an option have a number of solid providers available as well, the top being companies like Amazon, VMware or Dell.

Cloud Computing

DaaS helps take cloud computing to the next level because it offers the advantages of VDI along with additional cloud benefits, like flexibility and security. By shifting the responsibility of handling virtualization needs to providers, startups and smaller companies can dramatically reduce their dependence on IT. The provider will handle things like security, licensing, patching and updates, meaning organizations will have less of a need for many IT professionals and will simply divert most of their IT budget towards paying for the service.

Smaller companies have to be much more nimble than larger companies, as they are constantly reacting to dramatic shifts in growth and demands. In the past, organizations would have to anticipate demand, and then build their infrastructure to handle it. That often meant overestimating and overspending most of the year. It also meant risking an underestimate, and then having to spend more money for upgrades. Cloud solutions help reduce this ambiguity and allow companies to quickly scale up or down, depending on their needs. So, if your startup starts to grow, you don’t need to add new infrastructure for your machines. Instead you can quickly increase your requirements with your provider to match company growth.

By Rick Delgado

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5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise Sharing Solution

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Three Reasons Cloud Adoption Can Close The Federal Government’s Tech Gap

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Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

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