Technology Blog

Aug
22

Why Cloud Architecture Matters

Choosing an enterprise cloud platform is a lot like choosing between living in an apartment building or a single-family house. Apartment living can offer conveniences and cost-savings on a month-by-month basis. Your rent pays the landlord to handle all ongoing maintenance and renovation projects — everything from fixing a leaky faucet to installing a new central A/C system. But there are restrictions that prevent you from making customizations. And a fire that breaks out in a single apartment may threaten the safety of the entire building. You have more control and autonomy with a house. You have very similar choices to consider when evaluating cloud computing services.

The first public cloud computing services that went live in the late 1990s were built on a legacy construct called a multi-tenant architecture. Their database systems were originally designed for making airline reservations, tracking customer service requests, and running financial systems. These database systems feature centralized compute, storage, and networking that served all customers. As their numbers of users grew, the multi-tenant architecture made it easy for the services to accommodate the rapid user growth.

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Aug
22

The CIO Challenge

I think it’s fair to say that the role of the CIO has to be one of the toughest jobs in the world, but also one of the most rewarding.

For starters, CIOs are responsible for ensuring that each member of an organization has the resources and tools to be productive. To do so, CIOs must also provide adequate infrastructure so their organizations can extract relevant information and analysis from computer networks in real time.

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Aug
22

The Critical Cloud Conversations You Are Not Having, But Should

Someone, somewhere at your organization is discussing cloud. In strategy meetings someone has said “Let’s move it to the cloud.” At the watercooler or in the breakroom you’ve probably overheard snippets of conversation about micro services, DevOps, cloud strategy, and a host of other cloud-speak. The cloud conversation is everywhere because more companies are moving to the cloud. But they are running into trouble by not defining the expected business outcomes.

Article Index:

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Aug
22

Transitioning To An Agile IT Organization

If you have even a passing interest in software development, you’re likely familiar with the premise of agile methods and processes: keep the code simple, test often, and deliver functional components as soon as they’re ready. It’s more efficient to tackle projects using small changes, rapid iterations, and continuous validation, and to allow both solutions and requirements to evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. All in all, agile development carves a path to software creation with faster reaction times, fewer problems, and better resilience.

The agile model has been closely associated with startups that are able to eschew the traditional approach of “setting up walls” between groups and departments in favor of smaller, more focused teams. In a faster-paced and higher-risk environment, younger companies must reassess priorities more frequently than larger, more established ones; they must recalibrate in order to improve their odds of survival. It is for this reason that startups have also successfully managed to extend agile methods throughout the entire service lifecycle — e.g., DevOps — and streamline the process from development all the way through to operations.

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Aug
22

Summertime And Living In The Cloud Is Easy

Welcome to Cloud Strategy’s 2016 Summer issue! We really outdid ourselves this time.

To begin, Allan Leinwald of ServiceNow is here with an in-depth look at cloud architecture for our cover story. But there is more! Kiran Bondalapati from ZeroStack writes about the commoditization of infrastructure; Sumeet Sabharwal of NaviSite writes on the opportunities available to independent software vendors in the cloud; Mark Nunnikhoven of Trend Micro talks about the trend of the everywhere data center and the danger of dismissing the hybrid cloud; Alan Grantham of Forsythe writes about the cloud conversations companies should be having; Peter Matthews of CA Technologies, Anthony Shimmin of AIMES Grid Services, and Balazs Somoskoi of Lufthansa Systems share their tips for selecting the right cloud services provider; Adam Stern, founder and CEO of Infinitely Virtual writes about the importance of cloud storage speed; Shea Long of TierPoint tackles the hot topic of DRaaS; and Steve Hebert, CEO of Nimbix writes on the challenges CIO face in balancing public, private, and hybrid clouds.

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Aug
22

The Key To Performance Isn’t CPU Or Memory

Applications are driving the enterprise, whether it is a relatively simple application used by millions of customers or a complex, scalable database that drives an organization's back end. These applications, and the users that count on them, expect rapid response times. In a world that demands “instant gratification,” forcing a customer, prospect, or employee to wait for a response is the kiss of death.

–George Crump, lead analyst, IT consulting firm Storage Switzerland, LLC 

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Aug
22

Hyper-scale data center eliminates IT risk and uncertainty

In June 2016, CyrusOne completed the Sterling II data center at its Northern Virginia campus. A custom facility featuring 220,000 sq ft of space and 30 MW of power, Sterling II was built from the ground up and completed in only six months, shattering all previous data center construction records.

The Sterling II facility represents a new standard in the building of enterprise-level data centers, and confirms that CyrusOne can use the streamlined engineering elements and methods used to build Sterling II to build customized, quality data centers anywhere in the continental United States, with a similarly rapid time to completion.

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Aug
22

Dealing With The Everywhere Data Center

Where does your data center end?

It might seem like an odd question as you can probably point out the physical building or buildings that house your data center(s). But does that physical installation line up with the logic concept of the “data center” held by your business?

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Aug
22

From People-Managed Infrastructure To Software-Managed Infrastructure

The commoditization of infrastructure is one of the most significant developments over the last couple of decades. The growth of web-scale companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter (which collect, analyze, and extract information from a large volume of data) has influenced this commoditization of the infrastructure.

Looking back at the last couple of decades, enterprises have realized that the problems faced and solved by web-scale companies end up being problems in the enterprise after a short gestation time. Enterprises start seeing similar issues in scaling, management, and analysis of infrastructure, processes, and data. At multiple layers of the application stack, the enterprises adopt web-scale strategies to solve similar problems (Figure 1).

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Aug
22

IoT Software Platform from Advantech

Advantech’s WISE-PaaS/RMM 3.1 is an open standardized IoT software platform for users by applying MQTT, a standard and popular IoT M2M protocol for device and server communication.

WISE-PaaS/RMM 3.1 comes with more than 100 RESTful APIs including, account management, device management, device control, event management, system management, and database management. RESTful APIs create new web services and help integrate functions and data with their management tools. Furthermore, WISE-PaaS/RMM 3.1 will release WISE-Agent source code as open source. WISE-Agent software works on the device side, helping customers to develop their own applications. WISE-PaaS/RMM highly enhances connectivity for hardware, software, devices and sensors, and helps customers to transform their business to include IoT cloud services.

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Aug
22

Cloud App Monitoring from Riverbed Technology

Riverbed Technology has released enhancements to Riverbed SteelCentral that bring major advances to troubleshooting capabilities and improved monitoring across the cloud while simultaneously improving ease of use and scalability. These enhancements continue to support a common theme of improved SteelCentral platform integration while enhancing several critical capabilities, including:

Extending powerful monitoring capabilities into the cloud with Microsoft Azure and AWS Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and containerized environments Large-scale virtualized network performance monitoring Expanded unified communications (UC) monitoring with new support for Skype for Business Next generation diagnostics and troubleshooting

Further, SteelCentral vastly improves the ability to monitor applications deployed on PaaS and containerized environments. As these environments dynamically scale during peak and off-peak periods, conventional performance monitoring tools that trace interactions between servers cannot coherently represent application behavior. This release introduces the Application Performance Graph that visually maps interactions between application modules in real-time, regardless of the underlying infrastructure. This reveals dependencies and hotspots obscured by the elasticity of the environment so that IT can observe and fix issues with the most overarching business impact.

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Aug
22

Hybrid Backup and Disaster Recovery from ioSafe

ioSafe’s BDR 515 is a unique fire- and waterproof hybrid backup and disaster recovery (BDR) appliance designed to eliminate downtime, protect data and provide near-zero recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs), even during times of internet outage. The BDR 515 enables data to be protected onsite as well as securely replicated to the cloud.

Powered by Windows Server 2012 R2 and StorageCraft® ShadowProtect® SPX, the ioSafe BDR 515 has a flexible architecture that can be administered by partners and is available in capacities between 5 and 30TB. Other features include:

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Jun
08

A Primer On Cloud Management

By now, the benefits and simplicity of cloud computing are well understood, and the promise of benefits like cost-savings, greater efficiency, and increased application agility have inspired companies of all sizes to kick start their journey to the cloud. In fact, it’s expected that the cloud infrastructure and platform market will grow by 19% annually from 2015 to 2018, reaching 43 billion dollars by 2018.

Ultimately, the question these days is not “if” businesses will move to the cloud, but rather “when.” At the same time, as cloud functionality becomes more complex and IT professionals are increasingly relied upon to manage and deploy cloud services, many organizations struggle to manage their cloud deployment of choice — public vs. private — in a manner that produces the most efficiency and ROI.

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Jun
08

Moving Beyond The Cloud

As we move from the data center and transition into the cloud, what comes next? That’s the question on many CIOs’ minds as they contemplate how to increase customer experience and deliver an environment of true digital enablement where users are capable of conducting their jobs in an always-on, anywhere, anytime world. What they run into at the edge of the cloud is a hazy area — The Fog — where the Internet of Things (IoT) exists. This fog is going to become increasingly critical to both endusers and CIOs alike as smart and connected devices, meant to bring data from every point imaginable, become part of the enterprise.

We are defining the digitally enabled enterprise as an organization that embraces technology and services to improve the customer experience (CX) it delivers to both internal and external customers and, in doing so, often changes the nature of the organization itself. The alignment of and investment in technology and business models is critical to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the CX lifecycle. It doesn’t matter the type of business, where it’s located, or in many cases, how large the organization is; the focus on customer experience is pervasive and all consuming.

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Jun
08

Community Cloud: The Fourth Cloud Infrastructure Option

Cloud is the IT structure of the future due to its scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency. But does the option of a public cloud, private cloud, or even a mix of these environments work for every organization? The simple answer is no. Companies in highly regulated industries such as financial services, health care, education, and government are often stymied by governance, risk, and compliance concerns related to data stored and accessed in the cloud. But all hope is not lost — there is the fourth option of the community cloud.

A community cloud is the lesser known version of cloud infrastructure, although it is relatively popular amongst particular industries. As defined by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), community cloud is an “infrastructure [that] is provisioned for exclusive use by a specific community of consumers from organizations that have shared concerns. It can be owned, managed, and operated by one or more of the organizations, in the community, a third party, or some combination of them, and it may exist on or off premises.” In essence, a community cloud is a subset of the public cloud, but tailored for a particular industry and may be offered as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Since the community cloud is personalized, it is adapted to fit the exact performance, security, and compliance requirements of the industry or community it serves.

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Jun
08

How To Make Mobile Part Of Your Digital Workplace Strategy

As everyday consumers themselves, today’s workforce has explicit expectations for mobility that mirror the demands of the customers they serve. In fact, more than 90% of IT decision makers (ITDMs) see enterprise mobility as the critical function for customer engagement, competitiveness, and operational productivity in 2016.1

Enterprise mobility plays a leading role in the digital workplace. However, the digital workplace is transforming how IT services are delivered to endusers. Employees want to access network resources from any device, at any time, and from any location. Not only is this good for employee morale, general satisfaction, and productivity, it also gives the business a competitive advantage, thereby enabling a fast response to market changes and customer needs more efficiently.

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Jun
08

Software-Defined Infrastructure from Intel

Intel® has released Xeon® processor E5-2600 v4 product family delivers the foundation for modern, software-defined clouds. New Intel® SSDs, including Intel’s first 3D NAND drives optimized for cloud and enterprise workloads, deliver fast, dependable data access.

Collaborations with leading cloud software and solution providers, new industry programs help accelerate businesses’ access to enterprise-ready, easy-to-deploy cloud solutions.

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Jun
08

Software-Defined Data Centers: Hype, Reality, And What's Next

The software-defined data center is either an overused buzzword for a sector filled with tire kickers, or the breakout trend of 2016, depending on which industry experts are quoted. Yet IT managers know there’s a profound transition taking place as control of data center gear shifts from hardware to software.

The latest data show they’re allocating budgets accordingly. According to an April 2016 survey, 66% of CIOs plan to expand their use of software-defined data center technologies this year.1 Spending for software-defined data centers is forecast to increase 14% in 2016, although present deployments represent just 21% of data centers surveyed in early 2016.2 For many enterprises, it’s not an option; Gartner estimated that by 2020 75% of organizations will need to implement a software-defined data center3 in order to support the DevOps approach and hybrid clouds they need as part of agile digital business initiatives.

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Jun
08

Cloud Suite from Red Hat

Red Hat, Inc. has announced the general availability of Red Hat Cloud Suite and Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8, helping to bridge the gap between development and operations teams at the scale of cloud computing. With today’s newly-available products, Red Hat now offers a complete, integrated hybrid cloud stack with a container application platform (OpenShift by Red Hat), massively scalable infrastructure (Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8) and unified management tools (Red Hat CloudForms), all available individually or via a single, easy-to-deploy solution with Red Hat Cloud Suite.

A growing number of organizations are building private clouds1, to give them massively scalable and modern infrastructure, while maintaining increased security and control. According to the Red Hat Global Customer Tech Outlook 2016, a global survey of Red Hat customers, private cloud deployments are expected to outpace public cloud by 6x. In addition, development teams are looking to streamline the creation and deployment of new cloud-native applications while IT leadership is hoping to meet growing business demands with cloud-based automation.

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Feb
25

Cloud Economics

Cloud vendors are quick to tout the benefits offered by on demand IT compared to traditional on premise IT service models. Their marketing materials offer many examples of the benefits realized from moving to the cloud for increased service agility, efficiency, and cost savings. The lure of cost savings generated by moving from a capital expenditure to operating expense based, on-demand service is often cited by IT leaders as a key factor in their decision to move to cloud service support.

Indeed many federal agencies have committed significant dollars to the promise of cloud efficiencies and IT cost savings. As of 2014, it is estimated that cloud investments represent 5% of total IT spending, the equivalent of approximately $3B annually (IDC Press Release from 9/16/14).

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