Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Advantages of SaaS (Software as a Service)

SaaS Applications

credit to saasblogs for image

Nowadays software-as-a service (SaaS) is the most promising development in marketing and business world. Despite the increasing popularity and market share of SaaS, traditional in-house software vendors still seem to be resisting this concept.

However, as time moves on and individuals grasp a better understanding of Cloud Services the number of firms are adopting. Almost all types of business applications such as: CRM, Inventor, Accounting, Marketing and Project Management to name a few are now SaaS based.

Reasons behind the success of SaaS:

Vendor’s Responsibility

SaaS providers are responsible for managing and maintaining both the software and hardware components of the application. The network issues such as data redundancy, data backup and recovery are also planned and managed by the vendors. They upgrade the software on regular intervals.



Since SaaS vendors charge a set price per user per month, the firms don’t have to pay extra money for modules they don’t even use. It literally removes the maintenance, end user support, and administration costs of the software. The implementation and customization costs of SaaS are also lower than the traditional software. All this results in a very low total cost of ownership (TCO).


Hosted software, another term for SaaS offers you more scalability in using the software. By utilizing SaaS you are free to use as much or as little part of any software as you need. This gives you easy and economical access to many programs.

Regular Upgrading

SaaS Vendors regularly upgrade their software, so that the users don’t have to put any effort into installing and upgrading the applications.

Easy Access

A major advantage of SaaS is it can easily and quickly be accessed from anywhere with a web browser. This gives users a great facility even when they are at home or in another country. They can access real time synchronized applications from Laptops and Smart Phones.
By CloudTweaks

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The Value and Utility of Cloud Computing

As enterprises examine the use of cloud computing for core IT functions, how can they protect themselves against service provider lock-in, ensure openness and portability of applications and data, and foster a true marketplace among cloud providers?

Indeed, this burning question about the value and utility of cloud computing centers on whether applications and data can move with relative ease from cloud to cloud -- that is, across so-called public- and private-cloud divides, and among and between various public cloud providers.

For enterprises to determine the true value of cloud models -- and to ascertain if their cost and productivity improvements will be sufficient to overcome the disruptive shift to cloud computing -- they really must know the actual degree of what I call "application fungibility."

Fungible means being able to move in and out of like systems or processes. But what of modern IT applications? Fungible applications could avoid the prospect of swapping on-premises platform lock-in for some sort of cloud-based service provider lock-in and, perhaps over time, prevent being held hostage to arbitrary and rising cloud prices.

Application fungibility would, I believe, create a real marketplace for cloud services, something very much in the best interest of enterprises, small and medium businesses (SMBs), independent software vendors (ISVs), and developers.

In this latest BriefingsDirect podcast discussion, we examine how enterprises and developers should be considering the concept of application fungibility, both in terms of technical enablers and standards for cloud computing, and also consider how to craft the proper service-level agreements (SLAs) to promote fungibility of their applications.

Here to explore how application fungibility can bring efficiency and ensure freedom of successful cloud computing, we're joined by Paul Fremantle, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder at WSO2, and Miko Matsumura, author of SOA Adoption for Dummies and an influential blogger and thought leader on cloud computing subjects. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

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Friday, 27 August 2010

Cloud Storage Lives Up to the Hype

Pay-as-you-go cloud-based storage can be inexpensive and fast. Check out the pros and cons of five cloud-based storage services, tested under real-world conditions.

We tested five cloud-based storage services under real-world conditions. We set up accounts, connected with the vendor storage network, uploaded and downloaded files, measured performance and analyzed cost structures. Our conclusions are that cloud-based storage can save you money. And cloud-based storage can be fast. However, there are still security concerns that you need to be aware of. And since pricing is based on a variety of variables, it may be tricky to determine in advance what your total costs will be.

Cloud Computing: Today's Four Favorite Flavors, Explained
Cloud Storage to the Rescue?

[ For complete coverage of the Cloud Apps Wars -- including a complete guide to the business war, the competing products including Google (GOOG) Docs and Office 2010, the implications for users and IT, and more -- see CIO.com's Cloud Apps Wars Bible. ]


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Supercharge Your Business with Google Apps

All businesses need basic services such as e-mail hosting, document sharing, and file editing. The ways to set up these functions vary greatly, however--pick the wrong method, and you'll waste time and money.

For example, you don't need to cover the costs of your own server, since the various Google Apps for businesses shift these tools into the cloud. Plus, the online approach makes your organization more mobile, since it allows you and your staff to connect from any computer and from most smartphones.

Google's (GOOG) offerings for businesses differ from the company's consumer applications. But that's just the beginning. In this article I'll reveal tips and tweaks that can supercharge Google's tools to improve your business's productivity. Whether you are just beginning to explore Google Apps or are already a subscriber, these tricks will help you get the most from the services.
Google Apps Collaboration Tools

In addition to handling your e-mail, Google Apps can help people in your business collaborate. Many tools are available, covering everything from scheduling to document creation to videoconferencing. And though you save everything in the cloud, Google maintains good security to protect your data.
Google Calendar can help you keep appointments and share scheduling with groups. The business service is similar to the consumer version, but oriented toward clusters of employees. You'll be able to share workday details with coworkers so that they know when you're free for a possible meeting, for instance. The tool can send meeting invitations and update itself as recipients verify their attendance.

Google Docs imports and edits basic office-suite files, including .doc, .ppt, and .xls files in its word processor, presentation tool, and spreadsheet app, respectively. Multiple staffers can share documents, each person editing them without worrying about losing someone else's changes (as they might when downloading and uploading documents to a file server). Google keeps a complete history of each contributor's updates, and colleagues can even edit files at the same time. This setup can serve as a great group note-taking space for a conference call or during a presentation.

Google Sites, available in each edition of Google Apps, acts as an intranet Website. You can use it as a company bulletin board for everyone, store HR policies, highlight an upcoming event, or otherwise organize information. Google Sites and Google Docs can store any document type, so you can use them for simple file sharing, too.

Google Groups, available in the Premier Edition, acts as a center point for collaboration. Groups allow staffers to send messages within mailing lists at your company, such as a sales-team list. In addition, members can share a calendar and documents as a group. When new people join the group, they gain access to the message history as well as to the rest of the information, so that they can get up to speed with in-progress plans.


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Thursday, 26 August 2010

WSJ says iPads gaining acceptance in corporations

The past few weeks have been fascinating for Apple watchers. The business press has been reporting that the brand, formerly a pariah in the buttoned-down world of corporate IT, is now being accepted with open arms. We had a story yesterday about the growth of Mac sales in the government and enterprise markets, and now the Wall Street Journal is reporting on how the iPad is finding a home in the business world.

In the WSJ Tech piece, reporter Ben Worthen notes how the iPhone was banned by companies when it first came out in 2007 for being inappropriate for the workplace. The iPad, however, has been quickly embraced by companies.

One such success story cited in the WSJ piece talks about Chicago-based law firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP. The company pre-ordered 10 iPads prior to the release of the device in April so that they could learn how iPads could be used with the company's internal systems. The technology department at the firm now supports more than 50 attorneys with iPads, and they plan on issuing iPads as a less-expensive alternative to laptops soon.

It's thought that the iPad's respectability in enterprise circles has many justifications: it featured support for Microsoft Exchange on day one, runs a now well-known mobile operating system with a proven track record, supports many security standards, and has remote wipe capability. Enterprise configuration tools and internal provisioning of custom apps are also on the hit list.

Other companies noted in the article are Mercedes-Benz Financial, which is equipping some dealerships with iPads loaded with a credit-application app. Bausch & Lomb Inc. has built its own iPad app for sales personnel, and deployed about 50 iPads within a couple of weeks of the release of the device. Health-care giant Kaiser Permanente has been testing iPads in its technology lab, and sees the device's form-factor as a plus. The company has tested viewing of medical images on the iPad, as well as accessing medical records.

As Business Insider's Henry Blodget noted in a followup post this morning, this trend puts Microsoft in a precarious place. A good 50% of the Fortune 100 companies are testing or deploying iPads according to Apple COO Tim Cook, and that doesn't bode well for the software giant in taking back control of the lost tablet market.

[via SAI]


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Corporate IT departments relax rules to allow Apple’s iPad

Because it is based on the established iOS mobile operating system -- and because it is relatively cheap and increases productivity -- the iPad has found uncharacteristically quick approval from many information-technology managers at U.S. corporations.

Highlighting the success of the iPad in the business world, The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday noted that while many companies would not approve the iPhone for corporate use when it debuted in 2007, the iPad has quickly found acceptance with IT departments at companies. Part of that is because the iOS mobile operating system, previously only available for the iPhone and iPod touch, has been updated with business-friendly features such as Exchange e-mail and remote erase capabilities.

"Apple has addressed these and other issues, including the ability for companies to encrypt information on iPhones and set up secure ways for employees to connect to corporate networks," author Ben Worthen wrote. "The latest version of the operating system used by the iPhone and iPad adds features that make the devices easier for a tech department to manage, including the ability for businesses to distribute internally developed apps without going through Apple's App Store."

The report noted that more than 500 of the more than 11,000 applications currently available for the iPad are business-oriented. One free application from Citrix, which allows employees to access corporate programs on the iPad, has seen more than 145,000 downloads.

Other advantages to the iPad: its $499 starting price makes it less expensive than a traditional business laptop, and more functional for activities like working standing up or giving a presentation.

The paper recalled that Mercedes-Benz dealers have been equipping employees with iPads to help them sell cars. The car maker began using the iPad at 40 dealerships in May, and earlier this summer said it was considering using the iPad at all 350 of its U.S. locations.

Other specific corporate uses of the iPad mentioned in the Journal's report include:

  • Baush & Lomb Inc., maker of eye-care products, had about 50 employees using an iPad soon after its launch. The company built its own application for salespeople. The company likes the fact that the device starts quickly and has a long battery life.

  • Kaiser Permanente, an Oakland, Calif., health-care organization, has been testing the iPad in a 37,000-square-foot technology lab for viewing medical images such as X-rays and CT scans.

  • Though Chicago law firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP banned the iPhone when it first came out, it preordered 10 iPads before it was released. The company now has more than 50 attorneys equipped with iPads, and plans to issue them as an alternative to laptops next year.

Earlier this summer, Apple revealed that the iPad is at use in more than 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies. Companies such as SAP and Wells Fargo

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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

60% of Companies See Cloud As a Transformational Technology

Do you need any more confirmation that cloud computing is the way forward? Well, just in case we did, the Yankee Group has chipped in with a survey to show how firmly that the technology is entering into companies' consciousness.

According to the research company, 57 percent of US enterprises do see cloud as a technology that drives business transformation and innovation, while only eight percent see it as hype or as a technology that has no place in their business.

Rather interestingly, enterprises place more trust in traditional vendors such as VMware (VMW), HP (HPQ) and Cisco and traditional integrators such as Accenture, rather than the new generation of Web 2.0 suppliers. More than half of the respondents opted for the traditional approach, as opposed to just 17 percent who thought that the likes of Google (GOOG) and Amazon would provide the way forward. Hosting and telecoms companies are similarly not seen as the people to lead the way to cloud computing.

The survey found that production-ready applications were most likely to feature in enterprise cloud deployments, although application testing and storage weren't far behind.


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10 Cloud Computing Startups that you may or may not have heard of…

Tap In Systems

They offer Management of Your Cloud Services. This gives you control over your virtual infrastructure, automating the deployment of cloud services around your IT policies. Keep your applications running smoothly by monitoring all your cloud services with a single management system that is integrated with your operational processes.


WOLF is a browser based On Demand Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for rapidly designing and delivering database driven multi-tenant Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications.


Offers Cloud Services, Hybrid and Dedicated Clouds. They make it possible for your business to benefit from cloud hosting even if security, regulatory or technical requirements have previously prevented it.


Intends to become the utility of choice for a multitude of small and medium sized businesses, delivering enterprise grade IT systems from the cloud, effectively, securely and economically.

Morphlabs’ mCloud

MorphLabs series enables the rapid deployment of the most sophisticated Cloud Delivery platforms for MSPs and Enterprise data centers. Built on industry-leading cloud standards facilitating the hybrid implementation of both public and private virtual resources, the mCloud™ series virtualizes commodity hardware while simplifying system administration and application management.


iSpaces provides a multi-desktop cloud operating system that is simple to you use, incredibly fast, constantly persistent and universally accessible. The beta release of iSpaces is coming out on September 15th.


Is an internet company that is focused on building solutions around cloud computing. 8KMiles is an Amazon System Integration partner and AWS Solution Developer. 8KMiles’ Cloud Solutions group offers cloud consulting, engineering and migration services to help companies leverage the power of cloud computing.


Is innovative software company dedicated to serving the needs of hosting service providers, is the recipient of the 2010 Best Start-Up Award by the The Cloud Computing World Forum in the “World Series” Innovation competition. Cloud Linux received the award for its new innovation on how to “crash proof” servers as hosting providers migrate to a cloud based services model.


CloudSleuth delivers a test lab that brings real-time views of cloud performance to the forefront. For those members shopping around for a cloud service provider, the CloudSleuth platform delivers visualization and performance benchmarks that give them the power to compare the response times and availability of the top cloud service providers.


Is a mobile security company dedicated to making the mobile experience safe for everyone. Today, with users across 400 mobile networks in 170 countries, Lookout is a world leader in smartphone protection which will be big in the cloud computing market..

By CloudTweaks

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5 Business areas best suited for Cloud Computing

5 Areas Best Suited For Cloud Computing

Businesses are shifting from the client-server model to the cloud computing model. There are still some concerns about the security of cloud based servers. Many IT analysts firmly believe that the benefits of using the cloud for certain applications will far outweigh its risks. The needs to store most of the relevant data and access it efficiently is the main driving force behind many companies moving to the cloud.

Following are the top 5 cloud applications being most widely used at present.

Cloud Backup

Some companies like Mozy are working to move businesses backup and disaster recovery data to cloud servers. Because of the presence of security concerns with cloud servers, businesses want to keep a back-up of their important data to avoid any unexpected turn of unforeseen events. The area of corporate cloud backup will continue to be sought after by companies for a number of years to come.

Collaboration Applications

Business firms have already been managing their email and PIM by managed service providers for some years now. Some of the most important areas of collaboration applications will be for: Email, File Sharing, Online Video and Voice Conferencing. The low costs of cloud computing will make easier for decision makers to consider implementing it.

Business Applications

Cloud based business applications provide tremendous opportunities to business firms to pay for what they have used. The Pay As You Go plan. Since companies don’t have to actually purchase the software, they have access to the latest solutions. The availability of solutions such as CRM, ERP, HR, and Finance and Accounting on cloud based servers means a decrease in up-front investment and other issues of in-house deployment.

Web Serving

The web servers, management tools, analytical and business software are moving to cloud computing. Cloud based web infrastructure and software will save you a lot of money. Enterprises corporations are already benefiting by the low price.

Employee Productivity Applications

Applications used for improving employees performance and better reporting within the office is another type of cloud application being widely used at present. This will be looked into by many new and old businesses wanting increased accountability and efficiency within the workplace.
By CloudTweaks

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Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Top 10 Cloud Computing Most Promising Adoption Factors

Top 10 Cloud Computing Most Promising Adoption Factors

Cloud computing has already fascinated many critics and observers by its progress and fast domination of the IT and Business world. It is on the verge of becoming world premier technology in providing computing services to the organization no matter how small small or big regardless of regional and economical status. It is a bit strange that even those close to this technology that many including CIOs and other concerned professionals still don’t know much about cloud computing.

The Cash Cloud

Cloud computing is estimated to save 20-30 percent of the expenses as compared to the client-server model. This huge saving will attract businesses towards cloud computing. This combination means both will affect and depend on each other.

The Most Important Thing Happening Around

Cloud computing is not only better computing but it is also very agile technology which meets the requirements of fast changing business trends. Cloud computing is introducing the new ways of business, and business changes the shape of cloud according to its own needs.

Shift to Cloud Computing is Inevitable

It is estimated that by 2012 only about 20 percent of businesses will be without cloud computing. The concept of business firms’ privately owned IT infrastructure will disappear by then.

Real-Time Collaboration in the Cloud

At present, real-time collaboration tools are much needed in business the world. Cloud computing has made it easy to implement. Now, workers in different locations are able to work on and use the same document. Google Docs and lotus Live have already offered it. Document sharing and updating from different locations will become very easy and just the way of the cloud computing life.

The Consumer Internet Becomes Enterprise

Cloud computing actually started as consumer Internet services like email applications and then eventually came Google Docs. That was a big breakthrough in computing and so the same will be expected from cloud computing new arrivals.

Many Types of Clouds

In the future, it is expected that there will be many established types of computing clouds. Mainly public clouds (used and shared by many people at different locations), Private clouds (owned and used only by private firms and organizations), Hybrid clouds with both types mixed to some extent. At present, this concept may be a bit confusing because organizations are trying to find out which cloud model will suit them best.

Security May Remain a Concern

Security still remains the main concern about cloud computing. In fact, most of the clouds will have the ability to be fool proof in terms of security but not all. Another reason for this concern is because of change. Any change is often associated with a sense of insecurity about it. (Fear of the Unknown)

Cloud Brings Mobility

One of the best advantages of cloud computing is the facility it provides regarding your location of working and accessing your data and information remotely. Now you can access and use your data at any location without any need to install too many software and hardware on every system you use.

Cloud is Scalable

Cloud computing is scalable for all types and sizes of businesses. Now, small business firms don’t have to buy costly software and hire skilled professional to use that technology. They will pay for what modules they use.

Quality and 24/7 Service

    Cloud computing vendors will have enough resources to hire very skilled and professional workers to work on, maintain, and ensure the security and quality of your data. Businesses will get the desired data in as processed form as they will desire. Another plus point is 24/7 availability of the cloud computing services. Office workers will be able to work at any time and there will be almost no down-time because of resources, skills, and professionalism of the cloud computing vendors.
By CloudTweaks

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Telcos Set to Dominate Cloud Market Over Next Two Years

Telecommunications companies are predicted to be the next major players in the world cloud computing market with SaaS ticking all the right boxes for telco CIOs.

Ovum market analyst Peter Hall and report author of The cloud computing strategies of global telcos said cloud user growth by telcos is set to rapidly increase over the next few years.

"We expect to see interest pick up quite rapidly over the next two to three years, so the time is right for many telcos to be developing a strategy and roadmap for their entry to the market," he said.

Hall sees the move a logical one for telcos currently using data centres for storage.
"The major telcos have a long heritage in providing managed data center services and hosting and have combined this with their networking and security expertise to meet the needs of customers for cloud computing services," he said.

The report is based on a worldwide review of some 150 enterprises with more than 1000 employees and includes contributions from Orange Business Services, AT&T and Verizon (VZ) Business.
Hall said each enterprise surveyed saw a clear line between cloud computing and the achievement of core competencies.

"All of the players reviewed in the report see cloud computing as leveraging their core competencies and Orange has coined the term 'IT operator' to reflect its new role in IT services by analogy with its traditional role as a network operator," he said.

Hall advised CIOs not to panic if they don't yet have a cloud computing strategy.
"It's still early days and telcos that have not yet developed a cloud computing strategy should not feel that they have missed the boat as the market is still embryonic and many end users are still cautious about cloud computing," he said.

The news comes as director of Sydney-based document solutions company Law In Order recently advised companies against moving to a public cloud until more security concerns are addressed.


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Monday, 23 August 2010

The Web is Dead: Long Live the Cloud

The tech world is all a-twitter (literally!) about an article in this month's Wired Magazine which announces "The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet".

The article recites a litany of problems that are choking the Web: the rise of apps that replace use of a Web browser; the growth of uber-aggregation sites like Facebook that are closed platforms; the destruction of traditional advertising and replacement by Google (GOOG), the semi-benevolent search monster; and even the move away from HTML and use of port 80-based apps.

In short, Wired has published a jeremiad for the end of the freewheeling open Web, being rapidly supplanted by voracious wannabe monopolists who seek to dominate the networked world and reduce all of us to nothing more than predestined consumers of "content" served up by monolithic megabrands. You have to look carefully, but, after all mournful moping about the terrible things happening on the Web, Wired concludes that the Internet is young and still developing, so new things are right down the pike.

I yield to no-one in my admiration for (or, indeed, enjoyment of) Wired. I always find it stimulating and interesting. Nevertheless, one must admit that in its straining for profundity it often overreaches for effect and overstates for conclusion (indeed, the magazine itself admits this when it notes that it predicted the death of the browser over a decade ago). For example, Wired reached a laughably wrong conclusion two years ago when it declared "The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete".

As regards the message of the article, I draw a diametrically opposed conclusion than does Wired. It spends perhaps 90% of the piece bewailing the rise of bad forces, and tosses in 10% at the end in a kind of "but it's still early innings for the Internet, so some good things might happen." I look at the same phenomenon and see the huge problems it poses as perhaps 10% of the reality of the Internet, and certainly nothing to be worried about — in fact, unlikely to remain as problems into the near future.

For example, take the move away from Web standards like HTML and port 80. Why anyone should be concerned about what port is used for communication across the Internet is beyond me, but in fact port 80 is increasing in importance. In my experience, entire tranches of applications that would be better served with their own ports and protocols ride on port 80 because its the only one that can reliably be expected to be open on company firewalls. We might shed a tear for poor old port 80, given how it's overworked and overloaded all in aid of letting applications do things that were never envisioned for it when the original HTML protocol was designed — but we shouldn't conclude it's obsolete and abandoned.


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Following up from the last article on the global phone units sold over the last three years (Visualizing the winners and losers of three years of smartphone share growth), we take a look at the sales in dollar terms over the same period.

Remember that in the article on units, the pure-play smartphone entrants HTC, RIM and Apple grew from a combined unit share of 1.3% in Q2 2007 to a combined unit share of 7.7% in Q2 2010.  That’s a 6 fold increase in volume share. Quite remarkable for companies lacking the vast resources and industry connections of the incumbents.

However, when we look at their performance in value (dollar sales) vs. units sold, the performance of the entrants begins to look miraculous.

The sales figures can be obtained from the company reports, though I caution that not all vendors publish data and data published is in local currencies. Fluctuations in exchange rates may lead to differences in reports of sales from different sources.  For the sake of consistency, I omit all “other” vendors and focus on the top seven: Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, LG, Sony Ericsson, RIM and Apple.

First, the cohort’s overall performance is shown in the following graph:

I again annotated Nokia and RIM and Apple with actual sales (USD) figures for some perspective.
The first thing to note here is that the whole industry sees a low rate of growth (unlike in the units picture). Total sales in Q2 2007 were $29 billion and total sales in Q2 2010 were about $32 billion. A mere 12% growth over three years and only 4% compounded over three years. Total units in Q2 2007 were 255 million and total units in Q2 2010 were 318 million, or 24% over three years and 6.2% compounded. This means industry-wide sales growth is half the units growth.

The second thing to note is that the Apple+RIM group grew from 3.3% share of cohort to 26.6%.  That means that more than 1 in 4 dollars sent to these 7 companies was spent on Blackberries and iPhones!

Jointly, Apple and RIM took $8.6 billion and Nokia took $8.8 billion.  Compare that with three years ago when Nokia took 40% of the income and RIM + Apple took 3%.

So whereas the entrants increased units share by 6x in this time period, at least in this large subset of the market, they increased revenue share by 8x.


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Thursday, 19 August 2010

What Makes an Ideal Cloud Application?

As a part of my job, I work with large enterprise customers trying to help them realize the potential of Cloud Computing. As much I believe in the benefits of Cloud, I also have a realistic discussion around the anti-patterns for Cloud and why certain applications may not be the great candidates to be moved to the Cloud. It makes it easy to have certain patterns in mind when discussing what kind of a line of business application can move to the Cloud for realizing the best return on investment.

In this article, I want to discuss the possible scenarios for getting the maximum value out of Cloud.
  • Periodic Processing – Every enterprise has at least one application that goes through the grind during a certain time of the month, quarter or year. A classic example of this pattern is employee performance review application. This app is not so much in use for most part of the year and becomes the most accessed and used application during the mid- year review or annual review.  In the finance industry, Credit Card companies run their risk scoring during the month end. July is the busiest month for tax filing applications run by Chartered  Accountants in India. The common pattern across all these applications is that they are inactive for most of the times but become the most resource demanding applications during a specific period.  From the IT investment perspective, it doesn’t make sense to allocate resources for these applications that are inactive for most of the time. Instead of provisioning and de-provisioning the infrastructure, it is optimal to move such applications to the Cloud. If you have such an application, think how you can move it to the Cloud.
  • Start Small, Grow Fast – This is the proven mantra for many startups. Majority of the startups would be intimidated by the overwhelming cost of the infrastructure. Even within the enterprise, there is a certain class of applications that start small and after testing the waters, they either get killed or become mainstream. Classic examples of such applications are contests and new business processes. What starts as a pilot within a department may turn into a best practice that gets adopted by the entire organization. Since most of these applications are designed from the ground up, they can be provisioned on the Cloud from day one and based on the demand, it can be scaled further. If the pilot is not well received by the employees, the application can be de-provisioned with minimal cost.
Start Small, Grow Fast

  • Unpredictable Burst – This pattern is more commonly seen in consumer facing web applications. If a website’s link appears on Slashdot or New York Times, there is an instant deluge of traffic and unable meet this demand the website might just become unavailable. If the enterprise launches a new digital marketing campaign which becomes extremely popular and gets viral, there will be a sudden spike in the traffic.  These digital marketing campaigns are the ideal candidates for the Cloud. The biggest advantage of moving to the Cloud is the auto-scale capability. By monitoring the patterns in the traffic and the utilization of the infrastructure, additional server resources can be dynamically added to the application. Once the traffic stabilizes and the environment is not so demanding, the extra servers that are added can be safely disposed. This ability makes Cloud Computing extremely lucrative.
Unpredictable Burst
  • Predictable Burst – Ecommerce sites experience the predictable burst all the times. When Apple opens up pre-ordering for their next gen phone, they get ready to handle the peak loads. Because of the predictability, it is fairly common for the business to have a ball-park budget figure of the infrastructure cost. In public sector, there are many events that experience predictable bursts.  Electoral results, examination results and publishing of latest census reports will result in this pattern. Sports sites know this better during a popular event like the world cup.  Within the enterprise, these patterns are visible during a virtual company meeting or introduction of a mandatory online training for all the employees. The difference between this pattern and the first pattern, Periodic Processing is that there may not be a periodic recurrence of this pattern. The utilization of the resources is influenced by external parameters but the IT decision makers are usually aware of this burst ahead of the actual deployment.
Predictable Burst
What is your experience of moving an application to the Cloud? If you think there are more patterns, please do share with me by dropping a comment.


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RIM: "no special deals" for countries seeking BlackBerry access

India has not yet officially jumped on the BlackBerry-blocking bandwagon, but the country has been putting the pressure on RIM to allow government access to user data in the name of security. RIM has now issued a public response to India: the company says it tries to be cooperative with various governments, but that it has firm principles for allowing access to data.

RIM's principles boil down to allowing access only within the confines of local law and national security requirements, and the guidelines are vendor-neutral—governments can get "no greater access to BlackBerry consumer services than the carriers and regulators already impose on RIM's competitors and other similar communications technology companies," wrote the company.

The BlackBerry maker also said that it won't be making any changes to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server. "[C]ontrary to any rumors, the security architecture is the same around the world and RIM truly has no ability to provide its customers' encryption keys," said RIM.

Finally, the company said that it plans to maintain a consistent standard for government access—no special deals for certain countries. Still, RIM reassured the Indian government Friday that it would cooperate and find some sort of technical solution for its security concerns.

The statement comes after the United Arab Emerites and Saudi Arabia decided that they needed government access to RIM's services, or no more BlackBerrys. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed that the US was getting involved last week, describing the situation as a "complex set of issues." Saudi Arabia has since backed off on its decision to ban BlackBerrys, but the UAE is still holding steady to its plan.


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Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Security Benefits of Cloud Computing

The Security Benefits of Cloud Computing. Yes, believe it or not there are some!

Cloud computing offers many advantages and some disadvantages while offering its servers to be used by customers. Security is both an advantage and disadvantage of the cloud-based environment.  Because of the immense size, skilled and dedicated professionals of the cloud providers offer improved security, privacy and confidentiality of your data. 

Security Because of Large Scale

Large scale implementation of anything is much cheaper than that of small scales. Cloud computing servers provide their services to a large number of businesses and companies.  It is easier and more economical for them to make sure that their system is 100% secure from hackers, accidents, and bugs.  They can easily afford all types of defensive measures like filtering, patch management, and cryptography techniques. And lets not forget that it truly is in their best interest to protect your data and maintain you as a long term customer.

Security as Market Demand

Today everyone is searching for foolproof security measure to insure of the safety of important data. Security has ultimately become one of the core factors determining which cloud provider to choose.  This has persuaded cloud computing vendors to put special emphasis on security from the very beginning of this technology.

More Chances of Standardization and Collaboration

As you may already know, the majority of the servers will be owned and kept by service providers rather than by individual companies. With this there are more chances for standardization and collaboration for improving security services. This leads to more uniform, open and readily available security services market.

Improved Scaling of Resources

Cloud computing service providers can easily relocate resources and data for filtering, traffic controlling, verification, encryption and other security measures. This ability provides more resilience against security threats.

Advantage of Concentrated Resources

The concentration of resources is potentially dangerous for security, however at the same time, this can be used for improving security by other methods. It allows service providers cheaper physical access and security control. The saved resources in terms of money, time and location can be reallocated to improve security.

Evidence-gathering and Investigation

Cloud computing services offer quick evidence gathering for forensic and investigation purpose. In traditional systems this is attained by turning your server offline, but cloud based servers don’t need to be turned down. The customers can now store logs more cost-effectively, allowing comprehensive logging and increasing performance.

By CloudTweaks


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Adopting Virtualization is Not Without Friction

This much is clear, advanced virtualization techniques are here. Some time ago, we moved beyond base operating system virtualization, towards virtualization approaches that render more functionally complete systems. From single virtual images that contain entire software stacks (i.e. LAMP, JEE servers, content management systems, etc.), to virtual appliances built to satisfy particular workloads, the functional encapsulation provided by various virtualization techniques continues to expand. On the surface, this is an obvious benefit to end-users, but that does not mean it comes without challenges.

Because of our IBM Hypervisor Edition offerings, I get the chance to talk to quite a few users considering or already starting down the path of advanced virtualization usage. Many of the challenges users discuss with me come down to a friction between standardization/commoditization versus customization. One of the main benefits of virtual images and appliances (besides server consolidation and rapid provisioning), is that they encapsulate the results of installation, integration, and configuration of a given set of software components. This eliminates processes that were, at best, tedious, and often times error-prone and nearly impossible to repeat in a consistent manner. Users get what they should be able to assume are best practice deployments for the software in question.

However, the same technique that eliminates tedious, human-driven, error-prone processes also results in considerable friction. By consuming this method of service delivery, users essentially agree to various degrees of commoditization or standardization in the software stack. Believe me, there are many opportunities for friction here, including:

Type and version of software components: If anyone tells you about the commoditization of operating systems do not listen. For the most part, users are intensely loyal to their operating systems. Some times this is cultural, other times there is substantial business motivation (i.e. existing skills, type of physical infrastructure, etc.). Moreover, that's just the operating system.
Configuration of installation: Beyond the type and version of installed software, many users need (or in many cases, simply want) control of exactly how it is installed. As hard as it may be to believe, some users can't live with software not installed to a particular file system location (Note: To be entirely fair, sometimes existing management script dictate this. Other time it's just senseless.).
Configuration of integration: Given software component A and software component B, users will derive a myriad of ways to integrate the two components. There is absolutely no way to anticipate all of these integration configurations within a virtual image or appliance, much less allow for them.


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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Smartphones lead mobile sales, Android moves into no. 3 spot

Mobile handset sales continued their global growth last quarter thanks largely to the increased sales of smartphones. According to data from analytics firm Gartner, smartphone sales were up over 50 percent year-over-year for a total of 61.6 million units sold, with the top four OS vendors accounting for 91 percent of the worldwide smartphone OS market.

Handset sales in general grew by 13.8 percent during the second quarter of 2010 compared to 2009, with smartphones making up 19 percent of overall device sales. Gartner noted that new products from Apple, HTC, and Motorola helped boost the numbers, and predicted that the launches of updated operating systems would keep growth going throughout the rest of 2010.

The top four smartphone OSes were Symbian (41.2 percent), RIM (18.2 percent), Android (17.2 percent), and iOS (14.2 percent), with Android phones eclipsing iOS devices during the quarter and taking the number three spot away from Apple. This is not all that surprising, given the number of reports noting that Android phones have been selling at a greater clip than iPhones—Gartner attributes this to tight iPhone inventory prior to the iPhone 4 launch, as well as the difference in company attitudes when it comes to OS exclusivity.

"A nonexclusive strategy that produces products selling across many communication service providers (CSPs), and the backing of so many device manufacturers, which are bringing more attractive devices to market at several different price points, were among the factors that yielded its growth this quarter," Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said of Android's impressive growth numbers.

Gartner added that RIM's BlackBerry OS 6.0 and new devices like the Torch would help the company maintain its position during the third quarter, but that those factors would do more to keep existing BlackBerry users than attract new ones. Like Nielsen's data from last week, Gartner's numbers showed that Android was closing in on RIM, with only one percentage point of market share separating them.


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Shrink Your IT Infrastructure Costs

It's no wonder IT leaders are focusing concern on IT infrastructure and operations costs when it accounts for 60 per cent of total IT spend. Since things are still uncertain despite the economy showing signs of improvement, this area of IT "strikes a resonant cord," said Jay Pultz, vice-president and distinguished analyst with Gartner Inc. (IT)

"It has such a high interest among CIOs because they're not going to meet their budget goals if (infrastructure and operations) doesn't meet its (budget)," said Pultz during a recent Webinar discussing ways enterprises can cut costs in their IT infrastructure and operations (I&O). Gartner defines I&O as everything in IT except business applications.

There are 10 ways to cut costs in I&O that, if done completely, will reduce spend by 10 per cent within 12 months and 25 per cent in three years, said Pultz.

1. Defer those I&O initiatives that don't meet business needs. "Look at your key initiatives and focus on those that help you meet the business needs, help you reduce costs and help you keep to uptime requirements for crucial systems," said Pultz. Preferred initiatives include data centre modernization and consolidation, virtualization, improving processes with ITIL, upgrading PCs, unified communications, and a mobile enterprise strategy.

2. Re-examine networking costs. "These tend to be the largest contracts that you have if you're not doing a significant amount of outsourcing," said Pultz. By reviewing current telco contracts, enterprises can renegotiate a lower rate, identify billing errors and things they should no longer be paying for. Pultz also suggests revisiting the network architecture and refining uptime requirements.

3. Consolidate I&O. "You must ask yourself if you have consolidated all that you can," said Pultz. Most data centre managers understand the benefit of replacing distributed and standalone servers with new form factors in the data centre such as rack and blade. Yet less than 10 per cent have consolidated their servers, said Pultz.

4. Virtualize I&O. "Virtualization is an incredibly powerful technology to reduce hardware costs, reduce power costs, improve utilization and so forth," said Pultz. For instance, reducing server count by 75 per cent will reduce power consumption by a similar amount. Pultz suggests: "Don't go slow, accelerate as much as possible your plans to virtualize servers" because of the advantages that can be reaped from high levels of virtualization.

5. Reduce power and cooling needs. "We're just creating more capacity which creates more heat in a similar space," said Pultz. Don't think of the data centre holistically. Instead, break it down into pods or modules and design each individually. One module might be designed for heat density with hot and cold racks, while an other designed for higher uptime, said Pultz. Don't forget energy monitoring tools are useful for knowing your usage and for optimizing that.


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Monday, 16 August 2010

VirnetX files VPN patent suit against Apple, Cisco, NEC

After successfully suing Microsoft for similar infringements, patent holding company VirnetX is taking Apple to court over the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, suggesting that Apple's VPN implementation violates two of the company's VPN-related patents. Also named in the lawsuit, filed in Eastern Texas US District Court, are Aastra, Cisco, and NEC.

VirnetX originally sued Microsoft in 2007 after VirnetX acquired a number of patents from defense contractor Science Applications International in 2006. The company alleged that Microsoft Office Communicator and Windows Meeting Space each infringed one of two of its patents, including US patents 6,502,135 "Agile Network Protocol for Secure Communications with Assured System Availability" and "Method for Establishing Secure Communication Link Between Computers of Virtual Private Network."
VirnetX won the trial in March this year, with the jury awarding the company $106 million. Microsoft appealed, asserting that the patents were invalid, but later in May settled with VirnetX for $200 million, avoiding additional legal fees and potential treble damages. In June, the US Patent and Trademark Office confirmed both patents as valid after a lengthy review initiated by the lawsuit.

With the confidence of a legal victory and affirmation from the USPTO behind it, VirnetX is now alleging that Apple's mobile devices infringe at least some claims of the '135 patent as well as several claims of US patent 7,490,151 "Establishment of a Secure Communication Link Based on a Domain Name Service (DNS) Request."
The claims against Aastra, Cisco, and NEC mainly target their VoIP products, including servers, software, and VoIP phones. A number of Cisco's IP routing products with VPN capabilities are also accused of infringing VirnetX's IP. In addition to the '135, '180, and 151 patents, the company claims one or more of the products named in the suit infringe on US patents 6,839,759 "Method for Establishing Secure Communication Link Between Computers of Virtual Private Network Without User Entering Any Cryptographic Information" and 7,418,504 "Agile Network Protocol for Secure Communications Using Secure Domain Names."


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Has Citrix abandoned server-based computing ?

The Support Forum for our HDX MediaStream for Flash trial release recently included a post that raises some interesting concerns about how client-side rendering fits with the server-based computing model. To paraphrase the post:

"Citrix has always been the server-based computing company that wanted everything moved into the datacenter. That includes all code execution. Now, with HDX, some of the code is executed on the endpoint, which means it's not SBC all the way anymore. Moving execution code to the endpoint means you will create application dependencies at some point. It's not only KVM that's sent to the endpoint anymore. My opinion is that SBC should always be client platform independent."

A great impetus for me to shed some light on Citrix's strategy for HDX and multimedia virtualization...
Although the term "server-based computing" is no longer in vogue, there's no denying the tremendous benefits of centralizing the complicated stuff in the data center where it's easier to manage. And strategically, we view server-side rendering of multimedia content (including Flash) as a critical, core capability. This is the foundational technology that covers all the bases. Server-side rendering works whether the content is Flash or Silverlight or Windows Media or QuickTime or whatever. Server-side rendering works regardless of whether the user device (client) has the applicable media player (e.g. Adobe Flash Player) installed on it, or the applicable codec. And it works with all operating systems for which we offer our client or Citrix Receiver online app plug-in. Therefore, we've continued to invest in improving the delivery of server-rendered multimedia content with new codec technology and other technological advances.

But client-side rendering can be used opportunistically to great advantage when it fits. In those cases, offloading media processing to the endpoint reduces the load on the server and helps improve overall server scalability (number of concurrent users), sometimes by as much as an order of magnitude. Eliminating rendering and recompression on the server also generally results in less network bandwidth consumption since the native media format is already highly compressed.

My view is that there's a fine line here. Running a browser plug-in like the Adobe Flash Player on the endpoint may be about as far as many customers would want to go with client-side media processing. Why? As you go farther, you increase the complexity of managing the user device and could lose a key benefit of the virtual desktop model (although client-side virtualization technologies can certainly mitigate that).

So it all comes back to HDX Adaptive Orchestration, which is the key to our multimedia virtualization strategy. HDX Adaptive Orchestration includes SmartRendering, which intelligently and dynamically evaluates available resources (user device, network, server) and determines whether to stick with the foundational technology of server-side rendering or opportunistically leverage the endpoint device. Administrative policies factor in, too, especially when there are security and management considerations.

With upcoming improvements to frame rate (already 20 fps in XenDesktop 3 FP1) and audio quality (see my video on project Ulysses), server-based multimedia delivery keeps getting better. But even though it can deliver an excellent multimedia user experience, that will always come at the cost of server capacity and network bandwidth. So a multi-dimensional solution that can leverage client-side resources if they're available provides the best of both worlds.

Derek Thorslund
HDX Product Strategist & Sr. Manager, XenDesktop Product Management

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Sunday, 15 August 2010

Oracle sues Google over Android

Business software maker Oracle has filed a lawsuit against Google, accusing the search engine giant of infringing patents on its technology.

Oracle says Google infringed patents on its Java software while developing its Android operating system.
Oracle acquired the Java technology when it took over Sun Microsystems in deal agreed last year. Android is fast becoming one of the most widely used operating systems used in smart mobile phones. Google "knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property," Oracle said.

"This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies".

The lawsuit was filed on Thursday night in the US.

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Thursday, 12 August 2010

How Should You Follow Up on a Cloud Computing Lead?

Over the past year I have listened to many vendor webinars talking about their cloud computing solution story. After the call I always get an e-mail or phone call trying to see my needs. This follow-up is very good as the purpose of these webinars is to obtain leads and the follow up process is to qualify these leads.

Until yesterday, none of these calls were of any value to me. Some vendors called and promised to connect me to their product folks to give me more information but nobody ever contacted me. I replied to some vendors e-mails but they do not follow up. Other vendors call using some call center employee who cannot answer a simple question about what the product can do.

Earlier this week I listened to an interesting webinar from Aplicor and Gartner. Lisa DeVinney from Aplicor looked me up on LinkedIn before calling, understood my background and we had a great conversation about their CRM product. It got my attention that not only is is a SaaS solution but it also has a good implementation story in the automotive industry that I used to cover in my previous job.  As the automotive industry recovers, OEMs can surely use a domain-focused solution to help them take advantage of customers coming to replace their age-old vehicles with new cars that they have been putting off buying for a while now.


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Cloud and SaaS Funding News – Provade Inc Secures $3 Million

California software as a service company Provade Inc., which has a product development office in downtown Milwaukee, said Tuesday it raised $3 million in new funding.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Provade focuses on vendor management system technology for global work force spend management.

The financing round was led by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Asset Management Company. Also participating were Menlo Park, Calif.-based Altos Ventures and Harbor Pacific Capital, also of Palo Alto.

With the latest funding, total venture investment in the company now exceeds $23 million.


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Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The Business Impact of Cloud Computing

We've assembled a panel to examine the business impact of cloud computing, to explore practical implementations of cloud models, and to move beyond the hype and into gaining business paybacks from successful cloud adoption.

Coming to you from The Open Group’s Cloud Practitioners Conference in Boston on July 21, the panel tackles such issues as what stands in the way of cloud use, safe and low-risk cloud computing, and working around inhibitors to cloud use. We also delve into a compelling example of successful cloud practices at the Harvard Medical School.

Learn more about cloud best practices and produced practical business improvements from guests Pam Isom, Senior Certified Executive IT Architect at IBM; Mark Skilton, Global Director, Applications Outsourcing at Capgemini; Dr. Marcos Athanasoulis, Director of Research Information Technology for Harvard Medical School, and Henry Peyret, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. The panel is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:


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Weekly Poll: Are the 3 Common Acronyms for Cloud Services Sufficient?

The three acronyms most commonly associated with cloud computing - SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS - are becoming so ubiquitous that it seems less important to spell them out in their entirety. (For the uninitiated, SaaS stands for Software-as-a-Service. PaaS is short for Platform-as-a-Service. And IaaS is Infrastructure-as-a-Service.)
But we've also heard mention lately of "games-as-a-service" and "data-as-a-service." And we've seen a number of new companies emerge who offer management solutions for those building cloud software services and deploying cloud infrastructure - Cloud.com, Nimsoft, and Abiquo for example.

So are the three categories most commonly used to describe cloud computing services sufficient? If not, how do we categorize these companies that provide cloud automation, reporting, and management?

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Japan Simplifies Cloud Data Centers With Juniper Networks

Juniper Networks(R) (JNPR 28.10, +0.32, +1.15%) today announced that Internet Initiative Japan Inc. (IIJ) (IIJI 6.94, +0.20, +2.97%) (TSE1: 3774), one of Japan’s leading Internet access and network solutions providers, has adopted Juniper Networks EX Series Ethernet Switches in its data centers to support its newly developed cloud services under the name IIJ GIO. By deploying Juniper’s switches, IIJ was able to build the networking component of its IIJ GIO virtualized service platform using a simplified two-layer model that reduces cost, complexity and latency while increasing manageability and flexibility.

IIJ offers customized private cloud services and public services — including the IIJ GIO Hosting Package Service, IIJ GIO Remote Office Service and IIJ GIO Storage Service — from data centers interconnected directly through its high-volume backbone network. Each data center has thousands of servers and large storage pools that are harnessed through the IIJ GIO platform.

“In order to offer cloud-based business infrastructure services, it is critical to build a robust, highly reliable platform that can rapidly respond to demand,” said Kazuhiro Tokita, executive managing officer of IIJ. “Our decision to adopt Juniper Networks switches as the networking component of the IIJ GIO platform was based on a number of factors including carrier-class performance and reliability, low cost of ownership, a migration path to 100 Gigabit Ethernet and — critically for cloud computing applications — simultaneous support for large numbers of VLANs.”

Juniper Networks EX3200 fixed-configuration Ethernet switches are deployed at the network edge in IIJ’s data centers, connecting large numbers of virtual LANs to the server and storage farms, with each device linked via Gigabit Ethernet to a pair of edge switches. Juniper’s EX8200 chassis-based switches are at the core of the IIJ GIO data center networks, supporting redundant 10 Gigabit Ethernet links to the EX3200 switches and creating a highly resilient low-latency connection between the cloud’s CPU/memory and storage resources.

The core switches also connect to Juniper Networks MX Series Universal Edge Routers, which IIJ has had in place for a number of years to support its high-performance backbone network. With Junos(R), Juniper’s single-source operating system, running across the data center switching and routing devices, IIJ is able to streamline cloud service provisioning so its customers can start using their selected environments less than 15 minutes after completing a contract.

“IIJ fully understands that simplifying and automating the data center network is critical to cloud computing,” said Rene Link, vice president of service provider marketing, Juniper Networks. “Building the IIJ GIO service platform on a simplified two-layer network — without compromising performance — lowers IIJ’s operational, capital and environmental costs while reducing complexity and improving efficiency. And with Junos running the network infrastructure, IIJ is in a position to increase efficiency even more through implementation of Junos Space applications.”

Junos Space, running on top of the Junos operating system, is an open, extensible software platform for network automation that helps eliminate complexities, streamline operations, and improve management controls for a better network. Out-of-the-box and customized Junos Space applications, accessed through a web browser, can quickly and accurately manage tasks — such as provisioning — that would traditionally take a combination of staff, tools, time and money to achieve in a legacy data center.

About Juniper Networks From devices to data centers, from consumers to the cloud, Juniper Networks delivers innovative software, silicon and systems that transform the experience and economics of networking. The company serves more than 30,000 customers and partners worldwide, and generated more than $3 billion in revenue over the last year. Additional information can be found at www.juniper.net.

Juniper Networks and Junos are registered trademarks of Juniper Networks, Inc. in the United States and other countries. The Juniper Networks and Junos logos are trademarks of Juniper Networks, Inc. All other trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks, or registered service marks are the property of their respective owners.

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Forrester Research says iPhone and iPad 'secure enough' for most businesses

That's a change from 2007 when the iPhone was not a recommendation from most of the IT firms, and many large companies posted a 'keep out' sign for the iPhone. Now Forrester Research in a new report says that the iPhone running iOS 4 and the iPad are 'secure enough' if companies implement the correct security policies and controls.

In the report, Forrester consultant Andrew Jaquith says the iPhone (and iPad) gives enterprises enough security options to enable them to say "yes" instead of "no."

Forrester still says the RIM BlackBerry still rules the roost as far as security goes, because it can be customized and security settings are more fine grained, but the firm add that the iPhones and iPad can be made very secure in an enterprise environment.

That's good news for Apple, and for companies who are seeing increasing pressure to integrate Apple products into their suite of tools. The full report is available to Forrester customers.

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Monday, 9 August 2010

Cloud Computing Is Here to Stay! Forbes

For some, this summer is shaping up to be the “Summer of Cloud Computing,” with every major technology vendor announcing products, or at least a strategy for the cloud. For others, this seems to be the “Summer of Cloud Computing Hype.” There’s been a fair amount of debate of late about which side of the fence cloud computing resides on. I don’t think there is even a question: Cloud computing is here to stay.

To me, the better question is whether or not we, as the entire IT ecosystem, can adapt quickly enough to serve the needs of the cloud. I believe we can. Take for example the recent announcement by VMware for its vSphere 4.1 software product that addresses one of the core issues with cloud computing–manageability.

Or Microsoft‘s ( MSFT – news – people ) announcement of the Windows Azure Platform appliance, which is intended to enable IT to transform traditional infrastructure to a private cloud based on Microsoft’s familiar OS, application, management and tools technologies. And we can’t forget the cloud with the red lining, Red Hat ( RHT – news – people ) Cloud Foundations Edition One, which is an architecture that allows clients to construct cloud infrastructures based on open source software technologies.

At the core of what all of these solutions are doing is utilizing a trusted technology in the datacenter–virtualization–and leveraging it to get the most out of a cloud environment for customers. Virtualization as an enabling technology for the cloud is something we’ve been discussing for some time now. In fact, we specifically design server platforms with virtualization and cloud computing in mind.

As for the naysayers who think cloud computing is getting too much attention, I understand where they’re coming from. There are generally two points of view to this skepticism. Let’s address them one by one.
First, some would argue that cloud computing is merely a buzzword placed on a delivery model that has been around for years. I discussed this concept all the way back in February 2009. Whether or not cloud computing is revolutionary or evolutionary is not a concern to me. What’s important is that today’s data explosion (seen in this video) means that “the cloud” is more relevant than ever.

The second point of view is that customers aren’t willing to dive into cloud computing because it just isn’t mature enough yet. That is a valid point; cloud computing is maturing, but I’d agree that it’s not quite mainstream yet. But that’s exactly why the IT ecosystem needs to adapt, which is what I discussed earlier. Leading technology companies are producing technologies that can make cloud computing reliable, stable and manageable for customers large and small.

Article Source Credit: Forbes

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Apple quietly slips into number three spot in global portable market

Filed under:
Who would have thought that headline would ever appear? Well it has, and if you count the iPad Apple has just passed Asus, Toshiba, Dell and Lenovo and is now the number three producer of portables.

That's the word from Fortune this morning, quoting Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore. Using the June quarter numbers from the banking company, Apple has moved from the seventh spot in the global portable market, trailing only HP and Acer.

Not fair you say? Well Deutsche Bank says iPad sales are cannibalizing demand for other notebooks, and the report also notes that sales of Apple laptops are also climbing.

[Via Fortune]

Friday, 6 August 2010

Cloud - A Blue Sky Strategy for Telcos

Ironically the best analogy for describing the opportunity that Cloud presents is the 'Blue Ocean Strategy', a business book by Chan Kim.
It suggests that traditional competitive business strategies encourage exactly that, going head to head with your competitors and bashing it out, whereas a blue ocean strategy is instead about focusing this effort on creating entirely new markets where you have no competition, achieved through new 'disruptive' innovation that also brings with it lower costs.

Despite the name Cloud Computing actually represents a clear blue sky of opportunity in the same way, a huge blank canvas upon which new products and innovative ideas are yet to be drawn. The scale of IT innovation it will drive will be quite breath-taking, and for organizations like telcos and web hosting providers who operate the underlying technologies it offers an associated level of potential growth for their products.
In the recent Cisco cloud white paper they state that:
"Many enterprise-focused service providers have an opportunity to create higher-value, differentiated service offerings. They have unique capabilities they can leverage, including customer relationships, physical assets and operational excellence."
The fundamental business and technical value of Cloud computing is that it defines and creates a new layer of computing, one that sits in between the application and the underlying infrastructure it operates on, so that they can more dynamically manage the relationship between the two.

This is the layer that will sit atop these telco assets and enable an entirely new suite of next generation Cloud products. A simpe example is Rackspace: they have deployed Cloud systems and from this offer products like SitesServers, and Files.


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Thursday, 5 August 2010

Prediction: The RIM BlackPad Is Going To Crash And Burn Just Like The Storm

Prediction: The RIM BlackPad Is Going To Crash And Burn Just Like The Storm

fanboys, the BlackPad — or whatever it will be called — is going to flop in a monumental way. Remember how RIM’s last iDevice clone, the Storm, failed in such a public way? Yep, it’s going to happen all over again. RIM has no business making a consumer tablet.

We all need to give major props to Research In Motion. They were really the first major player to make smartphones relevant by offering a nearly-bulletproof mobile emailing system to business. Eventually RIM started making consumer-orientated email devices that worked with personal email accounts. RIM really showed the world that you need email while you were away from your desk.

But that’s where their claim to fame stops. Don’t misunderstand the Canadian company’s importance in consumer electronics’ history. RIM ranks up there with the best of them, but unless the so-called BlackPad is targeted solely at businesses and enterprise users — and all signs suggest otherwise — the BlackPad will fail.

Value Integration Standards Support by SaaS Vendors

Having purchased a MacBook Pro in early June, I was been struggling to use it. The problem was that I always used Windows/MS-DOS ever since I have used a PC. I remember booking my first trip online through Prodigy running on MS-DOS and considering it a huge accomplishment when I showed up in Frankfurt and they had my reservation at the hotel.

I use Google for e-mail, AOL Instant Messenger/Gtalk for messaging and Chrome for a browser. I was wondering how my MacBook Pro would work with all these products. After trying to do it on my own, I decided to go to the local Apple store and attend free workshops on advice from Tim Crawford. It is an interesting experience working in a noisy and packed store in getting tips. After each workshop, I booked a 15 minute session at the "Genius" bar and there is where I got the real good tips.

Open standards helped me use the great user interface from Mac OS with the excellent e-mail service from Google. The integration has been working quite well with address books and calendar appearing on the Mac OS calendar. One exception is lack of IMAP support in Hotmail that is leading me to migrate away from Hotmail similar to my migration away from Yahoo e-mail a couple years ago. Hopefully Microsoft takes note.
Having said that, what is the value of similar integration to business? I think most SaaS providers needs to provide support to open Web Service standards to help create outstanding solutions through integration with other SaaS or on-premise software applications. SalesForce is an example that lets me keep tab of all e-mails I send through Gmail from right within my SaleForce account. CastIron (IBM), Boomi and Jitterbit are cloud integration solutions that can offer SaaS to SaaS/on-premise integration solutions.

Bottom line, when choosing a SaaS application provider, it is important you evaluate the availability of integration standards as part of their solution to ensure you get immediate value from a cloud solution implementation.


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