Author: impr

How to Avoid Cloud Vendor Lock-in

– Andres Rodriguez, chief executive officer of Nasuni (www.nasuni.com), says: Can you avoid vendor lock-in with cloud applications and services? Yes. The cloud storage gateways are designed to give customer not only choice but practical way to migrate data between providers. For instance, Nasuni supports several of the major cloud providers and we have chosen to absorb transfer fees to make sure that our customers have the freedom not only to store multiple volumes with multiple providers, but also migrate data using a standard file system interface. If you’re already tied, how can you protect yourself? Most the major vendors today support bulk transfers whereby a customer can ask for all their data back in one large chunk. The data would in all likelihood be sent as tapes or disks. Customers should check to make sure the providers they are choosing to do business with have in the EULA a clear statement about how to get the data out. Then you can hold them to that. Customers should also be wary of using vendors’ proprietary APIs to store their data. Each of these APIs are different and if your applications depend on it, it will only increase...

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Cloud Computing: The Benefits of Federation

– David Slik, Technical Director of Object Storage with NetApp (www.netapp.com), says: Today’s clouds eliminate silos, but provide relatively undifferentiated services. By federating clouds together, different clouds can provide specialized functionality, such as clouds specialized for retention compliance, content distribution, data preservation and high-performance access and transformation. When comparing uses of clouds, there are different balances of compute, storage and I/O required. Some clouds will specialize in managing vast repositories, with a low MB/s to PB ratio, where others will manage data that is intensely mined and transformed (such as Apache Hadoop), and require a high GB/s to TB ratio. These different types of storage clouds, which become silos themselves, will be unified through...

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Enterprise Cloud Security: How To Have Success in the Clouds

– K. Scott Morrison, CTO & Chief Architect with LAYER 7 TECHNOLOGIES (www.layer7tech.com), says: To be successful in the cloud, you need to rethink many traditional aspects of application architecture. This is demonstrated in area of architecture other than security. Amazon services illustrate this effect well. To get massively scalable databases, you can’t use conventional RDBMS; instead you need to use something like SimpleDB, which is designed from the ground up to be cloud-centric and scalable on a unprecedented scale. But there are things you must give up to get this, like complex joins. If you can fit this into your thinking—and for a large number of Web apps, the “limitations” can be accommodated, then you can reap the rewards. It’s a rethink of architecture, but the benefits of doing so are enormous. The architects who build massively scalable web apps like Google, Amazon.com (bookstore, not web services), Salesforce.com, etc understand this and leverage the opportunity. It is the same thing with...

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Cloud Security: Global DataGuard's Enterprise UTM® for Cloud Computing

– Dean Trumbull, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Global DataGuard (www.globaldataguard.com), says: Beyond the basic firewall support provided with each cloud account, regulatory compliance still requires companies to also monitor for hackers and malware, collect system log information, and perform regular vulnerability tests and remediate where necessary. Additionally, some regulatory compliance standards also require network access, policy oversight and 24×7 network security monitoring. These security requirements are further complicated by numerous restrictions placed on customers by cloud providers, such as the inability to deploy their own security appliances, a prohibition on vulnerability scanning, and the inability to monitor network packet information, even between instances within the same account. While there are not many Security ISVs offering such a broad array of SaaS security services, Global DataGuard’s Enterprise UTM® for Cloud Computing offering fully integrates our patented network behavior analysis and correlation technology with PCI-enabled intrusion detection and prevention; vulnerability scanning and management; log management, analysis and monitoring; network access and policy monitoring, and comprehensive threat management capabilities, including prioritized network, global and vendor threats and vulnerabilities. This unified security anywhere™ approach enables customers to fortify their existing premise-based, cloud or hybrid network infrastructures and future-proof current IT investments with a holistic architecture and applications portfolio that provides virtually unlimited scalability, full regulatory compliance and up to a 60% reduction in network security costs. Additional links: CloudCheck Certification...

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Cloud Storage 2.0: Performance, Capacity, and no Bottlenecks

– Carl Meadows, senior product manager of Cloud Services at The Planet (www.theplanet.com), says: Enterprises looking for high-performance storage should look elsewhere: The cloud isn’t it. In order to achieve high-performance, the storage platform must be well connected to the compute resources accessing it. With the Internet acting as a bottleneck between the compute resource and the storage, high performance becomes impossible due to both bandwidth and latency constraints. The only exception to this is if your compute resources are well connected to the cloud storage infrastructure. For example, The Planet’s Storage Cloud platform is located in our Dallas data center, which customers can access without going through the Internet. The platform is only limited by the 100Mbps or 1Gbps uplink of their hosted server. Assuming bandwidth is not an issue, there’s still the issue of latency. Most enterprise-class storage platforms are targeting 1 to 5ms latency, while most cloud storage platforms would do well to deliver 30ms, which is still largely dependent on your proximity to the cloud storage provider. In general, the best solution to address payloads that truly require high-performance storage is still placing a DAS, SAN or NAS storage array next to your server(s). In these instances, compute capacity is directly connected, which yields more reliable results. Will Cloud Storage 2.0 eliminate storage silos with a single, multipurpose platform? The multipurpose utility of the cloud...

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Self-Service Cloud: Benefits, Hurdles, and Solutions

– Dave Malcolm, Chief Technology Officer at Surgient (www.surgient.com), says: Companies often deploy new applications or IT services in order to drive growth and create competitive advantage. However, these applications and services must be developed, tested, and staged for prime-time use—a process that can be constrained by operational and technical hurdles. That’s where industry insiders are saying the next generation in IT automation—the “self-service cloud”—can alleviate those constraints. With a self-service cloud, IT can feel confident that the resources, such as physical and virtual servers, are automatically configured, provisioned, and deprovisioned based on policies they control. This capability frees up IT administrators to perform more high-value work, reduces the wait time for resources, and improves time-to-market and service quality by ensuring configuration compliance from development through production. This article should provide an overview of the self-service cloud concept, including what it is, how it works, and its advantages over other cloud options. In our experience working with clients in over 150 cloud implementations, the biggest hurdles we see with the development, testing, and staging of new IT services and applications are resource constraints for both infrastructure and staff. IT organizations are being asked by the business to deliver increasingly more IT services but without significantly more infrastructure or staff. Couple these resource constraints with the ever-increasing complexity of IT services and the frequent need to keep these services updated,...

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Self-Service Cloud Advantages

– Stephen Elliot, vice president of strategy for virtualization and service automation, CA (www.ca.com), says: What are the advantages of a self-service cloud over other cloud options? It enables a tight linkage to the business objectives and the technology investment. It also empowers the customer to make their own decisions. The notion of self service is foundational to any cloud discussion and will show itself through both business and technology centric interfaces. The real value comes in being able to integrate various pieces of the architecture together, automate the underlying processes, and take actions. In addition, the management and monitoring of the supporting infrastructure enables visibility if something does go wrong. This is critical because it provides the IT organization with an early warning system, preventing customers from experiencing “down time”. This is a journey with many pieces. Without all the pieces, an IT organization that deploys self service is at a high risk of failure as the dynamic nature of real time infrastructure takes...

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Self Service Cloud: Hard to Separate

– Lori MacVittie, Technical Marketing Manager at F5 Networks (www.f5.com), says: It is technically impossible to separate the concept of “self-service” from “cloud”; in fact the use of “self-service cloud” is redundant, as part of the value proposition for cloud computing is that it is inherently “self-service”. Perhaps a better way of differentiating would be to define what may be enterprise self-service access to cloud computing resources versus public self-service access to cloud computing resources. What “enterprise” self-service does is manage self-service access to external (public) or internal (private) cloud computing resources. It allows developers and other interested parties to deploy applications into cloud computing environments by isolating them from the interfaces even further than typically found in public environments and puts some measure of control over that access into the hands of IT. Because public cloud computing is inherently “self-service” and positions itself as “easy as a credit card” resource provisioning, it would be easy for an organization to lose control and “bleed green” as enterprise users deployed applications in the name of the organization at will. Enterprise self-service then provides a more centralized, manageable way for users to provision and leverage public/private cloud computing resources by isolating them from the billing/access/etc… management required of public cloud computing providers. Self-service internally serves much the same purpose – hiding the billing and metering and management aspects of the cloud...

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Server Growth: Up In The Cloud

– Brian Fry, vice president of sales and marketing at RackForce (www.rackforce.com), says: From RackForce’s perspective IT Managers in companies with 1000 Seats or less should be outsourcing their IT needs to a provider that can deliver colocation and cloud computing on demand. It is going to become near impossible to keep up without a massive budget. The datacenter must be scalable so that it doesn’t break the during the initial build or later during unexpected growth. There is a lot of planning involved in building out RackForce’s Scalable Modular Data Centers. Being ready for server growth is a whole lot more complicated now then it was a short time ago. Inventory in the market is in short supply and technology is advancing quickly. Cloud computing from the right partner is the best...

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Budget: Little Changes, Big Savings

– Stephan Prueger, Vice President of Sales with TrendPoint Systems (www.trendpoint.com), says: The industry has responded to the challenge by making the changes of virtualization and cloud computing to address the more with less issue. This is positive because we are taking advantage of previously idle resources. The effect is the industry is now facing the economics of more computing power driven in higher density environments which means small changes in efficiency result in large savings in dollars. The nice moral effect is we become greener by addressing this challenge. Trendpoint Systems believes if you have better equipment you will get better results. This is why we monitor power factor at the circuit level because it provides essential information that allows you to make more intelligent...

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