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Archive for February, 2013

 

Sourcing managers must understand cloud’s connection with other technologies

Friday, February 8th, 2013 by

Decision-makers in charge of finding, assessing and engaging with suppliers will need to change their tactics in 2013 and beyond due to the emergence of several innovative technologies. Sourcing managers need to consider how big data, social tools, mobile devices and cloud computing present new risks and opportunities in the procurement of resources, according to a report by Gartner.

Sourcing managers must understand cloud's connection with other technologies

Sourcing managers must understand cloud’s connection with other technologies

Rather than segregating these three technologies and evaluating them separately, analysts said sourcing executives need to consider them as a converged entity that can evolve in the coming years.

“The convergence of these forces, which Gartner calls the nexus of forces, is what drives real business value,” said Linda Cohen, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “The nexus of forces converge in several ways: cloud, mobile and social solutions enable the distribution of information, social media usage and behavior drive mobile and information solutions, and cloud can be a foundation for information, social and mobile solutions.”

Attaining a new perspective and understanding the evolving IT landscape will be critical in the future because it will enable sourcing managers to take a holistic approach to adopting and using these technologies in the most efficient way. Because each of the services associated with the nexus of forces will have some sort of impact on the lifecycle of most applications, Gartner noted, having a comprehensive sense of technology’s importance will be crucial.

The cloud will change everything
Gartner reported that the majority of decision-makers will use or consider the public cloud as a model to host applications that will be upgraded, replaced or modernized within the next two years. In order for cloud infrastructure services to be used properly, however, decision-makers need to understand how the technology will create multiple hosting environments, especially when companies implement on-site and off-premises solutions.

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How Artizone.com Carved a Path to eCommerce Success

Thursday, February 7th, 2013 by

We recently talked with one of our newest customers, Artizone.com, about how it’s whetting the public’s appetite for local handmade eats with the help of GoGrid’s cloud infrastructure. Artizone.com is a personable online grocery site that combines two of the things people want most: delicious, healthy food and an easy way to get it. Not that the search and discovery process isn’t part of the whole gourmet experience. I’m from New York and I remember spending hours looking for the best deli and the best bakery and the best butcher. The hunt was a lot of fun, and the result was always amazing. But the time I spent getting to three different stores by bus or subway took a huge chunk out of my day and didn’t leave a lot of time to actually enjoy my “finds.”

Of course once online shopping became more than just a novelty, companies began to offer everything from sneakers to snicker doodles via the web—and eCommerce was born. Artizone has taken the “recipe” a step further by crafting a site that focuses on locally grown, organic, and hand-made foods. You can shop “by aisle” just like in a regular supermarket and choose from fresh produce, meats, and seafood. Or you can shop by “artisan” and learn about the folks who actually make the chocolates, breads, and salsas-to-die-for that Artizone carries. There are also pictures of the artisans, which makes you feel just as close to the source of the food as you would at a local Farmer’s Market. Big Al of Big Al’s Texas Rubs looks pretty much like you’d expect, and seeing his picture somehow makes you trust your decision to buy his rub.

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Artizone offers delivery-based service direct to your doorstep in Chicago and Dallas, depending on your locale selection, and ships nonperishable items throughout the US. And with food makers like Black Dog Gelato in Chicago and TJ’s Seafood Market in Dallas, you’re sure to find something new to try. Of course, the key to a great eCommerce website is the actual experience you have on the site. We all know what a good experience feels like: It’s easy to find what you’re looking for, you can get help right away if you need it via chat or phone, and buying is fast and straightforward (a piece of cake, in Artizone’s case). A great experience goes further by offering you things you didn’t know you wanted but suddenly realize you need, like delicious recipes that use the food you purchase on Artizone.com.

If a site’s disorganized or confusing, most of us will drop our cart like a hot potato (!) before we complete our purchase. And eCommerce companies just hate when we do that. They want to grab our attention, entertain and/or inform us, and then close the sale. That’s why creating a site that takes the “eek” out of eCommerce by hiding the behind-the-scenes mechanics is so important. Artizone’s VP of Research and Development, Sagi Briteman, agrees. “It’s liberating to be able to focus on our online store and user experience—and let GoGrid take care of the infrastructure,” he says. When you visit an eCommerce site like Artizone.com, the last thing you want to worry about is the technology that powers it—you should be focused on when you’ll get all the yummy treats you just ordered.

Naturally, eCommerce websites can’t stay the same week after week or we wouldn’t come back again—and again. If the company isn’t adding or refreshing the content, it might be expanding its services or trying to reach a new audience. Each time it expands to a new metropolitan area, for example, Artizone sees a huge jump in the number of food makers and customers it serves. And to make sure it could grow without worrying about how to meet that demand, the company took its time identifying a cloud infrastructure partner that really understood eCommerce.

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Are These Really Mysteries? Solving Forbes’ “7 Great Unsolved Mysteries of Cloud Computing”

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 by

From time to time, I come across an article that I feel compelled to respond to. Yesterday, I read “7 Great Unsolved Mysteries of Cloud Computing” written by Joe McKendrick (an author and independent researcher covering IT trends and markets) in Forbes.com. Although McKendrick definitely offers some thought-provoking questions in the form of “cloud mysteries,” part of me feels these mysteries were already solved a long time ago.

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What follows are the questions that McKendrick asks, my interpretation of his descriptions, and my responses to these mysteries. I’d love to hear your feedback on these mysteries and my responses, so be sure to leave a comment.

7 Great “Unsolved” Mysteries of Cloud Computing

McKendrick alludes to the 2010s as a “cloud computing migration.” A “migration” connotes a feeling of evolution, and I do believe that cloud computing is evolving through a natural progression (see “Riding the Gartner Hype Cycle Roller Coaster: Hang on to your Magic Quadrants!”) toward mainstream adoption.

But let’s take a look at the “unsolved” mysteries.

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Public sector makes cloud infrastructure moves

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 by

The rapidly evolving cloud infrastructure market is providing organizations around the world with new opportunities to improve operations through innovation. These capabilities are not only limited to the private sector, as government agencies and other public sector bodies will also begin to implement cloud services to enhance the way tasks are carried out.

Public sector makes cloud infrastructure moves

Public sector makes cloud infrastructure moves

A recent report by Gartner highlighted how the growing public cloud industry is changing how the government consumes security solutions because many of these will be hosted in cloud-based environments in the coming years. Furthermore, the ongoing adoption of various cloud computing services is forcing the public sector to prioritize the protection of their virtual infrastructure. As a result, the cloud will be incorporated into national infrastructure regulations by 2016, requiring decision-makers to implement advanced security tools.

“The popularity and increased adoption of cloud-based security services, albeit at different degrees, will influence the shape of future security marketplaces,” said Ruggero Contu, research director at Gartner. “Deployments of virtualization, and its replacing of traditional physical hardware platforms, are expected to impact the deployment model of future network security capabilities, which are expected to be based increasingly on virtual security appliances.”

Security’s future may rest in the clouds
Gartner analysts forecast growth rates for cloud-based security solutions to outpace premise-based offerings within the next three years because 10 percent of overall IT security applications will be delivered via the cloud by 2015. While this trend is likely to occur around the world, Gartner predicts North America will account for the majority of spending.

A separate report by Trend Micro highlighted similar findings, noting that the cloud security software market is forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate of more than 41 percent through 2014, eventually generating more than $963 million in revenue.

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High Availability with Dynamic Load Balancers

Monday, February 4th, 2013 by

Building out a highly available website means that it is fault-tolerant and reliable. A best practice is to put your web servers behind a load balancer not only to distribute load, but also to mitigate the risk of an end user accessing a failing web server. However, traditional load balancing funnels traffic into a single-tenant environment—a single point of failure. A better practice is to have a distributed load balancer that takes advantage of the features of the cloud and increases the fault-tolerance abilities on the load balancer. GoGrid’s Dynamic Load Balancer service is designed around a software-defined networking (SDN) architecture that turns the data center into one big load balancer.

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GoGrid’s Dynamic Load Balancer offers many features, but one of its core features is high availability (HA). It is HA in two ways.

First, on the real server side, deploying multiple clones of your real servers is a standard load-balancing practice. That way, if one of your servers goes down, the load balancer will use the remaining servers in the pool to continue to serve up content. In addition, each GoGrid cloud server that you deploy as a web server (in the real server pool) is most likely on a different physical node. This setup provides additional protection in the case of hardware failure.

Second, on the Dynamic Load Balancer side, the load balancers are designed to be self-healing. In case of a hardware failure, Dynamic Load Balancing is designed to immediately recover to a functioning node. The Virtual IP address of the Dynamic Load Balancer (the VIP) is maintained as well as all the configurations, with all the changes happening on the back end. This approach ensures the Dynamic Load Balancer will continue to function with minimal interruption, preventing the Dynamic Load Balancer from being a single point of failure. Because the load balancer is the public-facing side of a web server, whenever it goes down the website goes down. Having a self-healing load balancer therefore makes the web application more resilient.

Users with websites or applications that need to always be available would benefit from including GoGrid’s Dynamic Load Balancing in their infrastructure. The load balancer is important for ensuring the public side of a service is always available; however, including easily scalable cloud servers, the ability to store images of those servers in persistent storage, and the option to replicate infrastructure between data centers with CloudLink are all important elements of a successful HA setup.

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