Archive for April, 2013

 

How To Create an Auto-Scaling Web Application on GoGrid (Part 1 – Theory)

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 by

Creating an auto-scaling web application is an ideal use of cloud computing. Although manually scaling your infrastructure is easy in the GoGrid cloud, programmatically controlling your infrastructure to scale automatically is an even better example of the power of the cloud. This scenario–an application that can increase and decrease its server count, and therefore capacity, based on the load it’s experiencing at any given time–makes IT professionals, sysadmins, and application developers alike extremely happy. And it’s also something you can build using out-of-the-box tools in GoGrid.

We’ve divided this topic into two articles:

Part 1 (this article) – The Theory of Auto-Scaling:

  • Background: traditional vs. cloud hosting
  • Programmatically architecting a solution
  • The underlying Orchestration methodology

Part 2 – A Proof of Concept of Auto-Scaling:

  • Do-it-yourself Orchestration
  • Proof-of-concept examples

(more…) «How To Create an Auto-Scaling Web Application on GoGrid (Part 1 – Theory)»

Cloud is key to unlocking security opportunities

Friday, April 19th, 2013 by

While many companies and business people automatically associate cloud computing with storage, infrastructure and other opportunities to enhance the data center, these are not the technology’s only benefits. In fact, the cloud can introduce a number of advantages when incorporated into a firm’s overall IT security initiative.

Cloud is key to unlocking security opportunities

Cloud is key to unlocking security opportunities

A recent report by Gartner highlighted how the cloud will increasingly be incorporated into corporate security endeavors, as 10 percent of IT data protection offerings will be available through the cloud by 2015. Because of the growing demands for cloud-based identity and access management, secure email and other gateways, the market for cloud-enabled security services is expected to generate roughly $4.2 billion in revenue by 2016.

The cloud allows organizations of all sizes to implement robust and effective data protection solutions despite the fact that many businesses lack the skills, staff or financial capabilities to do so. This is among the biggest drivers to implement cloud-based security tools.

“This shift in buying behavior from the more traditional on-premises equipment toward cloud-based delivery models offers good opportunities for technology and service providers with cloud delivery capabilities, but those without such capabilities need to act quickly to adapt to this competitive threat,” said Eric Ahlm, research director at Gartner.

How decision-makers intend to implement cloud security
Gartner analysts revealed that while there are a number of popular security components in the cloud landscape, the majority of executives plan on increasing spending on opportunities to improve the safety of email functions. Other organizations intend to increase investments in cloud-enabled tokenization services, largely due to strict compliance requirements and the ongoing need to keep consumers’ personally identifiable information safe.

(more…) «Cloud is key to unlocking security opportunities»

Is Your High-Tech Company Ready For An SDN-Enabled Cloud?

Thursday, April 18th, 2013 by

When it comes to technology, there are many companies on the “bleeding edge” these days. Sometimes these companies achieve greatness by being visionary, producing products or services that others haven’t thought of, or investing heavily in R&D. But they all have one thing in common: They use the latest high-tech, innovative solutions to power their journeys.

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When it comes to the underlying infrastructure powering a technology-oriented company, “cutting edge” means success. Sites and services need to perform, be reliable, be resilient, and have the flexibility to expand and contract based on the ebb and flow of day-to-day business. For me, that means cloud infrastructure is the best solution for companies looking to stay ahead of the curve.

Over the past few months, GoGrid has released a variety of services and features designed to give companies a leg up on the competition. It’s all centered on providing cloud infrastructure that’s flexible, yet forward-thinking. It’s much more than simply needing faster and bigger clouds—it’s about architecting our cloud solutions to provide customers with a highly available and distributed set of infrastructure components. And it’s architected according to software-defined networking (SDN) concepts.

SDN architecture isn’t focused on internetworked commodity hardware or new ways to provide networking services. It’s designed to distribute a variety of formerly hardware-based solutions across nodes, data centers, and clouds. When you think about “old school” infrastructure architecture, you probably think of physical devices. And if you think about one device, you really need to think about two, for redundancy and backup. If your hardware load balancer or firewall fails, you have to be sure you have a warm or hot standby available to immediately take its place. That requires time and money. And if you want to be cutting edge, you don’t want to be spending your precious time and money planning for the inevitable. You want to be innovating and iterating.

That’s where SDN is truly powerful and why many of the leading technology companies are adopting solutions that use it. With SDN, you can build in fault tolerance and redundancy. Take our recently released Dynamic Load Balancers as an example. Instead of relying on a single hardware device for routing traffic between available servers, our Dynamic Load Balancers are distributed and highly available across our Public Cloud. If one of the Dynamic Load Balancers fails, another instance, complete with configurations, is spawned immediately elsewhere thanks to our self-healing design. And these load-balancing services can be controlled programmatically via our API.

This month we announced another service that operates in the same distributed manner, our Firewall Service. Although many companies choose to use Cisco ASAs as a security front end for their cloud and physical infrastructure environments (an offering we also provide), these are physical devices that require management. However, our SDN architecture lets us provide more resilient and creative solutions. Like our Dynamic Load Balancers, our Firewall Service is built around SDN concepts and distributed across nodes and our data centers. When you create a security group (that has policies assigned to it), it’s automatically replicated across all our data centers within seconds. If you have distributed infrastructure, you can simply assign a security group to any similarly configured Cloud Server, regardless of that server’s location. If you subsequently change a policy, it’s automatically synchronized to all servers across all data centers that are part of that security group. In other words, you configure once, assign the security group to the server(s), and then watch the SDN magic happen.

(more…) «Is Your High-Tech Company Ready For An SDN-Enabled Cloud?»

Capitalizing on cloud cost-saving opportunities

Friday, April 12th, 2013 by

In most cases, cloud computing can replace traditional data center infrastructure solutions for less money, making them an affordable alternative for maintaining and potentially improving operations in today’s unpredictable economy. However, these financial benefits are only achieved when decision-makers take the time to plan the deployments carefully and understand the fundamentals of how their organizations carry out mission-critical tasks.

Capitalizing on cloud cost-saving opportunities

Capitalizing on cloud cost-saving opportunities

A recent InformationWeek report highlighted how many cloud implementations are underutilized, largely because executives impulsively migrate to the hosted environments without first identifying best practices for optimizing the services. This means that many of the cloud’s potential financial opportunities are discarded, making the technology less efficient than it can be.

Several technology evangelists told InformationWeek that cloud vendors love charging less than traditional service providers, as doing so gives them the opportunity to reach new customers and introduce significant improvements to internal operations. When executives over​-provision the hosted services, however, organizations are forced to pay for unused resources, diminishing some of the cost-saving opportunities. Fortunately, there are ways to circumvent these challenges.

Ensuring the cloud delivers financial benefits
Understanding and monitoring usage is among the best ways to ensure a cloud infrastructure is able to capitalize on all of the financial perks the technology is widely known for, InformationWeek stated. Decision-makers should not simply pick a random budget and assume each month is the same. Instead, IT directors should observe how the environments are used and whether certain months or time periods require individuals to consume more resources. If a company is using fewer tools than initially expected, executives need to understand why.

In addition to consolidating all cloud services through a single provider, which may qualify for some price breaks, organizations should think about how they can use the cloud to optimize servers, according to the news source. Many cloud vendors today offer automated scaling services, which enable firms to use more infrastructure tools when they are needed and deactivate those same assets when they are not necessary. This means many solutions will no longer be running 24-hours a day, allowing businesses to reduce maintenance expenses.

(more…) «Capitalizing on cloud cost-saving opportunities»

Public, private clouds disrupt future data centers

Thursday, April 11th, 2013 by

In the past, small businesses and large enterprises both solely used on-premise data centers because they were the only real technology available for decision-makers looking to improve operations through the use of digital technologies. Today is much different, as many organizations are now migrating massive workloads to external cloud computing environments in an attempt to reduce costs, relieve internal stress and ensure individuals have access to mission-critical resources from virtually anywhere at any time.

Public, private clouds disrupt future data centers

Public, private clouds disrupt future data centers

Yet decision-makers are still unsure which route to take in their deployment of the “next-generation data center.” In some cases, executives will continue migrating operations to external cloud-based environments, while others will keep sensitive information on internal clouds. Others still will adopt a hybrid approach, in which both internal and external clouds are used. The question remains, which method will be the most effective for 21st century companies?

In reality, this question can only be answered when decision-makers understand how their organization works. If an enterprise is pursuing teleworking trends, which enable employees to work from anywhere, the public cloud can introduce significant benefits. Because the hosted environments are managed by a third party, they are accessible via any device from any location. This means individuals in a coffee shop down the street can access the same resources as colleagues working inside the office – if they are authorized to view the same content, that is.

Conversely, if an organization is charged with managing highly sensitive information that can cause substantial problems if released, the private cloud may be a better option. Private services are not multi-tenant environments like their public counterparts, making it less likely that confidential data will be exposed.

Still, companies often take various approaches when augmenting their data center.

(more…) «Public, private clouds disrupt future data centers»