Archive for June, 2013

 

Report: A third of office systems will be in the cloud by 2017

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 by

Cloud computing is transforming the business world, allowing companies of all sizes to implement advanced software and embrace innovative IT trends with fewer concerns and bigger savings. At the same time, however, not everything that can benefit from the cloud is doing so, as there are many technologies that have yet to make the transition to the hosted environment.

33 percent of office systems will be in the cloud by 2017

33 percent of office systems will be in the cloud by 2017

Unfortunately, the transition of many technologies, such as office systems and email, is slower than many advocates predicted. Gartner recently highlighted this occurrence, noting that only 8 percent of all office system users are in the cloud. Still, analysts believe this is a progressing market, noting that 33 percent of these tools will be in the cloud by 2017.

This market will gain significant momentum after 2015, Gartner noted. This is likely because the cloud will be more familiar to most organizations by then and employees will demand the ability to access mission-critical resources from anywhere.

“Despite the hype surrounding migration to the cloud, big differences in movement rates continue, depending on organizations’ size, industry, geography and specific requirements,” said Tom Austin, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “While 8 percent of business people were using cloud office systems at the start of 2013, we estimate this number will grow to 695 million users by 2022, to represent 60 percent.”

What factors weigh into cloud decisions?
Analysts noted that email is one of the world’s most significant collaborative tools, as it provides individuals with the ability to share information across networks and platforms. In many organizations, the option to move email to the cloud is among the biggest decisions, weighing into moving the entire office system to the cloud or not. Gartner believes that at least 10 percent of all email users will be based in the cloud by the end of next year, a number that will triple by the end of 2017.

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Cloud computing improves security for SMBs, studies reveal

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 by

For the past several years, cloud computing has been disrupting the business world by providing organizations with innovative ways to save money, improve operations and gain access to next-generation applications. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have begun to recognize that the benefits of the cloud have reached their organizations as well. Still, some fears about the hosted services held many companies back. A recent study of US SMBs by Microsoft, however, revealed that many of these concerns are not backed by data but are really just misconceptions about the technology.

Cloud computing improves security, not impairs it

Cloud computing improves security, not impairs it

The survey found that 60 percent of organizations that have not yet adopted the cloud because of security concerns. Other SMBs that have not embraced the cloud said the fear of unreliability or loss of control over sensitive data held them back.

Conversely, businesses that have adopted the cloud have experienced benefits in all of these categories, suggesting the shroud of uncertainty surrounding the cloud should not be an obstacle.

“There’s a big gap between perception and reality when it comes to the cloud. SMBs that have adopted cloud services found security, privacy and reliability advantages to an extent they didn’t expect,” said Adrienne Hall of Microsoft. “The real silver lining in cloud computing is that it enables companies not only to invest more time and money into growing their business, but to better secure their data and to do so with greater degrees of service reliability as well.”

The truth about the cloud
The underlying reality of a cloud infrastructure is that it is often more secure and reliable than traditional premise-based systems. Microsoft highlighted this truth when it found that a whopping 94 percent of SMBs using the cloud revealed that they acquired more security benefits using the hosted services than they did with legacy solutions. This meant having access to more innovative and up-to-date antivirus and data management tools.

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Get Your Game On in the Cloud

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 by

Do you play mobile games on your smartphone or tablet? What about on your computer? And do you still put in a CD or DVD to play them? Or do you download an app to play? Have you ever tried an online game within Facebook? And what about on your game console? As bandwidth has increased and technology has evolved, more and more of these gaming experiences are being served from the cloud. Online gaming has transcended physical media like CDs, DVDs, and installed applications and moved to virtual environments based on Flash, HTML5, or other streamed or in-browser technologies.

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According to investment bank Digi-Capital, mobile games account for 42 percent of all new game investments. If money trails are any indication of success, we should watch to see where the banks are investing. In December 2012, Forbes reported that US video game sales dropped 25 percent in the month of October 2012, falling from $1 billion to $775.5 million. Conversely, general spending on mobile and social games rose 7 percent to $7.24 billion in 2011…and that was a few years ago!

Just take a look at some of the games listed in this .NET article, “The top 10 HTML5 games of 2012.” It’s very impressive that the underlying technology is completely browser-based and that these games are absolutely interactive and full-featured. Just for fun, I decided to see how many of these HTML5 games are cloud-hosted. (Remember though, because HTML5 is in-browser code, it doesn’t matter that much if it is cloud or traditionally hosted.) Here’s what I discovered:

  • “A Grain of Truth” – shared hosting
  • “Dune 2 Online” – colocation
  • “Cut the Rope” – cloud/dedicated/custom hosting
  • “Hex GL” – shared/dedicated hosting
  • “Lux Ahoy” – cloud/dedicated hosting
  • “D.E.M.O.” – cloud hosting
  • “BananaBread” – telco hosting
  • “Save the Day” – cloud hosting
  • “Bombermine” – shared hosting
  • “BrowserQuest” – ISP/VPS/Web hosting

As you can see, there’s quite a mixture of hosting provider types, ranging from shared to large-scale ISP/telco to cloud. The physical requirements for these types of HTML5 games rely mainly on the end user and the capabilities of the specific device. However, if any of these HTML5 games were to take off in popularity, the game owner would need to scale its infrastructure to handle the increased demand.

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Which applications should move to the cloud?

Thursday, June 6th, 2013 by

As the business world shifts attitudes to adopt cloud computing, decision-makers need to understand the potential benefits associated with migrating applications to the hosted environment. While the majority of solutions will experience at least some level of performance improvements from being deployed in a cloud-based environment, the degree to which services are enhanced varies between providers. For this reason, companies need to map out their cloud projects, ensuring that applications which will experience the most dramatic upgrades are the ones that are being moved to the cloud.

Which applications should move to the cloud?

Which applications should move to the cloud?

In the past, executives embraced the “everything cloud” philosophy, which encouraged them to move every possible solution to the cloud. After a short time, companies began to realize this wasn’t the most cost-effective or efficient way to operate, forcing decision-makers to develop new cloud adoption and deployment strategies.

Today’s biggest cloud challenge is simply finding which tools will operate the most efficiently in the cloud without introducing any unnecessary complications throughout the rest of the infrastructure. A recent TechTarget report highlighted how organizations should look at three separate points when assessing which solutions should move to the cloud: the labor benefits associated with moving those applications, the optimistic financial opportunities and the agility improvements associated with the migration.

Understanding the cost of labor
If using a cloud-based application saves workers’ time, the cost of labor is generally equivalent to the value of the time that is saved, TechTarget stated. If specific solutions enable organizations to be more productive, for example, those tools are more likely to provide a significant return on investment, strengthening the long-term success of enterprises.

At the same time, however, decision-makers also need to consider how many employees certain applications need to support, as reinforcing the operations of too many individuals can put a strain on the overall performance and availability of that service. In other words, businesses should assess their IT landscape to determine the solutions that will save time after being moved to the cloud, but are not jeopardized by increased attention and use.

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How Software Defined Networking Delivers Next-Generation Success

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 by

Software defined networking (SDN) is today where the cloud was a few years ago, and their paths are quite similar. As cloud providers innovate, they incorporate new, cutting-edge technology to let users do more with their architectures and enable solutions that were previously impossible. Just as the cloud moved people away from physical boxes and bare metal devices, SDN is allowing developers and architects to divorce themselves from proprietary hardware appliances like load balancers and firewalls.

So, what are the similarities between SDN and cloud? How about abstraction or the movement from physical to virtual?

To get a bit more scientific, I jumped over to Google Trends (which looks at search term volume over time) and did a search for “cloud,” “SDN,” “cloud computing,” and “software defined networking.”

cloud-sdn-trends

The results shown here make it pretty obvious that “cloud” continues to grow and overshadow the other terms. Removing “cloud” shows “SDN” making the same upward trajectory as “cloud” does in the graphic below. (Because people have been shortening the term “cloud computing” to simply “cloud,” it’s logical that the term’s search volume is decreasing.)

snd-cloud-comp-software-defined-network-trends

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