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Archive for June, 2014

 

Supply chains belong in the cloud

Friday, June 6th, 2014 by

Transportation experts already use bar codes and radio transmitters to keep track of outbound and inbound materials. However, third-party logistics providers may need to employ cloud computing to keep pace with a clientele that primarily consists of nationwide retailers.

A commercial truck transports goods on an interstate highway.

A commercial truck transports goods on an interstate highway.

Merchandisers have realized that aggregating data from numerous sources and then transcribing it into actionable information is a process that will allow them to remain competitive. A portion of that intelligence is collected from hundreds of thousands of daily eCommerce orders, which is then transferred to supply chain professionals in charge of shipping each item to customers across the country.

Leveraging surveillance 
The aforementioned process enables logistics experts to accurately predict future consumer demand and initiate deliveries the instant an order is made. Distributing that huge amount of tangible capital from region to region requires comprehensive, real-time oversight to optimize efficiency and stay one step ahead of criminals interested in stealing freight. This high level of surveillance is provided via Internet-connected devices installed on each asset (trucks, forklifts, pallets, individual packages, etc.).

According to Tech Radar, a report conducted by Gartner suggested that the number of mechanisms capable of communicating with the Web will reach 26 billion by 2020, 25.1 billion more than the amount that existed in 2009. The firm noted that although this growth presents a great opportunity for companies to obtain a wide variety of information, it also will pressure on-premise data centers trying to adequately handle an expanding amount of data at a faster pace. Aside from the amount of intelligence that’s projected to become available, the sophistication of such devices must be put into perspective, noted Gartner’s Managing Vice President Michael Burkett.

“Some IoT [Internet of Things] devices are more mature, such as commercial telematics now used in trucking fleets to improve logistics efficiency,” said Burkett, as quoted by Tech Radar. “Some such as smart fabrics that use sensors within clothing and industrial fabrics to monitor human health or manufacturing process are just emerging.”

Applying them to logistics 
The fact that distributors are already using IoT is definitely a step in the right direction, but many are still stuck with on-premise technology that’s preventing them from using more Internet-connected devices. Moving to cloud hosting will enable logistics companies to make the most of their data collection efforts and provide them with an environment capable of supporting complex analytics programs.

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Moving past data centers: Public cloud storage

Monday, June 2nd, 2014 by

Managing data volume and storage using an in-house data center isn’t necessarily the cheapest endeavor. Between equipment maintenance and variable energy costs, obtaining information from these stores is pretty expensive and can weigh heavily on any IT department with less than a dozen people.

Data center employee works with a server.

Data center employee works with a server.

Scrutinizing categories
To reduce overhead costs, many organizations are choosing to invest in cloud storage, which allows companies to access intelligence more fluidly. According to IBM Systems magazine, there are three main categories of data enterprises handle on a regular basis:

1. Hot – information that’s needed most frequently and requires faster access
2. Warm – information that viewed fairly often and is stored on slightly slower storage
3. Cold – information that’s rarely accessed and can be stored on the slowest units

Traditionally, organizations have to factor in rack space, power supply energy requirements, redundancy, and recovery capabilities when prioritizing data center tasks. Certain algorithms are used to allocate workloads between servers to deliver higher performance. Each data category requires a different protocol and set of rules so that tasks can be managed efficiently.

Ascending into the cloud 
HostReview contributor Steve Jen noted that migrating data storage responsibilities to cloud servers eliminates much of the tediousness associated with in-house access and data processing. There are a few key reasons companies have decided to make this transition, the main one being a significant reduction in expenses. By moving to the cloud, IT departments can also realize other advantages such as eliminating the need to invest in tangible infrastructure like hard disks and cooling units or constantly maintaining those assets. By eliminating such administrative tasks, IT professionals can dedicate more time, energy, and resources to implementing business-changing applications, improving processes, and focusing on value-added services.

One of the most popular features of cloud computing is that it enables employees to access information when not in the office. This capability helps enterprises keep up with an increasingly mobile workforce, freeing staff from physical location and allowing them to build and maintain customer relationships on a more flexible schedule. In addition to viewing files from a home office, employees can store, collaborate, and synchronize documents and other data in near-real-time.

(more…) «Moving past data centers: Public cloud storage»