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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?»

The Top 3 Private Networking Use Cases for CloudLink

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013 by

Public clouds are fantastic for a majority of infrastructure use cases. And interconnectivity between clouds enables myriad solutions to empower businesses to have multiple synchronized points of presence across the world. Companies can easily set up connections that traverse the public Internet as a means to transmit and potentially synchronize data between cloud data centers. But these connections need to be reliable and more often than not, private.

CloudLink private network between cloud data centers

CloudLink private network between cloud data centers

With public network connections between clouds, users are at the mercy of hops and latency. For example, data may take one route with a particular number of hops, and a second later, may follow a completely different path and take a longer or shorter amount of time based on the connection.

In terms of securing the transport, some companies rely on point-to-point VPN connections using a hardware or software solution or some combination of the two. However, these solutions are also constrained by the connection and have limited speeds.

There are some scenarios or use cases that warrant using dedicated private networking to join geographically dispersed clouds. This is where GoGrid’s CloudLink service comes into play.

GoGrid’s CloudLink is a data center interconnect product—a redundant 10 Gbps pipe that is isolated to GoGrid traffic only. CloudLink enables private network traffic between different servers in GoGrid’s US data centers. As part of our “Complex Infrastructure Made Easy” mission, we designed this service to be basic yet powerful and still meet the needs of demanding organizations. Because this is a private network, much like the private network within GoGrid’s standard cloud infrastructure, there are no bandwidth costs. You simply decide on the connection speed (10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, or 1 Gbps), configure your connection, and pay for just the dedicated connection. (more…) «The Top 3 Private Networking Use Cases for CloudLink»

What is Auto-Scaling, How Does it Work, & Why Should I Use it?

Monday, March 11th, 2013 by

When I think about the phrase “auto-scaling,” for some reason it conjures up the word “Transformers.” For those not familiar with the Transformers genre of cartoons, toys, games, and movies, it is essentially about cars that turn into robots or vise versa, depending on how you look at it. When they need to fight or confront a challenge, Transformers will scale up from a vehicle (a car, truck, airplane, etc.) into a much larger robot. Then, when the challenge subsides, they scale back down to a vehicle.

Transformers 4 Movie

Image source: teaser.trailer.com

Scaling Explained

Scaling – in terms of infrastructure – is a similar concept, but applied to the horizontal or vertical scaling of servers. Horizontal scaling means adding (or removing) servers within an infrastructure environment. Vertical scaling involves adding resources to an existing server (like RAM).

Let’s look at an example. An author of a content creation website may write an article that attracts the attention of the social media community. What starts as a few views of the article per minute, once shared by many in social media, may result in hundreds or thousands of requests for this article per minute. When this spike in demand occurs, the load to the server or servers handling the website’s content may experience extreme load, affecting its ability to respond in a timely manner. The results can vary from long page loads to the server actually crashing under the additional peak load. In the past, this scenario used to be known as the “Digg effect” or “Slashdot effect.”

Although this type of success is great publicity for the author, it’s bad for the brand hosting the content. And, if users encounter slow or inaccessible websites, they’re less likely to return for other content at a later point, which can eventually result in a loss of revenue.

(more…) «What is Auto-Scaling, How Does it Work, & Why Should I Use it?»

San Francisco Event – Cloud Computing, Cocktails, & Canapés

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 by

It’s rare not to encounter fog in San Francisco. Call it fog, mist, clouds…it gives San Francisco part of its personality. With GoGrid though, it’s all about clouds, all of the time. And I’m not talking about those fluffy ones in the sky or shrouding the Golden Gate Bridge, I’m talking Cloud Computing. Being headquartered in “cloudy” San Francisco means we’re sitting on top of some of the brightest minds in tech, not just in the US, but in the world.

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge in Fog

There are clouds (and fog) in San Francisco

In an effort to bring some of these brilliant technophiles together to discuss how cloud computing is shaping the future for businesses, small and enterprise alike, GoGrid is hosting a cloud event, “Cloud Computing, Cocktails, and Canapés,” in San Francisco. If you’re local, join us next week, Wednesday, March 13 and come share how the cloud in impacting your world.

GoGrid CEO and founder, John Keagy, will be kicking off the event with his views on the importance of cloud computing, how GoGrid started and the exciting direction it is taking us. And speaking of exciting, Excite Digital Media CTO, Allen Hammock, will be talking about how they leverage the cloud to support their massive global growth and outdistance their competition.

San Francisco Cloud Computing Event Details

Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Time: 5:30-7:30 pm
Location: 111 Minna Gallery – Zappa Room, San Francisco, CA 94105

(more…) «San Francisco Event – Cloud Computing, Cocktails, & Canapés»

How To Create a Distributed, Reliable, & Fault-Tolerant GoGrid Dynamic Load Balancer

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 by

As Rupert Tagnipes outlined in his article “High Availability with Dynamic Load Balancers,” crafting a fault-tolerant, reliable website is critical to a company’s online success. There’s nothing worse than going to a website to do a transaction only to have it either be slow to respond or have an interaction time out. By setting up a load balancer in front of transactional web or application servers, companies can ensure their web presence is resilient, responsive, and gets information to their customers reliably.

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GoGrid launched with a free load-balancing service in 2008. This year, we introduced our next-generation cloud load-balancing service on GoGrid. Embracing the software-defined networking (SDN) mantra, we created our load-balancing service to embrace the key characteristics of cloud computing: on-demand, usage-based, and distributed. I encourage you to read more about our Dynamic Load-Balancing service in Rupert’s article.

Although understanding why load balancing is critical to success is important, knowing how to create a new GoGrid Dynamic Load Balancer is equally important. This How-To article will guide you quickly and easily down that path.

Dynamic-load-Balancer

As always, I like to boil the process down to 3 easy steps. In the case of the Dynamic Load Balancer creation process, these steps are:

(more…) «How To Create a Distributed, Reliable, & Fault-Tolerant GoGrid Dynamic Load Balancer»