Archive for the ‘Hosting’ Category

 

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.

(more…) «How Artizone.com Carved a Path to eCommerce Success»

10 Cloud Resolutions for 2013

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 by

It’s the New Year! Have you resolved to get in better shape? How about the shape of your business? Are you going to keep trudging along at the same pace with the same old hardware clogging up your data center? Don’t you think it’s time to look to the future and get a head start on your competition by moving to cloud computing?

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In case you’re still shaking the cobwebs out of your head from the holiday celebrations, I’ve put together a list of 10 cloud resolutions for 2013. Just pick a few of these to help you and your business start 2013 right!

  1. I resolve to spend less time in the data center and get my hearing back. Have you ever walked around a data center? You can’t talk without shouting, and you can easily catch a cold from the refrigeration needed to keep all those machines running cool. Besides, if you spend too long in there, you’ll tend to speak a lot louder in the regular world.
  2. I resolve to ensure other people understand that clouds aren’t just those fluffy things in the sky. It seems that many people still think clouds are what produce rain or sometimes block the sun. But more and more companies are turning to the cloud to solve real business problems.
  3. I resolve to donate my unused hardware to charity instead of letting it gather cobwebs in my data center. When you use cloud computing, you can control your spend and use of server resources at a much finer level. And because you “lease” the virtual resources, you can afford to give up the physical ones.
  4. I resolve to understand the difference between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS so I don’t sound like an “aaS.” There’s a difference between software vs. platforms vs. infrastructure as a service. Think varying levels of control and capabilities.
  5. I resolve to better forecast my infrastructure use instead of just rolling the dice. You wouldn’t build a house without a budget, and you shouldn’t build out infrastructure without knowing how much you’re going to use it.
  6. I resolve to take more vacations while managing my infrastructure remotely. With the cloud, you can get out of that loud data center and into the real world. The nice thing about having scalable, controllable infrastructure is being able to manage it remotely from a web browser using an API or a mobile application.
  7. I resolve to scale my flexible infrastructure much the same way my tummy scales after the holiday (thank goodness for sweatpants)! Programmatic control of your infrastructure and IT spend means you now have the flexibility to adapt your business to market conditions and customer demands.
  8. I resolve to convince my IT department to get their heads out of the clouds and invest in the cloud. If your IT department is still manually provisioning out-of-date physical servers that take weeks or months to deploy, it’s high time they look into cloud computing so they can focus on other stuff.
  9. I resolve to stop throwing my cash out the window by spending it on physical hardware. The cloud lets you to control your costs and requisition virtual environments on-demand.
  10. I resolve to test out GoGrid’s high-performing cloud infrastructure. It’s the start of a new year, and time to start a new cloud project! Contact a GoGrid cloud specialist for a $100 service credit to help you get started, and be sure to mention this cloud resolutions blog post!

Happy 2013! May our clouds help produce success for your business this year!

Riding the Gartner Hype Cycle Roller Coaster: Hang on to your Magic Quadrants!

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 by

Every year, vendors and companies watch to see how providers are positioned in Gartner’s Magic Quadrants. Gartner has been providing Magic Quadrant analysis for many years in different industry verticals, and although the analysis isn’t necessarily the gold standard, it does help those making buying decisions understand each industry a little more clearly.

Since 2009, GoGrid has been in a Gartner Magic Quadrant, and this year we’re happy to announce our inclusion in the 2012 Cloud IaaS Magic Quadrant. Instead of analyzing the comments and positioning of the cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers, I wanted to take a different approach by focusing on how the Magic Quadrant has evolved over the years in relation to cloud computing, hosting, and IaaS in general.

What’s all the “hype” about?

Many of you may be familiar with another Gartner graphic and report called the “Hype Cycle.” The Hype Cycle graphically represents the evolution of a new technology from its introduction through its maturity. The Cycle is broken into five distinct “slopes,” and looks like this:

Gartner_Hype_Cycle.svg

  • The Technology Trigger phase is where a breakthrough or new technology first begins to garner interest.
  • The Peak of Inflated Expectations is the phase where a technology is seen as the solution to all ills. At this point, the technology is pushed to the limit, with some successes and plenty of failures. There’s a lot of media, marketing, and PR hype during this phase, as its name implies.
  • Once reality sets in, the technology enters the Trough of Disillusionment. In this phase, there isn’t as much media interest and there’s possibly more criticism than praise.
  • As the technology begins to mature and users continue to experiment and innovate, we reach a level of clairvoyance where potential risks and benefits are clearer and there are more solutions that use the technology. This phase is the Slope of Enlightenment.
  • When real-world applications appear and are accepted and the value proposition gains traction, the technology hits the Plateau of Productivity, where more widespread adoption occurs. Once the technology reaches this level, it has become established and viable.

Like many transforming technologies before it, cloud computing is working its way through this Hype Cycle roller coaster. Five years ago, the cloud was chugging up the hill to get ready for the ride, and more recently, it’s sped down the descent as the technology gained momentum. Where does it stand currently? There are many opinions, of course, but I believe we’re enjoying the ride to the Plateau of Productivity. (more…) «Riding the Gartner Hype Cycle Roller Coaster: Hang on to your Magic Quadrants!»

Got Growing Pains? 3 Ways to Painlessly Scale your Cloud

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 by

Everybody wants to be successful. Although we can often learn from our mistakes, we can also avoid pitfalls and hurdles by doing a little bit of research and even some trial and error in advance. Part of being successful is choosing the right team, the right tools, and the right partner for your project. And when it comes to building out your company’s infrastructure, any solution or partner you choose should be cost-effective and helpful so you absolutely don’t compromise on reliability or performance.

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In order to be successful, your infrastructure should be ready for this success. Here are three things to think about when scaling your business and its infrastructure:

  1. Plan for success – Don’t think about just 1 week or 1 month down the road. Look at your historical information. Look at your competitor’s traffic. Is your industry seasonal? Figure out where those peaks and valleys are and plan for them.
  2. Do some testing – Don’t just hypothesize on how well your infrastructure will perform. Do some real world testing. There are many 3rd party software and SaaS solutions that can simulate load on your site. Test some various scenarios with and without extra infrastructure. Test your scaling, manual or automated.
  3. Plan also for failure – What if something doesn’t go as expected, are you ready for that? Part of developing a scalability strategy is also working on those less-than-positive scenarios. Planning for success is fun, but planning for failures is just as important.

How GoGrid can help

For more than 10 years, GoGrid has been delivering compelling infrastructure solutions worldwide. We believe in a consultative approach because we understand that every business needs solutions that fit their unique requirements. When it comes to success, cookie-cutter approaches simply don’t work.

(more…) «Got Growing Pains? 3 Ways to Painlessly Scale your Cloud»

InformationWeek’s “IaaS Buyer’s Guide” with some Updated Information from GoGrid

Friday, October 19th, 2012 by

This week, InformationWeek published an extremely handy IaaS Buyer’s Guide designed to help companies navigate the complex airspace of cloud computing, specifically the Infrastructure-as-a-Service marketplace. The Guide covers 9 IaaS providers, including GoGrid, that each submitted responses to a questionnaire about their service offerings. InformationWeek then compiled and categorized those responses in this easy-to-understand Guide. You can find the full Guide (behind a registration wall) here.

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Topics covered in the Guide include:

  • CPU & Memory
  • Storage
  • Operating Systems
  • Database Software Needs
  • Redundancy/Data Center Needs
  • Additional VM Features
  • Cost
  • Security & Compliance
  • Support & SLA
  • Additional Services

A few things have changed since GoGrid was originally interviewed, and we wanted to provide updated information for some of these categories.

CPU & Memory

(more…) «InformationWeek’s “IaaS Buyer’s Guide” with some Updated Information from GoGrid»