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Posts Tagged ‘IaaS’

 

Cloud opportunities, benefits exceed global expectations

Friday, May 31st, 2013 by

When cloud computing first emerged, IT analysts had mixed feelings about the hosted services, unsure if they would be embraced or disregarded in the enterprise. Today, experts understand that the cloud now plays a central role in the ongoing development of the business world, providing decision-makers and employees with innovative solutions for growth and performance improvements.

Cloud opportunities, benefits exceed global expectations

Cloud opportunities, benefits exceed global expectations

Companies are using a mix of different cloud models, including Platform, Software and Infrastructure as a Service, all with positive results. In fact, a recent CA Technologies survey of IT decision-makers who have been using the cloud for at least a year found that the benefits of using the hosted solutions are exceeding many respondents’ expectations.

Many executives highlighted the cost-saving advantages of the cloud. This is because the ongoing use of the cloud is allowing decision-makers to become more familiar with the technology and, as a result, establish new goals and objectives. “Cost is often considered an early benefit – or even a required result – in order for IT teams to justify moving in the direction of the cloud,” said John Michelsen, chief technology officer of CA Technologies. “Once they show that cloud computing improves the bottom line, they can shift their focus to innovation and other objectives, such as increased performance and enhanced security.”

Who is using the cloud?
CA Technologies found several unique distinctions between organizations planning to invest more in cloud servers and other solutions within the next year and firms that are still on the fence. First, businesses that have been using the cloud for four or more years are roughly six times as likely to spend more money on the hosted services in 2013 than their counterparts that are relatively newer to the environment. This suggests that companies that have done more than just tested the water are more comfortable with the cloud and are experiencing greater results.

Second, the study found that organizations in the United States are more likely to invest in the cloud this year than businesses in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Benelux. In fact, 48 percent of U.S. respondents stated they plan to up cloud spending by up to 30 percent, while another 17 percent will invest even more. This is a stark contrast between the 42 percent and 4 percent, respectively, of European IT decision-makers.

(more…) «Cloud opportunities, benefits exceed global expectations»

Cloud Migration: Whatever You Do, Have a Plan

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 by

Every company adopting public cloud computing as part of its IT service delivery strategy is faced with the decision of which applications to migrate to the cloud and how. Some common cloud migration options we discuss with customers include:

  • Migrating to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider
  • Rebuilding an existing application in the cloud
  • Migrating an existing application “as is” to the cloud

Determining the right option depends on your business objectives and the application itself. Each option has benefits and drawbacks, but a business will often decide on an approach without adequately researching a comprehensive migration strategy. And without ample planning and consideration, the cost and complexity of migrating these applications can lead to delayed cloud projects that are over budget.

Cloud Migration - have a plan

Migrating to SaaS

For a new business looking for application services at a low up-front cost, a SaaS application is often a “no brainer.” However, when a business decides to migrate from an existing on-premise application to a new SaaS application, things get more complicated. There are data migrations to consider, transition time and labor, lost customizations, training, and “sunk costs” that can’t be recovered to factor in. Many SaaS vendors offer tools and services to help customers migrate data from legacy applications to the new SaaS application, but it’s important to research the migration process thoroughly before making a purchasing decision, especially if you’ve invested a lot of time in customizations or IT service integration.

Depending on the application and the availability of migration tools to assist in the migration, these factors can offset some of the gains of SaaS. Plus, the business risks additional time and expense if unforeseen migration challenges arise along the way. Businesses considering moving to SaaS should also consider what I call “SaaS in a box” or “SaaS-lite” applications. These applications are typically offered by vendors as part of a partner program or ecosystem like the GoGrid Exchange and deliver some SaaS benefits with more customer control. These templates can also be used to simplify the migration of an existing on-premise application to the cloud. (more…) «Cloud Migration: Whatever You Do, Have a Plan»

How To Enable & Manage the New, Free GoGrid Firewall Service

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 by

Security and infrastructure don’t always go hand in hand. In fact, many non-adopters of cloud computing have cited the lack of good security as one of the primary reasons they are not wholeheartedly embracing the cloud and all its glory. In some ways, these naysayers are correct: You shouldn’t deploy a cloud or frankly any type of infrastructure without some type of security, whether it’s software-based controls or a hardware device. At GoGrid, it is this desire to overcome security concerns that compelled us to release our free (that’s right FREE) Firewall Service.

When we developed our Firewall Service, we wanted to do more than simply offer a set of blocking rules or a hardware device. We wanted our solution to be centrally managed, easy to use and configure, fully featured, integrated across all our data centers, reliable, programmatically controlled, highly available, flexible, elastic, self-healing…whew! And did I mention, free? As we did for our new Dynamic Load Balancers, we embraced the concepts of software-defined networking (SDN) when architecting our Firewall Service.

Our research showed that for small environments, software-based firewalls (like IPtables or a Windows Firewall) worked just fine, provided the infrastructure didn’t need to scale. Similarly, hardware-based firewalls were great for enterprise-grade installations (but remember, if you get one hardware device, you typically need another one ready as a failover). We wanted to do it better. You can read more about the theory behind our cloud Firewall Service in this article.

As with my previous How To articles, there are 3 easy steps in the Firewall Service setup:

1. Create a Security Group
2. Define
a Policy
3. Add
a Connection

GoGrid’s Firewall Service is distributed and global. That means that once it’s configured, it automatically synchronizes across all our data centers. If you have multiple web servers in multiple GoGrid data centers, you simply define the Security Groups and Policies, connect the servers, and you’re done. Any future policy changes are automatically synchronized to the connected servers. Simple, right? Let’s see how to set up the Firewall Service. (more…) «How To Enable & Manage the New, Free GoGrid Firewall Service»

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)»

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?»