Archive for cloud computing.

Aug
08

HostingCon 2011 and Duplicate Content

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Being a newly “created” SoCal transplant served me well today as I calmly drove down the 5 to get here…. No really the drive was very peaceful, learned a few new words as well. I am reminded of two things: 1) I love my phone 2) we have come quite a long way in the hosting industry… so why does it feel like last year?

Apps! Clouds! Acquisitions! Growing your business! If you squint at the name and place your right thumb over the date you might think it was 2010 all over again.

The cloud has arrived! Well yeah, it has been hanging out, parked on the couch drinking your beer and stealing your cable. It’s like daddy’s little girl and the redheaded stepchild all rolled into one. Convenience and Security both still seem to be at odds. And standards? Still seemingly years away. Consumers want it, but we need it to live up to its word. That’s all that needs to be said. As an aside, who, cloud providers, can guarantee my data will be stored in my country (not necessarily US) and not be spread globally? If it is global, can you guarantee me data won’t be subject to the jurisdiction of multiple nations? Think about it.

Apps! I love apps; hell I am writing this blog from my phone. Sidebar: anyone else get the impression that session speakers know a lot more than what they are saying? Seriously,  with a handful of exceptions, presenters have a personal stake in not telling you everything. I say tell me and I might just hire you. Food for thought.

Apps: simple and complex, modular, delightful wastes of time or powerful tools to augment everything that is fine and good in the world. We have the delivery. We have the tools. We have the technology. But we lack creativity. Don’t just build an app cause someone told it will help your stickiness. Instead find out what people do the most on your site and make that mobile. Now go and be fruitful. I will expect my royalty check in the mail and its d-u-n-l-A-p not o-p.

Acquisitions, going to listen on Tom Millitzer’s presentation at 1. So howabout we take a break here and come back fresh?

Categories : Commentary
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With so much buzz about cloud-based products and services, how do you know what will work for you? Cloud products offer many practical benefits such as low entry costs and on-demand scalability, but choosing the right platform can be a daunting proposition. To better understand how customers approach the buying decision when considering cloud storage platforms, The Planet pinpointed five important differentiators every hosting customer should consider when evaluating the adoption of cloud storage:

  1. Performance – It’s important to match the platform with your application’s performance needs. Many cloud storage platforms only provide 2-3 Mb/sec of transfer speed – that’s fine for most backup and archiving use cases but is likely not sufficient for production data. When evaluating platforms, you should also schedule multiple tests with varying traffic and load scenarios to gauge the consistency of service.
  2. Ease of Integration – The ease of user access is critical to product adoption in web applications. Many cloud storage products require the use of proprietary APIs for integration, so you would need to specifically develop for that cloud storage platform to implement the solution. When you’re evaluating the switching costs of moving to a new cloud storage platform, remember to factor in these development and integration costs, as they can add up pretty quickly. To minimize switching costs, some platforms offer standards-based integration software so you can use common protocols like CIFS, NFS, FTP or HTTP to get your content online without the proprietary API learning curve.
  3. Your Data’s Location – Most cloud products do not offer specific locations for data to reside. In fact, many providers offer data “in the cloud” as if “the cloud” is a location rather than an access medium. While in many cases the physical location of data is unimportant, sometimes being able to select a location is beneficial. If you are building a disaster recovery plan; working to reduce download times for a specific customer; or attempting to pass strict security audits, then where data resides is critical.
  4. Flexibility – One of the most appealing features of cloud storage is the flexibility of its on-demand design, which manifests itself in two primary traits: scalability and elasticity. Most cloud storage products should free you from the task of capacity planning, hardware budgeting and upgrading. Watch out for minimum-usage commitments, as they can negate the inherent benefit of capacity being available on-demand. Cloud storage products should provide elasticity, with capacity that grows as your business requires it and scales back as soon as the excess capacity is no longer needed.
  5. Usage-Based Billing – Paying for only what you use is certainly appealing. The primary aspects on which to judge the pricing of a cloud storage product are simple: how much storage capacity will you use and how much bandwidth will you need? Keep a sharp eye out for “hidden” fees, because in many use cases, they can add up quickly to be as much or more than the primary elements of your bill. “Hidden” fees to watch out for include: connect fees, account maintenance charges, and charges for “puts” and “gets.” Cloud platforms should offer simple and predictable monthly bills.

With the growing popularity of the cloud, there’s a lot of misinformation permeating the Web. On The Planet’s web hosting blog, we’ve posted a few articles about the hype and buzz surrounding “the cloud.” The platform has incredible potential and can play a great role in your hosting infrastructure right now, but it’s not going to completely change the game … yet. The industry landscape is shifting. We’re not just focused on dedicated servers and managed hosting anymore. We’re adopting new technologies, but more importantly, we’re trying to understand where those technologies fit and what real-world benefits they provide to hosting customers.

Categories : Features
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With the way conferences this year seems to be themed it would seem that everyone is jumping onboard the cloud computing bandwagon. And why wouldn’t they? The ability to have your data hosted from multiple points allows for the perfect fail safe. If one area dies another is there to pick up the slack, if one server farm gets attacked by hackers, relax there are many more.

It would seem to be the ultimate answer to solving the enterprise question of stability and reliability. After all in an enterprise environment, any small amount of downtime can cause very big problems.

And on this note I am going to say the top 5 reasons for enterprises to not use cloud computing:

  1. No Basic Standard
  2. Application Migration Hassle
  3. Managing Cloud Application Hassle
  4. High Risk
  5. Re-Education of the IT Staff

Sadly, there is no base standard for cloud computing. Heck, it would be hard to find a standard definition of cloud computing. Even the Cloud Manifesto that has come out recently doesn’t define cloud computing, merely its function.

Without a base standard for cloud computing, if you moved all of your functions to a provider and then ended up outgrowing that provider, moving to a new cloud host would require your company to re-migrate the applications and essentially start from scratch.

An enterprise cannot directly migrate current applications to cloud applications. It requires customization and time spent on moving valuable data to more cloud friendly applications.

Managing current cloud applications is not difficult. But it does require a change in company protocols (you no longer manage hardware, instead you manage software) and the use of multiple management tools.

Cloud computing is hosted so it requires the use of a firm Service Level Agreement that can guarantee the always on view of cloud computing. However, you would be very hard pressed for anyone to ever consider guaranteeing always on. Another issue is the case for core competencies. Sure Amazon understands managing huge server farms, but are they focused on the success of those endeavors? If their cloud computing side doesn’t make a large profit will it continue to support the technology or focus its efforts back to their main business of being an Internet superstore. Are the cloud computing companies capable of long range sustainability? The list of risk factors goes on.

As stated before, the emphasis in cloud computing is not on hardware, but on software. The IT department has to make the transition from monitoring hardware, being able to shut down systems for security purposes, etc. to being able to monitor software use, working with another company (heaven forbid) when it comes to troubleshooting problems, etc.

Personally, I like cloud computing and I believe every one of the above challenges can be overcome. However, I think companies should take realistic looks at the system before thinking it is right for them. And this goes not only for the optimistic views of cloud computing, but the pessimistic views as well.

Categories : Features
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Mar
30

Cloud and IBM/Cisco's Extensive Manifesto

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A declaration of principles and intentions is the definition of a manifesto and the Open Cloud Manifesto was definitely following that definition to a T.

What I find funny is the Open Cloud Manifesto was not really open. It didn’t really start open and its not really open to the major cloud players at the moment either. Instead it basically says open platform or else, which hasn’t really made folks like Amazon or Microsoft want to join in.

Its not a bad document it has a lot of areas where I think everyone can agree, but IBM is no slouch when it comes to this sort of thing and the message is definitely hand crafted for ultimate affect. And as I read it over and over again I can only conclude that that message was meant as a slap to those already in the cloud computing space.

Maybe I am wrong in thinking this but this seems more to me like posturing then actually trying to devise something for the cloud space.

There are already several companies who have penetrated the cloud market and with a few exceptions, the big ones are missing.

Although IBM says that this is only meant to start a discussion and a discourse I am wondering if it will. Surely companies thinking of starting cloud offerings and the smaller players will look into it, but will it actually foster change or just be one of many action groups that falls by the wayside?

The tenants of the manifesto are laudable but in the end, I think this will just fade away after many meetings and several action committees present various findings it will move to the background as other companies present their own cloud solutions.

And then the cycle will start again.

Categories : Commentary
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Mar
01

Parallels Summit 2009

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This year’s Parallels Summit kicked off at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year’s Summit built upon as well as surpassed last year’s attendance records.

More than 1,000 attended this year’s Summit hailing from more than 60 countries. The amount of software vendors increased five-fold from 2008, with slightly more than 100 ISVs represented. Compared to 2008, the amount of attendees doubled and the amount of conference sessions increased by thirteen sessions.

Officially, the Summit did not start until Tuesday, February 3rd, but Monday was filled with plenty of events. Monday was called Day 0 by event organizers and started off with a Golf Tournament at Primm Valley Golf Club. Later in the evening, was a networking reception at eyecandy sound lounge in the lobby of the Mandalay Bay. The club was packed and as long as Microsoft and Intel were picking up the check, the bulk of attendees were located at the bar. In two hours time, conference goers built up a bar tab well over $5,000.

Day 1 started with a whirlwind three-speaker set: John Eng, VP Marketing, Service Provider Division, Parallels; Serguei Beloussou, CEO, Parallels; and Morris Miller, Founder of Rackspace and Sequel Ventures, LLC. The big topic of this year’s Summit was Cloud Computing and what it means for the Web Host industry. So much so, that fifteen conference sessions discussed computing with the Cloud.

Day 1 ended on the 64th floor of the Mandalay Bay, at a lounge called Mix. The lounge gave a breath taking view of the Vegas skyline with drinks and food lubricating the gears of industry.

Wednesday Day 2, began much like Day 1, breakfast then three speakers. The theme of Cloud Computing continued with such topics as “Blue Skies? Clearing the Air on Cloud Computing and SaaS,” “How We Will REALLY Move to the Cloud: the Coming Partnerships Between Hosters and Cloud Platform Providers,” and “Cloud Commerce – How Providers Enable Their Business Customers to Benefit From Cloud Computing Trends.”

Along with speeches and the conference sessions, the exhibit hall was much larger this time around. The size of the room allowed for more exhibitors and more space between booths allowing for greater foot traffic. In the back of the exhibit hall, Parallels’ Hands-On Lab was held for the second straight year. With its close vicinity to the session areas and several networking lounges, the amount of traffic that flowed through the exhibit hall greatly increased over last years.

This year’s Summit also included many schools and universities in attendance. Some showed up to cut costs (there even was a specific conference session on this called Virtualization Super Story: Oregon City School District Cuts IT Budget 60%) while others came in order to look for software and hardware for their IT classes.

As of this writing, the location for next year’s Summit is up in the air. Possible cities include New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Miami, and Washington, DC.

Categories : Conferences
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