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Posts Tagged ‘ cloud computing ’

By Azmi Jafarey

The evaluations are complete and the decision has been made, a move to the cloud is in the best interest of your organization. Transferring workloads to the cloud in order to free up or discard costly on-premise resources for the fast deployment and flexibility of an elastic environment has overwhelming appeal, but now what? Despite the many advantages of a cloud environment there are still pitfalls that need to be navigated in order to ensure a positive engagement and user experience. To that end, I would offer two pieces of advice to colleagues looking to transform their organization from a strictly on-premise environment to a cloud user.  dddd

First, pick the right provider. While this may seem like an obvious and simplistic statement, I can’t begin to stress how important this is and caution how many cloud transfers have met their untimely demise due to a less than adequate partner. When evaluating service providers there are certain non-negotiable items you must account for. Chief among them are security, reliability and responsiveness. Like it or not, there is an element of control you are ceding in this relationship and top-notch support and trust are paramount. You want a secure, integrated, centrally managed and easy-to-use environment with service level agreements (SLAs) that commit to minimum standards of availability and performance, especially at peak demand. Timely responses to change requests, backup needs and security patches are also key considerations.

Second, choose the right workloads. The cloud can be a powerful and efficient tool for your business, but it does not mean that every application is best suited to reside in a cloud environment. When developing your integration strategy keep in mind that low to medium security workloads, those without stringent latency requirements, and where the workload is elastic with variable traffic will work well.  Some workloads need data to be frequently pulled in-house for use by other systems and are perhaps best left in-house.  High-security and compliance monitoring needs are also more suited for on-premise use.  Keep integration requirements in mind as some workloads that are tied to proprietary hardware are also not good candidates for public clouds but may be fine for a private or hybrid environment.

The cloud can transform your organization if you manage it correctly, but it takes due diligence on your part to ensure that the move goes as planned. By doing your research ahead of time and developing a list of key considerations for your business, you can ensure that the process will be both smooth and successful.

 

 

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By Jessica Kenney

Read the series introduction here

Trend #7 – Network Operations Integration

The convergence of formerly distinct network technology platforms – take telephony systems and LANs, for example – is precipitating a major networking operations transition, including alterations in IT organizational structure.

Gartner recommends network managers adopt an ITIL approach, creating an organization centered around processes that deliver IT services. To enhance end-to-end IT service delivery, consider greater integration of the Network Operations Center (NOC) with IT infrastructure operations.

This trend is driving complex IT organization changes, subordinating technology to processes, with the ultimate goal of seamless service delivery across all of IT.

Trend #8 – IT (and Network) Services

Gartner prediction: by 2012 as many as 30 percent of large enterprises will define core business-oriented IT services, along with formal service-level agreements for each service. The number of enterprises engaged in this analysis will rise from 15% in 2010.

As a result of this trend, IT is tasked with proving its enterprise value and with identifying metrics for service levels.

Because IT organizations increasingly define their services as processes, it’s not always obvious how to demonstrate the value of a process to the business.

Gartner proposes IT organizations tackle this perception gap in three phases.

Phase 1: Consider how the enterprise actually uses IT

Example: processing enterprise applications and computations; storing/retrieving essential data; and communicating among employees, suppliers and customers to make decisions and complete transactions.

Phase 2: Subdivide each category into sub-categories

Example: communications can be divided into telephony, messaging, conferencing, collaboration and data transfer, and presence.

Phase 3: Analyze each sub-category in terms of service-level requirements

Example: establish service-level uptimes by sub-category (such as data transfer) and for various enterprise sites (such as headquarters, field office, home).

Gartner cautions IT organizations: “Our key principle is to define services in the way the enterprise uses them, not necessarily what IT delivers as processes.”

Coming next: Our Ten Most Challenging trends series concludes with trends #9, Automation, and #10, Cloud computing.

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By Kaitlyn Myers

A recent study commissioned by IBM revealed that midsize companies have shifted from focusing on cost control and efficiencies to concentrating on growth initiatives as predictive technologies become more affordable and widely available.  The study also found that 2/3 of midsized companies have plans to adopt Cloud technologies, similar to an earlier poll of Ipswitch customers.

Other findings from this study indicated that IT budgets will increase over the next 12 to 18 months, with investments in wide range of priorities including analytics, cloud computing, collaboration, mobility, and customer relationship solutions.

What do think of this study – How does it compare to your 2011 plans?

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By Kaitlyn Myers

Is the Private Cloud Right for You?

You may have noticed our recent poll on cloud use in 2011, which found that almost 2/3 of all organizations are planning some kind of cloud investment this year. Nearly 30% said they would be investing in the private cloud specifically. If you happen to fall in with this percentage, then you’re in luck. The Ipswitch Network Management Division has been hard at work, documenting the steps and best practices for implementing and managing a private cloud. But sometimes the decision to move to the cloud isn’t easy.

Before committing to an investment such as this, it is important to know what makes it advantageous. A private cloud offers:

  • Improved hardware optimization
  • Reduced support costs with self-service management
  • Reduced capital expenditures
  • Reduced time to deploy applications and services

You may also want to consider potential drawbacks and what might not make a private cloud the right option for you. It is usually an efficient and cost-effective way of utilizing IT resources when the following conditions are met:

  • The cloud provider has standardized hardware
  • The cloud provider has standardized OS and application stacks
  • Sufficient networking infrastructure is in place to support cloud computing
  • Management tools, such as server and network monitoring, are in place
  • The distribution of jobs lends themselves to distributed computing platforms

If you do decide the private cloud is a good fit for your network, there are still more steps that need to be taken before implementations. To determine your current state of readiness for the cloud you must first assess your existing infrastructure, resource utilization levels, policies and procedures governing IT operations, and reporting and cost allocation procedures.

Ready to begin the migration to a private cloud? Read our white paper on deploying and managing private cloud.

Also, check out this article in the Enterprise Networking Planet on some tips on deploying your private cloud.

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By Sean Barry

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Ennio Carboni shares more of his thoughts for 2011. Continuing with the theme of rapid network growth, 2011 could present more challenges.

An increasing number of enterprises are now using a variety of SaaS applications from multiple vendors, procured and deployed without participation from IT, creating a slew of management issues. SaaS deployments are becoming larger, with deals more frequently appearing in the range of thousands to tens of thousands of users within large enterprises. Content, communications, and collaboration (CCC) continues to lead the enterprise SaaS market with worldwide CCC revenue on pace followed by customer relationship management. Gartner projects SaaS application revenues will grow by over 16% in 2011. Not only will IT have their hands full with monitoring, mapping, documenting and configuring an expanding network, but also with SaaS solutions implemented by non-IT employees.

Green IT solutions

Regardless of the maelstrom ‘Going Green’ easily creates in the political world, corporate organizations will rapidly embrace energy consumption monitoring and energy efficiency solutions across their infrastructures to cut costs. This is especially true of datacenters where as research firm Gartner estimates –“ if current trends continue, the energy needed to operate a server over a three year period of time will actually exceed the cost of the technology itself.” It comes as no surprise then that Green Datacenters are now considered mainstream rather than just a strategic trend.

The impact on IT Management? Technologies that monitor, report and act on environmental monitoring data to better align datacenter operation with power consumption will be in high demand.

Consolidation of IT Management Tools

While the Great Recession may be officially over, the belt tightening habits that business have developed will not go away in a hurry. Organizations small and large will continue to look to cut costs from existing IT management systems and the infrastructure they manage. Customers saddled with bloated, high-cost and disparate IT management tools (whether sold under single or multiple brands) that are little used – are at real danger of replacement with simpler, efficient and smaller footprint products that get the job done effectively.

At the same time, customers expect the new tools to give them an integrated view of their infrastructure across networks, systems and applications – effectively cutting down on the number of tools that are deployed. Together, the effect of fewer and simpler management tools will boost IT operations productivity. Does that mean more money on the table for upgrades and new add-ons to stuff that works? Yes, especially after the kind of upward trend that we have seen in 2010.

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By Kaitlyn Myers

The New Year is almost here and we want to hear your thoughts and plans for investment in cloud services.  Take our quick poll and let us know which area you will focus your investments in for 2011. (Plus, after you vote you’ll be able to see what others think.)

Poll: Investing In The Cloud

Where will you invest most for cloud-based services in 2011?

(Click on one of the answers below to see the results)

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By Sean Barry

As the year comes to a close its always refreshing to look at where we have been and where we are heading. What better way to gain accurate insight into the industry than going straight to the source? Ennio will share some of his predictions for 2011 in technology with a multi-part blog series.

Virtualization

Server virtualization will become a commodity. According to Gartner, SMBs will deploy more virtual machines in 2011 than enterprises, even though the latter had a few years of headstart. As we’ve mentioned, Ipswitch Network Management hasn’t purchased a single piece of server hardware in 3 years; we rely on virtual servers more than ever before. And we’re not alone-thousands of SMBs have already implemented virtualization and many more are looking to implement it. The need for guidance throughout the process will therefore be prevalent.  Learn about the virtualization process here.

The other thing you can point out was the article I sent you from groofer that talked about utilities stopping incentives for virtualization as it is now commonplace?

Public/Private Cloud Computing

Ennio also thinks that cloud deployments — public and private, will go mainstream next year. This covers all nature of clouds, from infrastructure to platforms and software as a service. Most enterprises and SMBs have embraced cloud based services, but as of 2011 they will build private cloud services with hugely increased capacities through linking to public clouds.

From a management perspective, this means organizations will need to have the tools to manage unified computing environments with network, system, i/o and application layers virtualized. Until now, only a few such tools exist, but 2011 will prove to greatly increase competition in this area.

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By Sean Barry

If you can remember, our recent post on Reducing IT Costs through Reduction in Lost Productivity, I’d like to introduce the next post in our best practices for IT cost reduction series. As with any network configuration, you will realize substantial gains in productivity and efficiency when the right network monitoring solution is in place. With WhatsUp Gold you can monitor physic al and virtual servers, applications, and network devices in a matter of minutes and from a single console to reduce costs.

We tend to forget the criticality of hardware well-being. And that requires monitoring performance as well as key health indicators like UPS, printers, fans, power supply, and temperature….WhatsUp Gold can do that for you!

To give you an example of how easy it is, WhatsUp Gold is used by US military forces when setting up networks and communication around the world. They require a network management framework that will let them discover, map and manage their new network in just a few minutes – personnel lives and security depend on these capabilities.

When US Army CENTCOM deployed a new network in Iraq, the working conditions were not ideal – cramped spaces, no AC, very high temperatures, wires everywhere. They relied on WhatsUp Gold to rapidly deploy and monitor their network in such a challenging situation. If WhatsUp Gold is so reliable in such adverse conditions, imagine what it can do for you in much better working conditions!

Read the US CENTCOM case study here.

More best practices on IT cost reduction on the way!

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By Sean Barry

Want to learn how to manage and grow your IT infrastructure without having to buy another server? There is useful little article floating around the web, titled Practical Steps for Building and Managing an Internal Cloud, by one of our network managers, Stephen Dalgar, and our Director of Product Marketing, Marina Gil-Santamaria.

By now we’ve all recognized the importance of virtualization and its growing prevalence among IT professionals. Moving to a virtual environment significantly reduces hardware costs and complexity, while increasing server utilization and reducing the overall cost of ownership. Here at WhatsUp Gold, we not only provide tools to monitor your virtual environment, we also share our best practices for virtualization with you. After all, we haven’t purchased a single server in almost three years of sustained network growth, so read on to learn how we achieved this.

When making a move to virtualization, there are steps you can take in order to stay organized and maintain efficiency. According to Dalgar and Gil-Santamaria, the following checklist proved indispensible when building our cloud:

  1. Properly scope your virtualization project, objectives and goals, as well as success metrics
  2. Get buy-in from all key stakeholders (sponsoring, business and technical)
  3. Put a policy in place for how physical to virtual migrations are to be executed
  4. Put strict controls in place to allow for VM creation
  5. Closely monitor physical resources, cpu, interface, memory, and disk utilization.
  6. Use Resource pools allowing production servers to take precedence over hardware.
  7. Look for a management tool that offers single console monitoring across network devices, servers, applications, virtual resources, network traffic and events and log data
  8. Inventory your physical and virtualized environments on an on-going basis
  9. Overlay compliance and data security policies and organizational and management requirements
  10. Don’t forget to monitor, alerts and report on critical vCenter alerts, there are actually 300+ vCenter events

    You should also establish set infrastructure management strategies for when the cloud is in place.

    WhatsUp WhatsVirtual is precisely the tool to help with the virtualization process with one console to manage both your physical and virtual environments. Once you have WUG you simply refresh your license to get automatic discovery, mapping and documentation of the physical servers and virtual resources that make up your entire infrastructure. WhatsVirtual also integrates with VMware API to collect performance metrics, gain access to key management tasks, and oversee VMware vMotion or High Availability live migrations. When your environment is in place you have the ability to control virtual machine actions like power on, power off, suspend, reset, and backup as well. Additional capabilities include workspace reports for physical host servers, virtual machines, and virtual clusters; and seamless integration into the WhatsUp Gold Alert Center.

    Learn more about WhatsUp WhatsVirtual or download your free 30 day trial!

    Now through August 15, buy WhatsUp Gold WhatsVirtual at a Special Introductory Price!

    To learn more about building and managing a virtual environment, view the full article.

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    By Erin Hayes

    Hulu is Fast Approaching YouTube

    hulu-logo1According to the latest report out of comScore VideoMetrix, Alec Baldwin and Eliza Dushku’s plot to eat Hulu viewers’ brains is meeting great success. In the month of February alone the video streaming site jumped two spots to become the fourth largest video site in the U.S., overtaking both Viacom and Microsoft in total viewers and video streams. It drew an audience of 34.7 million people who watched 332.5 million in January; that’s an astounding 42 percent increase in unique U.S. visitors and a 33 percent increase in streams. And Hulu is fast approaching the No. 3 video site Yahoo, which streamed 353.5 million streams in February. Fox Interactive (aka Myspace) was No. 2 with 462.6 million streams and YouTube was No. 1 with 5.3 billion streams.

    Bigfoot Networks Launches Gaming Network Card

    Is lag messing with your CoD kill streak? Well Bigfoot Networks in launching its second-generation bigfoot_networks_logogaming network card for PCs to help you overcome this common gaming frustration. The Austin, Texas-based company has partnered with game computer maker Alienware and accessory maker EVGA to distribute the Killer Xeno networking card with built-in support for voice chatting over the Internet. The product comes with more memory than its earlier device, allowing for much better Internet speed and a better gaming experience for multiplayer gamers. The Killer Xeno Pro will be available for $129.99 from both Alienware and EVGA in April. The Killer Xeno Ultra will be available for $179.99 in May.

    Salesforce.com Integrates with Twitter

    salesforce-logoSalesforce.com announced its plan today to integrate its Service Cloud customer-service platform with the social networking darling, Twitter. Salesforce CRM for Twitter, currently in beta, will come to the masses this summer at no addition charge for Service Cloud users. Service Cloud, launched in January, combines concepts like online customer communities, social networking, knowledge base information and making date from cloud services like Facebook and Twitter available to e-mail, phone and chat-based customer service reps.

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