|By Manish Desai||
|February 4, 2013 09:00 AM EST||
The pressure for organizations, in the public or private sector, to reduce costs is constant. At the same time, organizations have to remain or improve user productivity in all their departments to stay competitive. This is even further magnified during a recovering economy as organizations face challenges of sustaining or growing revenue from customers or even government. Management and shareholders are always on the lookout to reduce their expenses. Innovative technology is one area where companies can look into to help to lower expenses with efficiency gains.
Specifically with respect to technology, many companies are taking advantage of the cloud to help with reducing expenditures while simultaneously improving productivity.
Cloud Service Applications
These days, there is a lot of publicity around the "cloud" and how many companies, regardless of vertical or whether they're public or private, are using cloud technologies. It's important to quickly define what the cloud is before getting into more details.
At its basic level, cloud computing service refers to the delivery of software, infrastructure, or storage via the Internet in real-time and can be accessed by any device with Internet capability at any time and anywhere.
As opposed to traditionally having computing resources in house, cloud computing service provides a huge upside and workload shift from IT departments. They no longer have to spend significant money on purchasing dedicated hardware to run business applications. In addition, the time spent on configuring, maintaining, and updating is eliminated as well as taking up space. Cloud providers take care of this entire burden.
Cloud services can be up and running in significantly less time than traditional installations, and in general, they cost less. With a cloud service, you just open a browser, log in, customize the app, and start using it. For example, most of us already use some form of cloud service today such as Web-based email service from Gmail or file storage services such as Dropbox or iCloud. In addition, with the rapid growth of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), cloud services enable users with their own personal mobile device to instantly access the application from anywhere and at any time.
At its core, there are six key characteristics of cloud services in general.
On-demand self-service - End users can provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring the involvement of IT staff.
Broad network access - Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard devices including laptops and mobile devices.
Resource pooling - Computing resources are pooled to serve multiple end users with different physical and virtual resources (storage, CPUs, memory, network bandwidth, and virtual machines) that are dynamically assigned based on demand.
Elasticity - Capabilities can be rapidly provisioned, to quickly scale out and scale in.
Measured service - Resource use is automatically controlled and optimized through metering, and resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported to both the provider and end user of the utilized service.
Multi-Tenancy - Shared resources serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand.
Cloud networking is the next wave of cloud services and represents a fundamental shift in how IT services are provided to users.
Historically, a company's own IT department acquired, deployed, and maintained networking applications such as network management software. Such new applications often requires purchase of additional hardware such as servers needed to be deployed and run the application as well. This leads to not only more capital expenditures, but also the increased support time that must be devoted by IT personnel. IT departments are already stretched thin at a company's headquarter location. When trying to deploy and maintain networking equipment and applications in distributed sites, the costs and support time needed by IT is compounded even further.
Cloud networking introduces a new way to roll out distributed enterprise networks. It delivers enterprise-class network capabilities via an application that requires little or no capital investment in networking equipment. Unlike traditional hardware-based legacy solutions, cloud networking is extremely simple, enabling enterprises to deploy locations in minutes and operate their distributed networks via a cloud-based application, while providing unprecedented levels of centralized control and network visibility. Cloud networking is usually subscription based as well reducing any upfront capital costs.
Public cloud networking and private cloud networking are two distinct services. Public cloud networking is when a cloud provider makes networking applications available to IT users over the Internet with little to no deployment needed at the company's IT infrastructure. Public cloud networking services are also offered on a pay-per-usage model. Private cloud networking services refer to a proprietary computing networking architecture that provides hosted services to a limited number of people behind a firewall. For example, a company's internal IT department using a private cloud infrastructure essentially hosts applications within their own private network and provides them to their own IT users.
State of Cloud Services Market
Cloud services being used by companies are becoming as ubiquitous as using mobile devices. Cloud services, including those focused on cloud networking, are becoming more and more an essential part of an organization's service to its users and this is only expected to grow. Enterprises are even retiring applications that were once run on their own network for cloud-based services according to Gartner's latest findings on SaaS usage. Take a look at some of the forecast data and analyst feedback.
According to IDC's forecast on cloud IT spending, worldwide spending on public IT cloud services will be more than $40 billion in 2012 and is expected to approach $100 billion in 2016. From 2012-2016, public IT cloud services will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 26.4%, five times that of the IT industry overall, as companies accelerate their shift to the cloud services model for IT consumption.
"The IT industry is in the midst of an important transformative period as companies invest in the technologies that will drive growth and innovation over the next two to three decades," said Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC. "By the end of the decade, IDC expects at least 80% of the industry's growth, and enterprises' highest-value leverage of IT, will be driven by cloud services and the other 3rd Platform technologies."
According to Gartner's IT spending report, enterprise spending on public cloud services will grow from $91 billion worldwide in 2011 to $109 billion in 2012. And by 2016, enterprise public cloud services spending will reach $207 billion.
Ed Anderson, research director at Gartner, states ""Cloud computing is now at the point where technology has demonstrated its usefulness as an approach to the management of several IT resources".
Specifically related to SaaS, this area of cloud services will grow from $14.5 billion market in 2012 to $22.1 billion by 2015. The 2015 figure is an increase of almost $1 billion from the prediction Gartner made last year. This further demonstrates the rapid growth of cloud services use by companies worldwide.
Fears/concerns with Cloud Networking
Cloud networking is rapidly being adopted by IT groups within enterprises. However, there are always concerns by IT teams that need to be addressed.
Security - This is usually the top fear by IT managers when considering any cloud networking service. Most IT managers are concerned about controlling access of their sensitive data that would reside in the cloud and can't afford the data being compromised. Despite the macro trend of moving to the cloud, some IT managers may still be more comfortable with their data deployed on their own infrastructure. This fear can easily be alleviated by cloud networking providers clearly stating their physical security specifications of their data centers as well as other security certifications they have attained. Cloud networking providers must also assure their IT customers that only customers will have access to data & only customers can make changes to it.
Privacy - Another key concern of IT management is maintaining privacy of their networking data in the cloud. IT departments need to be assured that their data is not being monitored either internally within the cloud provider or by any outside hackers. For example, if an IT client can log in from any location to access data and applications, it's possible the IT client's privacy could be compromised. However, cloud networking providers adopt myriad ways to protect privacy such as using comprehensive authentication techniques and encryption methods.
High Availability - Ensuring high availability of data in the cloud is another fear of organizations. This is especially important for cloud networking as a company's IT department must keep their end-users happy and make certain the company's business can't be affected with any downtime. IT users are looking for some form of guarantee from providers that their networking data will be up at all times. A service level agreement (SLA) that states 99.99%, ("four nines"), for example, uptime of the cloud service is necessary to put this fear to rest. Cloud networking providers must also clearly state their resiliency details such as how they have redundancy and backup measures in place for the utmost availability of data.
Poor Application Performance - Another inhibitor of deploying cloud networking pertains to poor application performance. Companies can't afford to have their IT users becoming less productive while a page load times exceed several seconds, for instance when they need to use a cloud networking application. Cloud networking providers have to continuously monitor usage to make sure any application being accessed by their IT users is being delivered in no more than a few seconds.
Compliance - Many IT departments have to face regulatory compliance measures in order for their companies to stay in business. Some of these compliance measures could be HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), or Sarbanes-Oxley. Companies that to have comply with such measures fear moving to the cloud. Cloud networking providers must be transparent in sharing details such as encryption methods being used, provide the capability of generating audit reports, or state the locations of their data centers.
Business Continuity - IT users also have concerns about recovering their data from the cloud quickly in case of a man-made or a natural disaster. If they use cloud networking, IT needs to know how often backups happen (i.e., hourly or daily), where they happen, and how long data is archived if at all from cloud networking providers. This fear can actually be mitigated as using cloud networking would actually be an efficient means of backing up networking data. Instead of purchasing additional expensive networking gear in house for backing up & storing data, a cloud networking provider for this capability would be more cost-effective.
Localization - Finally, IT departments may have concerns about using a cloud networking provider that may only reside in one region like the United States. Often, if IT users reside in EMEA and/or APAC, they would like cloud networking services to reside in their local region. The rationale of having cloud networking localized could be due to local government rules or even comfort reasons of having a localized service. Most cloud networking providers understand this concern and have localized data centers in the major regions of North America, EMEA, and APAC.
Over ten years ago, there were fears about using online banking and how secure it was to use. People were concerned about paying bills online, moving funds between accounts, and even simply checking their statements online. But they realized that bank companies have it in their best interest to ensure their customers would feel safe using their online services. Now, according to comScore, 1 in 4 Internet users access online banking sites globally. That represents over 423 million people. Banks put in place strict security measures, ensure high availability of their service, and make sure their customers' account information is always backed up in case of any disruptions. Today, cloud networking providers are following similar procedures to help their IT users stay comfortable with their service offerings.
Benefits Realized with Cloud Networking
While there are fears of using cloud networking, the fact is that networking applications are moving to the cloud. This is not just a fad and the momentum is gaining. Companies realize that there are many benefits of deploying cloud networking.
Lower Costs - According to the 2012 Cloud Networking Report by Dr. Jim Metzler, lower costs were identified as the primary driver for IT's interest in using SaaS-based services. The reasons are obvious. With cloud networking, companies would have lower capital expenditures as opposed to purchasing all their own equipment and software. In addition, there is no worry about purchasing upgrades on hardware or software; the cloud networking provider takes care of this. Cloud networking is based on a pay-per-use model and payments will usually be monthly or yearly. Cloud networking is also considered a green solution since no rack space is used and hence it results in lower utility costs.
Fast Deployment - Another major benefit of cloud networking is faster deployment instead of purchasing and installing your own networking equipment. Many cloud networking applications such as network management can be turned on within a few days, hours, or even minutes depending on the provider. Using cloud networking lets IT users quickly utilize new applications without spending time installing and configuring networking equipment.
Productivity - By using cloud networking, the in-house IT staff can be offloaded to focus on other tasks. IT doesn't have to worry about configuration or any maintenance updates associated with cloud networking service; this is fully taken care of by the cloud provider. IT's productivity will go up while any of their administration costs will go down.
Mobility - Since cloud networking applications are typically Web-based, IT users can access their networking related data at any time and from anywhere using any device with Internet capability. IT users don't have to be tied to their desks. Along with the continuous growth of BYOD, IT users can take advantage of their personal mobile devices to access cloud networking applications and increase their productivity while they're on the road, roaming the office, or at home.
Instant Scalability - The ability to quickly add capacity is a huge benefit with cloud networking. Instead of IT procuring more networking hardware and/or software in house for their additional end-users and waiting weeks or months to be up and running, cloud networking providers can quickly enable their IT customers to add more of their end-users instantly, sometimes within minutes.
Minimal Downtime - Updates related to cloud networking applications as well as any networking infrastructure updates are handled by the cloud provider. There is no need for the company's in house IT department to worry about this and they don't have to bring the internal network down for updates. This is a tremendous advantage of using cloud networking since there is no downtime that could affect business.
Great Security - Ironically, security, which is one of the greater fears of using cloud networking, is actually a big advantage offered by cloud networking vendors. Most providers have stringent security policies for their cloud networking offerings. Encryption and authentication, data loss prevention, physical security of data centers, firewall implementation, and malware protection are just a few of the security features commonly provided by cloud networking providers. Ultimately, they have it in their best interest to protect IT customers' data and ensure long-term loyalty.
As described in this article, cloud networking is definitely an emerging technology being used by IT departments worldwide. IT users are running various networking apps in the cloud, like VoIP, network management, unified communications, virtual desktops, and more. Many organizations have devoted their IT spending now and certainly in the future to take advantage of cloud networking as they realize the benefits it can bring.
IT departments see how cloud networking enables them to become more agile and save costs. Even when the economy recovers fully, cloud networking will remain an area to help IT managers reduce their capital expenses and offload their department to focus on other critical tasks. In addition, cloud networking goes hand-in-hand with the BYOD trend. As users in general continue to use their own personal mobile devices for corporate network access, IT users will also certainly use those devices to access any cloud networking applications as well.
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes how...
Dec. 4, 2016 04:45 AM EST Reads: 4,968
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Phil Hombledal, Solution Architect at CollabNet, discussed how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
Dec. 4, 2016 04:30 AM EST Reads: 874
Between 2005 and 2020, data volumes will grow by a factor of 300 – enough data to stack CDs from the earth to the moon 162 times. This has come to be known as the ‘big data’ phenomenon. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to handling, storing and analyzing data aren’t adequate at this scale: they’re too costly, slow and physically cumbersome to keep up. Fortunately, in response a new breed of technology has emerged that is cheaper, faster and more scalable. Yet, in meeting these new needs they...
Dec. 4, 2016 12:30 AM EST Reads: 1,788
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Dec. 3, 2016 09:30 PM EST Reads: 1,781
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
Dec. 3, 2016 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,750
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Dec. 3, 2016 05:15 PM EST Reads: 2,142
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
Dec. 3, 2016 04:30 PM EST Reads: 1,491
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Dec. 3, 2016 03:15 PM EST Reads: 3,232
Monitoring of Docker environments is challenging. Why? Because each container typically runs a single process, has its own environment, utilizes virtual networks, or has various methods of managing storage. Traditional monitoring solutions take metrics from each server and applications they run. These servers and applications running on them are typically very static, with very long uptimes. Docker deployments are different: a set of containers may run many applications, all sharing the resource...
Dec. 3, 2016 02:15 PM EST Reads: 5,489
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...
Dec. 3, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,496
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his session at @DevOpsSummit 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, showed how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that enables everyone fro...
Dec. 3, 2016 01:45 PM EST Reads: 1,859
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Dec. 3, 2016 01:00 PM EST Reads: 1,885
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Dec. 3, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 2,108
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Dec. 3, 2016 11:15 AM EST Reads: 1,657
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 3, 2016 09:30 AM EST Reads: 861
Application transformation and DevOps practices are two sides of the same coin. Enterprises that want to capture value faster, need to deliver value faster – time value of money principle. To do that enterprises need to build cloud-native apps as microservices by empowering teams to build, ship, and run in production. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Neil Gehani, senior product manager at HPE, discussed what every business should plan for how to structure their teams to delive...
Dec. 3, 2016 08:30 AM EST Reads: 1,380
Rapid innovation, changing business landscapes, and new IT demands force businesses to make changes quickly. In the eyes of many, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery. In this presentation, attendees learned about the: The transformation of IT to a DevOps, microservices, and container-based architecture What are containers and how DevOps practices can operate in a container-based environment A demonstration of how ...
Dec. 3, 2016 08:30 AM EST Reads: 823
As we enter the final week before the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in Santa Clara, CA, it's time for me to reflect on six big topics that will be important during the show. Hybrid Cloud This general-purpose term seems to provide a comfort zone for many enterprise IT managers. It sounds reassuring to be able to work with one of the major public-cloud providers like AWS or Microsoft Azure while still maintaining an on-site presence.
Dec. 3, 2016 04:00 AM EST Reads: 2,767
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, showed how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningful f...
Dec. 3, 2016 01:45 AM EST Reads: 4,557
Logs are continuous digital records of events generated by all components of your software stack – and they’re everywhere – your networks, servers, applications, containers and cloud infrastructure just to name a few. The data logs provide are like an X-ray for your IT infrastructure. Without logs, this lack of visibility creates operational challenges for managing modern applications that drive today’s digital businesses.
Dec. 2, 2016 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,559