Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

What kind of Cloud is right for you?

How to Choose the Right Cloud Service Provider

By now, you’ve no doubt heard all about public clouds — those cast-in-concrete, one-size fits-all services to the general public or a large industry group. This is what many people think of as Cloud Computing — a monolith.

But Cloud Computing is far from monolithic. In fact there are many types of Clouds. Here I’m focusing on the three major approaches to Cloud Computing …

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What Cloud Computing can deliver — Part 3, beginning with mobility

How Cloud Computing Delivers Mobility

By 2015, market researcher IDC reported late last year, more U.S. Internet users will access the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs or other wireline devices.

This kind of mobility in business is unquestionably a game-changer. And the fact is, it can’t happen without a Cloud infrastructure. And once mobility and Cloud infrastructure team up, the effect will — and, indeed, is fast becoming — far-reaching.

Here’s what I see coming fast:

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What Cloud Computing can deliver — Part 2, on better security and compliance

How Cloud Computing Delivers Improved Security and Compliance

The centralization of apps, data, and management that’s an essential part of well-conceived and well-managed Cloud environments also helps make them more secure. Why? Because security policy is easier to enforce, threats to apps and data are easier to detect and address.

Since Cloud data and apps are centralized in a data center, it’s actually easier (as compared to traditional siloed IT infrastructures) to establish effective security policy, monitor compliance, and intervene quickly and often preventatively when there are issues

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What Cloud Computing can deliver — Part 1

graph on an iPad

In the right Cloud environment, IT performance goes up while IT costs go down.

Here’s how IT performance goes up:

  1. Applications are hosted on centralized virtual servers in a data center, so …
    • Each department or end-user no longer needs their own copy of the app,
    • There’s just one version of the app, designed to be sufficiently flexible and customizable so all can use it on a variety of devices, and
    • Services are easily scalable, more secure, and more reliable.
  2. Applications can be quickly and automatically provided on demand wherever they’re needed, so …
    • IT resources are optimized,
    • The entire IT environment is more responsive and flexible without adding work or cost, and
    • Access to resources improves without new implementation/deployment risks.
  3. And end-users and their departments — as well as trusted partners — can be networked far more cost-effectively, regardless of location, via a standardized platform that enables integration and process automation between internal departments and partners.

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Welcome to the brave new world of hybrid IT

Not so long ago, I came across a press release from Gartner, the analyst firm, which quoted one of its vice presidents saying:

“IT organizations that do not match the request for IT as a service run the risk of internal customers bypassing the IT organization and consuming IT services from the external cloud, thereby placing the company at greater risk.”

It turns out that the analysts at Gartner see a world of hybrid IT architectures. Their view is that IT organizations are becoming brokers of IT services, some of which are hosted internally, some of which reside in externally hosted Clouds.

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Cloud Computing’s payoffs — Part 2, or why Cloud Computing is inevitable

It’s pretty clear that mobility will be a major factor in why organizations of all sizes turn to Cloud Computing. The numbers speak for themselves:

More than 2.5 billion users will connect to the Internet over the next several years via more than 10 billion devices. By 2015, this demand will require 8 times the storage capacity of 2010 as well as 16 times the network capacity and upwards of 20 times the compute capacity.

So here’s how it’ll go…

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Security holes that’ll keep you up at night: Sensitive data in the cloud

Factors impacting Cloud Security

Cloud computing that involves processing sensitive or regulated data in shared environments needs extra scrutiny in terms of security (as well as codifying requirements, defining a cloud services contract, managing the transition from in-house to cloud, and overseeing the resulting mixed IT environment).

Cloud security is at risk when…

  • You don’t have an adequate cloud-oriented governance/risk/compliance framework,
  • The hypervisors in your virtualized infrastructure harbor vulnerabilities that can be exploited,
  • It’s possible to infer information about one virtual machine by observing the state of the shared system from another aspect of the underlying system — which might enable malicious code execution, or
  • When vulnerabilities are introduced by incorrect configuration of a hypervisor and/or its related tools.

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Security holes that’ll keep you up at night: Insecure virtual machine deployment

Vulnerabilities of Virtualization

Rare is the information technology professional these days who doesn’t understand the prodigious efficiencies and savings that can be derived from virtualization. Yet, too often virtual machines are deployed insecurely. One Gartner analyst has estimated that 60% of virtualized servers will be less secure than the physical servers they replace.

That’s because too often virtualization projects tend to be developed and deployed without considering security. This can result in vulnerabilities that enable bad guys to compromise the hypervisor/ virtualization layer (e.g., DoS attacks), which can spread to all hosted workloads.

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Is server virtualization messing up your network’s performance?

Impact of Server Virtualization on Network Performance

Thanks to virtualization, network dynamics are changing — fast.

Server virtualization consolidates resources on fewer physical servers in ways that require distributed workloads to communicate with each other. This boosts utilization of servers, but it also increases — and changes the nature of — network traffic.

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Prosperity in 2012: Best-performing organizations use cloud computing

I recently came across a cloud computing benefit/risk study conducted in the first half of 2011 by the IT Policy Compliance Group (ITPCG). It shows that best-performing organizations (which see higher profits and suffer fewer business disruptions and less data loss) use cloud computing significantly more than poor-performing organizations.

More than two-thirds of best performers use cloud computing — about half opting for private clouds, while 25% use hybrid clouds and another 25% use public clouds. By contrast, only 9% of worst performers use cloud computing.

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