Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

Fast, cheap connectivity opens up network/application management options

3 smart phones

As 2013 begins, I notice plenty of commentary about mobile devices but less talk about the implications of mobility and other current events on business network and application monitoring and management requirements.

I see two key trends impacting network and application monitoring and management in the coming year: Fast, cheap connectivity and virtualization/cloud services. In this post, I’ll focus on the first of those — connectivity, which is most apparent in the current push toward (you guessed it) mobility.

Chicken or egg: Mobility ↔ connectivity
These days, your employees’ desktop functions are shifting to increasingly powerful mobile devices. At the same time, cloud services make the connectivity of those devices pretty much ubiquitous. So the value of much of your traditional infrastructure diminishes because it costs too much, is too complex, takes up too much space — and, too often, it doesn’t get the job done anymore.

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Cloud Computing best practice: Always monitor your Cloud services

In order to know whether your Cloud provider is meeting the performance and availability parameters set out in your service-level agreement (SLA), you have to be able to monitor your Cloud services.

While you might not need or care to see detailed reports about the performance of your provider’s various infrastructure elements (VMs, storage, etc.), since this information doesn’t really provide a sufficient view into overall Cloud performance, you can and should seek information from your provider regarding application and/or workload performance.

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Cloud Computing best practice: Backup your data!

Diagram drawn on chalkboard showing the connection of Cloud Computing to laptops, tablets, desktops, etc.

If you’ve ever suffered a data loss, you know how critically important data backup and retrieval capabilities are.

I’m here to remind you that this importance does not diminish when your data (or apps) reside in a Cloud. Nor should you simply assume your Cloud provider automatically backs up your data and apps.

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Cloud Computing best practice: 4 security must-dos

Cloud on blue background with a lock in front. To illustrate Cloud Managed Services and Security services from Quest.

Your Cloud provider isn’t the only one with responsibility for the security of the information and applications your enterprise depends on. When it comes to security in the Cloud, it’s a collaboration between provider and customer.

After all, there are limits to a Cloud provider’s reach. For instance, if your employees use compromised web browsers to access data in the Cloud, your provider cannot be blamed.

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DaaS vs. VDI — Is This the Right Question?

Deciding between two doors

Which is the better solution — DaaS or VDI?

Each camp promotes its approach and dismisses the other while analysts argue about which one will “prevail.” Yet these technology debates do little more than distract you from finding the best solution for your organization.

So pull your eyes from those tech specs and focus on these six questions:
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Do your Cloud provider due diligence

Checklist with a cloud on it.

Whether or not we give it much explicit thought, we all do at least some due diligence every time we buy something.

When it comes to Cloud services, due diligence ought to be done explicitly and with forethought — because getting out from under a bad Cloud choice can be onerous. It’s worth your while to choose well in the first place.

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Cloud Computing best practice: Conduct a Cloud feasibility assessment

guy holding a piece of paper with a cloud and servers on it.

Not all IT activities are right for Cloud computing. What’s more, you may not have the basic elements you need (such as a sufficiently robust network environment) for Cloud computing. And the last thing you need is to learn those uncomfortable truths after you’ve committed to a Cloud project.

This is why conducting a Cloud feasibility assessment is so important. And unless you have Cloud computing expertise on staff, don’t try to do it alone.

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The Disruption Dirty Dozen: Asking the hard DR questions

Register button for Master Your Disaster

Regardless of their cause(s), your ability to minimize business disruptions depends on planning that’s based on a granular understanding of the risks posed to your business processes.

This planning begins with understanding who your key stakeholders are, how your organization conducts business, and what sorts of disruptions are likeliest at your locations (note that recent studies indicate power failures, hardware failures, and network failures account for more than 80% of IT-related disruptions).

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When was the last time you reviewed your DR plan?

Data Availability Graph small

Last year, disasters in the United States caused more than $60 billion in damage. And the future promises plenty more of the same, says a recent report from Swiss reinsurer Munich Re — especially in North America, where weather-related loss events have quintupled in the last 30 years.

Now add in concerns about inadequate backup of the data on employees’ smartphones and tablets, wayward virtual machines, cyberattacks and other security incidents …

The challenge: Protect your essential business resources
It all makes now a good time to take another look at your company’s business continuity/disaster recovery plan, which ought to be reviewed and updated at least annually to keep your risk assessment current.

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Cloud Computing best practice: Understand available Cloud capabilities

Various cloud icons - cloud in center surrounded by monitors, laptops, etc

I’ve posted before about Cloud computing best practices, and I’m doing it again now (and for the next several posts) for a couple of reasons:

  1. Cloud computing continues to (quickly) evolve, and while some Cloud best practices stay more or less constant, others must be adapted to keep pace,
  2. Cloud success depends on adhering to best practices — so there’s no such thing as talking too much about them or the order in which they should be applied.

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