Prioritizing Web Performance | @Catchpoint @CloudExpo #WebPerf #DevOps

The annual holiday shopping season, which started on Thanksgiving weekend and runs through the end of December, is undoubtedly the most crucial time of the year for many eCommerce websites, with sales from this period having a dramatic effect on the year-end bottom line.
Web performance – or, the overall speed and availability of a website or mobile site – is an issue year-round, but it takes on increased importance during the holidays. Ironically, it is at this time of year that networks and infrastructure come under the most strain from traffic and are more vulnerable than ever to performance degradations. Yet busy, hurried holiday shoppers expect better performance than ever, and the stakes for lost conversions are frighteningly high. When customers encounter long load times, they’re likely to abandon their current shopping destination and move on to a competitor’s site that is performing better, sending potential revenue out the door. What’s worse, studies have shown that if a site freezes or crashes, is too slow, or involves an overly complicated checkout process, 75 percent of shoppers will no longer buy from that site.

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Cyber Insurance: No Longer a Want, But a Need | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Cyber insurance is an important element for companies as it covers the damage and liability caused by a hack, which are usually excluded from traditional liability coverage. Stricter data privacy notification laws, government incentives, cloud adoption and the increase in high-profile hacks and data breaches have all contributed to the significant increase in the number of companies offering and buying cyber insurance. However, companies need to make sure they have the best technology in place to protect their information, before implementing a cyber insurance policy.

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BT offers customers direct connection to HPE’s Helion managed cloud

BT Sevenoaks workstyle buildingBT is to give its IP VPN customers direct connections to Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) Helion Managed Cloud Services.

BT’s service currently uses HPE’s Rapid Connect to bypass the public internet when it connects to HPE Helion Managed Cloud Services. Now the new direct connectivity gives BT customers access to HPE’s portfolio of services when they need to build and consume computing workloads. It gives BT customers more reliable and secure access, better performance and lower latency, according to Keith Langridge, VP of the Connect Portfolio at BT Global Services.

It also simplifies the process of using cloud services, when a lot of companies are coming to terms with a mixture of private public and hybrid clouds, said Langridge. “We have already optimised our network to help customers take advantage of multiple cloud services through our Cloud Connect portfolio of services,” said Landgridge. “By adding direct connectivity to HPE Helion through BT’s global network, customers will benefit from a solution that is consistent, secure and reliable, wherever they operate.”

BT’s direct connectivity to HPE Helion Managed Cloud Services via Rapid Connect is already available in Germany, France and the UK. This will be followed by additional connections at key business hubs around the world. The services are managed by customers through a single service catalogue using BT’s Compute Management System.

Customers want high performance from the cloud, but there is an evolving regulatory and threat landscape, said Eugene O’Callaghan, VP of Enterprise Services Workload and Cloud at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “Our partnership to deliver these services with BT will bring a whole new level of confidence to global organisations,” said O’Callaghan.

Microsoft launches PowerApps for programming in the cloud

Microsoft powerappsMicrosoft has unveiled a new DIY programming system called PowerApps and new features for Office 365 and Dynamics CRM 2016 at its annual Convergence EMEA conference in Barcelona.

The new features in Microsoft Office 365, include meetings and voice services in Skype for Business while there’s a new customer engagement option in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016. Meanwhile Microsoft PowerApps is a new enterprise service that helps employees to create apps and share them with co-workers.

Office 365 now has options for a Skype Meeting Broadcast, Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) Conferencing, PSTN Calling and Cloud Private Branch Exchange. In addition Office 365 customers now have one platform for calling, conferencing, video and sharing, Microsoft claims.

There are new analytics and data visualization tools in the cloud package too. Delve Analytics promises interactive dashboards that tell users who they are spending their time with and how. This, says Microsoft, will help employees to prioritise better. The cloud package will have greater levels of security and compliance, it claims, through a new Customer Lockbox feature which allows each user to set access control limits. A new eDiscovery option makes it easier to manage large quantities of data and find information.

These new features, along with new Power BI (business intelligence) and Advanced Threat Protection are available in a new premium enterprise suite, Office 365 E5.

Meanwhile the new Dynamics CRM 2016, Microsoft promises, will be a more intelligent, mobile and productive system, thanks to new data and intelligence components. Among the features is a new ‘intelligent product recommendations’ mode for sales reps to personalize up-selling.

Dynamics CRM 2016 can also simplify everyday jobs, like meeting follow-ups.

On that same theme PowerApps is a system for creating apps for everything from a simple survey to something more ambitious and mission critical, according to Microsoft. These can connect to line-of-business systems and cloud services and run on any device. They can be used by everyone from employees through IT staff to Professional developers.

How to Restore App Data | @CloudExpo @eFolder #IoT #Microservices

In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data.
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.

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Web companies create their own problems on Black Friday – research

online shopping cartThe artificially created surge in demand for online bargains on Black Friday could be damaging many brands, according to a recent report by hosting giant Rackspace.

Though Black Friday falls on a national holiday in the US, its lack of cultural significance in the UK hasn’t failed to prevent it become an online retail landmark. Companies ranging from Amazon to John Lewis to Orange have created one day, limited offer shopping deals to generate demand surges, with customers flooding both their online and in store outlets on Black Friday.

On Friday traffic analyst Traffic Defender live blogged that the John Lewis online store was unavailable and gave a low down on the performance of a variety of online players.

With e-commerce loyalty at an all time low, according to Rackspace, these artificially engineered spikes in traffic and public interest in cloud computing performance may be counter productive to any cloud based service provider.

In a Rackspace survey of 2,000 consumers, 39% of respondents recognised that websites failure is due to poor construction and maintenance. The vast majority (83%) of UK consumers claim a consistently slow or unavailable websites negatively affects their brand loyalty. Almost one in five consumers (18%) would only wait 10 seconds or less for a website or page to load before they would abandon their search and look elsewhere.

“This Black Friday, ecommerce loyalty is at an all-time low. Consumers now have a vast choice of retailers available to them online, so it’s easy for them to change their mind about which shop to spend their hard earned cash with,” said Paul Bolt, VP of Technology Practices at Rackspace.

The ‘inevitable website traffic spikes’ and ‘uncompromising demand from customers’, however, could contribute to the tarnishing of a brand, warned Bolt, “There really is no place for outages.” If companies are going to risk their brand image for a single day of busy trading they must put the cloud foundations in place, Bolt argued.

All the People Who Use Parallels Desktop (Infographic)

How do you use Parallels Desktop? When it comes to our users, we know one thing—you all use Parallels Desktop in a multitude of ways, for a multitude of reasons. And that’s so cool! Nothing is better than when we get to hear a user story about how they use it for a niche Windows program, […]

The post All the People Who Use Parallels Desktop (Infographic) appeared first on Parallels Blog.

Spending review demands faster move to cloud for public sector


If we have learned anything about budget announcements over the past 10 years, it is to prepare yourself for the unexpected. I’d be surprised, however, if anyone predicted the extent to which the 2015 Autumn Statement put such an emphasis on the role of IT in the transformation of government.

Lean government

With substantial job cuts resulting from reduced funding right across the public sector, the Chancellor’s clear objective is that by 2020, processes which still heavily rely on people and ways of working, from the way patient records are shared in the NHS to the way we deal with our tax, will be enabled by new IT.

Invest to save

Far from expecting this to happen within existing budgets, the budget statement recognises that for many of these efficiencies to be realised, there is an ‘invest-to-save’ requirement, to create the right technology platforms for the future. As a result, there are few parts of the public sector which will not experience some sort of IT enabled change programme in the next three years.

Collaboration at the core

Much of this change will be driven by the need to collaborate and share data across multiple organisations. A number of examples spring to mind:

The linking up of social and health care will require investment in infrastructure to enable sharing of personal information by a range of government agencies, charities and private sector providers.

The NHS is being asked to revisit the previously doomed patient records project to cut costs – with £1bn to spend.

The closure of the standalone jobs centre network means the DWP will have to work out how it can move and share information, regardless of where the offices are located.

The reinvention of public sector IT

To deliver all of this change, the public sector will have to fundamentally reappraise and reinvent its approach to IT.

The pressure to free up property, reduce headcount and collaborate in service delivery, means that the patchwork of in-house data centres, development teams and bespoke IT infrastructure which exists in the public sector, will have to be replaced with open, shared technology which can flex around the needs of an increasingly dynamic sector.

Support of the private sector

The Government Digital Service, backed with a new investment of £450m until 2020, is being asked to drive change at the heart of government. However, it is private sector cloud suppliers who are essential to making this change happen across the wider public sector. They need to ensure the capacity for secure data sharing and storage, keep that data secure and the IT infrastructure working effectively, and support the migration from in-house to cloud-enabled IT.

Partnership is critical

For all this to work, both the public and private sector need to learn from and act on past failures.

To meet the pace of change necessary to drive these efficiencies, public sector must speed up its decision making and procurement cycles, ensuring better use of the G-Cloud buying platform. It will also need to lose the ‘crutch’ which has been big IT partnership, and work with a range of smaller partners on shorter, more flexible contracts.

The private sector must step up too: business models predicated on bespoking, supplying hordes of contractors, long tie-ins and onerous service level agreements cannot feature in this future.

It is only by doing this that public and private sector organisations will be able to build partnerships which are capable of sustaining digital government in the years ahead.

Google cloud falls over after routing error, strives to remove manual link activation

(c) Nikolic

Google Compute Engine went down for approximately 70 minutes last week, the company has confirmed, making certain Internet destinations unreachable from the europe-west1 region during that time.

The issue first came to light at 1326 PST on November 23 with a status update, before a further missive at 1432 confirming the problems should have been resolved.

Four days later, Google explained what exactly went wrong. At 1151 PST on November 23, Google engineers activated a new peering link – with an unnamed provider who Google says it works with extensively – but during the activation, the providers’ estimations of how much capacity the link could take differed wildly from actual performance. As a result, traffic was dropped with the majority of affected destination addresses coming from eastern Europe and the Middle East.

The reason for the oversight, Google notes, was due to an ‘unrelated failure’ which meant safety checks as part of the automation process for peering links were not performed. The search giant says it will change procedure to prevent manual link activation following the downtime.

“The automated checks were expected to protect the network for approximately one hour after link activation, and normal congestion monitoring began at the end of that period,” a post from the Google Compute Engine team noted. “As the post-activation checks were missing, this allowed a 61 minute delay before the normal monitoring started, detected the congestion, and alerted Google network engineers.

“If your service or application was affected, we apologise,” the team update added. “This is not the level of quality and reliability we strive to offer you, and we have taken and are taking immediate steps to improve the platform’s performance and availability.”

This is not the first time Google’s cloud has hit the skids; in February Compute Engine went down for two hours with network issues in ‘multiple zones’. Figures released by CloudHarmony at the start of this year showed Google to be one of the more reliable cloud providers, although Compute Engine scored a three nines SLA with 66 outages throughout 2014. 

Ushering in the IoT | @ThingsExpo @Luxoft #IoT #BigData #InternetOfThings

With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and their surroundings. And this data can help make better decisions through improved insights.

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