Four Ways to Look at Cloud Computing

the cloudLike other trends in technology, cloud computing is constantly being redefined and re-understood. The fact of the matter is that, while we have a general agreement on what cloud computing is, the term has come to mean many things to many people. The advent of cloud storage services and even Apple’s iCloud has only served to further muddy the waters, even in IT.

In the most basic sense, cloud computing refers to the use of an app or service that’s hosted in a non-traditional, non-server-based manner. In that sense, however, cloud computing is very broad, and perhaps that’s the right approach.

Here are some ways we commonly look at cloud computing, not all of which are completely compatible with one another:

  • Cloud computing as the way to solve past IT mistakes. For years, pundits have pushed cloud solutions as a way to get IT out of difficult situations. While that may be true, not all previous IT decisions that didn’t work out correctly did so because they didn’t use the cloud.
  • Cloud computing as data center outsourcing. There is a sense in which using cloud solutions allows an organization to outsource many of its data center functions. That being said, there are some basic IT services that will – and should – forever be housed internally. Add to that the fact that internal clouds are an option, and this definition makes less and less sense.
  • Cloud computing as virtualization. Virtualization has certainly made its impact on IT and the data center, just as cloud computing has done. Good cloud implementations will rely on virtualization technologies, but the two are not coterminous. There are some cloud solutions that shouldn’t run in a virtualized environment, and virtualization doesn’t automatically put something in the cloud.
  • Cloud computing as Internet based solutions. From the consumer perspective, cloud computing seems to be the use of specific services via the Internet. Certainly, you can make a case that online storage providers, or even implementations like QuickBooks Online are the only cloud solutions many consumers will ever see.

At its core, cloud computing is about the correct use of IT resources, about mitigating risk, and about providing users with the solutions they need when and where they need them.

Register today for our upcoming webinar: Introducing Infortrend: Storage Tiering for the SMB.

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AppDirect Delivers SaaS Apps in "MaaS" Environment

One of the problems of proliferating SaaS apps might be termed Clutter 2.0 – the end result can be a handful or more of new apps in your world in a mishmash, each with its own integration and IT management costs.

Daniel Saks, Co-CEO of AppDirect, aims to end all that through the company’s Marketplace-as-a-Service, “a unified environment with single sign-on, centralized user management, and consolidated billing,” he says.

San Francisco-based AppDirect is almost three years old, and allows enterprise users to “find, buy, and use” apps, according to Saks, in fields such as communications/collaboration, HR, sales & marketing, and financial management.

SaaS apps appearing in the marketplace include Google Apps, Webex, Microsoft 365, TribeHR, Clockspot, Simplicant, Uberview, WorkETC, Salespod, SendGrid, New Relic, Yendo, FreeAgent, and Wave. The company makes the apps available through a network of service providers, including IBM, Google, Bell Canada, AppCelerator, BestBuy, and Visa.

“AppDirect is the only platform that connects developers and channel partners with small businesses through custom marketplaces,” according to Saks. “No other company makes it easier for small businesses to find and manage all the cloud services they need from one central location.”

Less confusion in the cloud? (Gasp.) Sounds revolutionary to me.

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Convirture Updates Virtualization and Cloud Management Software

Convirture has updated its ConVirt Enterprise Cloud virtualization and cloud management software to include support for the latest version of OpenStack (Essex). Support for CloudStack will be available in an update to the software that is planned for the third quarter of this year. ConVirt Enterprise Cloud also is also now certified to run on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
The company also released ConVirt 2.1 Open Source, an update to the free, open source version of its management software.

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Cloud Expo New York: How to Build a Secure Cloud Service

For many of the same reasons that Software-as-a-Service is catching on with enterprise buyers, delivering web services on top of Infrastructure-as-a-Service architectures is appealing to the SaaS developers. Operational agility, lower CapEx, and a broad array of tools and services are on tap that make both public and private IaaS clouds a great platform to build on. But how do you do this securely, especially in the public cloud where you have no access to the network or hypervisor your servers are running in?
Furthermore, for many SaaS providers, the person charged with security considerations isn’t a CSO or IT specialist, but rather, a “DevOps” guru – someone with their hands in both development and operations. While the traditional security professional is focused on compliance and security rules, this new crop is more concerned with continuous development and high availability.

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General Session at Cloud Expo: From CIO to Chief Innovation Officer

The opportunity for today’s IT leaders is to transform IT by leveraging the new ecosystem of services that liberate IT from a technology focus to an information and innovation focus.
In his general session at the 10th International Cloud Expo, Rich Taggart, Lead Partner at SHI, will offer a step-by-step approach to revitalizing IT as an innovation leadership organization.
Rich Taggart has over 25 years of experience in a variety of roles in IT and management. Prior to joining SHI, he was the Senior Vice President and Corporate CIO at the Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California. In this role, he was responsible for support of the Disney Corporate organization which included brand management, human resources, legal, and other corporate functions and for support of departmental and global shared services applications.

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Cloud Expo New York: Building a Private, Public, or Hybrid Cloud?

Whatever your course, meet Cloud complexity head on with a unified approach to handle extreme performance, reliability, availability, and simplicity.
In her session at the 10th International Cloud Expo, Ayalla Goldschmidt, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Oracle, will reveal the underpinnings for the Oracle Public Cloud as well as technology best-practices for developing private and hybrid cloud architectures using Oracle’s Engineered Systems together with Oracle Fusion Middleware. Oracle Fusion Middleware is a complete array of technologies enabling you to embrace the paradigm shift of cloud computing and take full advantage of the cost savings and improved agility they promise. Together with Oracle Exalogic and Oracle Exadata provide the world’s first and only integrated engineered system, which provide enterprises the best possible foundation for running enterprise applications with the performance, elasticity, reliability, and scale characteristics expected for cloud-based applications.

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Teradata Acquires eCircle

Teradata and Aprimo, a Teradata company today announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire Munich-based eCircle, a European cloud-based digital marketing company.

The combination of Teradata’s analytical capabilities, Aprimo’s Integrated Marketing Management, and eCircle’s digital messaging solution will enable marketers worldwide to create integrated customer experiences across online and offline channels that leverage Big Data insights to grow existing customers, attract new customers, and increase revenues. Digital marketers will also have the option to leverage the eCircle solution as a standalone offering. The addition of eCircle more than triples Aprimo’s European team, expertise and reach in all major European countries, creating the largest marketing applications provider in Europe and enabling the delivery of eCircle solutions globally.

Components of the combined Teradata, Aprimo, and eCircle offering will include:

•        An Integrated Marketing Management solution that provides access to all marketing applications from the cloud – including digital, campaign and operational – thus enabling faster time to market, higher ease of use, and less IT complexity;

•        Ability to easily create targeted, personalised digital campaigns that are among the world’s most robust in their compliance with security and privacy regulations;

•        A digital messaging platform for social, mobile, web and email that can scale to support hundreds of billions of messages a year;

•        Multi-channel data management, advanced segmentation and optimisation,

•        Access to digital marketing services such as messaging, content creation, best practices and lead generation delivered by Aprimo digital marketing experts;

•        Big Data analytics from Teradata and Teradata Aster that turns content from social, mobile, web and email channels into actionable insights; and,

•        Unified reporting.

eCircle will also be available as a standalone solution for the digital marketer who wants a simple to deploy but powerful and easy to use digital messaging infrastructure.

Keynote Announces New 24/7 Web Privacy Tracking, Compliance Monitoring

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Keynote Systems today announced a new on-demand service for addressing growing Web privacy issues stemming from online behavioral targeting. The new service, called Keynote Web Privacy Tracking, goes beyond traditional monitoring and identifies third party tracking in violation of a site’s own stated privacy policy.

Keynote Web Privacy Tracking provides comprehensive insight into third parties that violate a company’s privacy policies across a website. Using a real browser, Keynote’s service monitors websites and records all of the tracking activity present, for example, cookies being placed on the browser. Keynote then matches that activity against a database of over 600 tracking companies and over 1,000 tracking domains, providing details on what privacy policies are being violated. Additionally, the Keynote Referrer Chain feature provides a detailed record for how the third-party violator came to be on the site, and an audit trail of each handoff in the ad request.

While there are already website privacy testing solutions on the market, Keynote Web Privacy Tracking is the first to apply a proven 24/7 monitoring technology to address the growing concerns over the impact of third party trackers on Internet privacy.

By monitoring websites around the clock from up to 70 geographic locations and covering 28 countries in the United States and Europe, Keynote Web Privacy Tracking provides an unmatched breadth of coverage for understanding the precise location and size of potential privacy issues, including risks arising from variations in how ad networks deliver geo-targeted content. Once privacy violations are found, Keynote goes one step further by providing detailed and actionable records that enable a site owner to manage policy violations with the ad network directly responsible for bringing a violator to the website. Keynote’s solution also features one-click analysis and reporting – once a site operator finds someone violating a company’s own stated privacy policy, with the click of a button a site operator can drill-down for further information.

Keynote Web Privacy Tracking has a comprehensive tracking database that provides site operators with detailed information for each third party tracker on their site. Site owners can then export the Keynote Web Privacy Tracking Report and share with co-workers and ad network partners to take immediate corrective action that reduces their exposure to privacy violations.

“Keynote Web Privacy Tracking is an ideal solution that site operators can begin leveraging immediately to address their lack of visibility into which third parties are violating the site’s own stated privacy policies,” said Vik Chaudhary, vice president of product management and corporate development at Keynote. “Our data will allow them to take very fast remedial action. Also, we believe our cutting edge 24/7 privacy compliance monitoring service will help address the increasing concerns of the many U.S. government agencies examining the issue. This includes the FTC, as well as government agencies in Europe, which may soon hold site operators legally accountable for ensuring consumer privacy on their website.”

“Online websites know that they need to publicize and enforce a strong privacy policy in order to comply with regulations, maintain goodwill with users, and ensure repeat traffic,” said Ian Glazer, research vice president at Gartner, Inc. “However those tasked with managing privacy within the organization often lack visibility into their potential privacy risk. Privacy professionals are engaging a new breed of tools to help them identify the continued risk that comes with third party cookies.”

Scott Crawford, research director with Enterprise Management Associates said, “With regulators and individuals alike becoming increasingly vocal about the responsible handling of sensitive personal data, organizations that develop and deploy Web applications must take those concerns more seriously than ever before.” Crawford continued, “Keynote’s new product provides organizations with more granular and precise insight into how sensitive information is used and privacy requirements met, not only by a business’s own applications, but also by those who provide services such as advertising placement, which could jeopardize the business’s relationships with its customers if private data is not handled properly.”

The results of an in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the online behavioral tracking on 269 Websites, to be publicly released by Keynote in the near future, found that 86 percent of the sites analyzed included third-party tracking of site visitors and, as a consequence of these third parties, over 60 percent of those sites violated one or more of the industry’s most common tracking-related privacy standards.

“The number of websites that allow visitors to be tracked by third parties may be surprising to some, but as consumers begin to understand that their online behavior can be recorded, website publishers will have to work even harder to ensure consumers’ privacy expectations are met,” said Ray Everett, Keynote’s director of privacy services.

Keynote Web Privacy Tracking detects the third parties collecting user information on each company’s site across all pages monitored by Keynote. Keynote then cross-checks each tracker against a database of over 600 ad networks and 1,000 tracking domains. Tracking companies that do not commit to an industry best practice for Web privacy are then flagged as a violator of the selected policy.

Policies checked by Keynote Web Privacy Tracking include:

  • Provide customers an Opt-out
  • Promise to Anonymize Data
  • Subject to Industry Overview from Recognized Organizations

“Ultimately, the burden of policing third-party trackers falls on the shoulders of website publishers,” Keynote’s Everett concluded. “A publisher is responsible for the content of their website, including the practices of the advertisers appearing on it. Monitoring the constantly changing advertising ecosystem is a daunting task, but the consequence of failure is the placing of your brand’s reputation at tremendous risk.”

Guest Post: Cloud Management


By Rick Blaisdell; CTO ConnectEDU

Cloud computing has definitely revolutionised the IT industry and transformed the way in which IT Services are delivered. But finding the best way for an organization to perform common management tasks using remote services on the Internet is not that easy.

Cloud management incorporates the task of providing, managing, and monitoring applications into cloud infrastructures that do not require end-user knowledge of the physical location or of the system that delivers the services. Monitoring cloud computing applications and activity into requires cloud management tools to ensure that resources are meeting SLA’s, working optimally and also not effecting systems and users that are leveraging these services.

With appropriate cloud management solutions, private users are now able to manage multiple operating systems on the same dedicated server or move the virtual servers to a shared server all from in the same cloud management solution.  Some cloud companies offer tools to manage this entire process, some will provide this solution using a combination of tools and managed services.

The three core components of cloud environment, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and finally Software as a Service (SaaS), now offer great solutions to manage cloud computing, but the management tools need to be flexible and scalable just as the cloud computing strategy of an organization should be. With the new paradigm of computing, cloud management has to:

  • continue to make cloud easier to use;
  • provide security policies for the cloud environment;
  • allow safe cloud operations and ease migrations;
  • provide for financial controls and tracking;
  • audit and reporting for compliance.

Numerous tasks and tools are necessary for cloud management. A successful cloud management strategy includes performance monitoring in terms of response times, latency, uptime and so on, security and compliance auditing and management, initiating, supervising and management of disaster recovery.

So, why is it so important to implement a cloud management strategy into an organization? By having a cloud management strategy that fits into the cloud computing resources that a company uses, it offers a faster delivery of IT services to businesses, it reduces capital and operating costs, it charges backs automatically for resource usage and reporting and it allows IT departments to monitor their service level requirements.



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Teradici APEX 2800 Server Offload Card Now Supporting VMware View 5.1, vSphere

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Teradici, the developer of the PC-over-IP (PCoIP) protocol that enables a true PC experience for desktop virtualization, today announced the compatibility of the APEX 2800 server offload card with the latest release of VMware View 5.1, continuing full compatibility with all current VMware View and VMware vSphere releases.

“As organizations of all sizes accelerate their journey to cloud, and adopt desktop virtualization, businesses are looking for solutions that can provide a rich, flexible and secure experience for end-users,” said Vittorio Viarengo, vice president, End-User Computing, VMware. “VMware cloud infrastructure is built to support active end-user demands and we welcome products that can provide exceptional benefits for VMware Viewenvironments. The Teradici APEX 2800 server offload card is an important tool for IT managers trying to reclaim CPU cycles while leveraging their existing virtual desktop infrastructure.”

The Teradici PCoIP server offload card dynamically offloads the most active 64 displays on the server, improving the consolidation ratio by up to 2x and reducing the cost per virtual desktop. The card also helps reduce the CPU buffer put aside in View deployments for “just-in-case” graphic peaks. The card can easily be enabled in VMware View Administrator.

“Teradici has a commitment to ensure full compatibility for all its products in the growing PCoIP and VMware End-User Computing ecosystem, so we’re happy to support VMware View™ 5.1 and VMware vSphere® with the APEX 2800,” said Trent Punnett, vice president of marketing, Teradici. “As the developer of the industry’s only server offload card designed to maximize the benefits of VMware View PCoIP deployments, we are dedicated to ongoing development of the APEX 2800 to ensure the best end-user experience for virtual desktop deployments.

The Teradici APEX 2800 PCoIP server offload card is available through distributors worldwide, as well as from HP and Dell websites as a peripheral at the list price of $1,995 in the US. For more information, please visit