Kansas State Park Reservation System Deployed Via Cloud

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has announced that its new online reservation site is open for business. Built by Active Network, Inc., a cloud-based activity and participant management solutions provider, the new system makes it easy to find and reserve campsites and cabins in the state parks as well as cabins at certain state fishing lakes and wildlife areas. It is hosted on ReserveAmerica.com, a media property of Active Network for camping reservations. The online registration system powered by ActiveWorks® cloud technology was launched on schedule just after midnight on Tuesday, April 17. KDWPT had not taken online or phone reservations since April 1 to allow programmers to move reservations made before April 1 into the new reservation system.

The new reservation system allows KDWPT to take its paper- and phone-based camping reservations process online for the first time, creating tremendous efficiencies for both park staff and consumers. The centralized system allows guests to search multiple camping and cabin sites simultaneously and make reservations from the comfort of their homes. In many cases, park users will save money through reduced service fees and will be assured a site if they have made a reservation. Additionally, the system will enable KDWPT park staff to more effectively manage their statewide parks and facilities, and benefit from centralized reporting and auditing.

“We are very pleased to launch this new reservation system to meet the ongoing needs of our guests,” said Linda S. Lanterman, KDWPT assistant state parks director. “By partnering with Active Network and revamping our reservations processes we are providing a valuable service to our constituents while encouraging greater participation in outdoor activities.”

To make campsite and cabin reservations, guests can visit the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com, where they’ll be directed to the new reservation site at reserveamerica.com, or they can call a KDWPT state park office or the Pratt Operations Office at 620-672-5911. For the location of the nearest Kansas state park office, go to the KDWPT website and click “State Parks/Locations.” For those without computers or who still prefer using a phone, park staff will be able to use the new system to help callers with reservations.

The number of campsites available for reservation will vary by park – in most parks about half of the sites can be reserved. The rest will be available through the traditional “first-come, first-served” method. Shelter and group campground reservations will continue to be made only through the park office where the facilities are located.

“As the leading provider of campground reservations in North America, our ReserveAmerica media property aims to make it easier for our valued State customers to manage their facilities and for outdoors enthusiasts to find new ways to enjoy the nation’s beautiful natural resources,” said Alex Barnetson, senior vice president of Outdoors at Active Network. “The KDWPT joins more than 20 other wildlife agencies and over 30 States who rely on Active Network to automate their campground, hunting and fishing reservations.”

Caringo Offers VMs of Market Proven Cloud Storage Architecture for Rapid Evaluation

Caringo Inc., a provider of object storage software, today announced virtual machine editions of their CAStor object storage engine, and Content File Server (CFS), instant access to CAStor via standard file protocols (CIFS, NFS, FTP, and WebDAV). The VMs can run on any Windows server via VMware ESX and VMware Player, on Mac via VMware Fusion, and the CFS VM can also run on Oracle VirtualBox (Windows or Mac). The Virtual Editions were designed to enable the quick and easy evaluation of Caringo object storage software, which is ideal for cloud storage architectures. The VMs are available immediately for download with a free 2 TB license, bringing the benefits of object storage and cloud storage architecture to ANY organization within minutes.

“Cloud storage services built upon object storage provide scalability, ease of management, responsiveness and affordability,” said Mark Goros, CEO at Caringo. “With our Virtual Editions we are bringing the same technology to any company or individual to install and try in less than 30 minutes. Now anyone can easily experience the power of object storage and cloud storage architecture quickly and securely.”

Caringo’s object storage software Virtual Editions delivers cloud storage architecture and instant access by providing:

Data access and portability using HTTP 1.1, and customizable metadata that is stored with each object, enabling data mobility based on business value with content moving freely and securely system wide – even across different locations.

Automatic data protection driven by an integrated health monitor that continuously checks and fixes any issues encountered. All servers participate in recovery so as the system grows, recovery times decrease; even petabyte-size stores can be automatically protected without backups or RAID.

Zero provisioning scale-out and zero downtime servicing with automated, system wide optimization and balancing. Combined with rolling software and hardware upgrades results in no-downtime servicing, no single points of failure and no bottlenecks.

Secure multi-tenancy and multi-site storage in a single system with 128-bit unique universal identifier obfuscating all stored data; all account information is stored with an object allowing support for an unlimited number of tenants, employees, or subscribers on the same infrastructure.

Cloud economics using any x86 server hardware, any combination of servers, or even any size drives at up to 98 percent utilization.

Instant access for legacy applications or devices via CIFS, NFS, FTP, and WebDAV.

Both VM Editions are available now at http://www.caringo.com/virtual-editions

Why don’t employees embrace enterprise mobility projects?

Workforce engagement with enterprise mobility solutions is critical if the projects are to deliver the efficiency and productivity intended, but new research suggests many companies are failing to consider the factors that affect employee buy-in when implementing these systems.

Research firm Vanson Bourne discovered and alarming trend when it polled 1000 IT and business decision makers on their mobilisation strategies. It found that while 42% of businesses claimed to be actively developing a mobile app for employees, only a quarter believed that their mobile systems had been embraced by the majority of employees.

Additionally, and despite firms over 500 employees planning to spend an average of £390,000 on mobility software in the next 12-18 months, 41% of respondents reported that take up of such schemes had been limited to less than a quarter of the workforce.

Ken Parmelee, senior director of product management at Antenna Software, one of the …

Dell to be the Next Big Cloud Player?

Is Dell getting its ducks in a row to become the next big player to enter the cloud networking space in a big way? That’s the premise of an interesting post at Wired.

Dell has been on an acquisition spree for several years, yet the pieces of these acquisitions have not quite shown a clear vision of their purpose — until recently. Many have speculated as to the long-term vision of what all these acquisitions mean. What they really reveal is a complete end-to-end computing strategy that can handle every aspect of a business’ infrastructure, whether it be on-premise, cloud-based, private cloud-based or a hybrid cloud scenario.

Read the full post.

Cedexis Launches Internet Performance Reporting Tool

Cedexis has released a new data visualization interface available at www.cedexis.com/country-reports/ which provides statistics on the performance of IT providers (Hosting Companies, CDNs and Clouds) providing valuable information on the SOH (State Of Health) of their Internet services as end-users actually see them.

The performance measurements of each of the cloud/CDN providers is generated by the users themselves. This is achieved through the integration of a probe (JavaScript tag) on a Cedexis customers’ web, mobile or business application, which only becomes active only after a page has been fully loaded so that an end-users experience is not impacted.

Cedexis combines these quality and performance measurements with an additional service called OpenMix, which enables real-time traffic routing changes to maximize the end-user’s experience.  Thanks to this realtime decision making service, end-users are always sent to the best provider for them at that point in time, with content owners comfortable in the knowledge that 100% availability and optimal performance for each and every end-user is a reality.

Benefits of Cloud Based ECM Systems

Guest Post by Steve Williams

Smart businesses everywhere have begun to take advantage of Enterprise Content Management (ECM). This system helps companies organize, store and retrieve eDocuments. Encompassing a variety of different programs, ECM helps businesses to organize their work flow and be prepared in case of any future litigation. Moving the ECM to the cloud presents even greater benefits.

Benefits of the Cloud

  • Security. Prevent the loss of critical data with regular backups of infrastructure hardware and more.
  • Cost. A cloud solution costs a fraction of an on-premise ECM solution. The pay-as-you go nature of cloud services also make it scalable to your needs.
  • Reliability. Cloud solutions can offer high uptime and keep planned downtimes at a minimum Access. Access all your content remotely through any device (mobile, desktop etc.)

Top 3 Benefits of ECM:

1. Improve Organization

Without an ECM system, employees may find it difficult to access records held by coworkers or find older documents. With an ECM system, the business can reduce its volume of content up to 50%. In the event of litigation, having fewer documents to search through and a more organized system helps employees and lawyers to prepare. The ECM system manages all of the data throughout its lifecycle and keeps it in one central place.

The Advantages:

  • One central location to retrieve all content.
  • Ensures compliance with new standards and policies.

For larger companies, having a central location means lawyers do not have to rush around various locations and can easily carry out the discovery process. To facilitate the legal team’s work, employees should be trained on policies regarding the various regulatory requirements or the company’s internal policies.

Prior to having an ECM system, a company would have to go through files by hand to check and see if workers were complying with the regulations. In the case of a hospital, new policies may get missed by workers. A proper ECM system could alleviate the problem by electronically tracking which employees signed new policy forms and ensure that everyone at the company is on the same page. Numerous state and federal regulations exist—each business must ensure that their employees are complying completely. Without an ECM system to track employee training and policy updates, employers are left without the safeguard they need to make sure that everyone is kept up-to-date on new regulations.

2. Prepare for Litigation

No business plans on having court battles, but in the event that it happens, being prepared early on makes litigation easier. Various regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley require that eDocuments be kept for a certain length of time. The ECM can be set to automatically put documents on hold and store them for a defined period of time. This aspect protects the documents from being deleted on purpose or by accident.

Instead of hiring out help, companies can handle litigation internally and reduce their overall cost. The system seamlessly integrates real-time updates and records prior versions of the file. Although no one intends to have a court case, preparing in advance saves the company valuable time and money.

3. Save Money

Having double copies of a file makes it more difficult for employees to access, change and use data. An ECM system works to prevent this by organizing the volumes of information in one location and with an easily searchable system. A user merely has to type in a keyword in the search box to have their file and related documents popup. Instead of having to search through documents by hand or go to different networks to find data, users have one location that they can access. Overall, this saves the company time and money spent on wages.

The Bottom Line:

Creating an ECM will require some initial spending, but overall the company will see immense savings on labor and IT infrastructure costs by moving to the cloud. If any litigation takes place, the company will save even more money on lawyers’ fees and throughout the discovery process. By being able to easily access old files, the company is protected from any allegations that they violated regulations. This protects them legally and financially.

This system also gets employees out of low-value tasks and into a role that makes the company more money. No more faxing over documents or hand-picking through old files. With a cloud-based ECM system, the program is intended to do all the work so the company does not have to hire an employee to do it.

Across the board, having a cloud-based ECM saves the company money and makes doing business more efficient. It improves the company’s ability to manage information and comply with federal regulations.


Five Megatrends Driving the Personal Cloud Era

If you believe that you’ve had to learn more about the safe online operation and ongoing management of your PC than you ever wanted to know, then you’ll be pleased to discover that there’s relief on the horizon. According to the latest market study by Gartner, the reign of the personal computer is coming to an apparent close. By 2014, the personal cloud will replace the personal computer — and this transition will likely include greater use of media tablets, chromebooks or other similar devices.

Gartner analysts said the personal cloud will become the foundation for a new era that will provide users with an increased level of flexibility with the devices they use for daily activities — leveraging the strengths of each device, ultimately enabling new levels of user satisfaction and productivity.

However, Garner says that it will require enterprise IT leaders and their staff to fundamentally rethink …