Tag Archives: cloud

Tara Seppa, Microsoft: How to Leverage Digital Disruption

 

Tara Seppa, Azure Solutions Sales Director at Microsoft discusses how Microsoft is adapting to the era of digital disruption and how other companies should approach digital transformation. For example, Rolls Royce, a one-hundred-year-old company, embraced digital transformation and approached this disruption in a way that helped the company. They began utilizing Microsoft’s Internet of Things platform to optimize fuel, reduce maintenance calls, perform predictive analysis on their engines and much more. Check out the video to learn more.

[Download our recent webinar, How the Cloud Is Killing Traditional Help Desk, to learn more about the shifting needs of cloud era end users, the questions that should be asked, and solutions to common cloud-era Help Desk challenges.]

CIOs & The Life Sciences Industry Part 3: Factors Overlooked When Changing Your Cloud

The topic of Cloud Computing currently ranks in the top-five of IT articles published for IT professionals. Daily we hear about the benefits of this new world, the range of exciting new services now available, and of course how to make the transition.

Even with the valuable insights provided by these articles, there is one critical aspect given too little attention or even overlooked entirely.  Specifically, how to plan for a breakup.

If one accepts the old dictum that change is the only universal constant, then ask yourself why most people do not plan as carefully for unwinding a cloud / SaaS arrangement as we do in setting one up. The details of ending an arrangement can be tricky and not immediately self-evident.

These issues are beyond standard legal provisions for exit clauses, terms/conditions, and related matters. It deals with practicality and preparedness.

Take this as an example, imagine you use a SaaS system to implement secure e-mail for corresponding with people outside your organization. Even in the world of TLS, many still have a need for such services which provide mailbox-to-mailbox encryption for both e-mails and attachments.

Should you decide to terminate this service, you might be in for some unexpected challenges. If your service provider does not provide bulk decrypt and export tools, you could be in for a painful process.

In a previous role, I ran into this exact situation. We had to write custom scripts to go through each mailbox e-mail-by-email to unencrypt and export; it was slow and costly.

Even without terminating the service, data exporting tools can be useful as a course of normal business. Consider the situation when your organization is involved in litigation. As part of the legal Discovery process, you might have to produce e-mails for individuals covering specific subjects and dates. Should the list be significant or the filters complex, you can again run into unexpected workloads.

Another example is data offloading. Many services, AWS included, offer excellent tools for migration / uploading large volumes into their cloud services. In some cases, particularly with large datasets, such approaches are the only feasible or timely solution.

But what happens when you elect to move those datasets to another Cloud Provider? Don’t assume the comprehensive set of options you have for bringing data into your provider’s cloud is symmetric. You might just find a long slow process to make a change.

In both examples, specific industry or regulatory requirements such as security, data location, and privacy can compound the challenge.

IT professionals have a lot of experience with managing proprietary solutions and data. The key is leveraging that knowledge when considering Cloud-Based solutions. Personally, I have found two methods for reducing these risks.

The first is to run some tabletop simulations on what happens in various scenarios, to develop and expand your punch list over time. Scenarios to consider might include migration, legal requests, disaster recovery or other matters specific to your industry.

My second approach is to network: it is a knowledge and experience multiplier that’s second to none. Check with colleagues; get their advice and listen to their own experiences.

Of course, you don’t know what you don’t know, but thinking of the end, as well as the beginning, should put you in a better spot.

If you would like to set up a conversation with Clint, please reach out.

By Clint Gilliam, Virtual CIO, GreenPages Technology Solutions

Harnessing Lightning: The Power of DevOps + ITOM

Did you miss our recent webinar, “Harnessing Lightning: DevOps + ITOM for Secure & Compliant Hybrid Cloud Ops?” Simon Johnson, Senior VP of Client Services and Jay Keating, Senior VP of Cloud and Managed Services explain how to embrace, not resist, DevOps, the pivotal role of IT as the control plane for workload distribution, how to transform your IT with a next-gen IT Operations Transformation Framework, and much more. 

We’re at a time that IT has become a business and the value that IT can give to the business exceeds what it’s ever been able to do before. The ability to gain a competitive advantage to technological innovation is really driving the business to demand a lot more from IT. With this, we are seeing the expansion of new approaches to delivering IT services. We are seeing hybrid clouds as a strategy around agility and time-to-market and we are seeing DevOps as another key area, bringing two traditionally disparate organizations together.

This helps to accelerate the application delivery cycle to take advantage of transition points in the market. At that time, that’s driving operational complexity into IT organizations. It teaches you how to work with agile delivery techniques, how to report in a timely manner and be the thought leader and key decision maker to enable and drive business value through IT innovation.

To download the webinar, please click here!

By Jake Cryan, Digital Marketing Specialist

Key Announcements from VMworld with Chris Ward

GreenPages’ CTO, Chris Ward, recently held a webinar detailing all of the key U.S. and European announcements made at VMworld 2016. In case you missed it, watch Chris’s short webinar recap below highlighting all the news, including VMware Cloud Foundation, Cross-Cloud Services, vSphere 6.5, and vSan 6.5. If you are interested in hearing Chris dive deeper into these key announcements, download the entire webinar here.

Or watch the video on our YouTube page.

By Chris Ward, CTO, GreenPages Technology Solutions

How Digital Transformation Is Driving the Way We Consume Applications

Right now, we’re in a stage in the IT evolution where we are seeing tectonic shifts throughout the industry as they relate to digital transformation. In this video, Simon Johnson, VP of Client Services at GreenPages, discusses how digital transformation is driving the way we consume and provision services and applications and changing the way IT provides the base infrastructure for these services. From the way we consume applications through smartphones, laptops, and tablets, to the platforms they’re built on, the digital transformation has enormous ramifications from an operational, design, and go-to market perspective.

 

Or watch the video on our YouTube page

To learn more about implementing hybrid cloud solutions, email socialmedia@greenpages.com 

By Simon Johnson, VP of Client Services, GreenPages Technology Solutions

 

Intel Builders Summit 2016 – Barcelona

As luck would have it, Intel is hosting several events based around their Intel Builders initiative here in Barcelona, and I was lucky enough to score a day pass in between VMworld and OpenStack Summit!  The agenda is packed with some good material, but I’m most excited to hear Gene Kim’s Keynote: Top DevOps Enterprise Adoption Patterns: A Fifteen Year Study Of High Performing IT Organizations.

Intel Builders

Gene is the author of 2 of the 3 essential DevOps books that I need to read:  1) The Phoenix Project, 2) The DevOps Manual and 3) Continuous Delivery.  During the welcome remarks phase, Intel announced that they have created an online “Builders University” for Cloud, Networking and Storage.  Here you can train (for free!) on the latest technologies in these 3 areas.  Check it out!

Some additional takeaways:

Puppet annually puts out a “State Of DevOps” report, read 2016 here: https://puppet.com/resources/white-paper/2016-state-of-devops-report

Per Gartner: top cloud challenges: 11% Technological, 23% Business, 66% People & Process

Some do’s and don’ts for moving your company to the cloud:

Do’s:

  • Have a clear vision of your cloud platform
  • Stay close to core/truck
  • Get buy-in & participation from early adopters
  • Plan Day 2 ops early
  • Employ Agile Architecture Approach (AAA)
  • Use the wins of your early adopters to drive expansion

Don’t:

  • Try to be everything to everyone
  • Force people to adopt before they are ready
  • Build a cloud without understanding the workloads
  • Do a “Big Bang” approach -> iterate

OpenStack Summit starts tomorrow.  We’re going to be doing 70+ videos in 3 days, so wish me luck!

 

By Chris Williams, Enterprise Architect

GreenPages’ Chris Williams Hosting #vBrownBag AWS Exam Prep Webinar

GreenPages Enterprise Consultant Chris Williams will be hosting a webinar on August 24th to help IT professionals pass the AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam. The series is brought to you by #vBrownBag and follows the official certification blueprint published by Amazon. If you’re thinking of taking this AWS exam, you don’t want to miss out!

The webinar is titled Domain 1.0 Part 4 – Designing highly available, cost-efficient, fault-toleration, scalable systems. In the webinar Chris will cover:

  • Hybrid IT architectures
  • Direct Connect
  • Storage Gateway
  • VPC
  • Directory Services

 

To learn more about the webinar and to register, visit the #vBrownBag site!

 

About #vBrownBag

vBrownBag is a community of people who work in IT infrastructure who help other professionals in the IT industry perform their jobs at a higher level by providing helpful resources and advice through podcasts, TechTalks, and other mediums.

Media and comms growth fueled by telcos

Money Tree, Currency, Growth.Telcos have accounted for roughly 50% of growth in the media and communications industry, which stood at a £0.4 billion increase to £56 billion, a rise of 0.9%, reports Telecoms.com.

According to Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2016, the telco industry grew by £200 million over the course of 2015, which has been attributed to the growth of 4G and bundled packages, amongst other factors. 4G coverage is now available to 97.8% of the UK and 80% of households now have access to superfast broadband. Uptake now stands at 48% of adults and 37% of fixed broadband connections are providing actual speeds of 30Mbit/s. 4G coverage is now almost on par with 2G and 3G services.

Telcos were also bolstered by an increase in bundled services, which saw an increase when comparing Q1 2016 to 2015. The bundled services are generally viewed as the industry’s fight against the trend of being relegated to the likes of a utility. 68% of households reported buying at least two of their communications services together in a bundle in 2016, which demonstrated an increase from 63% in 2015. Dual-play packages of landline and broadband, and triple-play packages of landline, broadband and TV, were the most popular.

The report also highlighted the continual shift in the way the UK consumes popular media, as on-demand services become more popular and more adults shift towards OTT services such as WhatsApp. Live TV could be seen as one of the casualties of the report as viewing fell by 5.5 minutes year on year, while recorded and catch-up viewing within a week of broadcast increased by 1.3 minutes. The number of adults who used Video-on-Demand (VoD) services increased over the course of 2015, and while this growth is slowing in some demographics, paid-for services are increasing becoming more popular.

A more worrying sign for the live broadcasting segment could be seen in the breakdown of the age demographics. Although those in the 65+ bracket are continuing to watch live TV, 83% watch live TV over VoD, in the ‘Adult’ age bracket, this number decreases to 63%. The 16-24 age bracket, which could be seen as the future target market for numerous live TV broadcasters claim they spend 37% of their time watching live TV against VoD. Overall, the number of people who view live TV over the course of the week has declined by three percentage points.

These statistics imply there is a shift in the way the younger generations in the UK consume popular media, posing the challenge to traditional broadcasters, who to date may not have considered VoD services such as Netflix as a direct competitor. This is also backed up by the increase in average data usage from households (fixed-line), which grew by 41% over the 12 month period. While a concern to the live broadcasters, this could be seen as a lifeline for the telco industry which is becoming increasingly reliant on bundled services to counter the challenge of the OTT’s.

When looking at the OTT’s, there once again has been an increase in popularity. The number of people who are using the instant messaging services such as WhatsApp is up from 28% to 43%, and photo/ video messaging (MMS) has risen to more than a fifth of adults in a given week. These services have been at the expense of SMS and email, which has seen a decline year-on-year of eight and seven percentage points respectively.

The shift implies a shift in the means in which consumers interact with the media and communications industry. While the utility concern has been on at the forefront of the industry for some time, the increasing popularity of bundled services and VoD services, could offer compensation. That said, the OTT’s are becoming more prominent not only in the younger generations but also the older, demographics which could be seen as somewhat of a cash-cow for the telcos. The 16-24 year old demographic are more likely to embrace the new offerings, though the trend can be seen to be penetrating the ‘Adult’ demographics also.

With this in mind, Philip Marnick, Ofcom’s Group Director of Spectrum, believes the trends will impact the allocation of spectrum.

“One of Ofcom’s key jobs is to manage the UK’s spectrum to enable existing services to grow and new services to develop and come to the market,” said Marnick in the report. “We often hear about the demands for more spectrum to support the increasing demand for mobile data, which is expected to increase by as much as 31 times by 2020 in Western Europe.

“As most spectrum is occupied, we have to consider moving one service to make way for another; for example, squeezing up TV to make more spectrum (700MHz) available for mobile. As part of this, and given the high levels of use of wireless microphones, we are now enabling these to share with aeronautical services.

“We are already looking at the spectrum needs of 5G, which will provide higher capacity networks that are more responsive and can offer faster speeds. This will open up a new range of frequencies in the millimetric bands – an area of spectrum in which satellites provide TV, radio navigation services, support for emergency services, and broadband for very remote locations, on land, in the air and at sea.”

The role of Ofcom is to ensure all services work effectively without interference, though the picture is becoming increasingly complicated with the faster introduction of new services. Alongside the greater reliance on mobile technologies and data, autonomous cars and the connected home may require exclusive spectrum, adding to the “three dimensional jigsaw”.

AWS posts 60% boost as it creeps towards $10bn revenues

amazon awsAWS has continued its promising progress towards breaking the $10 billion barrier, after reporting revenues of $5.4 billion for the first six months of 2016, a boost of 60% from the same period last year, reports Telecoms.com.

Speaking during its Q1 earnings call in April, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky highlighted there was a very realistic chance the AWS business would exceed $10 billion in annual revenues, becoming the first cloud infrastructure company to do so. After another quarter of healthy growth, revenues were up 58% to roughly $2.9 billion, the team are well on track to exceed the ambitious target. Progress has been healthy over the last few quarters, but the team are looking to push the accelerator harder.

“We actually see nine availability zones in four regions coming out in the next – in the coming year,” said Olsavsky. “The impact on short-term is pretty much indistinguishable from the growth that we’re seeing in our expansion of our base customers in our existing regions, so we don’t see a large step-up from the addition of new regions relative to the large and rapid growth in the business itself.”

With new data centres popping up all over the world to meet the demand of the burgeoning cloud computing sector, AWS is keeping trend, opening up in Mumbai last month, as planning nine new availability zones within the next 12 months. The impact of these new assets are unlikely to be felt during the next quarter, though long-term there the current cloud leader could reinforce its position at the top of the leader board.

“Again, we like our position, our industry leading position in the cloud space, and we’re working on things that would incent more and more customers to accelerate their cloud conversion,” said Olsavsky. “The lower prices and services that we offer, and as I said, we’ll work on things that will make it easier and easier for customers to work with us with their hybrid data centers or transfer their volume to us.”

One area of growth which could have a more short-term impact is the new FedRAMP High compliance certification, which will allow government agencies the ability to use the AWS Cloud for highly sensitive applications and workloads like patient records, financial data, and law enforcement data. Government contracts represent lucrative wins in the technology sector, which could underpin the company’s surge towards $10 billion. The accreditation also creates a useful precedent for the business if/and the team look to expand its footprint with government organizations in the international markets.

Google grows (again) but ‘Other Bets’ cost the giant $1bn

GoogleGoogle has reported its Q2 numbers, continuing a strong run of performances within the technology industry, though efforts to diversify its overall business are not paying off just yet, reports Telecoms.com.

The Alphabet brand was announced last year, with aim of allowing the team to invest in other projects more freely, without being impeded by the advertising business. It would appear the management team are not afraid to throw R&D money at its innovation team as it searches for another billion-dollar business, as the ‘Other Bets’ segment, which includes Google Fibre and the autonomous cars projects, accounted for an operating loss of $859 million. Revenues did grow to $185 million, up 150% on the same quarter in 2015, though this number was made almost insignificant by the $19 billion generated in the advertising business.

The technology industry on the whole has been providing strong numbers over the last couple of weeks, though there has been a question as to whether two advertising giants can co-exist. With Facebook reporting significant growth yesterday, advertising revenues across the period increased 63% year-on-year to $6.2 billion, these numbers were dwarfed by Google, perhaps demonstrating there is potential for both organizations to share advertising revenues, which are decreasing in value, and grow healthily.

With regard to the dwindling value of advertising revenues, Google would appear to be combatting this with volume. CFO Ruth Porat highlighted the mobile search capabilities were the primary driver behind the year-on-year growth, though the desktop and tablet search did also grow.

Numbers such as these will grab headlines, meaning it can be easy to forget about the Google cloud business, one of the top priorities for the Alphabet business moving forward.

On the same day which AWS reported revenues of $2.9 billion for the quarter, Google’s cloud business also demonstrated solid growth. Although the numbers are not specific, the ‘Other’ revenues segment which includes the cloud business, and other services such as Google play, accounting for $2.1 billion through the three month period, an increase of 33% on Q2 2015.

“Many tremendous digital experiences are being built in the cloud today, and businesses are working to take advantage of the cloud as part of their digital transformation,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “We’ve been integrating our cloud and apps products to create more unified solutions for companies large and small, and these efforts are paying off.”

Following on from Pichai’s previous comments on the role of artificial intelligence on the Google cloud platform, and the wider Google business, its importance has been reiterated once again. Machine learning is being prioritized as the differentiator for Google in a competitive technology market, and only last week the team introduced two cloud machine learning APIs for speech and natural language to help enterprise customers convert audio to text and easily understand the structure and sentiment of the text in a variety of languages.

In terms of footprint, the team are not done growing yet. At the end of last month, Google and friends completed work on a new trans-Pacific submarine cable system, which will help the team launch a new Google Cloud Platform East Asia region in Tokyo. Back in March, the team confirmed it would be investing heavily in expansion of its cloud footprint with 12 new data centres around the world by the end of 2017.

AWS has previously stated it intends to break the $10 billion barrier in cloud revenues during 2016, though Google may not be that far behind. With its history of not being afraid to invest, and the growth numbers which have been witnessed over the last few quarters, Google could be set to accelerate.