Category Archives: cloud migration

Salesforce launches Government Cloud Lightning platform

Salesforce WearSalesforce has launched Government Cloud Lightning platform, a new offering to which enables US government agencies to connect with citizens and stakeholders anywhere and on any device.

The new product offering is built on the assumption that government agencies are burdened with legacy systems which limit the opportunities to communicate and operate effectively. The team claim the Cloud Lightning platform will enable government agencies to transform their operations to a more modern, mobile and responsive proposition.

In a report published last year, the Government Accountability Office claims $58 billion of their $79 billion IT budget in 2015 maintaining legacy systems, as opposed to investigating and implementing next-generation IT offerings to improve operations. Saleforce has seemingly built its proposition on the idea government agencies are in the process of a transformation to create a more digitally enabled ecosystem.

“Private sector innovation has changed the way citizens expect to interact with their governments, so providing our customers with modern and secure tools is paramount to increasing citizen satisfaction and engagement,” said Vivek Kundra, EVP at Salesforce. “The launch of Government Cloud Lightning, along with extended compliance standards and enhancements, will empower agencies, the aerospace and defense market, and government contractors to digitally transform and connect with citizens in new ways.”

The new offering is built on three key features; The Lightening Experience, the Lightening Platform and the Lightening Ecosystem. From an experience perspective, Salesforce claim the new product will offer users the opportunity to streamline how they communicate and collaborate, as well as create a personalized experience that is consistent across products and devices. The Lightening Platform will help users build apps for desktops and mobile devices, and the final feature will link agencies to Salesforce’s partner ecosystem.

“The Government Cloud Lightning ecosystem is a highly anticipated leap forward for the apps that our federal teams are building on Salesforce,” said Rusty Pickens, Senior Advisor for Digital Platforms at the US Department of State. “Government Cloud Lightning provides us with a modern and clean interface that allows us to build an item once and trust that it will work on any device. Even more importantly, it empowers our diplomats all over the world to access their CRM data right wherever they are, from a mobile device that has all the power of a typical government computer.”

WANdisco’s new Fusion system aims to take the fear out of cloud migration

CloudSoftware vendor WANdisco has announced six new products to make cloud migration easier and less dangerous as companies plan to move away from DIY computing.

The vendor claims its latest Fusion system aims to create a safety net of continuous availability and streaming back-up. Building on that, the platform offers uninterrupted migration and gives hybrid cloud systems the capacity to expand across both private public clouds if necessary. These four fundamental conditions are built on seven new software plug-ins designed to make the transition from production systems into live cloud systems smoother, says DevOps specialist WANdisco.

The backbone of Fusion is WANdisco’s replication technology, which ensures that all servers and clusters are fully readable and writeable, always in sync and can recover automatically from each other after planned or unplanned downtime.

The plug-ins that address continuous availability, data consistency and disaster recovery are named as Active-Active Disaster Recovery, Active-Active Hive and Active-Active Hbase. The first guarantees data consistency with failover and automated recovery over any network. It also prevents Hadoop cluster downtime and data loss. The second regulates consistent query results across all clusters and locations. The third, Hbase, aims to create continuously availability and consistency across all locations.

Three further plug ins address the threat of heightened exposure that is created when companies move their system from behind a company firewall and onto a public cloud. These plug-ins are named as Active Back-up, Active Migration and Hybrid Cloud. To supplement these offerings WANdisco has also introduced the Fusion Software Development Kit (SDK) so that enterprise IT departments can programme their own modifications.

“Ease of use isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about Big Data, so WANdisco Fusion sets out to simplify the Hadoop crossing,” said WANdisco CEO David Richards.

Accenture to buy Cloud Sherpas to help enterprise clients navigate the cloud

Accenture is to acquire advisory firm Cloud Sherpas, for an undisclosed fee, in a bid to beef up its cloud consultancy as more enterprises seek help with their hybrid computing strategies.

If concluded, the takeover will add 1,100 new staff to Accenture’s newly created Cloud First Applications team, which helps enterprises make their first moves towards a shared computing model.

Atlanta-based Cloud Sherpas has a similar mission statement, offering to guide enterprises through their cloud migrations. Since its creation in 2007 it has grown a global presence with offices in Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and the UK. With its main focus on helping companies to adopt off-premise software-as-a-service (SaaS) systems, its major technology partnerships are with Google, Salesforce and ServiceNow.

Cloud Sherpas has been recognised as a Salesforce Global Strategic Consulting Partner and is one of four ServiceNow Master Partners in the world. It has won Google’s Work Partner of the Year on four occasions.

Accenture, one of Salesforce’s first global partners, currently has 2,700 certified professionals. The acquisition of Cloud Sherpas could bring a further 500 certified professionals to its team. It claims to run 13,000 cloud computing projects, with a clientele that includes three-quarters of the Fortune Global 100. It has a total of 17,000 cloud computing professionals.

“Cloud Sherpas was born in the cloud and we are perfectly aligned with Accenture’s cloud first agenda,” said Cloud Sherpas’ CEO David Northington, “The new organisation should prove a good fit for Accenture’s cloud first push.”

Accenture needs the new intake in order to keep up with the rapid pace of cloud adoption by enterprises, according to Paul Daugherty, chief technology officer of Accenture: “We’ve reached a tipping point as our clients rapidly adopt cloud systems.”

Salesforce president Keith Block welcomed the combination of the firm’s two strategic partners. “It’s proof positive of the momentum around our customer success platform,” said Block.

Office 365 migration provider SkyKick scores $10m

SkyKick bagged $10m this week and is strengthening its capabilities beyond cloud migration

SkyKick bagged $10m this week and is strengthening its capabilities beyond cloud migration

SkyKick, a cloud migration specialist turned cloud service management provider, secured $10m in funding this week, which the company said would be used to accelerate product development and broaden its portfolio.

SkyKick specialises in migrating Microsoft productivity apps (Office 365, Exchange, etc.) and data into the cloud, and the company recently pivoted into the rest of the lifecycle by offering cloud app and permission management as well as backup and restore capabilities (which are only available in the US for now).

The $10m in funding brings the total amount secured by the firm since its founding to just over $17m, and will be used to expand sales and marketing as well as product development efforts.

“We are excited to usher in the next era for SkyKick—a global software company delivering cloud management solutions for partners,” said Todd Schwartz, SkyKick co-founder and co-chief executive.

“Cloud usage is expected to double in the next three years, and the average IT partner will soon have over 5,000 customer cloud touch points to administer, which can be incredibly complex and time-consuming for solution providers to backup and manage.”

The move to broaden its portfolio comes at a time of increasing saturation in the Office migration environment. Microsoft itself already offers a number of free cloud migration tools and there are a few others developed by third parties like SkyKick, so its ability to develop and offer strong capabilities relevant for post-deployment lifecycle needs is essential to its future growth.

Close to 40% of IT DMs find cloud is falling short once implemented, survey finds

Enterprises are struggling to manage the transition to cloud services, an NTT report suggests

Enterprises are struggling to manage the transition to cloud services, an NTT report suggests

Close to four in ten IT decision makers believe the cloud as it is implemented in their organisation is falling short of its potential, nearly the same proportion (41 percent) that say they find managing cloud vendors confusing, according to a recently published report.

A recently published NTT survey of over 1,600 IT decision makers in Europe and the US sheds some light on the challenges enterprises are facing in adopting cloud services.

While nearly half believe cloud as implemented in their organisations is falling short, many are finding that a drive towards cloud services internally is displacing investment in other key areas of IT – and struggling to manage this bi-modal IT framework.

About 17 per cent of respondents agreed they spend more time developing capabilities for applications hosted in the cloud than they do for those in their datacentres, but many more said they were spending significantly more time maintaining the current performance of both cloud (44 per cent) and corporate datacentre (55 per cent) applications.

Still, about 41 per cent of respondents said just migrating their critical apps to the cloud too challenging to warrant the move.

“Our study shows the reality of cloud in 2015 is potentially as complex as the world it was supposed to replace. ICT decision-makers harbor significant frustrations over cloud, and there are no clear answers over which kinds of applications belong where,” said Len Padilla, vice president of product strategy at NTT Com. “There needs to be a far smoother migration path from the datacentre to the cloud. A different kind of planning approach is required for companies to achieve the large-scale digital transformations business executives are demanding.”

“ICT decision-makers see the cloud as a compelling enabling technology for digital transformation – there’s no better way to take a new app from the sandbox to global production quickly.  However, our study suggests focusing on ambitious plans is not the best approach.  Focusing on continuous improvement and incremental steps is a far more effective strategy,” he explained.

While close to 90 per cent of respondents said they plan to move some applications over to the cloud at some point, the results of the report still raise questions about how enterprises can cope with some of the challenges of managing the transition. For a full copy of the report click here.