Category Archives: Cloud Server

Hewlett-Packard Announces New Cloud Service: Helion Rack

HP announced recently a new preconfigured package of software and hardware targeted towards enterprises who want to adopt the cloud but also keep their computational resources in-house: the Helion Rack. It is designed to aid companies adopt a private cloud much faster.

The use of a private cloud allows organizations to use cloud services on an internal network. However, creating a private cloud network can be quite difficult, taking organizations months to do. With Helion Rack, HP creates each system in its facilities then sets it up at the customer’s location. There has been much done to secure the system and tune it for maximum performance.

Helion Rack is based on open source software; specifically HP used OpenStack for infrastructure services. HP is a large contributor to the OpenStack project, and therefore has expertise on hand to help with any issues. OpenStack is also used for HP’s Helion Public Cloud service.


On the platform services side, HP used Cloud Foundry software, also open source. HP has also installed their Helion Development Platform, which is simply a set of development tools. For the hardware, HP went with ProLiant DL servers, which includes storage and network components.

Helion Rack is a great platform for developing new applications, specifically those that will run on a cloud infrastructure. It is also designed to deal with heavy workloads like data analysis and hosting. Helion Rack will be available starting in April and pricing is based on configuration starting with a system that can support 400 virtual machines.

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New CenturyLink Data Center In Asia

CenturyLink recently announced that they opened a cloud data store in Singapore. This comes as Asian service providers are extending their infrastructure into Europe and North America, and vice versa. The new data center is the first one for the company in Asia, though they have been providing their services in the region for many years. This new center is part of an expansion project by CenturyLink to raise their number of data centers all around the globe.

cloud data center

In Asia, there is a demand for IT infrastructure services from local and international companies entering the market or expanding to the region. The services available at the location are similar to those provided at the other CenturyLink cloud data centers, including high-performance and standard servers, storage, orchestration, white label cloud, and service catalogs. Management services are expected to be added to this list in the near future.

Singapore was the logical location to begin CenturyLink’s physical presence in Asia because they have already had successful colocation and managed hosting there. New Jersey based cloud service provider Linode has also announced plans to add a Singapore data center to its existing center based in Japan.

There has been some concern recently about data sovereignty in the region. Businesses, especially local ones, are worried about their data leaving the country. CenturyLink promises that these fears will not become a reality with this recent cloud data center.

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Contemplating the Cloud

Cloud computing is being adopted at an exponential rate, with software-as-a-service (SaaS) arrangements being the leader. In the corporate sphere, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is leading. IaaS offers virtual hardware, storage capacity, and network connections. Another type of service is the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) which allows users to build applications on the internet.


Utilization of the cloud promises savings, flexibility, and ease, which is why many companies have begun to implement it. There are some big decisions to make before they can successfully apply cloud computing. These include: public, private, or hybrid clouds; cost-benefit analysis, and risk assessment.


cloud puzzle



When a company is considering a SaaS arrangement, the motivation is hardware or software upgrades. Usually a company has an old on-site application and they need to upgrade because the old system is running out of support. Since the cost of an upgrade may be comparable to a replacement, cloud computing should be seriously considered. If they opt for a private cloud, they are the only tenants and they own the license or software. This may be favorable for a company who wishes to cut costs and runs a tight IT division. A public or hybrid approach would be better suited for a company who experiences spikes in application usage or who wants their resources spent elsewhere.


Prominence of SaaS

SaaS has become the leader in the market for customer relationship management, supply chain management, payroll benefits, time and attendance, and ERP software. Since 2000, it has grown from being virtually nonexistent to accounting for just over half of all software deals last year. SaaS is beneficial for small companies due to its replacement cycle of only two to three years versus nine years with licensed software. Next, companies look towards IaaS and PaaS.


ERP Resistance

ERP systems are the last thing to be sent to the cloud. Integration of applications, data stewardship and governance all has higher priority than replacing or updating ERP systems. This is because ERP systems are high customized. Manufacturing companies have been the most resistant to adopt ERP SaaS solutions because the customization and integration it requires make it difficult for on site cloud systems to compete. Other highly regulated industries have also been reluctant to implement cloud arrangements due to burdensome compliance requirements.


Capital vs. Operating Expenses

One factor to consider when looking into cloud arrangements is capital vs. operating expenses. Cloud arrangements are more attractive to companies whose performance is measured return on assets deployed. On the other hand, regulated companies aren’t interested in cutting fixed assets, so they might be more likely to hold onto their data centers and other IT infrastructures and build out private clouds within these systems to reduce operating expenses. New companies and startups will most likely implement SaaS applications.


Other Considerations 

The cloud could potentially impact worker productivity, security issues, privacy issues, interdependency, and compatibility with other applications. Issues can arise when a security breach occurs, when the contract ends, and ownership issues. These risks need to be evaluated individually to come to the best conclusion for the specified use of the cloud.

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