The Great Cloud Guidebook

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1 The Great Cloud Guidebook ControlNow TM Ebook

2 Table of Contents Using the cloud to help manage infrastructure 4 By Derek Schauland The case for hybrid clouds: 6 Business and technology drivers and requirements By Laura DiDio Evolution at work: The Internet of Things meets the cloud 10 By Mark Gibbs Small business meets cloud computing 13 By William F. Zachmann DevOps and the cloud 16 By Mitch Tulloch, MVP The state of cloud storage 19 By Bruce Hoard The rise of the containers in the cloud 21 By Michael Vizard Shifting to VaaS: Conferencing change you best believe in 24 By Bob Wallace Five things you may not know about Azure 27 By Karen Forster Gates had vision of cloud long before Azure 30 By Paula Rooney FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 2

3 Introduction What is the latest thinking on cloud computing? Are we still in hype mode or has the industry fulfilled its promises? What has changed? To answer these questions, we turned to 10 tech influencers for their views and insights. FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 3

4 Using the cloud to help manage infrastructure by Derek Schauland Infrastructure helps run businesses efficiently. Cloud computing can increase efficiency and reduce overall costs by being managed in a data center by enterprise specialists. Derek Schauland is a Microsoft MVP with 15 years of experience in technical support and Microsoft systems administration. Derek has been writing for various electronic and print publications for the last 10 years to help others learn about technology and expand his own knowledge along the way. In addition to blogging, Derek co-founded Tech On Tap Training Series, a non-profit organization to promote networking among IT professionals, and assist them in meeting and learning from organizations of all sizes in the information technology industry. FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 4

5 Using the cloud to help manage infrastructure It seems no two definitions of the cloud are the same. My definition is a simple one: Any computing system (or computing resources) that does not attach directly to your physical computer. So, really, it could be anything behind the server room door (e.g., private cloud) or resources at Amazon or Microsoft Azure (e.g., public clouds). The purpose of this piece isn t just to define cloud, but to point out the business benefit of reduced hardware and power costs because the infrastructure has moved to another datacenter. Yes, there are monthly costs associated with the use of a public cloud, but these could be considerably cheaper than bringing additional resources in-house or opting for traditional colocation services. Organizations are growing at a faster rate than ever, especially in terms of technology usage given the widespread use virtualization allows against a physical host machine. It is considerably better for the hardware as it enables more efficient use of the processor and memory, but also cheaper for the company in terms of both hardware and software required to run the solution. Now imagine if an organization could let someone else manage and worry about the hardware, power and cooling costs associated with the host machines, and only worry about the workloads they care about. This is what cloud computing can offer. As an example, suppose my company S&J Watches is expanding to add a new office in the next town over. There will be 10 employees at the office who will need access to mail and all of the company files. Doing this will require them to log in, and processing a login at the headquarters will require some type of connection or tunnel, either using a virtual private network (VPN) or maybe Microsoft s Direct Access technology. These both have bandwidth and hardware requirements to ensure the connection can be made, which will require time to configure and monitoring to ensure the solution is accessible when needed (which really equates to pretty much all the time in the real world). What if the services needed by the new office were provided in the cloud instead of between physical sites? Placing the back office infrastructure for the new location: in the cloud will remove much of the hardware requirements for the new location end user devices, local network connectivity and Internet will pretty much be the only needs on-site. Configuring a tunnel or remote access solution will still be needed, but will point to the cloud site from both HQ and the new location. An Active Directory domain controller and AD site that live in the cloud could be used to process login requests from the new office over a VPN established to the cloud. Remote users who travel to work with customers or other offices routinely could connect to the cloud site for login and resource access from anywhere there is an Internet connection. This would not only improve the access to information and productivity for these employees, but manageability of equipment in the same way. In almost all cases, managed workstations are easier to keep operating than non-managed workstations, and helping these devices access and authenticate to your network from anywhere via cloud resources can provide just such a solution. Infrastructure helps run businesses efficiently and cloud computing can increase efficiency and reduce overall costs by being managed in a data center by enterprise specialists. In addition to eliminating the expense of hardware and connectivity to these resources made possible with an Internet connection, employees become much more productive at a significantly reduced cost. FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 5

6 The case for hybrid clouds: Business and technology drivers and requirements By Laura DiDio Hybrid cloud deployments come with their own set of specific challenges, and contrary to what some may think, it is not just a combination of a public cloud and a private cloud. Laura DiDio is an industry analyst and consultant, a professional writer and a veteran investigative reporter with more than 25 years experience in high technology. Laura has spent the last 16 years as a high technology industry analyst, most recently as Principal Analyst at Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, a company she founded in Laura covers a wide range of technologies including security, cloud computing, virtualization, BYOD, remote access and mobility, hardware and software. She also monitors the business issues that impact corporations. Prior to becoming an analyst, Laura held various reporting positions at a number of computer networking industry trade publications. She is a frequent speaker at industry trade shows and user conferences, and she is widely quoted in the general, business and trade press. She also hosts webinars and podcasts for a range of media outlets. FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 6

7 The case for hybrid clouds: Business and technology drivers and requirements For the overwhelming majority of businesses, it s a question of when not if they will move their data to the cloud. Once a company has made the decision to migrate to the cloud, it must then determine which type of cloud deployment best suits its business and technology needs. Survey data from the Washington-based Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) indicates that hybrid clouds will be the cloud architecture of choice for 64% of businesses for the foreseeable future. Many industry pundits suggest that hybrid clouds are a popular choice because they represent a good first step for companies just familiarizing themselves with the cloud deployment model. However, the reasons for implementing a hybrid cloud are far more pragmatic. For starters, cloud deployments are not an either-or choice between public and private clouds. A hybrid cloud is exactly what its name implies and more. A hybrid cloud is a mix of both a hosted, off-site public cloud as well as an onpremises private cloud, which corporations manage and maintain themselves. But a hybrid cloud is more than two separate and distinct cloud implementations. Organizations that opt for a hybrid cloud environment must ensure that their public cloud service providers and their internal IT departments provide crucial integration and interoperability between the public and private clouds. End users need seamless, transparent access to corporate data, regardless of whether the data resides in the public or private cloud. Hybrid cloud business and technology drivers When properly architected, deployed and maintained, hybrid clouds offer organizations the best elements of both public and private clouds. The top business benefits and technology drivers of a public cloud (hosted by a third party) include reduced costs based on a utility-like pay-peruse model, and greater scalability, flexibility and efficiencies in terms of manageability and business processes. Additionally, public clouds are a good choice for companies that have limited IT manpower, expertise and resources to manage and maintain certain portions of their network. Public clouds are designed to essentially free the corporation from the day-to-day stresses of managing large, sometimes sprawling virtualized, mainstream line-of-business (LOB) applications. Businesses have an array of wellknown, experienced cloud providers from which to choose, and the fierce, intensifying competition makes for good deals. These include: Amazon, Google, IBM s Soft Layer, Microsoft Azure, NetSuite, Oracle, Rackspace, Salesforce.com, SAP and Verizon s Terremark, to name just a few. The potential downsides to public clouds include: loss of control; concerns about latency and service response times; inability to meet service level agreements (SLAs); concerns about cotenancy and the impact on performance; and concerns about heightened security and data privacy. The chief technology and business drivers for private cloud implementations are similar in many respects: reduce costs, and improve reliability and manageability. A private cloud also enables organizations to achieve greater efficiencies and economies of scale by pooling internal resources. Just as with a third-party hosted public cloud, organizations building an internal cloud strive to achieve a scalable, flexible environment that enables them to reduce equipment and management costs. Finally, organizations that opt for private clouds almost always seek to maintain a strong measure of control and security over sensitive corporate data and applications. FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 7

8 The case for hybrid clouds: Business and technology drivers and requirements Since businesses often have many departments with varying needs and requirements, it s easy to see why a hybrid cloud is an attractive option. It s important to note that the decision to outsource a portion of data center operations to a public cloud, create an in-house private cloud or a hybrid cloud environment is not a guarantee of immediate or long-term success. Any company that expects to realize cost-savings and achieve a more flexible, elastic pay-for-usage model that features high reliability, fast response times and strong security, will have to work for it. This is true regardless of the reputation and experience of the third-party cloud service provider and the proven skill set of the internal IT department that will oversee private and hybrid cloud operations. All of the aforementioned benefits are attainable though, if the company performs its due diligence and architects a hybrid cloud model that works for all parties. Considerations for building the hybrid cloud Hybrid clouds aim to augment and solidify the corporation s secure, on-premise network environment and deliver the same flexible, ondemand capacity as a third-party hosted public cloud. At the same time, corporations must work to find management solutions that can bridge the public and private clouds. All of the appropriate stakeholders in the hybrid cloud deployment should meet to discuss the company s goals. Executives, IT admininstrators, software developers and department managers together must prioritize what they hope to achieve from adopting a hybrid cloud. Before moving forward with any network migration or upgrade including a cloud deployment, corporations must first review the state of their current environment. The key elements to any successful deployment are communication, cooperation and collaboration. The business should consider such crucial items as: Existing infrastructure Make a checklist and determine what equipment and applications need upgrading. This may include server hardware, routers and wireless area network (WAN) gear, for example. Also assess whether the organization can use commodity hardware both in the public cloud as well as the on-premise private cloud to lower costs. Current/future capacity needs and right-sizing workloads Applications and workloads typically do not shrink. They grow. And technology that is adequate today may be obsolete a year from now. All of the company stakeholders should be involved in constructing a two-, three- or even five-year plan and purchase equipment accordingly. For the public cloud portion of your network, schedule a meeting with your service provider and present your findings. Make sure you ask specific questions regarding their equipment, including its current configuration; how often they refresh/upgrade; and how much of the server and virtualization capacity is allotted to your firm. Also, as it relates to your business, request pertinent information regarding your cotenants. Pain points A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Identify the weak spots in your environment (e.g., management, equipment, reliability/availability; ability to meet SLAs) and address them in your hybrid cloud deployment. Budget Make a realistic assessment of both your capital and operational expenditure budgets. This is crucial. According to ITIC survey data, 25% of businesses are forced to delay cloud deployment projects due to a lack of funds. Deployment timetable Don t rush. Take your time and do it right. That includes meeting with your public cloud service FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 8

9 The case for hybrid clouds: Business and technology drivers and requirements provider to review all aspects of your deployment. For the on-premise portion of your hybrid cloud, make sure that your IT department and software developers receive the appropriate training. Management This is one of the most critical components in a hybrid cloud infrastructure. As much as possible, organizations need to ensure that there is a high degree of interoperability and synergy between the management and monitoring functions of their private and public clouds. Application programming interfaces (APIs): A robust and singular API that enables businesses to automate the many daily operational tasks and provisioning and monitoring functions is an absolute necessity. While many companies use the APIs that they get via the components in their solution stack, they don t always get an API that is integrated across the entire infrastructure. Ask your cloud service provider if it has a single API that can perform all of the necessary management, provisioning and operational functions. It will save your organization time, and significantly reduce human error and lower risk. Security These days, security threats in their many forms are everywhere. Specific security risks include: Malware Employee hacking Corporate espionage Identity theft Fraud and organized hacker rings That said, hybrid cloud environments come with their own particular set of security challenges and risks. First and foremost, a portion of your datacenter and company assets resides in a public cloud hosted by a third-party provider and is not under your direct control. Therefore, your organization must obtain specific guarantees from the cloud services provider regarding the measures it is taking to safeguard your data. The public cloud provider must be able to ensure the physical security of the data and telecommunications equipment, and have strong, viable encryption, business continuity, backup and disaster recovery plans in place. And most importantly, your public cloud service providers must be able to vouch for the security of their own personnel via background checks and confidentiality agreements. Businesses also need to have a response plan in place to deal with security incidents as they arise. In a hybrid cloud environment, this means developing a chain of command and responsibility for both the on-premise private cloud as well as a point of contact at your cloud services provider. When a security breach occurs, a fast, efficient response is the surest way to minimize and contain the problem. Your hybrid cloud security plan should also include mechanisms and provisions to deal with identity and access management. The increasing use of user-owned notebooks, tablets and smart phones today s technology at the center of the bring your own device (BYOD) movement add to the elevated security risks. Data privacy This is another aspect of security particularly in the public cloud portion of your hybrid cloud. It s crucial that organizations familiarize themselves with the laws governing the state or country where their public cloud data resides. Governance The human component is arguably the most important aspect of any hybrid cloud deployment. The organization needs to construct a chain of command and responsibility on both the private and public cloud portions of the hybrid cloud environment and share this with stakeholders. If possible, the organization should have a meeting or schedule a drill. Include the appropriate internal personnel as well as representatives from the public cloud services provider. FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 9

10 Evolution at work: The Internet of Things meets the cloud By Mark Gibbs The real issue for vendors of Internet-of-Things offerings is not whether to move to the cloud, but how fast they can get there. For more than 25 years, Mark Gibbs has done just about everything in the networking business. Mark worked as an executive in various companies, has created companies, and has consulted on product and service development for many businesses. As an author, he has written four books and numerous articles about networking and computer technology. He has been a regular contributor to Network World since 1995 and pens (well, keyboards) the weekly Backspin and Gearhead columns. He s also a blogger for Forbes. FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 10

11 Evolution at work: The Internet of Things meets the cloud You might be surprised to know that cloud computing isn t new; its roots stretch back to MIT s centennial celebration in 1961 when Professor John McCarthy said: Computing may someday be organized as a public utility just as the telephone system is a public utility The computer utility could become the basis of a new and important industry. That vision came true in 2006, when Amazon launched Amazon Web Services. And today, cloud computing has become an enormous, complex ecosystem of public and private clouds rapidly evolving their technologies and business models. Cloud computing has become a huge economic force. According to Global Industry Analysts, Inc., the value of the global cloud computing services market will reach $127 billion by Furthermore, Markets and Markets predicted cloud storage to reach $46.8 billion by That s meteoric growth by any standard. But as impressive as that is, the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) also sometimes called the Internet of Everything (IoE) will probably be even bigger. And you may be similarly surprised to find that the IoT idea also isn t that new. Introduced in 1999 by Bill Joy, cofounder of Sun Microsystems, the concept was originally concerned with device-to-device communications. It wasn t until a decade later that an article by Kevin Ashton in the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Journal coined the term Internet of Things : If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things using data they gathered without any help from us we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 11

12 Evolution at work: The Internet of Things meets the cloud or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best. The Internet of things has the potential to change the world, just as the Internet did. Maybe even more so. So, how far has the IoT evolved since that article framed the concept? In short, not that far. If you were to compare the IoT s evolution to the history of life on Earth, it s just crawling out of the primeval ooze while the cloud is arguably entering the mammal stage. And this is a good thing because the lot is predicted to grow unbelievably fast. According to Cisco s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG): Looking to the future, Cisco IBSG predicts there will be 25 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2015 and 50 billion by It is important to note that these estimates do not take into account rapid advances in Internet or device technology; the numbers presented are based on what is known to be true today. The economic impact, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, will be staggering: We estimate the potential economic impact of the Internet of Things to be $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion per year by 2025 through use in a halfdozen major applications that we have sized. The largest impacts among sized applications would be in health care and manufacturing. Across the health-care applications we analyzed, Internet of Things technology could have an economic impact of $1.1 trillion to $2.5 trillion per year by So far, most IoT offerings have been run on the vendors servers in data centers. This means they re tied to inflexible, poorly scalable, and relatively expensive infrastructure. There s also the problem of isolation the inability to integrate with other systems which can make it difficult to be part of a bigger, more agile ecosystem. How quickly vendors can become part of this new, improved ecosystem is what will distinguish those that survive and prosper as the IoT evolves and matures. The solution is the cloud. Move an isolated, inflexible platform to the cloud and it begins to climb the evolutionary ladder by gaining flexibility, scalability, reliability - which all lead to enhanced performance. Open the platform to integration with third-party systems and services and those IoT offerings that have real market value will gain broader relevance and support which will, in turn, improve their long-term viability. That said, going from a closed, closely held solution to a remotely hosted one is not a simple transformation. It requires careful architecting and different management tools and procedures to take advantage of the new environment. And, most crucially, it requires a rethink of how security and integrity are implemented, monitored and managed. The real issue for vendors of IoT offerings is not whether to move to the cloud, but how fast they can get there. Those that don t move fast enough, and adapt and evolve will become fossils in the evolutionary history of computing. Building products and services capable of operating in markets on these scales is challenging. Vendors must figure out how to provide architecturally and economically sound computing and storage infrastructure that will make their offerings work efficiently and cost-effectively. FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 12

13 Small business meets cloud computing By William F. Zachmann Cloud computing offers a growing array of options for small and mid-sized businesses. What are the benefits and the keys to successfully picking and running cloud services? William is a well-known industry analyst and, since 1988, President and CEO of Canopus Research Inc., an IT industry, technology and market research firm. Prior to that, William was Senior Vice President, Corporate Research, at International Data Corporation. He has written regular columns and articles for a wide range of industry publications including Computerworld, InfoWorld, PC World, PC Magazine and Redmond Developer News, among others. He is often quoted in the general and business press. FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 13

14 Small business meets cloud computing Over the past five years, the phrase cloud computing has become a major buzzword for the IT industry. It refers to the delivery of computing capabilities over a network, normally the Internet, as software application, platform, infrastructure, and security services. It is typically characterized by products like Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, which are used primarily by larger enterprises. Cloud computing, however, offers a fast-growing array of options for smaller businesses as well. Appropriate selection, sound implementation, and sensible use of one or more cloud computing services by a small to mid-sized business (SMB) can produce substantial benefits. Cloud-based services can help SMBs lower costs, improve management control, simplify IT support, energize marketing, increase customer/client satisfaction, stimulate growth, and raise profits. But to realize such benefits, a business must understand what cloud computing really is, how it fits into the evolving application of information technology, which cloud-based services are relevant for smaller businesses, and how to choose among them. What is cloud computing, really? What is now referred to as cloud computing goes all the way back to the earliest efforts to connect computers in the 1950s, through the timesharing networks of the 1960s, the computer terminal networks of the 1970s, the client-server networking of the 1980s, the emergence of the Internet from academia and development of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, to the Internet explosion and virtualization of remote resources in the first decade of the 21st century. In its most evolved, abstract and technically challenging form, cloud computing amounts to the provision of virtual IT platforms and infrastructure to sophisticated, technically proficient user organizations. This is primarily of interest to (and useful for) large organizations and technically proficient internet start-ups. It requires a degree of technical savvy that many SMBs do not have. What makes cloud computing relevant to SMBs? Many SMBs don t have the budget to keep IT talent in-house and on the payroll. It s a consistent theme across industries legal, medical, manufacturing, engineering, financial. And for many of the 16.3 million small businesses that collectively employ more than 173 million people in the US alone, according to US Department of Census 2011 statistics, cloud computing offers easier, more cost-effective ways to obtain needed capabilities that do not require sophisticated in-house IT expertise. Mostly, this is a matter of software and software applications offered as a service. What cloud computing offerings are relevant to SMBs? One of the most widely used cloud offerings already in use by SMBs today is not generally talked about in the context of contemporary cloud computing. It is web-hosting. Even the smallest businesses today typically have some sort of web site, hosted somewhere. Yet simple web hosting is certainly a cloud service by any reasonable definition. Another excellent example is simple . Many SMBs, in addition to having a web site somewhere, still rely on some basic free service from Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft, and so forth (or they use accounts provided by their phone or cable company). One of the fastest-growing categories of newer cloud services is represented by offerings such as Google Apps for Business, Microsoft s Office 365 FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 14

15 Small business meets cloud computing and similar products from other vendors. These combine and web site services with basic office productivity and collaboration applications. They feature easy-to-use wizards, dashboards and control panels to simplify setup and management by relatively non-technical users. Close behind is a growing range of applications as services products that are either entirely cloudbased or that combine cloud-based services with cloud access to downloadable software. It is in these more understandable forms that cloud computing is most relevant to SMBs, rather than the more complex offerings that require substantial technical skills to use effectively. They are by far the most useful forms in which SMBs can put cloud computing to work for them. Evaluating and selecting cloud computing products There are three keys to successfully picking and running cloud computing services: 1. Be clear about what you really need and can use. 2. Understand what a proposed cloud service can do for you and what its impact will be on your business. 3. Obtain expert technical advice and assistance in the product evaluation process from someone who already has some experience with it. Finally, try before you buy. Nearly all cloud computing products relevant to SMBs offer trial versions that let you experience the product at little or no cost. Use them before making a financial commitment. There is no better way to determine if they will really work for your business. FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 15

16 DevOps and the cloud By Mitch Tulloch, MVP DevOps is more than a new set of tools or a new group within your organization; it s a top-to-bottom change in the very fabric of your IT infrastructure and processes. More than anything else, DevOps is a strategic change. Mitch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment, and virtualization who has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press and has written hundreds of articles and more than 30 books. Mitch is also series editor for the System Center ebooks published by Microsoft Press. He is also senior editor of WServerNews, a newsletter published by TechGenix Ltd that goes out weekly to more than 100,000 IT professionals around the world. You can learn more about Mitch on his website: FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 16

17 DevOps and the cloud A major trend these days in cloud computing is DevOps, a methodology for application development and lifecycle management that involves tight integration between the development and operations sides of computing. In traditional data center environments, software developers and operations personnel tend to work in separate silos. Developers create an application and hand it over to IT, which deploys it in a pilot environment. User feedback from pilot testing may require developers to refine the application. But once it s been re-engineered, it s handed off to IT, which deploys it into production. When patching is needed, developers hand the updates to IT so maintenance can be performed on the application. Although both parties are involved in this process, there s very little back and forth between them. However, this traditional approach to application lifecycle management just doesn t work in cloud computing scenarios. It s too slow, too rigid, too controlled. Cloud computing is all about enabling agility, elasticity, and self-service. Provisioning cycles typically take weeks or months in traditional IT environments. Provisioning for cloud-based applications and services need to be measured in days or even hours. This can t happen in traditional environments war would break out between the system adminstrators and developers. In the DevOps approach, the developers own the code at all times, even when the application or service is running in production. The job of IT operations now shifts to creating the tools needed for automating provisioning and maintenance tasks. The overall goal is to accelerate release cycles that enable customers to quickly adapt to changing business needs in a rapidly changing world. By automating IT infrastructure lifecycle processes like this, businesses can also drive down their IT costs. And while the trend towards DevOps is already happening in cloud computing, it s now beginning to filter down into enterprise datacenter environments as well. DevOps tools and platforms A popular DevOps tool that is widely used in cloud hosting environments is Puppet from Puppet Labs. Puppet empowers DevOps by enabling you to control both the IT configuration (e.g., virtual machines and settings) and the application code to be deployed in virtual machines. It does this by providing a common deployment and configuration platform for both development (application code) and operations (IT configuration). Microsoft has teamed up with Puppet Labs to integrate Puppet Enterprise into the Microsoft Azure public cloud so you can quickly add the Puppet Agent to virtual machines running Windows Server to automate the configuration and management of these virtual machines. Puppet Labs also offers Puppet Open Source, which is released under the Apache 2.0 license and is bundled into the Amazon Linux AMI of the Amazon EC2 cloud service. Both Puppet Enterprise and Puppet Open Source can be extended through a repository of communitydeveloped modules available on the Puppet Forge. Puppet modules are also available for OpenStack, Google Compute Engine (GCE) and other popular cloud platforms. Apart from Puppet, some other DevOps platforms for cloud automation include Azure Automation, which is currently in preview, and Chef, which is used by Facebook to automate their systems configuration on a massive scale. Another important aspect of DevOps is code maintenance in production. When a code bug is found in a traditional environment, a helpdesk ticket is usually created, leading to a chain of events culminating in a fix. This approach is too slow and process-oriented in cloud computing FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 17

18 About ControlNow TM environments where speed and agility are essential. Application Insights for Visual Studio Online, which is currently in preview, addresses this problem by enabling you to monitor live deployed applications and automatically log alerts of bugs against a specific piece of code instead of creating a helpdesk ticket. The developer sees the bug in his or her queue the next morning and rolls out an update as soon as it s ready. Similar live application monitoring functionality can be provided for Microsoft.NET Framework-based applications using Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager. Embracing DevOps While hosters and other cloud service providers have been quick to embrace the DevOps model, enterprises have been more cautious. Part of the problem is perception. DevOps isn t just new tools or a new group (the DevOps group) within your organization; it s a top-to-bottom change in the very fabric of your IT infrastructure and processes. More than anything else, DevOps is a strategic change in how an organization provisions, maintains and manages the applications and services it provides to customers. But it s a change worth considering if your business wants to remain agile and competitive in today s marketplace. FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 18

19 The state of cloud storage By Bruce Hoard The migration to cloud-based storage may not have been rapid or consistent, but it has become constant and insistent. Bruce is a freelance writer and editor based in Massachusetts, USA. He has been on the cutting edge of technology for 30 years, covering such hot topics as virtualization, cloud computing, networking and storage throughout their lifecycles. Of late, he was the Editor-in-Chief of Virtualization Review, where he was responsible for all editorial aspects of the print magazine and a primary contributor to the publication s web site. He has also been involved with producing, writing and editing a wide range of custom publishing products as well as organizing and speaking at webcasts. FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 19

20 The state of cloud storage Cloud storage has been fighting the good fight for a few years now, and it has become, if nothing else, a very common topic of conversation if not a universal success story. Study after study reveals that companies have either installed private, hybrid or public clouds, or are seriously planning to do so in the near future. Cloud storage confidence is growing as the barriers to its success are being overcome, one by one. This is a market in flux. Increasingly, low-end providers who previously concentrated on backing up PCs are now moving up-market to compete against the likes of Amazon and Microsoft Azure. The good news for users is the more new cloud providers join the fray, the more choice they have, or you might say the more bedeviling array of choices they have. In this environment of churn, risk-averse users are in some cases holding back while they wait for the market to shake out new service providers who couldn t make the grade. Perhaps the most notable of those here-todaygone-tomorrow service providers was Nirvanix, a leading provider of private, public and hybrid cloud-based storage services which seemed to be succeeding splendidly, as it raised $70 million in capital and won awards and acclaim for its usagebased pricing approach. That all came crashing down in September 2013, when the company announced to its more than 1,000 users that it was closing its doors. Customers had two weeks to migrate their data elsewhere. Now, less than a year later, security is viewed as significantly improved. For example, a State of the Cloud Report survey conducted by RightScale reveals that while security remains the most often-cited challenge among cloud beginners (31%), it decreases to the fifth most cited among experienced, cloud-focused organizations (13%). The cloud storage market is stronger than ever as users are increasingly storing more and more sensitive tier three, tier two, and in a growing number of cases, mission-critical, tier one data in their clouds. One sweet spot for cloud storage is remote enterprise branch offices and small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) with employees that don t have the knowledge or expertise to build their own clouds. So, in order to gain access to capabilities such as disaster recovery, replication and deduplication, they are evaluating their needs, getting educated on cloud technology, and preparing to deal with the swarms of service providers in the market. With security vastly improved, many service providers are now offering what would appear to be the ideal cloud storage service: hybrid cloud archiving. Hybrid cloud archiving has several advantages over traditional archival storage. For starters, it s not tape, which continues to lose its appeal despite the boost it received from linear tape file system technology that has enabled file access in the same way as disk file systems. Turning to additional advantages, there is much money to be saved as private archiving costs are very expensive and require intensive management control. Longevity is another hybrid cloud advantage because the long-term requirements of traditional archival storage require constant hardware updates and costly, ongoing support contracts. Cutting-edge cloud archiving is enhanced by current systems that use flexible physical or virtual deployment options, including storage tiering, compression and global deduplication. These systems are able to identify what to archive and what retention strategy to take. Service providers and users alike are also taking note of new tools that make it easier to move their archived data around quickly and safely as circumstances dictate. The migration to cloud-based storage may not have been rapid or consistent, but it has become constant and insistent as the reasons for not using it have become scarce. FOLLOW US & SHARE The Great Cloud Guidebook 20

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