|By Irfan Khan||
|December 13, 2009 07:00 PM EST||
Doing more with less is a familiar refrain for IT professionals, and today's challenging business environment has only increased the pressure on managers to achieve efficiencies, maximize performance and improve responsiveness of the data center. More and more frequently, IT is turning to virtualization to accomplish its mission-critical goals.
The hot new trend in cloud computing is a natural extension of this drive toward virtualization. In the case of the public cloud, IT can add processing power and infrastructure as needed, and in the case of the private cloud, IT can improve the utilization of existing infrastructure. In other words, cloud computing platforms offer IT the opportunity to increase efficiencies and become more agile, transforming the data center into an environment that delivers greater benefits to end-users.
This tremendous potential of cloud computing can be seen by examining how organizations currently manage, analyze and mobilize data. Cloud has given IT organizations the opportunity to fundamentally shift the way data is created, processed and shared.
In order to take advantage of cloud computing for data management, IT must familiarize itself with the latest issues and trends. This requires a greater understanding of each of the three prominent cloud models - private, public and hybrid - along with proper evaluation of the criteria around a cloud strategy.
Cloud Gazing: Three Prominent Models
Much like those ubiquitous, puffy white masses of water vapor in our stratosphere, each of the prominent cloud computing models has its own unique qualities and benefits. The type of cloud strategy an organization chooses will depend on the specific issues they are addressing.
For IT organizations operating a virtual data center environment, private or internal cloud may offer important advantages. An internal cloud is an effective way to boost productivity while providing users a certain level of self-sufficiency. Such a cloud deployment also mitigates the need to purchase new systems. Through virtualization and cloud infrastructure, users can self-provision a virtual machine on the cloud environment, which can easily be expanded or contracted as a given project reaches fruition. By first developing tools to handle life cycle management of virtual machines, a user can request a virtual machine using a menu to specify resource requirements (CPUs, memory, storage), operating system details, lease period and other miscellaneous configuration information.
An internal cloud can provide critical efficiencies by avoiding data center expansion, faster provisioning of server capacity, faster upgrades of memory, CPU and storage, improved reliability, and business continuity/disaster recovery improvements. Case in point, a major financial services provider recently turned their compute backbone into an internal cloud with a focus on providing a platform to host virtual desktops. The company found that it is easier to share infrastructure with the computational jobs which run after the local trading day ends so there is a nice segregation of "jobs" in the local data center. Additionally, this solution has proven to deliver faster ROI.
Intense interest in public or external cloud strategies is being fueled by the potential for improved efficiencies, flexible and dynamic environments, on-demand infrastructure and smaller maintenance requirements. External cloud services offer the potential for improved business agility, better scalability and versatility. An example of this can be found with one of the world's leading electronic stock exchanges, who turned to an external cloud provider in order to enable brokerage firms to show customers and regulators that best-execution requirements were met for a given trade. An application was written to upload data for every stock in files representing ten-minute increments of trading data based on data from the major exchanges. This allows an accurate reconstruction of the trade environment without having to build out an internal storage infrastructure strictly for emulation (or testing) purposes. A further benefit of this cloud deployment has been the flexibility of pay-as-you-go pricing.
In today's challenging economy, with IT increasingly finding itself strapped for resources, external cloud services are proving to be an effective means for lowering upfront costs and reducing the workload on overburdened IT staff.
Experts agree that the hybrid cloud environment, a mix of in-house and outsourced computing and networking resources, will be a leading choice for enterprises in the near term. The hybrid model offers the greatest flexibility when dealing with the dynamic data requirements of most businesses today.
Regardless of the model, cloud computing is proving to be highly attractive because of its dynamic infrastructure, ability to support any application and operating system, accessibility via Internet protocols, automatic scalability and the fact that no software or hardware installation is required on site. Additional benefits for end-users include the:
- ability to shift resources from undifferentiated heavy lifting to differentiated value creation,
- abstraction from infrastructure,
- "pay for what you use" approach and
- adaptability to resource requirements
As a result, cloud computing is fast becoming an important tool in the IT arsenal.
Cloud Potential: Classes of Applications Deserving of Deployment
At present, cloud isn't for everyone. In those cases where the most stringent privacy and security policies are in place, a public cloud offering may not meet the regulations needed by IT. Conversely, applications that readily lend themselves to cloud are ones in which the user interface is easily presented in a Web browser and where time sensitivity isn't an issue, such as sales force automation or customer relationship management.
Some classes of applications in use today that might not appear to be obvious cloud candidates will in fact be deployed to the cloud in the near future. Increasingly, we are seeing more functions of data management and data analytics being moved to cloud environments with great success.
One such class of applications is database management systems. For organizations with large databases and high transaction volumes, cloud enables a measure of strategic agility that can meet today's enterprise needs. Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) is a prime example of a mission-critical data management system that allows IT to get a handle on exploding information demands. This application provides access and control over data, transforming information into a vital, accessible and decisive mission asset made all the more effective when utilized in cloud.
As organizations employ larger data warehouses for purposes ranging from standard reporting to strategic business analytics, complex event processing and deep-dive data mining, the need for performance will continue to outpace the capabilities of traditional relational databases. Cloud computing offers IT a powerful means for meeting the performance and scalability requirements of the enterprise data warehouse. With large-scale systems continuing to expand, alternate approaches to support standard reporting, analysis, and power-user ad hoc queries will become increasingly established as the platforms of choice for very large database systems.
As with other cloud environments, analytics in the cloud benefit end-users by offering a pay-as-you-go model and adaptable resource requirements that free up IT from the need to purchase additional hardware and going through the extensive procurement process.
In order to satisfy the rapidly expanding need for analytical performance, Sybase offers a solution well suited to exploit the benefits of cloud. Sybase IQ takes an alternate database approach, storing data oriented by columns instead of rows. This approach has proven superior in sustaining the performance and rapid growth requirements of analytical applications and, when combined with cloud computing, offers significant advantages. The column-oriented methodology provides a combination of architectural simplicity and the ability to configure data in a way that can reduce the physical amount of data that must be accessed. Reducing the storage footprint while optimizing column access will reduce data access latency and improve use of network bandwidth, thereby contributing to a scalable environment that continues to provide consistently high performance as data volumes, number of users and number of queries increase.
With a growing trend toward mobility in the workforce, IT faces increased demand for access to mobilized applications. Managing data and exchange technologies can place significant demands on IT, necessitating regular onsite maintenance of mobile devices. Cloud offers IT the scalability, flexibility, performance and responsiveness needed to deploy and manage mobile applications. For example, Sybase SQL Anywhere provides data management and data exchange technologies that enable the rapid development and deployment of database-powered applications. Design and management tools within SQL Anywhere enable IT to implement and deploy mobile applications, while also easily providing support.
For one major telecommunications provider, cloud computing is key in offering Web-interfaced applications hosted and deployed in a managed service (SaaS) model. This company leverages Sybase's Afaria solution, which provides comprehensive management and security capabilities to ensure that mobile data and devices are up-to-date, reliable and secure. The provisioning and scalability advantages of cloud make it possible for the company to offer an integrated suite of managed mobility applications for their customers that can be contracted individually or in combination. Afaria enables the company to offer its hosted applications, and assist customers in managing the deployment, expenses and ongoing support to a global mobile workforce without technical complexity and security risks.
Cloud computing can enable IT to more effectively handle the wide ranging database requirements of mobile workers, while minimizing the impact on end-users, thus allowing them to focus on the work at hand rather than getting bogged down with the technology.
There are numerous considerations IT should take into account when pursing a data center cloud strategy. These range from security and compliance requirements to the need for a rich user interface, effective management and control, and the need to establish standards, provide support and improve performance.
In the case of multi-tenant applications, IT must consider the separation of data from a security, privacy, and compliance perspective. Data that is bound by strict privacy regulations, such as medical information covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), will require that tenants log in, after which they are then routed directly to their own secure database server. In this way, data remains separate and secure, and in compliance with government privacy mandates.
Another factor IT must consider is the implication of application performance on end users. If one tenant is running a large, complex report, overall performance on the database server can be slowed. IT must gauge the sensitivity of other users to such performance issues and factor this into decisions regarding external cloud providers as well as internal cloud initiatives
In terms of choosing cloud schema, IT can establish a single database on the server with separate schemas, allowing one tenant to employ a set of tables within the database while another tenant is able to utilize a different set of tables within that same database. In this scenario, the cost of provisioning is lower, but there is a trade-off in performance and data isolation. A second option is to employ shared schema where all tenants' data is contained in the same table. Each tenant has a column in the table, making this option more cost effective to provision, however application development becomes more complex.
Operational Considerations of Cloud
When hosting data in the cloud, IT must take various operational considerations into account. These considerations should include how backups will be performed and how often data will be backed up. Additional operational details, such as the existence of offsite storage and the robustness of disaster recovery protocols should be examined.
A further consideration IT should take into account as cloud computing gains wider acceptance is the ability for users to access the data center from both desktop and mobile environments. When considering mobile access, IT must evaluate technical considerations, such as how users will traverse an organization's firewall. Existing security requirements around data, and the ability to synchronize that data to mobile devices when appropriate, clearly add to the complexity of cloud deployment. Areas such as these should be top of mind for IT as they move forward.
The Sky Is the Limit With Cloud
As IT seeks to maximize the efficiency, performance and responsiveness of the data center, virtualization and cloud computing are providing important new tools to meet mission-critical goals. Cloud is opening the door for IT to get the most out of vital processing power and infrastructure.
The tremendous potential of cloud computing is fundamentally shifting the way data is created, processed and shared. Currently, the most prominent cloud models, private, public and hybrid, are transforming the data center into an environment that delivers significant benefits to end-users, in how they access and manage data.
As new strategies evolve and more classes of applications become viable in the cloud, IT has the opportunity to dramatically improve the agility, flexibility, performance and efficiency of data centers which, in turn, will ultimately lead to bottom-line organizational success.
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Feb. 5, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 743
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 5, 2016 03:00 PM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Feb. 5, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 685
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Feb. 5, 2016 01:30 PM EST Reads: 325
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Feb. 5, 2016 01:15 PM EST Reads: 317
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 5, 2016 12:00 PM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Feb. 5, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 511
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Feb. 5, 2016 10:15 AM EST
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 5, 2016 10:00 AM EST
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Feb. 5, 2016 09:30 AM EST Reads: 297
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 5, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 304
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 2, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 389
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Feb. 2, 2016 04:30 AM EST Reads: 819
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
Feb. 1, 2016 05:00 AM EST Reads: 899
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
Jan. 31, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 698
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
Jan. 31, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 1,120
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, showed how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants received the download information, scripts, and complete end-t...
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,179
For manufacturers, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a jumping-off point for innovation, jobs, and revenue creation. But to adequately seize the opportunity, manufacturers must design devices that are interconnected, can continually sense their environment and process huge amounts of data. As a first step, manufacturers must embrace a new product development ecosystem in order to support these products.
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 773
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, discussed how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the dat...
Jan. 30, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 740
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
Jan. 30, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 1,242