|By Manish Desai||
|February 4, 2013 09:00 AM EST||
The pressure for organizations, in the public or private sector, to reduce costs is constant. At the same time, organizations have to remain or improve user productivity in all their departments to stay competitive. This is even further magnified during a recovering economy as organizations face challenges of sustaining or growing revenue from customers or even government. Management and shareholders are always on the lookout to reduce their expenses. Innovative technology is one area where companies can look into to help to lower expenses with efficiency gains.
Specifically with respect to technology, many companies are taking advantage of the cloud to help with reducing expenditures while simultaneously improving productivity.
Cloud Service Applications
These days, there is a lot of publicity around the "cloud" and how many companies, regardless of vertical or whether they're public or private, are using cloud technologies. It's important to quickly define what the cloud is before getting into more details.
At its basic level, cloud computing service refers to the delivery of software, infrastructure, or storage via the Internet in real-time and can be accessed by any device with Internet capability at any time and anywhere.
As opposed to traditionally having computing resources in house, cloud computing service provides a huge upside and workload shift from IT departments. They no longer have to spend significant money on purchasing dedicated hardware to run business applications. In addition, the time spent on configuring, maintaining, and updating is eliminated as well as taking up space. Cloud providers take care of this entire burden.
Cloud services can be up and running in significantly less time than traditional installations, and in general, they cost less. With a cloud service, you just open a browser, log in, customize the app, and start using it. For example, most of us already use some form of cloud service today such as Web-based email service from Gmail or file storage services such as Dropbox or iCloud. In addition, with the rapid growth of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), cloud services enable users with their own personal mobile device to instantly access the application from anywhere and at any time.
At its core, there are six key characteristics of cloud services in general.
On-demand self-service - End users can provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring the involvement of IT staff.
Broad network access - Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard devices including laptops and mobile devices.
Resource pooling - Computing resources are pooled to serve multiple end users with different physical and virtual resources (storage, CPUs, memory, network bandwidth, and virtual machines) that are dynamically assigned based on demand.
Elasticity - Capabilities can be rapidly provisioned, to quickly scale out and scale in.
Measured service - Resource use is automatically controlled and optimized through metering, and resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported to both the provider and end user of the utilized service.
Multi-Tenancy - Shared resources serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand.
Cloud networking is the next wave of cloud services and represents a fundamental shift in how IT services are provided to users.
Historically, a company's own IT department acquired, deployed, and maintained networking applications such as network management software. Such new applications often requires purchase of additional hardware such as servers needed to be deployed and run the application as well. This leads to not only more capital expenditures, but also the increased support time that must be devoted by IT personnel. IT departments are already stretched thin at a company's headquarter location. When trying to deploy and maintain networking equipment and applications in distributed sites, the costs and support time needed by IT is compounded even further.
Cloud networking introduces a new way to roll out distributed enterprise networks. It delivers enterprise-class network capabilities via an application that requires little or no capital investment in networking equipment. Unlike traditional hardware-based legacy solutions, cloud networking is extremely simple, enabling enterprises to deploy locations in minutes and operate their distributed networks via a cloud-based application, while providing unprecedented levels of centralized control and network visibility. Cloud networking is usually subscription based as well reducing any upfront capital costs.
Public cloud networking and private cloud networking are two distinct services. Public cloud networking is when a cloud provider makes networking applications available to IT users over the Internet with little to no deployment needed at the company's IT infrastructure. Public cloud networking services are also offered on a pay-per-usage model. Private cloud networking services refer to a proprietary computing networking architecture that provides hosted services to a limited number of people behind a firewall. For example, a company's internal IT department using a private cloud infrastructure essentially hosts applications within their own private network and provides them to their own IT users.
State of Cloud Services Market
Cloud services being used by companies are becoming as ubiquitous as using mobile devices. Cloud services, including those focused on cloud networking, are becoming more and more an essential part of an organization's service to its users and this is only expected to grow. Enterprises are even retiring applications that were once run on their own network for cloud-based services according to Gartner's latest findings on SaaS usage. Take a look at some of the forecast data and analyst feedback.
According to IDC's forecast on cloud IT spending, worldwide spending on public IT cloud services will be more than $40 billion in 2012 and is expected to approach $100 billion in 2016. From 2012-2016, public IT cloud services will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 26.4%, five times that of the IT industry overall, as companies accelerate their shift to the cloud services model for IT consumption.
"The IT industry is in the midst of an important transformative period as companies invest in the technologies that will drive growth and innovation over the next two to three decades," said Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC. "By the end of the decade, IDC expects at least 80% of the industry's growth, and enterprises' highest-value leverage of IT, will be driven by cloud services and the other 3rd Platform technologies."
According to Gartner's IT spending report, enterprise spending on public cloud services will grow from $91 billion worldwide in 2011 to $109 billion in 2012. And by 2016, enterprise public cloud services spending will reach $207 billion.
Ed Anderson, research director at Gartner, states ""Cloud computing is now at the point where technology has demonstrated its usefulness as an approach to the management of several IT resources".
Specifically related to SaaS, this area of cloud services will grow from $14.5 billion market in 2012 to $22.1 billion by 2015. The 2015 figure is an increase of almost $1 billion from the prediction Gartner made last year. This further demonstrates the rapid growth of cloud services use by companies worldwide.
Fears/concerns with Cloud Networking
Cloud networking is rapidly being adopted by IT groups within enterprises. However, there are always concerns by IT teams that need to be addressed.
Security - This is usually the top fear by IT managers when considering any cloud networking service. Most IT managers are concerned about controlling access of their sensitive data that would reside in the cloud and can't afford the data being compromised. Despite the macro trend of moving to the cloud, some IT managers may still be more comfortable with their data deployed on their own infrastructure. This fear can easily be alleviated by cloud networking providers clearly stating their physical security specifications of their data centers as well as other security certifications they have attained. Cloud networking providers must also assure their IT customers that only customers will have access to data & only customers can make changes to it.
Privacy - Another key concern of IT management is maintaining privacy of their networking data in the cloud. IT departments need to be assured that their data is not being monitored either internally within the cloud provider or by any outside hackers. For example, if an IT client can log in from any location to access data and applications, it's possible the IT client's privacy could be compromised. However, cloud networking providers adopt myriad ways to protect privacy such as using comprehensive authentication techniques and encryption methods.
High Availability - Ensuring high availability of data in the cloud is another fear of organizations. This is especially important for cloud networking as a company's IT department must keep their end-users happy and make certain the company's business can't be affected with any downtime. IT users are looking for some form of guarantee from providers that their networking data will be up at all times. A service level agreement (SLA) that states 99.99%, ("four nines"), for example, uptime of the cloud service is necessary to put this fear to rest. Cloud networking providers must also clearly state their resiliency details such as how they have redundancy and backup measures in place for the utmost availability of data.
Poor Application Performance - Another inhibitor of deploying cloud networking pertains to poor application performance. Companies can't afford to have their IT users becoming less productive while a page load times exceed several seconds, for instance when they need to use a cloud networking application. Cloud networking providers have to continuously monitor usage to make sure any application being accessed by their IT users is being delivered in no more than a few seconds.
Compliance - Many IT departments have to face regulatory compliance measures in order for their companies to stay in business. Some of these compliance measures could be HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), or Sarbanes-Oxley. Companies that to have comply with such measures fear moving to the cloud. Cloud networking providers must be transparent in sharing details such as encryption methods being used, provide the capability of generating audit reports, or state the locations of their data centers.
Business Continuity - IT users also have concerns about recovering their data from the cloud quickly in case of a man-made or a natural disaster. If they use cloud networking, IT needs to know how often backups happen (i.e., hourly or daily), where they happen, and how long data is archived if at all from cloud networking providers. This fear can actually be mitigated as using cloud networking would actually be an efficient means of backing up networking data. Instead of purchasing additional expensive networking gear in house for backing up & storing data, a cloud networking provider for this capability would be more cost-effective.
Localization - Finally, IT departments may have concerns about using a cloud networking provider that may only reside in one region like the United States. Often, if IT users reside in EMEA and/or APAC, they would like cloud networking services to reside in their local region. The rationale of having cloud networking localized could be due to local government rules or even comfort reasons of having a localized service. Most cloud networking providers understand this concern and have localized data centers in the major regions of North America, EMEA, and APAC.
Over ten years ago, there were fears about using online banking and how secure it was to use. People were concerned about paying bills online, moving funds between accounts, and even simply checking their statements online. But they realized that bank companies have it in their best interest to ensure their customers would feel safe using their online services. Now, according to comScore, 1 in 4 Internet users access online banking sites globally. That represents over 423 million people. Banks put in place strict security measures, ensure high availability of their service, and make sure their customers' account information is always backed up in case of any disruptions. Today, cloud networking providers are following similar procedures to help their IT users stay comfortable with their service offerings.
Benefits Realized with Cloud Networking
While there are fears of using cloud networking, the fact is that networking applications are moving to the cloud. This is not just a fad and the momentum is gaining. Companies realize that there are many benefits of deploying cloud networking.
Lower Costs - According to the 2012 Cloud Networking Report by Dr. Jim Metzler, lower costs were identified as the primary driver for IT's interest in using SaaS-based services. The reasons are obvious. With cloud networking, companies would have lower capital expenditures as opposed to purchasing all their own equipment and software. In addition, there is no worry about purchasing upgrades on hardware or software; the cloud networking provider takes care of this. Cloud networking is based on a pay-per-use model and payments will usually be monthly or yearly. Cloud networking is also considered a green solution since no rack space is used and hence it results in lower utility costs.
Fast Deployment - Another major benefit of cloud networking is faster deployment instead of purchasing and installing your own networking equipment. Many cloud networking applications such as network management can be turned on within a few days, hours, or even minutes depending on the provider. Using cloud networking lets IT users quickly utilize new applications without spending time installing and configuring networking equipment.
Productivity - By using cloud networking, the in-house IT staff can be offloaded to focus on other tasks. IT doesn't have to worry about configuration or any maintenance updates associated with cloud networking service; this is fully taken care of by the cloud provider. IT's productivity will go up while any of their administration costs will go down.
Mobility - Since cloud networking applications are typically Web-based, IT users can access their networking related data at any time and from anywhere using any device with Internet capability. IT users don't have to be tied to their desks. Along with the continuous growth of BYOD, IT users can take advantage of their personal mobile devices to access cloud networking applications and increase their productivity while they're on the road, roaming the office, or at home.
Instant Scalability - The ability to quickly add capacity is a huge benefit with cloud networking. Instead of IT procuring more networking hardware and/or software in house for their additional end-users and waiting weeks or months to be up and running, cloud networking providers can quickly enable their IT customers to add more of their end-users instantly, sometimes within minutes.
Minimal Downtime - Updates related to cloud networking applications as well as any networking infrastructure updates are handled by the cloud provider. There is no need for the company's in house IT department to worry about this and they don't have to bring the internal network down for updates. This is a tremendous advantage of using cloud networking since there is no downtime that could affect business.
Great Security - Ironically, security, which is one of the greater fears of using cloud networking, is actually a big advantage offered by cloud networking vendors. Most providers have stringent security policies for their cloud networking offerings. Encryption and authentication, data loss prevention, physical security of data centers, firewall implementation, and malware protection are just a few of the security features commonly provided by cloud networking providers. Ultimately, they have it in their best interest to protect IT customers' data and ensure long-term loyalty.
As described in this article, cloud networking is definitely an emerging technology being used by IT departments worldwide. IT users are running various networking apps in the cloud, like VoIP, network management, unified communications, virtual desktops, and more. Many organizations have devoted their IT spending now and certainly in the future to take advantage of cloud networking as they realize the benefits it can bring.
IT departments see how cloud networking enables them to become more agile and save costs. Even when the economy recovers fully, cloud networking will remain an area to help IT managers reduce their capital expenses and offload their department to focus on other critical tasks. In addition, cloud networking goes hand-in-hand with the BYOD trend. As users in general continue to use their own personal mobile devices for corporate network access, IT users will also certainly use those devices to access any cloud networking applications as well.
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Jan. 26, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 2,700
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Jan. 26, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 2,513
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
Jan. 26, 2015 12:45 AM EST Reads: 3,458
SYS-CON Events announced today that ActiveState, the leading independent Cloud Foundry and Docker-based PaaS provider, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. ActiveState believes that enterprises gain a competitive advantage when they are able to quickly create, deploy and efficiently manage software solutions that immediately create business value, but they face many challenges that prevent them from doing so. The Company is uniquely positioned to help address these challenges thro...
Jan. 25, 2015 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,781
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
Jan. 25, 2015 07:45 PM EST Reads: 2,326
SYS-CON Media announced that Cisco, a worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow, has launched a new ad campaign in Cloud Computing Journal. The ad campaign, a webcast titled 'Is Your Data Center Ready for the Application Economy?', focuses on the latest data center networking technologies, including SDN or ACI, and how customers are using SDN and ACI in their organizations to achieve business agility. The Cisco webcast is available on-demand.
Jan. 25, 2015 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,244
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Jan. 25, 2015 06:15 PM EST Reads: 3,805
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
Jan. 25, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 2,733
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Jan. 25, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 3,007
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and technical point of vie...
Jan. 25, 2015 04:30 PM EST Reads: 3,040
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
Jan. 25, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 2,441
SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
Jan. 25, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,567
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Jan. 25, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 2,452
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 25, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 2,256
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Jan. 25, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 2,878
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
Jan. 25, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 3,780
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and expertise to guard against those threats. But will that be enough? In the foreseeable future attacks w...
Jan. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,873
As enterprises move to all-IP networks and cloud-based applications, communications service providers (CSPs) – facing increased competition from over-the-top providers delivering content via the Internet and independently of CSPs – must be able to offer seamless cloud-based communication and collaboration solutions that can scale for small, midsize, and large enterprises, as well as public sector organizations, in order to keep and grow market share. The latest version of Oracle Communications Unified Communications Suite gives CSPs the capability to do just that. In addition, its integration ...
Jan. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,817
“The age of the Internet of Things is upon us,” stated Thomas Svensson, senior vice-president and general manager EMEA, ThingWorx, “and working with forward-thinking companies, such as Elisa, enables us to deploy our leading technology so that customers can profit from complete, end-to-end solutions.” ThingWorx, a PTC® (Nasdaq: PTC) business and Internet of Things (IoT) platform provider, announced on Monday that Elisa, Finnish provider of mobile and fixed broadband subscriptions, will deploy ThingWorx® platform technology to enable a new Elisa IoT service in Finland and Estonia.
Jan. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,476
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
Jan. 25, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 2,950