Friday, January 20, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Is iPaaS the Next Thing? | Cloud Computing Journal

Gartner recently launched iPaaS, Integration Platform as a Service. iPaaS is defined as “a platform for building and deploying applications within the cloud and between the cloud and enterprise”. It enables developers to create integration flows that connect applications that run in the cloud or on-premise, and to deploy them without installing or managing any hardware or middleware.iPaas delivers where PaaS came short: where most PaaS offerings are limiting developers to one single cloud platform, iPaaS is designed to give access to a choice of platforms. iPaaS also provides integration flows, the development and life cycle management of integrations, and the management and monitoring of application flows.

To continue reading go to:
Is iPaaS the Next Thing? Cloud Computing Journal

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

WiFi security alerts from US Department of Homeland Security

A vulnerability in millions of wireless home routers in use today makes it possible for hackers to crack a network's password, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has warned.Security researcher Stefan Viehbock discovered the flaw in the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), a computing standard developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance and used in the majority of wireless home routers sold today, according to US-CERT. Manufacturers affected include Belkin, Buffalo, D-Link Systems, Cisco division Linksys, Netgear, Technicolor, TP-Link and ZyXEL.WPS provides an easy method for non-technical people to set up an eight-digit personal identification number that's needed to connect a device to a home network. The vulnerability makes the WPS susceptible to a brute-force attack, which is when a hacker systematically checks all possible number combinations to find the right one. Read more here

Monday, December 19, 2011

Why Open Source Will Determine Cloud Computing’s Future!

If you talk with your technical staff, or if you are in fact a technical person, and consider answering the question “What is the cloud?”, what are your thoughts? Often I find technicians and engineers discussing how cloud is about hosting Windows servers and desktops, the scalability resources the cloud has to offer, and how the cloud offers better options for highly available data with access from most anywhere. While these things are most certainly important parts of the cloud of today, the real benefit, that most non-development engineers miss, is that the cloud is about developing an unbiased platform to operate in. This is quite a feat and a step out of the box for most people.

Clouds real benefit is operating on an  unbiased  platform

The giants of today’s business technology currently dominate the choices for server and desktop operating systems. This is why your office is probably comprised of predominantly Windows operating systems, but what if your operating system didn’t matter anymore? What if your business could run any operating system it wanted and still use every application it needs to operate and in fact use or create more applications with ease and far less cost? This is what the cloud is really about. Sure you still need servers and virtualization, and all of the benefits they have to offer, but to be truly in a cloud environment your data will be in an unbiased, very redundant, platform that allows you to mesh all of your needs into one dashboard simply and affordably. But how can this happen you say? Two words answer that question “open source”. What is open source you say? It’s a company’s way of getting everyone to try a new product for “free” that is managed and developed by a large community, even by very large corporations like: VMware, Citrix, or Red Hat. This is how it works:
Technology Company ABC wants to get a new idea off of the ground but knows companies won’t just drop what they are using and spend more money to change something that already works, if it isn't broke don’t fix it right? But Company ABC knows that their idea is better than what the market has, and wants to start a new trend, so they start an open source project and make it available for “free” to the public. Being open source, anyone who wants to contribute, change and repackage the software can do so within the open source rules. (There are different versions of open source.) Because Company ABC has a good idea, lots of development is going into the project and companies are embracing the idea. This has opened the door for company ABC to offer supported, perhaps customized, versions for the open source software at a nominal fee. Eventually enough people like Company’s ABC software that they create a non-open source version with a lot more features and customization that is supported by Company ABC. It has now fully taken off and has a community behind it to keep its momentum and capture new clients.
This model is increasing popular for companies like Company ABC with a great cloud idea that they want the community to embrace, and it’s working, quite well I might add. Data centers and large corporations are moving their entire operations into a cloud based architecture, no easy feat, and open source is at the heart of all of these changes.

Data centers and large corporations are moving their entire operations into open source cloud architectures
However main players, like Microsoft and Apple, are in the cloud space but very slow to shy away from their own platforms. This mainly comes from the desire to keep everyone tied to them and keep the community from embracing a more open platform. This will become more obvious as the windows apps store matures and Microsoft bring Windows 8 alive in 2012. Still while Microsoft makes an excellent product I see Open Source making a strong shift in the market as everyone loves getting more for much less. Just a few companies to look at that bring cloud open source to life are: Open Stack,, Cloud Foundry, Openshift, EucalyptusWSO2, and OpenNeblua.

So what are your thoughts on open source running your company? Would you move away from Windows if you could still use all of your applications?

Sean Riggs

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Things you should consider Before moving to the Cloud

The Cloud buzz has dramatically increased as of recent, with enterprises now taking a serious look at what the cloud has to offer, but the true focus for cloud services is still honed on the small and medium business to move more and more of their processes to the cloud. However, as with all new technologies, there are some important things to consider before taking the cloud leap.

Understand the difference between private, public and hybrid clouds. Cloud comes in several flavors, so make sure you understand the differences. Going with a large public cloud may be a very affordable solution for some of your needs, but it may not be the best for your company’s data or security. Private cloud providers are often higher in price, but are often focused on industries, and offer a higher quality of customer service. These cloud providers will be able to answer some of the harder questions you may have with moving your processes into the cloud. They will also most likely think of things you haven't considered. Hybrid cloud providers can often offer the best of both worlds, by keeping your critical data local and in a private datacenter, while pushing your non-sensitive data to the more affordable public clouds. They all have their places in the community; you just need to know which ones are best for your needs.

Know your security requirements! This can't be said enough. Moving your company’s data into a cloud is often a more secure transition than how you have things today, but it doesn't mean you are without risk. Again consider the difference in what type of cloud you want to move into, and how you will access it. Most of the cloud security issues I see today are more in line with mixing cloud services from multiple vendors and ending up with a spaghetti of cloud services that are only secured while inside of their environments. Many people also forget that while a vendor like Amazon and Google are huge players in the public cloud, they are also a big target for criminal intent and showing up on everyone’s radar. When considering security for the cloud, make sure your technical staff gets with your vendors and understands how their requirements to stay compliant and secure. This will help you decide what needs to move into the cloud and perhaps what kind of cloud technology to move it to.

Make sure your cloud provider has a robust Disaster Recovery Plan. It may seem like a no brainer, but make sure your cloud provider has a sound, proven backup strategy in place. This should be a BIG topic for any cloud provider and the platform should be built on battle tested established technologies. Recovery of files, databases, emails, and entire systems should all be options. The higher end solutions should include High Availability in the event of equipment failure, and instant failover options for your data when equipment fails. Luckily most cloud providers have these technologies in place and are more than willing to brag about them. If they don’t the turn and quick run away!

Know your customer service needs before you talk with Service Providers! While a provider may not be able to provide 24/7 support for all things, evaluate what your absolute customer service needs are and present them to the provider before making any decisions. All solid providers will have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that outlines their response to issues and how they are addressed. Ask for a copy of this before spending too much time with a company that can't meet your needs. Again a provider dedicated to your business model will most likely have anticipated this.

Do your homework!
It is not hard to find the right cloud solution; it just takes time and some basic education.
·        Remember to understand your cloud options and the strong vs. weaker points.
·        Take your time and evaluate what you want to move to the cloud.
·        Talk with your vendors and get their feedback on how their products and services have performed in cloud environments.
·        Know your security and SLA needs before you talk with cloud providers. This will help you quickly decide if they are the right fit for you.
·        Discover and research your providers. In many cases it makes since to keep the same provider for most if not all of your services, but this isn't always the case.

If cloud computing is too much of a task for you then find a cloud consultant to support you with the proper guidance and choices. This can often lead to a much smoother transition and sounder choice in the end.

If you need more help with your cloud strategies and guidance feel free to reach out. I'm always looking for ways to help the SMB community with solid technology decisions!

Sean Riggs