The adoption of cloud computing has started to accelerate worldwide. But the first experience indicate that a complete replacement of the traditional model for cloud computing services will not happen soon. On the other hand the initial reasons that encourage the adoption of cloud, such as cost reduction, begins to be replaced by the agility with which the business is now available when using this template to create new and innovative processes and applications.
The model of cloud computing is just beginning to impact business and IT industry itself. But it still arouses suspicion and many companies are waiting cautiously that “early adopters” show the path. It is normal for this scenario. After all, much has been said about the distributed model, we currently use, and not everything promised has actually happened.
Besides, making predictions is always risky. And now again, we are facing stuck forecasts, such as “When the Paris Exhibition was over, no one else heard about electricity”. (Erasmus Wilson, Oxford University, 1879) and “The television will not work. People will have to stare at screen, and the average American family has no time for that. “(The New York Times, April 18, 1939, presentation of the prototype of a TV set).
Why were these things said? Were these people ignorant? No, scientists and professionals are well prepared. The point is, they do make wrong assumptions.
I recall here an interesting little story. In 1886, Gottlieb Daimler had just unleash the horses of a chariot and installed an engine behind her. He created the first car (or horseless carriage). His company teamed up with Karl Benz in early 1900s, tried to predict the size of the world market for these so smoky and noisy vehicles. After a careful analysis he predicted that, in the next century there would be around one million cars in use worldwide. But this prediction was proved entirely wrong. In 2000, there were over 600 million cars in the world! It was a long-term forecast, subject to weather, but still missed by a factor of a thousand. Why? The assumption used was wrong. They predicted that, in hundred years the world population of professional drivers would be about one million and this would be limiting the growth in the use of horseless carriages. The assumption was that, every car need a professional driver, as at that time. That’s not what happened. Anyone can drive a car.
The same happens when we look at cloud computing from the perspective of the current model of IT and we cling to view this model as a simple modernization of outsourcing. But the possibility of a company and even creating new business processes without waiting for the traditional cycle of IT, and even without major capital investments, but only in operating costs (opex) opens up new and innovative spaces to be explored. Cloud can help you to transform your own business. Therefore, the cloud computing model should not be viewed solely from the perspective of technology, but as a strategic means to leverage new business.
However, the change will not occur by a “big bang”, but gradually. There are still barriers in the way and legal compliance still create risks for the business. Many providers do not have solutions and practical experiences. On the other hand, if you sit back and wait for things to happen, it can pass off good opportunities for competitive advantage. Also, frankly speaking, the data centers of some global cloud providers are much more advanced and secure than most enterprise data centers. So what to do?
In my opinion, companies should look at cloud from the perspective of a business strategy and begin to experiment with this model. If the organization already has familiarity with outsourcing, cloud can become a natural extension of your IT. The hybrid model, where applications on-premise clouds coexist with private and public clouds, will be the natural way for many companies. Expanding the current systems to operate in the cloud, while still maintaining the most sensitive data inside the house is a good way. This way you gain experience and cloud gradually detaches itself from the traditional model and it will become part of the company’s IT DNA.
The speed of adoption of cloud computing will depend on the culture and industry sector of each company. There are more regulated sectors and companies who are most aggressive in adopting innovations. There is no single recipe that suits all organizations. For example, a company can start by putting the majority of non-ERP systems and cloud with it, while reducing operational costs, you can immediately achieve greater agility to new demands by IT users. But the results do not come only with the tactical adoption of cloud. It represents a combination of the reorganization of IT to think more agile (Agile development) and not adhere to basic operational activities, standardizing and automating their operational environment (cloud computing).
Well, a few suggestions:
Companies with data stored in the cloud computing are able to retrieve it in less time than organizations with technology-based data backup to tape devices or removable disks.
For large organizations, this information can be bland, it is normal to keep more than one layer of data recovery and disaster recovery solutions. Often, these solutions plan to perform backups to remote data centers, and this strategy has proven to be very effective.
Unfortunately, the structure is not within the scope of small and medium-sized organizations. The options left to them is to rely on backup routines made with tape devices and removable media such as CDs, flash cards and hard drives.
SaaS and IaaS
With the increasing availability of platforms for cloud computing, including the SaaS (Storage as a Service) and IaaS (infrastructure as a service), medium-sized companies have the opportunity to equate large firms in the category of data protection.
Normally, the space contracted with the provider of cloud computing services comes in the form of the IaaS model. In the past, the services of a provider of cloud computing required individual negotiation, and a myriad of details about the format and data services. Today, you can hire space for backup in a few clicks.
This dynamic hiring of cloud computing backup platform facilitates the adoption of solutions, while optimizing enables you to choose pay-per-use accounting formats. Thus, any disturbances are eliminated by excessive use of contracted space.
Cloud storage reduces the downtime in case of disaster. Two thirds of companies indicated this reason as the main reason for using this type of solution. More than half of the organizations hope to better control the investment in these platforms. In some of the cases, organizations offer the virtual space to its clients or host additional services.
However, the possibility of data recovery in the shortest time is the absolute champion in the motivations that drive the best performers in the cloud.
While there is improvement in the total time of unavailability of enterprise servers with other backup strategies, that has embraced the cloud to account this process, they had reduced downtime significantly.
The total time of unavailability without cloud resources to be backed up is approximately eight hours(annually). In cases where cloud computing services are adopted, that figure drops to just over two hours. In absolute terms, the longest period of downtime for users of cloud platforms is just around five hours, companies that have no components of cloud computing, suffered for more than 13 hours without access to the data.
With virtualization, you can reduce the actual costs and boost productivity, resulting in savings in terms of number of servers, carbon footprint, power consumption and cooling requirements. If you are trying to protect the environment, improve the reputation of the brand or enhance competitiveness, virtualization is a very interesting proposal.
Virtualization allows organizations to leverage the resources of the system by consolidating applications on fewer physical servers. As the demand for infrastructure in the data center changes, in response to peaks in traffic, the physical resources that are not immediately required are switched off automatically, ensuring more efficient use of resources.
To make a successful virtualization implementation, CIOs need to know how to get what they want and determine if the technology is good for business. Within any organization, disruptive or revolutionary initiatives have the highest probability of failure. Instead of approaching virtualization as a gradual evolution, companies can increase their success rate.
Migrate To A Virtual Environment
Virtualization is becoming a commodity, and should be considered as such. With the maturing of the market, CIOs are better prepared and better understand the potential and limitations of technology and what they can expect from a service provider. And it is responsibility of the supplier to provide details concerning best practices, and companies should not refrain from asking all necessary questions.
Determining what percentage of the load of a company can realistically be virtualized is a first thing to understand. We rarely see companies that migrate immediately most of the workload in a virtual environment, it is common practice to start with the less critical activities, experience with the platform and then increase the loads and also include mission-critical applications.
And workloads should migrate further once you have confidence in the platform and the support offered by the cloud computing service provider.
Rather than considering virtualization as a standalone project, companies should look more closely at the internal processes that may be impacted by the adoption of virtualization technologies. Otherwise, the risk is that, customers consider that the expected benefits of virtualization, especially in terms of improved IT agility, do not become reality. In other words, often the main obstacle to the successful adoption of virtualization is not the technology, but the processes that surround it.
This includes provisioning and changing the management processes. Each application involved may compete for processing resources and it is important for companies to adopt software that provides greater visibility in the architecture to determine how IT applications are operating. Increased visibility enables administrators to anticipate conflicts and monitor performance to ensure that critical applications receive the priority they deserve and that performance levels are met.
Data protection in the cloud is now becoming more complex problem because the user does not know where the information is processed in the cloud. Therefore, it is important to protect the data by using encryption. It is not always clear how and what should be encrypted so that the information is not flowed outside, but on the other hand, it should not affect the performance of cloud computing services as well. Actually, security and processing efficiency are the two major problems – found while doing research on cloud computing. Let us try to understand how to combine both of these problems. The primary means of data protection is cryptography.
However, you can encrypt data at different levels. First, consider the structure of a typical cloud application. It consists of a storage subsystem, database, application server, web server hosting, network and client application. Now look at what will encrypt each of these levels.
Encrypted Disk: It can be a separate virtual disk that is mounted to a virtual machine in the cloud. This encryption protects against leakage of the entire virtual disk, for example, during the backup. Protects against insiders encryption on the side of the operator and attacks by other users. However, if an intruder has penetrated inside the virtual machine to which the disk is mounted, such encryption cannot be protected. In fact, it’s the same encryption product to encrypt the server drives.
Encryption of Records: You can implement encryption at the database level, where the encoded data of individual fields of tables contain the most valuable data. Implementing this encryption can be either at the database, either by the application server, which works directly with the database. It is possible to organize the system so that the table field will be encrypted, which is used for database searching. Such a scheme will not slow sampling procedures from the fields, since decryption is not happening.
Encrypting The Virtual Machine: Since the cloud virtual machine is an ordinary image file storage and processes, access to these files may give an attacker a lot of valuable information. Therefore, it would be nice to provide encryption of virtual machines themselves when transferring them between hosts and storage in the inactive state. Unfortunately, the encryption mechanism must be implemented at the hypervisor level, that is, by the provider of virtualization.
Encrypt Communication Channels: You simply need to encrypt communications between the cloud and the client in order to prevent interference with this interaction, and protect against attacks such as “middle man”. Here the solution is worked out with the SSL protocol and hardware acceleration at the entrance to the cloud. Perhaps more correctly architecture would be SSL- encryption directly into the virtual machine, but it also needs to be supported at the level of the hypervisor or virtual network driver.
Each of these encryption methods have advantages and disadvantages and requires a different approach to programming and its own mechanisms for distributing keys. It is clear that encryption is only one part of the cloud. To do this, efforts are needed not only from a customers side who wants to keep the data secure, but also from the cloud computing provider and the operator of software for it.
Emerging technologies such as cloud computing, mega-storage, intelligent software and all applications for the use of mobile telephony, for example, still have enough room to grow. Part of the market does not yet know how to use available technologies to transform business and get the work done at higher level.
According to me, The Eight Technologies That can Transform Businesses are:
Internet as a tool for customer relationship: It has never been so quick to understand, “what it takes to meet the needs of loyal consumers of products and services?”. The Internet and related technologies promotes this interaction and results in maximizing the potential of each company.
Social Networks: It is being increasingly realized that social networking has already became a part of the routine work of many professionals. Despite being a controversial issue within companies, it is necessary that employees use their work computers to access social networks. In many cases, not only in spare time. In many businesses, it can engage consumers in product design, testing, and after the sale including viral marketing.
Cloud Computing Services: It’s a business model where the customer has access to a variety of services, applications and solutions guaranteed by the provider. The idea is to allow to get access to data or company data in a way that it works remotely. It is certainly not only transforming the business but their own work environment as well.
Green IT: The company that is not aligned to display most discussed issues in the globalized world and not have their brand associated with issues such as sustainable growth, rational use of natural resources, respect for the environment and energy efficiency, will be the subject to be viewed by the market. Common initiatives include reducing paper printing, increased use of e-documents and data center outsourcing.
Virtualization: With virtualization, the physical equipment start to behave like software, enabling significant cost savings and redirection of human resources for more strategic business areas – such as creating new products and services, or programs for the welfare of employees. There are a lot of experts who recognize virtualization as a kind of precursor of cloud computing solutions.
Outsourcing Database: Even during the international economic crisis, outsourcing data center was a major investment, done by U.S. companies, according to surveys on intent. In India, it is also a smart and viable option, since it frees the customer cost with property, building maintenance, energy, security, upgrading equipment, hiring staff with expertise in specialized management, etc.. The main gain, however, is that the customer will have more time and resources available to devote to the business itself.
M-Commerce: The mobile payments are being made possible. Despite many tools are still undergoing testing, pay a bill using the mobile phone offers the same level of security of a banking transaction via the Internet, or more. It is a procedure that is very similar to the debit. Just bring the phone to an authorized reader (POS), and get it connected to a terminal. The information is transmitted over the phone and payment information is processed quickly and securely. Each time, more financial commitments would no longer represent an obstacle to the lives of people.
Security / Monitoring: In addition to safety devices, with a simple monitoring system, it can resolve disputes in various sectors and services necessary for the maintenance of a company. This is the case of NOC, which are connected to the network management Database of Company, lets you control many physical dedicated servers and services in real time. The system can detect possible failures or interruptions of links, routers and servers, sending alerts and allow to reduce the incidence of problems.
The concept of cloud computing services is growing between the departments of information technology. According to a survey, 98% of respondents said that the cloud is no longer seen as a passing fad and that the concept is here to stay. In Asia, India is an example of this growth, according to this study, the country tops the list with 20% of medium and large sized companies that already have some application in the cloud. For small, the scenario is still a little different.
According to projections, the number of adherents to the cloud applications are expected to grow between 30% and 35% in the next two years. Being a simple solution to online backup services or outsourcing, the use of cloud computing is an unavoidable reality, especially for small and medium enterprises, which may use it according to demand and pay for what they use, all with security, reduce costs and without worrying about infrastructure, web applications, web professionals and maintenance.
Thinking about it, company that specializes in cloud computing and outsourcing, has the seven main reasons for small and medium businesses that adopt cloud computing.
Possibility to hire “rent” the hardware and services:
Purchase of equipment and maintenance support teams are the expenses that small businesses cannot always maintain, despite a growing demand for hardware. By hiring this type of input as a service, these companies have a world-class infrastructure, charged according to use. This reduces the company’s fixed cost, obviates the need for constant updating of equipment with newer technology and faster access to more effective solutions.
Management globalized way from the main communication tool used by companies: e-Mail
The e-Mail is a major communication tools of any organization, and by increasing the amount of information, the tendency is to look for spaces on the Internet that offer security and availability. This option makes it easy to manage via the web, making it global, transversal, collaborative and focused on its customers and partners without the need to pay software and licenses.
Access to storage and backup technologies that previously only large companies could afford
Like e-mail, the volume and sophistication in data format, such as texts, videos and photos, the guard of the information has become a major challenge, especially for small companies. Today, there are backup services security, continuity of service e-mails and uninterrupted access to data even during periods of inactivity, assisting in security and information management, even for those who have not budged for a multinational.
To enlarge agility’s infrastructure :
The purchase of equipment can be a lengthy process, which can slow the growth of a company. Moreover, with the speed that the business grows, it is difficult to predict the demand for technology equipment while idle for several months. With the hardware as a service, organizations can have access to workstations (fixed or mobile), Switch, Router, Firewall, VPN, UTM without having to invest in the acquisition of hardware for users or local network infrastructure. The technology upgrade of equipment, such as installation and configuration of the same, and support the local microcomputer with pre-defined SLA and telephone support through tools called via the Service Desk are advantages for companies that definitely do not need to worry about the functioning of these equipment.
Access to technologies that bring intelligence and increase competitiveness:
For a small company, have access to an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP Hosting) as well as complementary solutions Management Vertical (different markets with different processes and controls) is just a wish. With the possibility of purchasing the service, they can also integrate all data and processes and bring intelligence to customer information, which improves the ability to compete with larger players.
Tax compliance, which is increasingly linked to technology to gain competitiveness:
With the creation of obligation and the issue of electronic invoices, there is a need to formalize and scan some of these processes that ensure a business environment without many frauds, more organized and much more competitive. There are solutions that enable integration with the systems of accounting, tax and budget, without any investment in technology infrastructure.
All data generated in the cloud must have a virus protection, but the virus that circulate in our personal computers are not the same system used in cloud computing. Small and medium businesses can rely on a system that ensures the security of information stored in the cloud, beyond the low cost of deployment, the system integrates multiple scan engines and monitoring to provide comprehensive protection, increasing server performance of companies.
The small businesses have access to technologies that were previously available only to large players, provides improved ability to compete more evenly. This new scenario will allow an acceleration in technological development of the country.
The term “cloud computing solutions“ has been widely discussed by market researchers and trends in information technology. For many, it means a new technology or even architecture for the consumption of services over the internet. But its significance is much broader, and is not restricted to the use of technology, software, hardware or platform.
When we speak about “cloud”, we are not discussing about a new technology or architecture, but a new form of delivery of information technology to reduce costs, better utilization of resources through rational use and demand.
The pillars of this new form of delivery are determined by the use of structures already known:
SaaS - Way of delivering software as services based on the rental of software through a service provider, the Internet or dedicated connection. Provides streamlined licensing costs of software and support, can be hired for periods of use;
PaaS - Form of delivery of the software development platform through standards. Can manage the entire development cycle, ensuring the testing, approval and entry into production of the product developed. You can also support the operation execution of administrative routines and coordinate updates of the platform;
IaaS - Form of delivery of the hardware platform such as servers, storage, networking and implementation of various other technologies that can provide high availability, scalability and security.
The set of structures that conceptualize cloud computing can provide opportunities for review of business and management processes for a large number of companies. Especially for those who have no budget to invest in solutions with high maintenance costs – due to specialized professionals, new platforms or adequate infrastructure.
The middle market may be one of the main consumers of this model due to the cost of software, the use of management processes and information technology and well-defined business models that can be implemented with low fitness.
For companies that do not clear processes or integration between their applications “cloud” should both improve their business processes to enable performance improvement and analysis, providing visibility. For them, the adoption of solutions and business processes has great impact on performance and results.
The cloud computing is a new delivery model, which determines the rational use of resources and on-demand infrastructure, hardware platform, software and applications.
Companies continually live with the pressure for spending cuts. One of the feasible ways is to focus the workforce on its core business, opting for outsourcing of various satellite services. This includes the area of IT – including Data Center, or database.
For the choice of outsourcing, to have a good foundation is necessary to consider the context necessary to manage a data center. First, an entire infrastructure is needed to support server: electrical, cooling system, equipment (hardware) and so on.
We not only need to rely on all the structure operating 24 hours a day, but also on the technology and skilled management in order to meet demands for best results.
Security is another key factor. It is important to have resources against robberies, fires and floods, mainly to ensure that customer information will never be violated by hackers or other malicious person.
High performance is another standard feature, which means that you cannot save on backup systems, maintenance, upgrades and license updates. With that in mind, you can deduct or invests in mature, or opting for self-management of risk.
There are few companies who neglect the storage of data. Some only become aware of the need to outsource the data center after a disaster that may take years to complete recovery of material losses and market credibility.
As a rule, the outsourcing of Data Center for disaster recovery services offers cost-cutting in the medium term, and allow the team to keep focus on business, employees and customers. It is worth bearing in mind that IT investments are absolutely necessary and do not pay in the short term.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
In the last three years, we have seen several clients doing analysis of DR services long before their contracts expire. It is increasingly common because vendors want to know (up to six months in advance) if the service contract will be maintained or end. If a company chooses the second option, it is important to ensure that the transition from old to new provider should be performed promptly.
Due to the inherent complexity of web applications and the continuing effects of changing data centers, the need for a longer period of testing is also included in the essential criteria for an analysis of alternatives, especially for the evaluation of alternative demand and exclusive service.
In the last five years, a lot of people have started sourcing DR and emerging data center technologies like server virtualization and private cloud computing. These and other alternatives help to reduce the barriers of investment and operation for the use of disk-to-disk-replication, and have easy choices for specific services.
More important is that, many companies believe, a longer period of testing is necessary for IT to provide the best guarantee of recovery for complex services and applications online. This is because complex online applications require a higher level of dependence on software testing and data, mainly due to the accelerated pace of change in their datacenter. However, it is advisable to schedule a test period months in advance.
As these requirements keeps on changing, an increasing number of companies are starting evaluations of alternative DR before their current service contracts of DR expire. If a company decides to discontinue service, it is crucial to ensure that the process of transition from an old to a new provider is defined and coherent.
However, simply evaluating alternative internal services, hosted or cloud-based does not imply a reduction in the cost of management. It is also important to ensure that the correct criteria is guiding the evaluation.
Choosing a disaster recovery services provider after doing proper research is clearly a more appropriate choice.
However, it is more likely that you may need more than one provider for effective management of recovery. For example, an external provider host may be the logical choice for the case of continuous availability of data center, a direct supplier of equipment is the most appropriate alternative for IT infrastructure equipment, the simultaneous use of multiple telecommunications providers is the best option for failover of network services, as well as test management, as it has professionals with practical knowledge of business applications and the priority of data recovery, and better understand what levels of recovery test will be effective and consistent.
At the same time, we found that the mix of internal computing platforms can often play a key role in determining the most viable approach. In conversations with customers, we found that the more diverse the mix of platforms, the easier it will define which vendor best suited to the case. This is because the task of providing hardware systems for medium and large companies, as well as managing a data center for recovery is not feasible for many companies, which makes the traditional approach of separate services for disaster recovery much more practical.
Moreover, the growing use of server virtualization may also mean that a smaller number of physical servers can expressly be needed in the recovery of a site to keep the workload of a specific application balanced. Regardless of how diversified is the corporate computing environment, certain issues should always guide sourcing decisions.
Ideally, the choice of sourcing should be based on a combination of sensible economic criteria of effectiveness and efficiency, as well as technology and vendor-specific advantages and disadvantages of management operation.