The convergence of four major technology waves – Cloud Computing, Big Data, Business and Social mobility – have caused disruptions and consequently, opportunities and risks to the business and IT areas.
Adopting and efficiently managing these four waves will cause significant impact on managers and IT professionals. Two aspects stand out: governance and management of this new environment, and the critical need to rethink about the architecture of new systems that encompass these technological waves. In this post we will discuss the issue of the architecture of these new systems.
Current systems developed by the client-server paradigm, were not meant to consistently integrate features such as social business, mobility and Big Data, and were not designed to operate in the cloud environment. Understandable. Everything is very new. After all, the wave of mobility began to form with the success of the iPhone (released in 2007) and tablets (marked by the announcement of the iPad in 2009). Social business has been equated to Facebook and seen as just another marketing medium to relate to their customers, without worrying about the legacy of the corporation. Big Data was initially seen as a new name for Data Warehouse, or “do it now”, and Cloud Services emerged with great suspicion. Incidentally, the same as twenty years ago, a time in which it began to speak in client-server!
The current technological landscape is much different scenario than years ago. The environment was the central ERP and everything revolved around it. Today continues the ERP based processing of transactional data, but serves only 30% to 40% of the information needs of an enterprise. The new systems must work seamlessly with the technology waves. That is, an interaction via social media, originating from a tablet generates a transaction of sale and disposal of stock, through an analysis, probably in real time, customer profile, to propose a promotional action of cross-selling.
This context leads to a service-based architecture (The term SOA may have gone up, but service-oriented applications are real and present demand) because the basic principles of this model (encapsulation, separation of duties, low coupling, etc.) allow you to develop applications with this level of integration with various technologies.
Well, Now The Problems Start…
After a period of splendor, where SOA was the symbol of fashion, the term fell into disuse and unfortunately today not all developers are able to develop applications that are truly SOA. Moreover, in recent years, the concentration of the training was the client-server model, coupled to the keyboard-mouse paradigm, therefore, is not an easy skill to get developers to develop new applications, touch-screen, integrated with social platforms and business acting with Big data technologies in real time, in a cloud environment.
Let’s discuss a little more about this architecture. The basic concept of the new systems will probably be “everything as a service” and will be a core application framework with APIs that allow users to develop new features. A simple example: why the screen of Internet banking has to be the same for all users? If access to basic resources are made via secure APIs, the bank will be responsible only for core systems (and possibly a default home page as default), leaving the interfaces being developed by other companies and by the users. The characteristics of this architecture are essentially SOA: high modularity, distributed services (services can be in clouds of various providers), low coupling, easy replacement services (typical model adopted by companies on the web that is always in beta mode, ie , constantly evolving services without impacting operating around).
One suggestion is to use as benchmarks for new systems not application templates that other companies in the industry use, but look at Internet companies and evaluate how they solve the challenge of being given huge amounts of data, constantly implementing new features and using APIs to foster an ecosystem of new applications created by other companies and their users.
Anyway, we are facing major changes that will affect the areas and IT professionals. The system architecture and software architects now have a major role. But they must be prepared for these changes!
If you go into a cloud environment, above all, prepare a checklist for a successful transition into the clouds. Without a doubt, the cloud has became a hot topic all over the world because of the mobility and flexibility at lower cost. Cloud Infrastructure is the next-generation platforms that can provide tremendous value to any business. Many companies are now moving to the advanced and cost-effective concept of cloud hosting.
Successful migration to the cloud requires a sober assessment of all pros and cons. Here we try to touch up on some of the considerations in the transition to a cloud environment to help you to decide whether you need a transition into the clouds or not. Here are a few basic steps before moving to the cloud.
First, assess how much in demand and popular your website is, and what time is an acceptable downtime for you.
What level of control do you expect?
If you want to have total control and you want to use all the resources in the network, select the personal cloud.
What are the options you have access to?
Determine your need for access in advance.
What applications do you have now? It sounds too corny, but to go to the Web, make sure that these applications are Web-based applications. You can choose a few simple tools to convert them when necessary. If your application was originally designed for. NET / Java, you must understand before the migration and technological aspects of the compatibility options for these technologies in the cloud, where you plan to migrate.
Do you interact with other technologies?
Make sure that these technologies are also supported in the clouds, in which you want to migrate.
What type of database do you use in cloud computing?
It is important to make sure that the targeted cloud infrastructure support your database. If not supported, please check whether you can change the database or run an application in the cloud using its used in the database.
Flexibility and portability in cloud solutions: Check whether you can move between cloud providers. If you have access only to a specific provider, after the application is deployed, it can impose restrictions on your ability to migrate to another cloud platform.
Scalability: Able to indicate whether you provide dynamic scalability and redundancy of your application server. If your application is not able to scale dynamically, should not go into the clouds.
Security risks in the cloud, above all, evaluate the conditions of the provider and its reputation. After that, evaluate the security risks that can be detected when the client is accessible from any system connected to the network.
Upgrade costs: Check the different suppliers and packages that they offer, with detailed specifications. Weigh the costs and technical implications for updating your applications.
These are just some of the most important things you should consider before migrating into the cloudy environment. We hope that this will help you to choose the right kind of cloud hosting and help you achieve maximum benefit.
Cloud Hosting, also called clustering is a hosting service that operates a network of servers that are connected permanently. As a shared hosting is limited to the resources like disk space, bandwidth, memory, processing speed of a single machine, the cloud servers provide access to a virtually infinite infrastructure and do not necessarily need to be in the same data center, in reality it is likely that the servers are spread around the world.
The Cloud Hosting provides an environment that does not limit the request to a specific set of resources.
The Cloud Hosting allows servers hosting sites to have an agility and optimized performance. The servers use redundant networks and large Internet service providers with local and international broadband connection.
How it works
Features of Cloud Hosting is limited to hardware and application handlers. For example, resources may be limited to the amount of: RAM server, processing, energy storage and bandwidth. It can also be limited to the amount of available space, budget and a host of other reasons that hinder the expansion.
Cloud computing allows the customer to buy more computing power according to the need. Energy resources and load balancing are intended to provide seamless connectivity to the end user .
With the opportunity to have more resources available, the end user is able to expand business without incurring extra inventory or overhead. For the first time, he’s getting something that is economically efficient, more reliable and better all around.
Companies of Cloud Hosting only charge the amount of computing power that is used by the user. Think of it as a bill similar to the supply of electricity or water – you pay for what you use. The Cloud Hosting provides the ability to meet sudden spikes in traffic without having to pay for extra bandwidth when traffic is slow. All billing is based on use.
The Cloud Hosting offers benefits of reduced costs through consolidation, more security , better performance and flexibility. There is also the benefit of redundancy. Users are now able to reduce its inventory of hardware, which leads to less energy requirements and, of course, benefits the environment.
The Cloud Hosting is a very attractive proposition for anyone involved in commerce of any kind and especially those with budget constraints. Small businesses and entrepreneurs, among others, are able to focus on growing the company without having to learn new skills or spend precious budget resources with additional personnel.
The Cloud Hosting is great for IT professionals who can pre-establish their bandwidth based on different levels of Internet traffic.
The days are gone when it was necessary to maintain contact with the host to request extra bandwidth or lose the habit, because the band was not available.
Ease of Use
What was once done by a large number of IT professionals, can now be accomplished by one person in a matter of minutes. Suppose, for example, we need a server to host our applications. It will now be able to launch a server with its own root password where the user can load its own code.
In many cases, there is no provision of a domain, blog WordPress and other applications.
In conclusion, the Cloud Hosting is stronger, more profitable and more reliable than the issue of self-hosting.
Cloud services typically implement common features and require an agreement about the quality of service (SLA). In such cases, the business model of the organization will face difficulties related to the management of cloud services. The cloud services management as a process of developing a system is aimed at using the power and possibilities of cloud computing to solve business problems. It is possible to use the experience of its own specialists, but there are other ways to effectively implement this approach in the organization.
With the spread of cloud services to enterprises, it raises a difficult problem to control their use and performance, as well as integration with internal resources. The result is a new area of activity – agent cloud services. By definition, an activity for cloud services management and their integration. These brokers may be the current VAR-value added resellers and system integrators. They will be responsible for compliance with SLA-agreements, and are most likely to specialize in certain industries. They are especially useful for small and medium-sized businesses that are poorly versed in the intricacies of the cloud services market and have difficulties when using them. Such brokers can take advantage of fast-growing cloud market and earn good money on services that they resell or integrate.
Office of the clouds will be the main activity of the cloud brokers. Indeed, cloud services providers are offering ready to use services, but generally do not consider the specific needs of your business and that these services need to be integrated into a single solution with other services that you supply. That enterprises can leverage cloud services, someone has to expand, integrate and customize. In most cases this is not required to make changes in the functional service, but simply to supplement or to aggregate them, while ensuring quality of service.
The basic idea of cloud computing is to allow companies to receive services in terms of outsourcing. If you want to create a completely new technology base and to train employees in the integration or expansion of these services (or their management), it will require large expenditures. Nevertheless, some companies are going to manage cloud services. Such an approach would be more exception than the rule, but if your company has chosen this path, you should make sure that it will solve business problems rather than complicate them. In addition, you must check the availability of a good reason to deploy the cloud infrastructure at the plant. Potential benefits must outweigh the costs and risks.
But most companies do not implement their own cloud, and appeal to a cloud broker. As there is a lot of demand for such services, it would increase costs for companies and the amount of related work.
Eventually this could lead to the fact that the company will be tied to a particular provider and a set of services, because investing in the expansion of services or integrate them, you will not like to lose this investment, changing services or providers.
Solution is to appeal to cloud brokers, who provide mediation service or aggregation of cloud services that enable your company to get what it wanted. With relevant qualification, they play a role similar to system integrators as well as provide managing cloud services to many customers. Over time, these system integrators will be VAR-Reseller of the services that are expanding. In this case, your company will not be tied to a single cloud provider, because you will not pay providers and brokers. If you want to change, you can change the broker, to appeal directly to the provider or ask your broker to provide other enhancements.
In the future, we would hardly expect a clear division between public and private clouds. Companies are likely to use different options, including hybrid models, virtual private clouds and the set of all possible combinations. As the distribution of cloud service providers should expect the possibility of setting the most popular services.
It seems more or less accepted that SAAS is a part of cloud. There are numerous references throughout the web that is defending this position and even in a lot of posts on cloud can see the software as a service as part of cloud services.
But is it really SaaS Cloud ?
Recall that the differential factor of cloud is one that allows access to the resource / s hardware and software almost immediately and get rid of them in the same way. It is precisely this characteristic that distinguishes it from usual hosting and ASP .
High above, technically to be able to get the differential factor, the cloud relies on the multitenancy as hardware and software architecture for allocating the resource and the concept of scalability to meet increasing demand or decreasing the customer. And all this quickly.
From the customer point of view who is using a SAAS , is it an accessible resource away? That is, what is saas cloud? Yes Most saas have the possibility to create your room to use the online application, whether or freemium model with free access for 30 days or pay, and therefore meets the definition of cloud fast access to software and possibility to upgrade or remove users immediately (scalability).
Now from the standpoint of the provider, how many saas have mechanisms to “ensure” immediate access to the software? Do you have technology to offer? I’m afraid that most do not have it. Have multitenancy but not technology that ensures continuity of service (fast escalation, maintenance of current users, etc..) before a flood of new users who want to use the application.
And then, is the saas cloud computing or not? Being purists for saas should or have technology in their systems to meet demand given or at least rely on a service paas or IaaS that can provide coverage to the problem. But few of “saas have this problem” For fingers counted. The vast majority have control of growth (decline) of users more or less predictable and gives them time to size their systems to cover this problem. Some talk about it, if you need quick access to cloud computing resource is what you need, and this also applies to the SAAS .
And now back to the beginning of the text changes the word saas by paas and little else, and the reasoning is equally valid for the country. Although a paas without a rapid escalation mechanisms is much more difficult to find.
Call it whatever you want: Cloud Computing , SaaS, PaaS or IaaS, but the software distributed via the Internet is easily scalable and marketed under subscription to which we refer in this article as “Cloud Computing” is today the fundamental reality, the world of enterprise software (and the software world in general).
The approach passes through the question:
” What kind of ecosystem of manufacturers, service providers and customers is emerging as the winning presence Cloud Computing? “
On the one hand, from the viewpoint of customers and cloud providers, the benefits of Software as a Service and Cloud Computing are clear. Moreover, for providers of services (consulting firms, integrators, etc …) are trying to adapt to the changing needs of a market that has changed and competitive differentiation. Now that there is still a perfect opportunity to position.
For the customer, the determining factor is that you hire a service, and don’t purchase a software. The manufacturer should be happy if the client wants it to continue paying your monthly fee. This implies a change in my view, to a commercial and social relationship between the two.
For the manufacturer , the processes are simplified, with corresponding economic benefits that this entails. But, especially at this early stage, will have to overcome significant challenges such as security, standards …
For the service provider, that is, the consulting company that created customized solutions, the Cloud Computing represents both a threat (in the event that the product does not require too much can be deployed as a SaaS CRM such as Salesforce ) and an opportunity.
In conclusion: In my opinion, the Cloud Computing will not radically change the type of players that exist in the enterprise software sector, we will continue with the customers interested in obtaining the best solutions tailored to their needs at a reasonable price, with manufacturers compete to offer the most competitive, and integrators who seek to offer its customers the most appropriate software and be used.
I think the question is, while developing this change to the ubiquity of Cloud Computing, who will use it and thus be better positioned for the new ecosystem is emerging, and who will miss the train.
Vmware, which is into virtualization in the cloud has just released still in beta, the new platform as a service ( PaaS ), Cloud Foundry.
The current leaders of the market in PaaS solutions are Microsoft Azure and Google App Engine. The novelty of Cloud Foundry is presented as open source and can support multiple frameworks, Cloud providers and application services.
Its utility is that it shortens the time needed to design an application, build the code, and finally transfer it to the cloud, using a PaaS solution open.
There are three types of services offered in the Cloud Computing
Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS), which offers storage resources CPU, memory and network so we can install the operating system of our choice, and develop the Framework you want.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) , which provides an operating system directory and an environment in which it develop a service like Microsoft Azure and Coud Foundry.
Software as a Service (SaaS) , which provides software directly without having to worry about the platform it is developed on, or infrastructure where you use Google docs.
The tools are used on Spring Source platform ( acquired by VMware in 2009) Developer Java , Rails and Sinatra Developer Ruby, and Node.js and other JVM frameworks including Grails.
Cloud Foundry has a good degree of portability, allowing developers to migrate applications across environments on cloud providers and enterprise data center without disrupting or modifying the application.
The platform is not tied to any particular environment, supports private or public clouds, including those deployed in VMware vSphere the vCloud developed by VMware, VMware and public clouds.
Small business uses mostly cloud storage (67%), and hosting web sites (56%), according to a recent study that was carried out by people who are working in leading IT and dedicated hosting companies. Organized in recent months in two steps, a survey of more than 300 small business managers showed that the above mentioned two areas are most popular among SMBs, and they are followed by business continuity and customer relationship management (39%).
As the results of the study, most small businesses, which created cloud infrastructure, carried out in a cloud of 10-30% of the time (44%). If 11% of respondents said they did not spend time on the clouds, the other 11% claim to dedicate the use of cloud technology more than 50% of the time.
The study also showed the lack of consensus about the benefits of cloud services. Costs have been identified and as a chief virtue, and as the main obstacle to the development of this technology. Surveys conducted earlier this month during an exhibition and as well as through the Internet, demonstrate that the defects promote the benefits of clouds to contain the spread of cloud technology.
Of the more than 300 specialists participated in the survey, 93% believe that they are able to explain the nature of cloud providers. However, almost 43% of respondents said their organizations still do not use the cloud. Those who use the point to cost savings, mobile access and ease of management of infrastructure as a major advantage (42%). At the same time, 54% refer to the related costs as the main obstacle to the development of clouds.
Research shows that there are barriers for organizations to use solutions based on cloud technologies and uncertainty regarding the deployment of clouds and their benefits. It is clear that companies need a more active learning and familiarity with examples of real-world deployment. This is evidenced by most of the answers.
I believe that the industry requires sharing of best practices that companies can evaluate scenarios using real clouds. They have a need to see the benefits that companies derive similar size, belonging to the same industry and with similar infrastructure, with whom they could relate and compare myself.
In lectures and meetings with various companies, I have been observing that Cloud has begun to position it self on the radar of executives and be a part of plans for medium and long term. And one of the issues that they are looking to answer is “Where To Start?“.
What kind of applications are initially to be put in the clouds?
Well, many are thinking of starting a “client in the cloud.” It is a scenario that is already common in the environment of end users who already use Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Google Docs, Facebook, Flickr and other services available in the cloud regularly. Store mailboxes, texts, pictures and videos on the cloud and access them from any device, without being tied to the internal disks of a single computer is an attraction that draws more and more end users.
Seems clear that this scenario can and probably will also widespread in the corporate environment.
Access your data from any device, whether a veteran desktop to a smartphone or tablet, little or no demand for wasteful and unproductive work to implement and maintain different versions of software, ranging from operating systems to office suites in hundreds or thousands of machines, more centralized management of applications running on client devices and, above all, know that if a laptop is lost or stolen, the data will be safe, since they are not stored in it, which is the very positive point that generated much interest.
The starting point for thinking about “client in the cloud” is the ubiquitous Email. One of the main reasons to consider Email in the cloud are significant economies of scale that can be achieved with this computational model. Most companies no longer have hundreds or thousands of users, while cloud providers can provide these services to tens of millions of users. Thus, with data centers with “lights-out operations” and immense processing power and storage can offer services of Email at very low prices, reaching the limit to zero!
The result is that when you compare the cost per user, the cloud model offers much lower cost. Moreover, due to budget constraints and economies of scale, the internal Email cannot provide large storage capacities. It is common to compare an internal Email limited to 300 or 500 MB per user with an Email in the cloud with 25 or 30 GB. The cost per GB in the cloud is greatly less by economics of scale and therefore the provider can offer, at minimal cost, much more storage capacity.
The cost of services “client in the cloud” tends to fall further, especially because there is a disruption in the business model of traditional software industry known as the Google effect. For Google, its offerings GAPE (Google Apps Premier Edition) is non-profit, but to substantiate its business model based on revenue from advertising. It is a strategic move and not a profit-oriented.
Compared to the typical business model of traditional “client in the PC, like Microsoft, we see that its revenue comes from these sales of licenses of its software. Even offering these services in the cloud model, their source of revenue is the service offered by the software, not advertising and therefore cannot afford to get a very low price. It is the Freemium model par excellence.
This becomes even more real when we have the goods with a marginal cost near zero, such as digital goods (music, movies, content). These assets are offered free with the intention to achieve some other benefit. What does Google do? GAPE offers in exchange for the expansion of a new model (cloud), which is positioned favorably in the market, because this model boosts its business model. With this asymmetry in the business scenario, it is difficult to compete with the traditional model.
But if the mail is going into the cloud computing, how it occurs? From one day to another?
In my opinion the development will be gradual. The pioneers are the smaller companies. The reason is simple: cost per user has increased by the absence of economies of scale, and hence the economic attractiveness of going to the cloud is also higher. Also, it usually requires less customization.
The model of multitenancy Email in the cloud makes customization more difficult and is a complicating factor for larger companies, which besides having a lower cost per user (larger scale) are more applicants for highly customized environments. Larger firms are, with few exceptions, late adopters of this model.
A question arises. It will be an all or nothing model, i.e., 100% of Emails will be in the clouds?
Possibly in the distant future may be, but at least in the foreseeable future, no. We provided companies with 100% Email in the clouds where others will be more economically advantageous to keep their Email servers internally, and others with the hybrid model, with part of your Email in the cloud and part on-premise. An example? A university may put the mailboxes of thousands of its students in a cloud and maintain internal Email for their teachers and administrative staff.
But how to proceed?
Define a strategy to put the Email in the cloud cannot be made lightly. There are some cautions to be observed. One is the hidden costs. Although Email in the cloud has a much lower price per user, there are some costs that do not appear immediately.
Increased use of networks and broadband migration of the internal environment to the cloud, and remember that you still need to maintain a minimum of support staff, smaller than traditional in-house environment, but nevertheless still necessary, particularly Help Desk level 1 and for managing the interface with the cloud providers.
The contract must be well analyzed and some items deserve further attention as a cost for long retention of backup (archiving) and cancellation of the contract (and move to another cloud). There is also a legal issue. Your mailbox may be stored in a data center located in another country. In this case, under which jurisdiction the legal issues are resolved. And if there is a forensic investigation, as the data might be available.
When information is stored in a cloud, it will ultimately be stored on a dedicated server and a storage device residing at a physical location, which may be in another country, subject to different laws. Moreover, for technical reasons, this information may migrate from one server to another server, both in different countries. Nothing prevents the law of such country from accessing stored information even without the consent of its “owner.”
For example, the anti-terrorism legislation or the legislation to combat child abuse in many countries allows access to personal information, without notice, in case of legal evidence of criminal acts. The point is that the concept of cloud computing is recent, and current legislation still poorly understands the Internet and is much farther to understand the cloud.
Paradigm is still in the days when PCs were living at the most isolated stage and exchanged diskettes. Grasping a desktop for forensic investigation, whose content is in the clouds, it’s totally irrelevant. And how to get the information of virtual hard disks, spread over many cloud providers?
Another important concern: Security and integration with applications that interact with your Email.
Anyway, enter the world of Email cloud services. Create a specific project, clearly determine the goals (to reduce costs), Identify their internal costs per user and compare providers, analyze the functionality differences between the resources offered by the internal Email and offered by cloud providers ( as level of availability), engage in the legal process, select the provider most appropriate and carefully study the contract.
Often the question arises as to what stage of maturity must be in the company and its IT infrastructure in order to use cloud services. The answer is simple. After all, the main goal of transition to cloud – is to increase speed access to the service with minimal management effort. With cloud, small companies can minimize the cost of purchasing the equipment, licenses, salaries of IT staff, and large and middle – make it possible to improve the reliability of the information assets and quality of interaction with customers and partners.
Stairway To Heaven
The transition to cloud services for the well-established IT infrastructure, at first glance, may involve significant financial costs and risks. However, the path to the cloud can be phased. And then there will be an opportunity to assess the effect of each stage and develop a future strategy.
If the company has a geographically distributed structure to information assets given on different territorial areas, the first step on the path to the cloud will be consolidation, minimizing the points of concentration of information resources. A good option might be to create a single data center based on the parent company or central office (ideally should think about creating a backup data center for disaster recovery). Consolidation of resources within a single center will improve the reliability of information systems, cloud providers will provide a higher level of safety and reduce maintenance costs components of the IT infrastructure at branch offices.
The next step might be to move to energy efficient technologies. Virtualization (not just dedicated server, but also jobs, applications, and disk space), in addition to direct cost savings on hardware, software and maintenance costs, allow to abstract business applications and data from the physical execution environment. At the same time it will set the stage for easy transfer of information assets (both within the IT infrastructure of enterprise and beyond) and their transfer under external management.
A physical model representation of IT enables businesses to move to a service-oriented management, that is to have the board not the individual components of IT infrastructure and business services. In this model, be crucial to standardize the quality requirements of service (SLA), on which there is a choice on provider of IT services. They can be both internal IT service and external service providers. In the presence of SLA, it can be easily transferred or shared services between providers, which allows us to create a cloud services.
Considering the way to the clouds is not the only possible variations. In any case – if passed this way until the end or the company decides to stop at any step – at every stage they can learn for themselves both about economic and qualitative benefits.