Infrastructure as a Service

Let’s Look At Infrastructure as a Service And What It Means For Software Companies

Cloud Computing has become an essential technology for most businesses across the globe. 94% of all enterprises use cloud computing in one form or the other. According to a study, the total data on the cloud will be 100 Zettabytes by 2025.

We know that the three key cloud models are Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Infrastructure as a Service

What is IaaS Cloud?

Infrastructure-as-a-Service, IaaS is one of the key cloud service delivery models and it provides access to cloud resources as per the business’s requirements. The cloud service provider completely manages the cloud infrastructure in the case of IaaS. The users manage the applications, data, middleware, runtime, and the operating system while the cloud service provider takes care of virtualization, storage, networking, and hardware. With so many software products being offered in cloud-friendly and SaaS models, more ISVs and software companies are turning to IaaS for the benefits the model offers.

Let’s know more.

Iaas Cloud

IaaS Uses and Benefits for Software Companies

1. Control Virtual Machines

Software companies can manage their platform at the architectural level with the adoption of the IaaS cloud model. These companies have complete control over the applications and the data along with the middleware and the OS without worrying about the memory, servers, and virtualization. It enables software firms to easily design and implement their own IaaS software from virtual machines. The organizations need not set up massive infrastructure as the hardware side becomes the responsibility of the service provider.

IaaS is specifically designed to meet the business needs of enterprise-level organizations. IaaS also offers significant benefits with the hybrid on-premises cloud.

Apart from such services, IaaS cloud providers have recently come up with IaaS+ services. These include useful services, such as messaging queues, databases, and others. Such services offer great utility for the software companies and add to the modularity of the organizations. For example, a cloud provider can manage the organization’s database while the employees can handle the raw code to create new software packages customized to the business requirements.

2. Scalability and Flexibility

The world of cloud products has lowered the exit barriers for customers . Consumers can switch products and tools more easily. In fact, this flexibility is one of the key value propositions of the cloud for enterprises. That apart, usage can also quickly peak and dip based on seasonal, opportunistic, and trendy events. For the products companies, this means customer growth can surge at times and drop at others. To maintain an edge cloud product companies must have scalability and flexibility in their services and operations. IaaS enables organizations to modify their infrastructure as per such changing needs.

3. Cost-Savings

Cost-savings are among the pivotal objectives for any organization. Software companies can benefit in this area with the adoption of the IaaS cloud model. These are challenging times for the software industry. With costs always being under pressure, limited budgets are being allotted to the IT infrastructure. IaaS can easily provide such businesses with cost savings in the setup and maintenance of the infrastructure. Even a new venture in the software space need not make initial investments in servers and storage with the IaaS model. This also significantly brings down the recurring maintenance costs.

Such cost-savings can be very productive for start-ups, and small/mid-scale software companies. IaaS provides a pay-as-you-go system to handle the costs according to budget constraints.

4. Innovative IT Support

IT support is an important functional area within any software company. With IaaS, software companies need not worry about server IT support. IaaS providers manage all these activities with the software company left only to manage the IT support on their specific applications and platforms. IaaS has brought this massive shift in the focus of IT support teams. IaaS has also significantly enhanced the efficiency of the infrastructure. It has also brought down the hardware support requirements.

5. IaaS and Information Security

Information security is one of the areas that software companies need to manage with the implementation of the IaaS model.

Software companies operating in the cloud need to have a special focus on data security. Data, for instance, constantly moves between on-premises and cloud resources. The absence of data encryption is one of the major loopholes enabling attackers to breach information security. The misconfiguration of cloud resources is another error by software companies resulting in the violation of information security and privacy.

With the IaaS model, the companies get control over the data sets and are accountable for managing the security and privacy of the data. Measures, such as data encryption, careful configuration, advanced access control, and continuous monitoring are essential to maintain information security and privacy.

In the End

Software companies can derive a massive range of benefits from the IaaS cloud. The cloud model offers flexible servers and dynamic storage with complete control over the applications and platforms. It is essential for companies to carefully manage the security of their data and applications to gain the most out of the IaaS cloud capabilities. Adopting IaaS can help software companies dramatically improve their flexibility, agility, and resilience. All that, while managing costs.

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Cloud-Native App Development

Taking A Comprehensive Look At Cloud-Native App Development

Cloud-native refers to an approach to develop and run applications to take benefit of the many powerful cloud computing models out there. The development approach is apt for public as well as private cloud options. Cloud-native app development also folds in many of the latest development concepts and approaches like DevOps, Microservices architecture, containers, and continuous integration & delivery.

Cloud-Native App Development

To further examine the process of cloud-native app development, the following table highlights the key differences of this approach from the traditional enterprise app development.

Parameter

Cloud-native App Development

Traditional Enterprise Apps

Delivery and Development Model/Approach

Continuous development, integration, and delivery

Waterfall (rigid) development earlier, now Agile

Scalability

Automated scaling

Manual Scaling

Recovery Rate

Rapid

Slow

Capacity

Right-sized

Over-sized

Architecture

Microservices

Monolithic

Level of Abstraction

High

Low – OS dependent

 

The following figure from Microsoft illustrates cloud-native design quite beautifully.

cloud native application development design

Building Cloud-native Apps

Cloud-native apps often comprise small and independent services to provide required business value with continuous delivery and improvement. The approach enhances the speed of development and connects new apps with existing ones.

Several elements and components are significant in cloud-native app development. While well-known concepts in themselves, it’s worth touching on them to establish the concept.

  1. DevOps is one such element and it refers to the continuous collaboration of development and IT operations. The primary objective of the DevOps approach is to continuously improve the quality of the software applications while simultaneously resolving customer/user concerns. It leads to the formation of a cohesive environment to build, test, and release the apps consistently.
  2. Microservices are integral components in the cloud-native app development lifecycle. It refers to an architectural approach comprising a collection of small services that are developed independently of each other. Each service in a microservices architecture is independent and can run in its process. The services can also be deployed, scaled, and restarted without involving any other service due to their loosely coupled nature. The involvement of the microservices architecture facilitates regular updates of the live applications without causing any adverse implications on app continuity, availability, or customer requirements.
  3. Containers in cloud-native app development provide supreme efficiency and higher speeds in comparison with Virtual Machines (VMs). The involvement of OS-level virtualization leads to the dynamic division of a single OS instance in one or multiple isolated containers. These containers have a unique writable file system along with a resource quota. Two properties have relevant value for using containers in cloud-native app development. These are low overhead and high packing density qualifying containers to be an ideal choice to deploy the microservices.One of the essential properties that distinguish cloud-native app development from the traditional process is continuous delivery and integration. Agile development processes come into the picture to ensure continuous delivery. The development process includes incremental changes in the software with parallel testing and continuous delivery. Constant collaboration and feedback from the end-users add to the empowered enhancement of software and application quality.
  4. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) help integrate the data sets, apps, and devices for seamless delivery. Agile integration is used in cloud-native app development to offer higher scalability and flexibility with well-managed endpoints.

Cloud-Native App Developer Tools:

Information security and privacy risks on the systems and applications are at an all-time high. Cloud-native security offers a transformative mechanism to bring down the risks. This is because repairs and patches are installed as soon as the updates are available. The applications also constantly repave the services and rotate user credentials often to reduce the attack surface and attack window.

Kubernetes makes the deployment and management of container applications easy by allowing easy and robust orchestration. It has also come up with several abstractions in the app development workflows. Some of the tools listed below can be effective in cloud-native app development and bringing down the management overhead for the developers.

  1. Draft:
  2. Draft is a tool that provides two primary features to cloud-native app developers. It can automatically spin up the artifacts required to run Kubernetes apps. It also builds container images from the code and can deploy them to a Kubernetes cluster.

  3. Skaffold:
  4. It is a tool to iterate on application codes locally. The tool also includes features to build container images and deploy the same to local/remote clusters. The tool also offers features to manage and maintain continuous integration and delivery pipeline.

  5. Telepresence:
  6. The tool allows advanced application development by enabling cloud-native app developers to develop services locally. They can also sync and connect these services to the remote clusters and generate automatic updates based on the changes.

  7. Okteto:
  8. The tool enables the developers to determine local code changes and also has the feature to synchronize changes in a remote development environment. Such features allow the cloud-native app developers to work with their preferred tools and also speeds up the overall development lifecycle.

To Sum it Up

Cloud-native app development leverages the power of the cloud as an engine for business growth. Development teams can look to improve resilience and achieve higher scalability and flexibility with this approach. It is a great way to develop and run fault-tolerant apps irrespective of the cloud models involved.

DevOps on Cloud 2021

All You Must Know about DevOps on Cloud In 2021

DevOps has been referred to as the accelerated automation of agile methodology. The idea is to enable developers to meet real-time business requirements by releasing fast and iterating often. DevOps is the finely-tuned coming together of development, testing, and operations activities to eliminate any latency in software development procedures.

Of course, DevOps and Cloud Computing technology go hand in hand. The intense value of accelerated releases is best seen in cloud-based SaaS products where the changes can reflect immediately and updates can be rolled out instantly across all users.

DevOps on Cloud 2021

But the link between DevOps and cloud runs much deeper.

Cloud Computing provides centralized storage of the computing resources enabling DevOps automation with a centralized platform to carry out testing, deployment, and production activities. DevOps on the cloud resolves many of the concerns around distributed complexity. With such capabilities, a majority of the cloud computing vendors now provide DevOps support to enable continuous development and integration. Such easy integration brings down the costs associated with the on-premises DevOps platform. Centralized control is also enabled.

Benefits of DevOps on Cloud

Speed and agility are the primary benefits that businesses can experience with the synergy between DevOps and Cloud Computing. DevOps on the cloud covers all the application processes and life cycles beginning from code submission to its release. It enables a flexible choice of tools and products for effective capacity planning. It becomes possible to develop resources in a few minutes on the cloud, eliminating concerns around capacity expansion. The end-users get the ability to define infrastructure-as-code using declarative configuration files. These files can then be utilized to manage infrastructure resources, such as containers or virtual machines.

The following benefits are most commonly seen:

  • Enhanced pace of automation with reduced time to market
  • Effective cloud server replication
  • Real-time monitoring of services, such as backup services, management services, acknowledgment services, and others
  • Rapid deployment.

Controlling Cloud Costs:

It is challenging for organizations to control their respective cloud costs. Some of the reasons identified behind the inability to control these costs are ineffective analysis, complex public cloud offerings, poor cloud management, and a lack of transparency. With other measures to control costs, DevOps on the cloud can be an effective technique to control and manage cloud costs. DevOps involves holistic thinking wherein specific plans are developed for the entire environment including the budget and cost plans. These plans, being more comprehensive, provide a greater ability to control costs.

Key Points to Remember:

  1. Training on DevOps and Cloud: Integration of DevOps and cloud can bring along changes in the technical landscape and existing culture. Acceptance of the modified platforms and technologies can be made easy with training. Cloud and DevOps training becomes essential to explain to the individual the need for the technology changes and the requirements for DevOps on the Cloud.
  2. Security Consideration: Security models of organizations change irretrievably with cloud deployments. Robust security policies and controls must be extended to the DevOps platform when the two are integrated. Security must be synced with the continuous development and integration processes for better control and safety.
  3. DevOps Tools Selection: DevOps tools can be classified in different categories based on their availability and access, such as tools on-demand , on-premises, or ones as part of a large cloud platform. Many software organizations prefer to select DevOps tools and applications that can be deployed on multiple clouds. This helps improve the scalability and flexibility aspects of the organization.
  4. Service and Resource Governance: Governance is one aspect that often escapes due diligence. If that happens, the services, resources, or APIs inevitably become too complex to control and manage. Organizations must ensure that a governance infrastructure is in place and the policies around security, service management, resource management, and integration are defined in advance.
  5. Inclusion of Automated Performance Testing: Performance testing is a necessary inclusion within the automation testing suite in DevOps. It is important to carry out appropriate performance tests before production to ensure the improved quality of services at all times. The performance test cases must mesh with the accuracy, load, and stability tests along with the tests conducted to determine usability and API security.
  6. Consider Containers: Integrating containers in DevOps and cloud strategy can provide several benefits. Containers enable a mechanism to componentize applications to improve application portability and management. Effective utilization of the technology can provide better cluster management or security. A refined approach to application architecture needs to be adopted by organizations to achieve improved value and outcomes from DevOps on Cloud.

To Sum it Up:

DevOps on the cloud can provide a wide range of benefits to organizations. Of course, making this work involved factoring in several issues into the process. Aspects, such as training, tools selection, security, governance, containers, and performance testing must be considered to experience all the benefits of integrating DevOps with Cloud Computing technology. Once that is done, it could enable the creation of an unstoppable software development organization.

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Exploring Serverless Technologies

Exploring Serverless Technologies

Companies made the inevitable transition to cloud computing as it was scalable and required less infrastructure expenditure. All they needed was a remote virtual server that could be physically in a data center miles away or continents apart.

However, as the dependency on virtual servers increased, companies found it difficult and time-consuming to manage their software stacks in a distributed environment. It also started becoming expensive as developers over-provisioned server resources to manage traffic or activity spike, which went underutilized at most times.

To achieve a cost-effective and manageable solution, developers building cloud products or web apps started to turn towards serverless technologies.

Serverless computing enabled these developers to write and deploy code without worrying about the infrastructure. The code was run in a stateless container and was triggered during events such as a file upload or an alert, or during an HTTP request.
Exploring Serverless Technologies
That’s not all; serverless technology allowed developers to build a complete stack of serverless applications and serverless frameworks that would drive how the serverless applications should be built. They could also build serverless databases. So, there was no pressure of provisioning or maintaining a database.

According to Gartner, more than 20% of global companies would have deployed serverless technology by the end of 2020.

However, what does it mean for business, and how is it beneficial to end-users?

Let’s explore to know more.

How Can Serverless Technologies Benefit Businesses?

  1. Reduces dependency on backend infrastructure: 

    Developers are often bogged down by roadblocks such as provisioning, configuring, and managing backend infrastructure. Serverless technology removes that stress. It ensures that the developer focuses only on developing and deploying application code. The service provider looks after the provisioning, managing, and scaling of the infrastructure. There are two types of serverless computing:

    • Backend-as-a-service (BaaS): In this case, the developer does not have to create a backend for the databases, storage, authentication, etc. for each of the apps they build. They can link them all by using SDKs and APIs provided by the service provider. They can focus on the front-end and the user experience they provide.
    • Function-as-a-service (FaaS): In this case, the applications are separated into individual functions. The service provider manages the execution. This reduces the complexity of managing applications and improves productivity and agility in the development process.
  2. Reduces overhead costs:

    Serverless technologies are, obviously, an apt solution for companies who want to cut their overhead expenses. It does not require the same level of maintenance or human resources as technologies dependent on servers.  In fact, since developers do not have to worry about building the infrastructure from scratch, they can focus on managing the front-end. The other advantage of adopting serverless technologies is that infrastructure is priced based on usage. So, if the code is not running, the company does not have to pay for it. They just have to pay for the number of executions and the memory usage. This also becomes a valuable benefit for the end-users of the product or app when it passes into their hands.

  3. Scalability is events-based:

    Events in this context could mean uploading a new file or a video or an email being sent through an email sending service. These events change based on situations. Scalability cannot always be predicted. Hence, over-purchasing the server resources and underutilizing, while the norm, isn’t a viable solution. With serverless technologies, companies need not worry about scalability. The scalability depends upon an event. Every time an event occurs, a code is executed in response. This saves the company from spending on unnecessary infrastructure and resources.

  4. Reduces latency:

    Latency issues are a nightmare for developers. Imagine an application taking hours to download a file or an image. The end-user might lose patience with the application. Especially in the context of today’s digital consumer, speed is critical. According to Walmart, even a one-second improvement in page load time can improve conversions by 2%. One of the reasons for latency is the distance between the client’s device and the server responding to it. However, serverless technology can address this issue. Serverless technologies thrive on edge locations that are close to the end-user. So, the information doesn’t have to travel far. This allows for faster exchange of information to fix the latency issue.

  5. Faster go-to-market: 

    As the backend and other technical bottlenecks are taken care of, the developer can focus on writing the application code and deploying it. According to a survey by Dashbird, companies can save four developer work days by taking the serverless route. Even the delivery speed has reportedly been improved by 77% after using serverless technology. Developers also get time to experiment more and launch innovative products rapidly. This can add value to the business and give the company a competitive advantage over others.

How Can Serverless Technologies Benefit End-Users?

Considering that serverless technologies enable companies to experiment and create innovative products, there is an indirect advantage for end-users too. They are able to enjoy new features in their products quicker than before and with little or no latency issues, they are likely to experience a more seamless experience. Some serverless apps also offer client-side caching. So, even if there is no internet connectivity, the user can still enjoy the app’s experience offline. It’s fast, cheap, and more innovative. What’s not to like?

Notes of Caution:

Sophistication in product design and architecture have become crucial to ensure an appropriate coming together of the various elements to create a unified, seamless product or app experience for the end-users.

It’s also clear that the dependency on the cloud vendors increases as they manage everything from administrative functions to security. The internal teams lose some control over the technology and overall process. Obviously, it’s crucial to find the right vendor considering the criticality to the process.

But once appropriate care is taken, serverless technology promises to reduce operational costs and improve efficiency for great benefit and impact.

What is Distributed Cloud and Should Enterprises care

What is Distributed Cloud and Should Enterprises Care?

Distributed Cloud Computing has already made it to Gartner’s top ten strategic technology trends of 2020. New-age business processes are being designed to make use of distributed cloud infrastructure, applications,and databases to address modern workflows and their requirements. With the advent of advanced technologies such as distributed cloud computing, companies have accelerated the move away from their traditional ways of thinking and are now open to making the cloud central to their business strategies.

To accommodate a huge number of customers and growing volumes of data, traditional companies are now making the strategic shift by embracing the technology necessary for them to become cloud-driven companies. Clearly, cloud-native giants such as Facebook and Google have not only successfully adopted cloud, but they are visibly reaping the benefits of their cloud move. The sense is that to gain a competitive advantage in the market, companies have to scale-up their cloud strategy. And those who won’t make the move will stagnate, or worse.

This is a paradigm shift for many,which also means that there are a lot of questions to be answered before and after they adopt these technologies.

But the most fundamental question is, should companies care about distributed cloud?How can it impact their business!

  1. Understanding Distributed Cloud Computing
    With distributed cloud computing,you get computation, storage, and networking in a micro-cloud located outside the centralized cloud. Edge computing is a very good example of distributed cloud technology. Distributed cloud computing establishes computing, closer to the end-user,thus enhancing security.
    This distributed cloud model brings more agility, thereby giving enterprises better business outcomes.
  2. Personalize Cloud Strategy
    The biggest advantage of the distributed cloud is that it allows companies to diversify and still personalize their cloud strategy. The distributed cloud also allows companies to pick and choose the various capabilities of different cloud providers and solutions to align with their specific business needs.What makes distributed cloud so popular is that it gives immense flexibility to companies to be able to pick different cloud providers, solutions, and infrastructures depending upon the type of applications they want to address.
    So, while companies want to make this shift, they also need to prepare. They will need to make changes to the existing infrastructure to create robust connectivity between different modules of the cloud environment.
  3. Prioritize Business intelligence
    Talking about impactful applications, enterprises now want to weave business intelligence into their IT infrastructure and distributed cloud computing is supporting this move. They are focused on what more they can do with the data available to them. The distributed cloud allows the scaling of data storage and processing capabilities for companies. This is allowing companies to adopt and take advantage of other advanced technologies such as AI, Machine Learning, etc. This integration is helping companies to leverage business intelligence and predictive insights for enhanced profitability.
    Enterprises can now go beyond capturing their operational data and embed intelligence into their core operations, bringing in more agility and productivity. This intelligence also facilitates capturing interactions between the company and the customers to analyze and evaluate products, services, and the effectiveness of overall business functions.
    Going forward, the cloud is also likely to play a bigger role in shaping the overall IT strategy of companies. Offering a more collaborative IT structure; it can help bring together operations data and customer data to create a better product experience and an enhanced workplace experience too.
  4. Data and enhanced Customer experience
    While the cloud facilitates data-processing in real-time, it also enables functions that manage that data.
    Better data management can lead to a meaningful rationalization of the data foundation. Clean, current, accurate, consistent, and relevant data can drive strategies for enhanced customer experience. Data management helps drive agility in responding to the needs of the customer. It can help in understanding the various preferences of the customers, enhance response methods, and power the building of long-term business relations built on a more customized solutions’ approach.
  5. Distributed Cloud and Security
    While enterprises are looking at distributed cloud computing as a boon, some of the companies that still hesitate to adopt cloud are doing so due to some perceived security issues. Distributed cloud has data distributed over a large number of machines and networks, wireless sensors, mobile devices, etc. This scattered data can mean higher risks of security breaches and can make data security in the cloud more complicated than centralized systems.
    However, a lot depends upon the individual company data compliance stance, IT regulations, governance controls, and data security administration policies.Companies that can address security concerns with well-managed cloud computing infrastructure stand to gain, while still staying secure.

Conclusion:

IT is becoming the backbone of business performance. But businesses are looking at solutions that can simplify the complex nature of their IT infrastructure. They want to make IT incredibly manageable,driving better business outcomes. The distributed cloud makes it easy to integrate new technologies within a seemingly simpler IT infrastructure.

While enterprises are already looking beyond just capturing operational data; this method of cloud computing offers a lot more in terms of flexibility, convenience, cost control, and, most importantly,nurturing specific business applications like enterprise intelligence!
There’s no doubt that 2020 will be the year where enterprises will dive into the distributed cloud. The business case is just too compelling.

Blockchain Age in Data Storage

Are we set for the Blockchain Age in Data Storage?

Although Blockchain came into the limelight with the cryptocurrency bitcoin, in the last year or so, companies have become increasingly aware of how Blockchain can bring about transformation across industries. With the cloud storage market expected to grow to $88.91 billion by 2022, the decentralized storage industry is rapidly gaining popularity, and Blockchain will be critical to its success. Since data storage – especially critical financial data – is always vulnerable to security breaches, migrating data from private data centers onto public Blockchains can help enterprises decentralize storage, thereby enhancing availability, scalability, and security of data.

Current Challenges:

It is not hard to imagine the ever-increasing volume of financial data that is being generated. Data, which will also then have to be managed, stored and analyzed for effective business decision-making. Connected devices, mobile apps, and the increasing need to share data across businesses are all contributing to the increasing demand for storage that is highly available, scalable, and secure.

Businesses that are looking to launch new, data-driven applications face a sea of challenges with respect to time, effort, and management to provision new datasets and databases.

Traditional cloud storage networks are also known to come with latency challenges. Since most of the time, the data that gets stored in a data center will not be in the same location as the business, delays in delivery are the norm – and that doesn’t work well in the financial context where delays of milliseconds can cause huge losses.

What’s more, the need for large databases also necessitates the need for managing large data centers, that require frequent temperature control, periodic updating, and rigorous upkeep -all expensive.

In addition, the road towards a richer, more data-centric way of working is further challenged by a global phenomenon of data breaches from centralized data centers. The outcome is worrisome – the growing storage needs of businesses are driving extraordinarily large volumes of data to be stored in centralized databases.

This creates risk at a scale never seen before. This necessitates the need for de-centralizing data storage, that can not only minimize the risk of a complete shutdown but also ensure efficiency and transparency of data storage.

The Benefits of Decentralized Storage:

As most current cloud-based databases are highly centralized, they are tempting targets for data breaches. Cloud Storage Companies do have several mechanisms in place to avoid the loss of data, such as dispersing duplicate files across various data centers to avoid a breach. That said, decentralizing storage would more or less eliminate the risk and repercussions of disruptions.

Although current networks need to evolve in order to accommodate such decentralized storage infrastructure, the day is not far when data will be supported by a network of decentralized nodes in a more user-friendly and cost-effective manner than the current, central database solutions.

Decentralized storage works by distributing the data across a network of nodes, thereby reducing the strain on a single node or database. Since it utilizes geographically distributed nodes, decentralized storage can avert such catastrophes and ensure the company’s data is always protected. As data is stored across hundreds of individual nodes, intelligently distributed across the globe, no single entity can control access – thus improving security and decreasing costs.

Any attack or outage at a single point will not result in a domino effect, as other nodes in other locations will continue to function without interruption. The distributed nature of these nodes also makes decentralized storage highly scalable, as companies can leverage the power of the network and achieve better up-time.

The Role of Blockchain:

Although one of the biggest achievements of the Internet era has undoubtedly been cloud data storage, it is already under threat of being replaced by Blockchain storage technology. As the need for decentralized storage becomes more and more relevant, the storage industry is looking to make the most of Blockchain’s distributed ledger technology.

Blockchain paves the way for user-centric storage networks, where companies can move data from the current centralized databases to Blockchain data storage, and benefit from a more agile, customizable system. Because storage gets distributed across nodes, companies can enjoy a better speed of retrieval and redundancy by accessing data from the node that is closest to them.

With such attributes that meet the practical demands of storing high volumes of data, Blockchain will partition databases along logical lines that can only be accessed by a decentralized application using a unique key. Such a decentralized network of storage nodes not only reduces latency but also increases the speed by retrieving data in parallel from the nearest and fastest node.

And because there are so many geographically dispersed nodes in a network, the reliability and scalability of decentralized storage are greater. What’s more, since the devices in the nodes aren’t owned or controlled by a single vendor but by several individuals, the availability and reliability of data are improved even further.

The Way Forward:

As industries battle issues of the security and confidentiality of data, the evolution of Blockchain has come like a boon. Touted as a technology with the potential to transform every industry, Blockchain could be particularly beneficial in the data storage game.

By improving business efficiency and bringing transparency in how enterprises store business data, Blockchain is poised to offer myriad benefits such as shared control of data, easy auditing, and secure data exchange. While it may take time for Blockchain to become the default choice for businesses looking to meet their ever-increasing storage needs, it won’t be long before the world opts for this secure, efficient, and scalable solution in an increasingly data-starved world. Are you Blockchain ready?

google cloud platform application development

Google has a New Cloud Platform – What Does it Mean for Application Development?

Google’s foray into the cloud computing space is the talk of the town. By offering a suite of public cloud computing services such as compute, storage, networking, big data, IoT, machine learning, and application development, Google has now joined the likes of Amazon and Microsoft and hopes to take over the cloud computing market. Since the platform is a public cloud offering, services can be accessed by application developers, cloud administrators, and other IT professionals over the internet or by using a dedicated network connection.

What Google New Cloud Platform Means For Application Development?

According to Gartner, by 2021, the PaaS market is expected to attain a total market size of $27.3 billion. In addition to the core cloud computing products such as Google Compute Engine, Google Cloud Storage, and Google Container Engine, what’s particularly exciting for the application development world is the Google App Engine – a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering that enables developers to build scalable web applications as well as mobile and IoT backends. It offers access to Google’s scalable hosting, software development kit (SDK), and a host of built-in services and APIs. Here’s a list of features application developers can leverage:

  • Access to familiar languages and tools: Since developers are most comfortable developing apps using languages that they are familiar with, the Google Cloud Platform allows them to choose the language of their choice – from Java, PHP, Node.js, Python, C#,.Net, Ruby or any other language you prefer. Access to a collection of tools and libraries that include Google Cloud SDK, Cloud Shell, Cloud Tools for Android Studio, IntelliJ, PowerShell, Visual Studio etc. make application development all the more efficient. And with custom runtimes, you can bring any library and framework to the App Engine by supplying a Docker container.
  • Hassle-free Coding: Despite being proficient in coding, developers often end up managing several other aspects of the application development life-cycle beyond the purview of their role. The Google Cloud Platform offers a range of infrastructure capabilities such as patch and server management, as well as security features like firewall, Identity and Access Management, and SSL/ TLS certificates. With all these other facets of development taken care of, developers can enjoy hassle-free coding, without worrying about managing the underlying infrastructure.
  • Scalable Mobile Backends: Depending on the type of mobile application that is required to be built, the Google Cloud Platform automatically scales the hosting environment. With Cloud Tools for IntelliJ, one can easily deploy Java backends for cloud apps to the Google App Engine flexible environment. Integration with Firebase mobile platform provides an easy-to-use front-end with a scalable and reliable backend, and access to functionalities such as databases, analytics, crash reporting and more.
  • Quick Deployment: Quick deployment is a top priority for any developer; if one can’t deploy apps quickly, someone else will and might eat into your market share and customer base. Being a fully-managed platform, Google Cloud Platform allows developers to quickly build and deploy applications and scale as required, and not worry about managing servers or configurations. What’s more, Google’s Cloud Deployment Manager allows you to specify all the resources needed for the application and to perform repeatable deployments quickly and efficiently.
  • High Availability: Making applications available anytime, anywhere, and on any device has become a requisite. The Google App Engine allows developers to build highly scalable applications on a fully managed serverless platform. All they have to do is simply upload their code and allow Google to manage the app’s availability — without having to provision or maintain a single server. Since the engine scales applications automatically in response to the amount of traffic they receive, you can ensure high availability and only pay for the resources used.
  • Easy Testing: The impact of an app failure is extremely profound. Not only does it cost a lot but it also impacts customer trustworthiness. Do you know? In 2017, software failures resulted in losses of over $1.7 trillion. The Google Cloud Platform integrates with the Firebase Test Lab that provides cloud-based infrastructure for testing mobile apps. With Firebase Test Lab, app developers can initiate the testing of apps across a wide variety of devices and configurations and view test results directly on their console. And if there are problems in the app, they can debug the cloud backend using Stackdriver Debugger without affecting end-user experience.
  • Seamless Versioning: Users need updated information about the version of the app installed on their devices. This means that versioning is a critical component of the application upgrade and maintenance strategy. When developing apps in the App Engine, one can easily create development, test, staging, and production environments and host different versions of the app. Each version then runs within one or more instances, depending on how much traffic it has been configured to handle.
  • Health Monitoring: Providing users with high-quality app experiences requires app developers to carry out timely performance monitoring. As applications get more complex and distributed, Google Stackdriver offers powerful application diagnostics to debug and monitor the health and performance of these apps. By aggregating metrics, logs, and events, it offers deep insight into multiple issues. This helps speed up root-cause analysis and reduce mean time to resolution.

Streamline Application Development:

The Google Cloud Platform – with its application development and integration services – could change the face of application development. With access to popular languages and tools and an open and flexible framework that is fully managed, it enables app developers to improve productivity and become more agile. Developers can focus on simply writing code and run all applications in a serverless environment. Since the App Engine automatically scales depending on application traffic and consumes resources only when the code is running, developers do not have to worry about over or under-provisioning. Now developers can efficiently manage resources from the command line, debug source code in their production environment, easily run API backends using industry-leading tools, and streamline the application development process.

The Return of the Private Cloud

The Return of the Private Cloud

With cost savings being a key driver for cloud adoption, many organizations choose the public cloud to achieve economies of scale. Although the public cloud sector continues to attract enterprise customers looking for a combination of price economy and cloud productivity, many customers also look to run several workloads privately within a private cloud. Contrary to popular belief that public cloud platforms are the most economical, recent research suggests that private cloud solutions can be more cost-effective than public cloud infrastructures.

Why Private Clouds are Becoming Popular Again:

The continuous need for speed and efficiency of operations is making cloud adoption a priority for many businesses today. Cloud services enable modern organizations to break the barriers of traditional business operations and drive innovation at a rapid pace and in affordable ways. According to a study, public cloud adoption increased to 92% and private cloud to 75% in 2018.

Private clouds work better for large enterprises, especially if they operate in regulated industries or have workloads with sensitive data. With private clouds, organizations have more control over their data and enjoy additional security, compliance, and delivery options. Also, with the generational shift in IT management processes and practices, private clouds enable the millennial generation to adopt simplified tools and intuitive graphical user interfaces.

Why Public Clouds Aren’t as Economical as they Seem:

Containing costs is one of the main reasons for public cloud adoption. Other reasons are the access to on-demand resources, quicker time to market, easier product development, and the ability to scale to meet varying needs. However, many organizations do not realize that public clouds are not always the bargain they expect and that they may not deliver the promised cost savings. Although public clouds help organizations grow revenue and increase productivity, with scale, the costs can mount rapidly, without the expected savings accruing to the business.

Also, in order to move workloads to the public cloud, organizations must consider the potentially high cost of re-architecting and re-coding applications. This is significant when compared to the relatively minor premium incurred in maintaining a private cloud. This certainly busts the myth that public clouds are always the cheapest option.

Making Private Clouds Economical:

Although the private cloud has often been touted as the right choice for organizations with mission-critical requirements at a premium price, this is not the full story. There are several ways in which private clouds are more economical than public clouds. 41% of organizations claim to be saving money using a private cloud instead of a public cloud – in addition to the perceived benefits of ownership, control, and security.

  • For organizations that have the expertise to manage a large number of servers at a high level of utilization, private clouds can offer a total cost of ownership (TCO) advantage.
  • Organizations that use capacity-planning and budget-management tools can achieve substantial economies of scale. Capacity-planning reduces costs by ensuring the hardware is being utilized with as little waste as possible. And budget-management enables consumption and expenditures to be tracked with the goal of reducing waste and optimizing spending.
  • High levels of automation an also reduce manual tasks, allowing administrators to devote more time to other critical tasks. Organizations can increase labor efficiency by having access to qualified, experienced engineers. They can reduce operational burdens with the outsourcing and automation of day-to-day operations – high levels of automation drive down management costs significantly.
  • Another key consideration is how organizations utilize cloud resources. Since TCO of a private cloud is directly proportional to its labor efficiency and utilization, for self-managed private clouds to be cheaper, utilization and labor efficiency must be relatively high. If the infrastructure is only used to about 50% of its capacity, the cloud administrator will need to manage a large portion of the infrastructure to achieve a TCO advantage.
  • Lower costs can also be achieved by maximizing software license use. If licenses are based on CPUs, organizations can achieve improved license utilization by hosting a large number of virtual machines per CPU in a private cloud as compared to a public cloud where each virtual machine needs to be licensed separately at increased costs.

Choosing What Works Best:

In order to get the most out of their cloud investment, organizations must have a clear understanding of what works best in various cloud scenarios and what does not. They need to get past common myths and public hype around the “public vs. private cloud” debate. Enterprises looking to adopt the private clouds need to deploy it for large projects with high utilization and labor efficiency, using the right license model and the right combination of tools and partnerships to achieve economies of scale.

According to a study, even if the public cloud were to cost half as much as the private cloud, enterprises would migrate only 50% of workloads. This suggests that no matter how economical the public cloud may seem, organizations will still have other compelling reasons to use the private cloud. Organizations can also opt for a multi-cloud strategy to avoid vendor lock-in and leverage the best attributes of each platform. According to a report, 81% of enterprises today have a multi-cloud strategy. We have written previously about the multi-cloud and when it may be right for you. Go ahead, hop across there is that’s the next set of questions in your mind.

How cloud makes big data better?

How Cloud Makes Big Data Better?

Information technology at one time was that exclusive club that allowed only the elite few such as very large organizations and government bodies etc. through its doors. The story is quite different today. The rise and adoption of technologies such as the cloud have led to the democratization of IT, increasing the reach of technology, enabling cost reductions, and providing a plethora of applications to choose from without making any heavy investment. The cloud has given the much-needed horsepower to make the world more software defined. It hardly comes as a surprise that the cloud ranks high up in the priority for organizations across the globe.

Along with the cloud, we have also witnessed the rising importance of Big Data. Big Data has moved from the ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ initiative as we move deeper into the data economy. The promise of valuable insights to create competitive advantage, drive revenues and spark new innovations are reason enough to bring it on the agenda of all kinds of businesses. As the adoption of Big Data and Cloud continue to increase, we are witnessing a growing interdependence between these two technologies with the promise of phenomenal gains.

  1. Convergence – is the name of the game:
    While big data and cloud evolved independently over time, today these two technologies are becoming increasingly intertwined. The growing volumes of data and the need for faster analytics have driven big data to the cloud. Organizations today are looking at new data models derived from structured and unstructured data sources, they need complex event processing applications, they need usage-based compute resources, and they demand greater computing power. With an on-premise data store, processing and analyzing these high volumes of data becomes hard to execute. And given the operational and management costs associated with these on-premise solutions, it does not present itself as an agile and cost-effective solution.
    The cloud, on the other hand, helps in alleviating the enterprise data load and offers not only greater computing power, increased storage, and data agility, it also makes it infinitely easier to analyze and derive faster data insights.
  2. A conversation shift:
    With the conversation moving from ‘where can we store all this data’ to ‘what can we do with all this data’, organizations are moving towards an orientation that is more outcome-based. Clearly, cloud computing and big data are better together. With a growing dependence on data, enterprises are looking at greater effectiveness from big data platforms. With the greater integration of data from both structured and unstructured resources, the big data platform that we need must be highly scalable, elastic, and performance driven. And this can be achieved by leveraging the computing capabilities of the cloud.
  3. The need for greater scalability:
    Performance issues such as latency have no place in the enterprise today. When it comes to analytics, latency can play havoc with performance. The lack of efficient data warehousing and an inability to access real-time BI to answer business queries is a challenge that can be navigated using the cloud. Latency can be brought down efficiently to almost single digit milliseconds using the cloud to create direct interconnections between the data and the analytics. The need for additional processing power can also be addressed with the cloud as it is always there for the taking.
  4. The financial advantage:
    Cost is an obvious advantage of the cloud. On-premise big data storage and analytics can cause a huge drain on the IT budgets as the organization then becomes responsible towards maintaining the big data centers. The cloud, on the other hand, makes no such demand and gives the organizations the flexibility to maintain small and efficient data centers that can be scaled on-demand. The cloud also makes it much easier to gather external data, something that is growing exponentially today. It also enables data access anytime, anywhere without any additional infrastructure demands, thus making it more cost-effective.
  5. Increased collaboration:
    Analytics is collaborative. Collaboration is also a driver of cloud adoption.
    BI and big data analytics work better in the cloud as the cloud provides ready access to data, BI, and processing applications. The cloud makes it possible to share visualizations, share data, and perform cross-organizational analysis. This makes the data analysis available to a distributed user base as well and makes information more accessible to a broader demographic.
  6. Better maintenance and lesser complexity:
    Analytics platforms, like software products, need maintenance. They need frequent upgrades, redesigns, migrations…the list goes on. By moving the analytics platform to the cloud, organizations can ensure that everything remains up-to-date at all times. The cloud also takes away the cost burden of over-provisioning for peak consumption as organizations can access on-demand scalable resources. With the convergence of cloud and big data, today we have cloud-based analytics applications that move the analytics closer to the data. Cloud analytics platforms also take away the effort that goes into putting together a functioning analytics platform. With a ready-to-use data processing and analytics setups, organizations become capable of accessing real-time data-driven insights faster. The can hit the ground running, as it were.

Big Data is only useful when it is used for analytics. It is also clear that the data deluge is only going to increase. And organizations will be hungry to use this rising deluge to their advantage. The key insight from this post is that this will only be possible by multiplying the power of big data with the advantages of the cloud.

software testing and digital transformation

5 Technologies that are the Building Blocks of Digital Transformation

Organizations are in the quest to accelerate business activities and offer an exceptional product and customer experiences by driving digital transformation. With 57% of organizations believing that digital transformation is a competitive opportunity, it is without the doubt that technology is enabling organizations to become more agile, responsive, innovative, and efficient in addressing their needs.

The Building Blocks of Digital Transformation

In a highly dynamic and competitive world, having an amorphous digital transformation goal is not enough; what is required is an understanding of the tools and technologies that can enable you to get there. Digital transformation spending is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by the end of 2019. Clearly, leveraging modern technology to significantly drive transformation has become a mandate for organizations around the world. However, only 10 percent of companies around the world describe themselves as fully digital – a significant gap. One of the challenges is the vastness of the scope. Where to start? What technologies will play a role? The questions are many.

Since markets, customer demands, and technology is changing rapidly, leading digital change requires you to embrace modern technologies. This will allow you to evolve with the rapid pace of digital change. Here are 5 technologies that are the building blocks of digital transformation:

  1. Cloud:
    For digital transformation to have a profound impact on business activities, the cloud must play an important role. The cloud offers digital organizations the flexibility to do business from anywhere, freeing them from the hassle of investing in and managing physical IT resources. It offers businesses the scale and speed needed to become agile and focus on continuous transformation. The cloud enables organizations to fuel better collaboration and constantly develop, deploy, deliver, innovate, and implement modern solutions. By offering flexible, on-demand access to resources, the cloud enables organizations to execute plans faster and address the changing needs of the market. With the cloud computing market projected to reach $162 billion in 2020, it is past the time for businesses everywhere to embrace cloud solutions to drive digital transformation.
  2. Mobility:
    A key pillar of digital transformation in today’s fast-paced world is mobility. Digital transformation involves radical reconsideration of how organizations use technology to build new revenue streams or business models. Mobility enables them to do that and achieve a host of benefits: anytime anywhere access to information, improved productivity, better process efficiency, lower operational cost, and an enhanced customer experience. Since mobile technology bridges the gap between the physical and digital world, it helps organizations make use of the right data in the right context at the right time and at the right place. It also fuels better communication and collaboration within the organization – helping organizations make more informed decisions, be more proactive, and engage with their customers and employees better. With 82% of organizations believing mobile is the face of digital transformation, the role that it plays is now self-evident.
  3. Big Data and Analytics:
    In today’s digital economy, organizations need to embrace technology not just to support existing business processes, but also to drive new avenues of competitive differentiation. Big data and analytics are driving organizations to analyze humongous amounts of data and unearth critical insights. They are examining business processes, customer behavior, market trends, and competition data and creating value. Since today’s digital customers are a major catalyst for digital transformation, harnessing the right data helps organizations to understand customer needs, make data-driven decisions, build products and processes to meet those needs, and shape the right experiences for them. As big data and analytics enable organizations to get answers to critical questions in near real-time, it allows businesses to react quickly to change, improve performance, and build competitive advantage.
  4. IoT:
    The Internet of Things is driving substantial transformation across industries by linking critical assets in a connected ecosystem. The data generated from these systems can be used to drive sufficient business value, potentially transforming operations and improving business efficiency. Gartner predicts that 1 million new IoT devices will be sold every hour and that IoT spending will reach $2.5 million per minute by 2021. Using IoT, organizations can extend their enterprise and make the most of the exciting business opportunities for transformative business growth. IoT can help drive industrial automation, derive insights into equipment data, enable predictive maintenance, and improve the safety of the workforce. What’s more, IoT data can also be used to boost efficiency, improve customer experiences, and increase overall business agility.
  5. AI:
    In a bid to drive transformation, organizations across the world are looking at ways of applying Artificial Intelligence to boost their business outcomes. AI is already a key driver of digital transformation across a wide range of sectors. Nearly 9 in 10 businesses believe that AI will serve as a key competitive advantage, and help them explore new opportunities and revenue streams. AI can drive significant automation in the enterprise. It enables organizations to apply a more agile framework for digital transformation and create repeatable, reliable functions that can be used widely. By understanding customer journeys and the outcome of future interactions with customers, AI can also be used to drive personalization in customer engagement – a key expectation of the modern digital customer.

Technology at the Core

The pace at which the world is moving is compelling organizations to embrace modern and innovative technologies. The aim is to become extremely agile, to quickly respond to market changes, and to address customer needs. Digital transformation requires you to leverage the available technology to enhance your business process efficiency and become more competitive. Modern technology advancements such as cloud, mobility, big data and analytics, IoT, and AI, offer a variety of potential business benefits. Picking an area of impact to your business and applying the right technology mix will help you take the first successful step towards digital transformation.

software testing and digital transformation

What the widespread adoption of digital transformation means for us?

Digital Transformation – These two words have changed the enterprise as we know it. Given the intense focus on digital, it has become evidently clear that the world will soon be divided into two parts – that of ‘digital leaders’ and of ‘digital laggards’ as per a Harvard Business Report. Unsurprisingly, HBR believes that it is the digital leaders who will outperform the digital laggards. Digital transformation has impacted business models, customer experiences, and operating models. This trend is all about employing digital technologies to business workflows and operations along with customer interactions. The aim is to enhance existing processes and improve the existing modes of interactions and consequently enable new, better, and more relevant products and processes. So pervasive has been the impact of Digital Transformation that it has topped the CIO agenda in 2017 as per a Wall Street Journal report. Having said that, here’s a look at what this widespread adoption of Digital Transformation means for companies like ours who support the organizations that have embarked on this journey.

  1. Web App Development: The enterprise today has to keep up with an insatiable demand for apps. It is because of the demand for enterprise-grade, secure, robust, and intuitive applications that organizations developing these apps have had to rethink how applications are created. Development methodologies such as Agile, DevOps, Behaviour Driven Development, and Test Driven Development thus have emerged as key enablers of digital transformation. They give organizations the capability to deliver reliable applications faster. Low-code, rapid application development platforms, also, have been thrust into the spotlight to fuel this digital economy that depends on applications. Given that organizations have to be more consumer-focused in this digital age also means an increased focus on UX. Organizations also have to realize that apps now have to be tightly integrated with existing systems and deliver value to the business. The need for IT agility also means that apps become more customized, simple and modular, and highly secure. App development needs to accommodate these needs. As digital transformation becomes stronger, app development also has to factor in the interfaces with and the working of all networking elements, servers, and databases. Insights into how they are likely to perform under application conditions will become key inputs to delivering service assurance. That is our challenge now.
  2. Mobile App Development: The mobile has a decisive role in digital transformation. The growing mobile obsession irrespective of geographical, cultural, and social diversity means that enterprises have to calibrate their digital transformation initiatives around mobile consumerism. For software partners like is, this means mobile app development has to look at emerging technologies such as bot frameworks, machine learning, AI etc. to elevate mobile apps to match consumer expectations and have a transformational business impact. Having a mobile plan for all the disparate systems, and ensuring all legacy applications have a mobile front-end will be imperative. Mobile app developers also have to take into consideration business intelligence and analytics as more enterprises move towards SaaS applications and the cloud. At the same time, traditional mobile apps will make way for intelligent mobile apps that employ cognitive API’s and focus on delivering hyper-personalized UX’s to finely-tuned mobile app experiences. With greater digital proliferation, mobile app development will also move towards amalgamating experiences of the web with the mobile to develop apps that are extendable, performance oriented, highly secure, discoverable, and shareable.
  3. Software Testing: The shift towards methodologies such as Agile and DevOps is changing the way software is tested. The need for fool-proof, secure, available, comprehensive, and robust applications has never been greater than today. Owing to this, shift left testing is becoming popular. Here testing is integrated into the development process itself and starts early in the development cycle. Testing in the digital world is not only about finding faults but also about assisting in creating an application that focuses on customer experience. Testing teams have to now not only look at the business aspect but also focus on providing intelligence for business creation. The speed of testing has to increase and thus, we have to implement higher levels of test automation and leverage technologies such as AI and Machine Learning to make testing smarter. Software testing teams also have to focus on ensuring consistent application performance across different platforms, mobile devices, and operating systems, even with an increased focus on UX. Most importantly, test automation initiatives have to be open to evolution in keeping with constantly evolving application demands.
  4. Cloud: The cloud is a key enabler of digital transformation efforts as it offers enterprises the ease, speed, and scale that businesses need. The digital economy demands application availability. There is no place for latency in this business environment. The cloud emerges as the enabler of efficiencies here to ensure the anytime, anywhere availability of applications and information access. The need for greater computing power, storage, and a robust IT infrastructure can be addressed with the cloud. We have to consider that the cloud will become even more pervasive in enterprises looking at the digital transformation. This is inevitable as it provides enterprises with the capability to continuously innovate, build, test, implement, and experiment with different applications on multiple platforms. Additionally, since digital transformation demands the adoption of a culture of collaboration, it enables people to work more efficiently, to find ways to service customers better, generate revenue, and to find solutions to unsolvable problems. The cloud emerges as its critical enabler of innovation, creativity, and productivity and it has to form a key part of our arsenal.

The true value of digital transformation lies in complete transformation- not just tweaks. This transformation implies disruption and halting a previous trajectory to allow a fundamental change of path. It is only then that you can achieve the goal of digital transformation – to raise the bar and change the ground rules so that you can win in this competitive global economy. And yes, it will be software service partners that will help power that transformation.

what is multi cloud strategy and when is it right for you

What is a Multi-Cloud Strategy and When is it right for you?

The developments around cloud computing just seem to keep coming. With the cloud computing market expected to reach $411 billion by 2020 according to Gartner, the sheer degree of adoption is massive. For organizations, the world over experiencing challenges of market dynamism, competition, and customer demands, cloud computing is helping them to be responsive and relevant.  With cloud computing spending expected to grow at 6 times the rate of IT spending from now through 2020 according to Gartner (again!), there is a high likelihood that you will, sooner or later, consider moving to the cloud (i.e. if you haven’t already!) When you decide to migrate to the cloud to streamline your processes, boost collaboration, and increase accessibility, you will come across a variety of cloud models such as private, public, community, or hybrid, and cloud offerings such as IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS, as well as cloud architectures such as the multi-cloud. So what is the multi-cloud?

The Growth of Multi-cloud

As cloud computing becomes more and more mainstream, the introduction of new and innovative cloud technologies is inevitable. Although cloud computing started with the placing of workloads on a single cloud – whether private or public – the hybrid cloud quickly became a more attractive option because it gave enterprises more choice over storing their critical and not-so-critical data.

Soon enough, more and more vendors got into the public cloud business – starting with Amazon, and then Google and Microsoft, and now several others as well. Each has their own set of features and capabilities. Organizations were soon spoilt for choice. With such a variety of viable public cloud options, enterprises began to mix them together, both through formal architectural processes and through shadow IT. This signaled the emergence of Multi-cloud strategies.

A lot of times, the terms multi-cloud and hybrid cloud are used interchangeably. But the fact is, they are quite unlike each other.

  • While the hybrid cloud usually consists of a combination of a private and public cloud, the multi-cloud uses more than a single public cloud
  • A hybrid cloud environment refers to different deployment modes (public or private), while a multi-cloud environment refers to services from multiple cloud providers.
  • The multi-cloud enables organizations to avoid dependence on a single public cloud provider – so they can choose to opt for specific services from different public cloud providers and get the best of all their features and benefits.

When is multi-cloud strategy Right for You?

A typical multi-cloud infrastructure allows for the distribution of cloud assets, software, applications, and resources across several cloud-hosting environments. With a typical multi-cloud architecture utilizing two or more public clouds (and in many cases multiple private clouds as well), the reliance on any single cloud provider is eliminated. The benefits of a multi-cloud architecture include choosing price-competitive and feature-rich cloud services from different providers, avoiding vendor lock-in, improved mitigation against disasters, and increasing performance and redundancy.

Many organizations think they can multiply benefits from multi-cloud environments (with the assumption that if they can benefit from one cloud, benefits will multiply if they use multiple clouds!).  But that’s not always the case. It’s not all straight-forward though -there are some specific factors to consider too. Although many businesses can benefit from it, especially those looking to improve reliability, protect privacy, remain flexible, and optimize the cloud experience, a multi-cloud environment is not for all organizations. A multi-cloud strategy makes sense only if:

  • You operate in countries where laws, regulations and corporate policies require enterprise data to physically reside in certain locations. For example, a healthcare organization can choose from multiple providers’ data center regions or availability zones to improve performance and reduce latency.
  • Your business and technical goals require you to leverage price-competitive cloud services. For instance, an automobile manufacturer can take advantage of the speed, capacity, and cost benefits of the storage and workload requirements offered by a particular cloud provider in a particular geography.
  • Your business relies on critical data where data loss or downtime due to a localized component failure in the cloud can have severe consequences. For example, a stock exchange can leverage a multi-cloud environment to ensure round-the-clock availability of data, reduce the likelihood of data loss, or shutdown, and eliminate business interruptions.  
  • You operate in a business environment where responding quickly to changing business requirements is critical for business survival. For instance, retailers who experience sudden spikes in demand during the holiday season can accommodate unexpected surges and meet demands in a more flexible and reliable manner.

Make the Most of Multi-cloud

In a world of constantly changing business requirements and customer preferences, organizations have to embrace the cloud in order to thrive and grow. Deciding to move to the cloud can be critical in improving business flexibility and agility. In that situation, choosing a multi-cloud environment can allow you to get the best features of multiple cloud service providers -a win-win all around.

hybrid cloud is taking over the cloud

Hybrid Cloud is Taking Over the Cloud – Why?

The Rise of the Hybrid Cloud – What’s Driving Global Adoption

Cloud computing is no longer just a buzzword. According to reports, the total global public cloud market will be $178B in 2018. The explosion in data sources in recent years and the pressure to use that data meaningfully has driven a further rise in cloud computing. Although the public cloud is comparatively cheaper, there are concerns about security; and while the private cloud offers high levels of security, the cost is substantially more. Therefore, a majority of organizations are looking to opt for hybrid clouds, so as to leverage capabilities of both the private and public cloud. In a highly competitive business environment, hybrid clouds are extremely sought after; this strategy allows organizations to deploy workloads through a mix of cloud variations, with various degrees of integration between them.  

The Rise of Hybrid Cloud

Enterprises are moving away from on-premises data center systems and are reallocating budgets on IT infrastructure for deployment in cloud environments. Spending on cloud services demonstrates just how rapidly usage has grown; according to IDC, cloud services spending will reach a whopping $266 billion by 2021. Although a shared public cloud offers the convenience of easily scaling infrastructure up and down on-demand, concerns about privacy and security within a shared tenancy arrangement are widespread. That’s where a hybrid cloud comes into the picture; it offers the right mix of IT infrastructure services to meet specific scalability, control, performance, and cost requirements.

A hybrid cloud architecture offers the best of everything: top-notch security for critical workloads (such as financial data and intellectual property), and high performance to run common business processes (such as marketing, and human resources). These cloud services operate independently of one another, although they integrate with each other at various levels. By enabling workloads to interoperate across heterogeneous cloud environments, hybrid cloud bridges data silos, allowing organizations to seamlessly conduct business.

Business Drivers

Hybrid cloud is a coming together of multiple individual cloud infrastructures that remain distinct but are tied by technology that allows data and application portability. The Hybrid cloud takes advantage of the quick provisioning capabilities of the public cloud while also keeping the security and control of private cloud solutions. With Markets and Markets expecting the hybrid cloud market to be $91.74 billion by 2021, the model is being adopted by numerous organizations looking to leverage the direct benefits of both a private and public cloud environment.

  • A major reason why enterprises opt for a hybrid cloud is security. Using both private and public clouds in tandem allows them to pick and choose which data and services they want to keep in the private cloud for added security, and which in the public cloud.
  • The hybrid cloud offers the much-needed on-demand scalability that helps organizations manage any unexpected surges in workload. By enabling workflow automation, organizations can ensure resources can be made available when needed, giving them much-needed agility to efficiently run their business.
  • Hybrid cloud offers the ability to host environments in the public cloud and link them on demand to mission-critical data stored in private clouds, allowing businesses to ensure high performance of applications while simultaneously safeguarding sensitive data from prying eyes.
  • In a highly competitive environment, improving time to market is every organization’s goal. The hybrid cloud environment improves the speed of deployment of applications and services, enabling organizations to offer products and services quickly.
  • Hybrid cloud offers significant advantages in terms of disaster recovery. Although a private cloud would offer total control over data and recovery timelines, it also presents the problem of a single failure point. By migrating at least some of the recovery workload to public servers, companies can get the benefit of speedy restoration while decreasing the chances of complete system breakdown.

The Future of Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud migration is rapidly becoming commonplace across industries due to the benefits of improved security, better cost control, and enhanced disaster recovery. Hybrid cloud will see an upward trend in a variety of industries: in the financial industry, it will help organizations ensure minimum downtime, in the healthcare industry, it will help organizations in limiting information and in the retail sector, it will help in substantial cost savings by scaling resources based on surges in demand. If you’re looking to migrate to the cloud, take a step by step approach in order to realize the benefits of the hybrid cloud in your ever-evolving IT landscape.  

ecommerce shopping checklist

Why the Cloud will Rule the 2017 eCommerce shopping season?

Online retailers are rolling up their sleeves in preparation for the holiday season that is practically upon us. According to a report by IBM online sales have increased by 21.5%, of which 57.2% are mobile shoppers. Global online sales in this period are projected to touch 8.8% of the total retail spending in 2018, a considerable sum when you consider that the industry is geared to haul in $2 trillion in 2017.

That being said, online retailers have their work cut out for them to avoid becoming that bad headline during the blockbuster season. In the past, we have been witness to many such incidents where established retailers buckled under the pressure of high traffic during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. In 2016 we saw the Macy’s website succumb to the holiday e-traffic on the second biggest online shopping day of the year, Black Friday. The year before it was Target and Neiman Marcus, and Best Buy in 2014. Clearly, performance is of strategic importance for eTailers as almost 67% of Millennials and 6% of Gen Xers prefer online shopping to in-store shopping. As time and performance become the ultimate currency, here’s a look at why the Cloud is all set to rule the eCommerce shopping season to help the eTailers pass this stress test.

  1. Speed and Performance:
    The cloud is built for speed and performance and the consumers of today look for just these qualities in an online store. Consumers are looking to access the products, assess and compare them and to proceed to complete the check-out in the shortest possible timeframe. Any lags here, whether it is to load pages or to complete the transaction is only going to lead to cart abandonment. The cloud servers and platforms are designed to give eCommerce sites the advantage of speed with optimal performance.
  2. Scalability:
    An eCommerce store has to be ready to handle seasonal spikes in heavy traffic, especially during the special sale days. The cloud gives an eCommerce store the capability to increase their capacity, in terms of the bandwidth, storage, CPU etc. on-demand, when the eTailers need it. This gives eStores the capability to scale up to cope with the increase in traffic and scale back down when the holiday rush is over. Cloud servers bring operational agility to eCommerce stores and allow them to deal with high traffic much faster than in-house applications or servers.
  3. Security:
    Delivering a secure shopping experience is of paramount importance for eTailers. A number of high-profile data breaches and vulnerabilities have impacted consumer confidence. This means that eCommerce vendors have to ensure that they take all the necessary steps to deliver a secure shopping experience to their consumers. Leveraging cloud managed services, eTailers can easily manage vulnerabilities as the software gets updated automatically regularly. This immediately eradicates vulnerabilities from legacy applications.Additionally, now cloud platforms have their own vulnerability scanning and intrusion detection, and prevention measures which increase the security of the eCommerce platform. The cloud also helps in data protection since all the data is stored securely on the cloud servers. Most cloud providers go for ISO 27001 certifications and various types of security audits to make their solutions more secure for their customers. This allows security layers to be implemented at application, facility, and network levels, thus ensuring complete data protection.
  4. Disaster Recovery:
    The cloud gives eCommerce stores great disaster recovery capabilities. If an eCommerce website is hacked or if the server develops a fault, the consequences would be enormous especially during the holiday season. However, with the backup and recovery solutions provided by cloud server, eTailers can rest easy. The disaster recovery solutions are easy to implement, cost-effective and use the expertise of the cloud hosting company, making the cloud even more attractive for eCommerce.
  5. Greater control and reduced burden:
    One of the greatest advantages that eCommerce stores get with the cloud is that of greater business control. They can reduce the hardware burden, the time and money spent on making software upgrades and their dependence on IT. The cloud gives retailers the flexibility to seamlessly integrate with third-party solutions (ERP, CRM etc.) that often go hand in hand with robust API-driven integration. Product upgrades and changes to the eCommerce sites can be done easily across devices. This helps eTailers improve conversion rates. By leveraging Cloud testing, eTailers can determine how their site will respond under a load based on a set of defined parameters, and from a variety of virtual device types, including smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Along with this the cloud also helps eCommerce sites respond to issues and bugs faster and also provide a connected digital experience across all devices and channels.

Along with getting their marketing plans ready for the holiday season, eCommerce sites have to make sure that this time around they are ready to face the holiday rush. In the growing eCommerce landscape, hope is not a strategy. So, instead of hoping for a good holiday run, prepare for one by leveraging a robust cloud solution to ensure great site performance. Do this to set the cash registers ringing this holiday shopping season!

clouds transformers

How the Cloud has Transformed Product Development & Launch?

Today organizations across the globe are leveraging the cloud to boost innovation and productivity within the enterprise and consequently improve their profitability as well. Gartner called the cloud one of the top technology trends back in 2015 and now expects cloud adoption to be worth USD $250 billion this year. Use-cases are also constantly evolving. While the cloud has for long been used to host business applications, given that issues such as security have been mitigated, product development is the cloud is now becoming the new normal.

IT-driven organizations now need the flexibility to work flexibly with a diverse array of technologies that are easily customizable and allow for easier integration. This need for speed and modularity has propelled the rise of SaaS or cloud products that have shaken up traditional development approaches. The traditional, monolithic style of product development has been forced to undergo a radical overhaul. Organizations today need to be more agile and responsive. They must ensure that they reduce their time to market and release features faster while creating new foundations that allow integrations and continuous deployments. In this blog, we look at how the cloud has given product development, and launch a new age facelift.

More value and Less pain:
With the cloud, product development organizations today can save themselves the pain of managing and maintaining complicated and time-consuming tools and technologies. Cloud products generally employ a common hardware infrastructure, are served from a common software instance and, often, use a common code base. This has made product development more cost-effective, manageable, and maintainable.

Speed of Development:
The traditional software development cycle has been thought of as long and time-consuming. Here the product must go back and forth amongst development, QA, and deployment or operations teams before it is finally ready for release. Clearly, such long development cycles have no place in today’s business environment that demands work to be done at light speed. Businesses should make sure that they release upgrades and patch fixes faster so that they can remain relevant in today’s competitive market place. Software development cycles have become crunched, teams have become cross-functional, release cycles have become shorter, and MVP-like iterative development has become the norm. The cloud makes the software development cycle more efficient as developers can just focus on building, testing and deploying the application and do not have to worry about the infrastructure demands.

Collaboration:
Cloud product development gives software engineers the benefit of real-time collaboration which ultimately helps in developing a superior product. Unlike traditional software development teams, software development in the cloud does not take a siloed approach and provides developers the capability to collaborate real-time in a distributed environment without worrying about customizing or upgrading existing tools or installing new tools.

The Importance of Testing:
While traditional software development used testing at the end of the development cycle, cloud product development places testing at the core of development. This change in the development methodology helps in building a product incrementally, in lesser time and with fewer defects. Since a cloud product is used by multiple users, testing application performance in conjunction with the shared resources becomes central to ascertaining application performance. In addition, testing for SLA adherence, interface backward compatibility, multi-privilege tests etc. become essential. Development and testing are brought much closer together.

The Changed Launch:
Product launches too have changed considerably in the age of the cloud. Testing product concepts has become much easier for one as information generated from connected systems can be accessed from anywhere and anytime.

Product launches have also become more fast-tracked. Platforms, frameworks, and backend services are all offered as a service under the cloud umbrella and hence developers do not need to spend time focusing on getting these in place before they get working. The cloud has also helped address the problem of capacity planning for organizations and development teams. Applications can scale easily so developers can make updates and releases without worrying about additional infrastructure investments or setting up additional computing resources. Load balancing has become easier with the cloud and has taken outage worries away with the help of load balancers and content delivery networks.

It can be said that with the cloud, product launches have become faster and easier as some of the major pain points that plagued development teams in the past have been removed.

Today organizations have turned to the cloud to optimize their development process, lower their application maintenance and operations costs, and to improve their cost efficiency. In the process, software product development and launch too have got a much-needed facelift.

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