Why the Cloud Resonates With Consumers

Cloud ComputingMany services and technologies have come and gone over the last few decades. Some stick. Others have to pack it in for numerous reasons. Right now, it seems cloud computing is on an upward trajectory and shows no evidence of letting up. While the technology enabling the cloud is what drives its success, many factors have to go just right for a service to experience this type of buzz.So far, cloud computing has hit the right notes and is enjoying its moment in the spotlight. Here are just a few reasons why the cloud has consumer appeal.

The Name

What sounds more appealing? Software as a service (Saas), utility computing, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or the cloud? Referring to this technology simply as “the cloud” took it from the depths of some server rack in the back of an IT department and placed it front-and-center for both consumers and IT staff. “The cloud” is more accessible and more colorful than “utility computing.” Without the moniker, who knows if cloud computing would have been given the chance to reach its potential.

And who, you ask, coined the phrase “cloud computing?” That depends on where you direct the question. There are references to the cloud going back to 1997 when a trademark application for the term cropped up (the trademark attempt was later abandoned). It was a term mentioned in The New York Times in 2001, described as a “cloud of computers.”

In August 2006, Google’s Eric Schmidt described its approach to SaaS as cloud computing. It seems this was the first mainstream use of the term as its currently understood.

According to author John M. Willis, “I think this was the first high profile usage of the term, where not just ‘cloud’ but ‘cloud computing’ was used to refer to SaaS, and since it was in the context of Google, the term picked up the PaaS/IaaS connotations associated with the Google way of managing data centers and infrastructure.

“Much like ‘Web 2.0,’ cloud computing was a collection of related concepts that people recognized, but didn’t really have a good descriptor for, a definition in search of a term, you could say. When Schmidt used it in 2006 to describe their own stuff and then Amazon included the word ‘cloud’ in EC2 when it was launched a few weeks later, the term became mainstream.”

The Freedom

A big key to cloud computing adoption is that it has achieved an ease of use that anyone with an email address and credit card can start to see what the fuss is about. Free, limited accounts with simple sign-ups have gotten many people comfortable enough that they’re willing to try out paid, full-service accounts.

And there is a sense of freedom at being able to get stuff done without having to physically be at a work station or in the home office. This ability can be very liberating, especially when you’re on the road and need to access something important. The cloud allows you to go about your life and work in a streamlined manner, and if an emergency arises where you need specific information immediately, the cloud has you covered.

The References

The cloud already has worked its way into pop culture. On FX, a comedy called “The League” features a group of friends who participate in an NFL fantasy football league. “The League” is probably not a show that you’d want to watch with children or grandma because a.) it’s on FX, b.) double entendres galore and c.) common decency. But it’s well-written, topical and, in my opinion, super funny.

One of the characters named Taco, a slacker who’s not quite with it, waxes philosophic on the cloud during a conversation with characters Ruxin and Kevin.

Ruxin: “Are you baked all the time?”

Taco: “Oh, not this baked! I just wish I could walk around in a cloud of it all day long. ‘To the cloud!”

Kevin: “All right… you realize that that’s just a cloud of data pushing itself wirelessly through different devices?”

Taco: [snorts] “Now who sounds baked?”

 

 

Mozy and Enterprise – Ready for Each Other

This week, Mozy announced a renewed commitment to the MozyEnterprise service and for many that begs, the question, “Why now?”

MozyEnterprise

Over the past few years, the Mozy Enterprise Backup Solution product has enjoyed many successes and endured some bruises, and we’re proud and excited to go public with the fact that the software (the Mozy business) and the business (Enterprise customers worldwide) are finally ready for each other.  Here are the main reasons:

  1. Mozy’s enterprise cloud backup solution has enjoyed years of hardening and testing.  It may not be perfect (cause claiming perfection is a sure fire way to anger the software gods) but it’s pretty dang great.
  2. Businesses, even very large businesses, are accepting cloud solutions as enterprise-ready and really great choices for their IT needs.  We no longer have to sell enterprises on the power of the cloud – the cloud has proven itself.
  3. Enterprises are seeing the complexity of their backup and file accessibility needs explode – from remote workforces to Bring Your Own Device policies, IT no longer maintains strict control over the places and devices where people need access to their data, and enterprise cloud backup (specifically MozyEnterprise!) is well-suited to the needs of a diverse workforce.

We are very excited to re-introduce MozyEnterprise to the world of large business backup software and can’t wait to revolutionize the enterprise with the best backup and data access solution out there.

To learn more about MozyPro and MozyEnterprise and the difference between the two, make sure to watch Mozy Product Managers Jamie Morningstar and Todd Esplin discuss the differences between each offering.

 

Cloud Link Roundup – April 9

Google’s Online Art Project Now Includes the White House

Google announced a significant expansion of its Google Art Project, adding artwork from the White House and museums around the globe. Powering the Google Art project are Google’s Web services and cloud computing infrastructure.

Google’s Art Project now includes the White House galleries and notable international museums such as the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, India and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

“Since we introduced the Art Project last year, curators, artists and viewers from all over the globe have offered exciting ideas about how to enhance the experience of collecting, sharing and discovering art. Institutions worldwide asked to join the project, urging us to increase the diversity of artworks displayed,” Google said in a blog post. “We listened.”

What Cloud Computing Really Means

Cloud computing is all the rage.

“It’s become the phrase du jour,” said Gartner senior analyst Ben Pring. The problem, according to InfoWorld, is that everyone seems to have a different definition of cloud computing.

Some analysts and vendors define cloud computing as an updated version of utility computing: virtual servers available over the Internet. Others go broad, arguing anything you consume outside the firewall is “in the cloud,” including conventional outsourcing, according to InfoWorld.

InfoWorld talked to dozens of vendors, analysts and IT customers on various components of cloud computing. Here is InfoWorld’s rough breakdown of what cloud computing is all about.

Can the Cloud Revive Manufacturing?

Cloud computing could help usher in the next wave of technological innovation and, with it, provide a new engine for economic growth, according to the authors of a study on the emerging cloud computing ecosystem.

“Cloud-enhanced services” promise to take up much of the economic slack caused by the steady shift over the last several decades from manufacturing to services. Despite the loss of those U.S. manufacturing jobs, “direct linkages” persist between high value-added services and manufacturing, said John Zysman, coauthor of the cloud study and co-director of the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy.

“We contend that cloud computing is historically unique by simultaneously being an innovation ecosystem, production platform and global marketplace,” the study said.

 

 

How to Use Cloud Backup to Customize Your Android Phone

Use Online Backup to Help Root Your Android PhoneAs any self-respecting technology geek knows, it is hard to leave well enough alone. That’s why, in spite of having a constant flow of new technology that my career requires that I master, there are always those pieces of technical gadgetry that I feel I must play with.  Most recently, that gadgetry has been Android tablets and phones.

It’s not just a matter of need; sure my Nook Color eBook reader became much more useful when I rooted it, then decided a custom ROM was the only way to go, and some of the last generation Android tablets have been abandoned by the vendor in terms of upgrades, so what else is a self-respecting geek supposed to do.  They simply had to be re-ROMed and updated. But when I decided that my state-of-the-art Samsung Galaxy S II phone needed a better ROM I realized that it was just an obsession.

That didn’t stop me from doing it; I just came to terms with my addiction.

One of the most annoying parts of this particular technology addiction, is that when you want to be sure you aren’t going to screw up a device you actually need, you often need to do a complete wipe of the device before you do a ROM upgrade. Fortunately there are a number of good Android backup apps and it’s possible to do a selective restore of your device from these applications.  And if you are using modified or officially unsupported apps, you can always backup your APK files so that you can reinstall via sideloading the apps.

Less worry, cleaner updates

It used to be that this backup and restoration process would mean that you needed to make sure you could move files between your desktop PC and your Android device, so that you could recover files when you were done with your upgrade.  But the advent of cloud storage clients for your Android device has made this whole process much more flexible.

By using the cloud as the storage location for complete backups of my Android devices, as well as a repository for apk installation files, I can now just worry about making sure that I do whatever it takes to do a clean update of my devices when I play with custom ROMs and the like.  Every device has its own, up-to-date backup stored in the cloud, using my cloud storage/backup-provider app of choice.

After I update a device, I simply go onto the Android Market, reinstall my cloud storage and backup application, and I’m now ready to reconfigure the device either to a previous state I was happy with or with some version of my previous configuration, with all of the apps and data easily at hand. I don’t have to worry about finding that special apk file, or making sure that I’m connected to the network where my last full backup is stored.  Everything I need for the device to be running the apps I want with the data I need is as close as my nearest Internet connection.

 

 

Why Storage Isn’t Just For Doomsday Preppers

Disaster Preparedness With MozyOK, so maybe they’re a little bit…off. Like your cousin who presented you with a crossbow as a wedding gift.

But there’s little doubt the good folks featured on National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers are firm believers in being prepared for the worst. Here is Nat Geo’s description of the program:

“Doomsday Preppers explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations, and strategies, preppers will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties. And with our expert’s assessment, they will find out their chances of survival if their worst fears become a reality.”

Here’s my take: Thank goodness they don’t live next door.

They may be extreme, and heavily armed and possess an exorbitant amount of canned peaches, but this doesn’t mean we can’t learn a few things from these folks ready to go all Mad Max if necessary. These preppers undoubtedly touch on some important survival strategies that certainly apply to the cyber-worlds where many of us live.

Here are some tips, inspired by those inspired to fill fruit cellars with ammunition and 40-pound bags of cous cous, which might keep your digital life intact in the event of a natural, manmade or otherworldly disaster. You might want to mark this down on your Maya calendar.

The Upside of Backup and Virtualization

There really is no downside to backing up your data using cloud-based backup tools for your desktop and mobile devices. The same goes for virtualizing, say, your small business. Once society begins to re-establish itself after the asteroid hits, it will obviously be a big reassurance knowing that all of your Microsoft programs will be there waiting for you, courtesy of virtualization via Vmware .

The cloud has huge potential to make an impact on disaster recovery and the amount of time it takes to get back up and running.

Bug Out Bag: Don’t Leave Home Without It

Doomsday Preppers often features the Bug Out Bag, basically a bag of gear that’s ready-to-go and filled with essentials, such as food, water, first aid kit, flashlight and 12,000 rounds of armor-piercing incendiary shells.  Because you never know when those Canadian revolutionaries will want what’s yours.

But it really is a smart idea to have a disaster bag packed (say a few days before an expected weather event), and even take it one step further: Prepare a backpack with cellphone and laptop chargers and a flash drive filled with important documents, contact numbers and emergency information. Throw in some spare batteries and that old laptop collecting dust, and at least you’ve given yourself the chance to alert North Dakotans that the Canadians are coming.

News Flash: Invest in a Flash Drive

Light, secure, easy to disguise and having the potential to hold tons of information, flash drives are an easy way to ensure you have vital information at your fingertips, even as those Arctic aliens try to pry it from your cold hands.

Security!

It all comes down to security and providing you and your family with a sense of comfort and preparedness in an uncertain world.  Security from a cyber-attack or well-disguised phishing campaign. Security from those afflicted with the zombie sickness. In both cases, vigilance is key. Pay attention to where a Google search takes you before clicking on a suspect link. Pay attention to where you choose to store your photos and documents  – sometimes free storage comes with a big cost.

And, most importantly – and this cannot be overstated enough – pay attention as your neighbor’s daughter walks aimlessly, slowly and stiffly toward your compound. She is likely one of the undead.

 

 

3 Reasons the Cloud is a Killer Job Creator

Cloud Creates JobsCloud computing may be the next big job generator, according to several new studies and an analysis of job postings.

“Job creator” is a tag fitting for the technology. As more functions and processes move offsite, and more businesses look to tap into the savings brought on by cloud computing, there is a clear need to have qualified workers ushering along the process.

So here are three indicators on why the cloud, among other benefits, means jobs.

Greater Job Potential Than the Early Internet 

A new study titled “Job Growth in the Forecast: How Cloud Computing is Generating New Business Opportunities and Fueling Job Growth in the United States” showed several ways cloud computing can create new jobs. The study was sponsored by SAP and revealed cloud computing has the potential to create big business opportunities and hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S.
Additionally, venture capital investments in cloud opportunities are projected to be $30 billion in the next five years, which has the potential to add another 213,000 new jobs in the U.S.

“The study confirms that cloud computing can have a significant impact at every key growth stage of the business lifecycle – from launching a startup to expanding a business to managing a multi-national enterprise,” said Jacqueline Vanacek, vice president and cloud computing evangelist at SAP. “Business growth leads to jobs, and cloud computing will accelerate this in certain industries.”

The study goes on to say cloud computing has greater potential for employment growth than the Internet did in its early years.

More Work Than Qualified Workers

The number of job postings in the cloud computing has grown so rapidly that there aren’t enough qualified workers available to fill the posts, according to an analysis of hiring trends by Wanted Analytics.

There were about 5,000 jobs posted online related to cloud technology, a 92% increase from the same month last year and a more than four times increase compared to 2010,according to Wanted Analytics.

“With the demand for cloud skills growing so quickly, the gap between hiring demand and talent supply across the United States is getting larger and causing more difficulties in sourcing candidates,” the report said.

Most of the cloud jobs are generated from service providers, with VMware posting the most cloud jobs last month with 360, according to Wanted Analytics. Microsoft came in second, with 230, and Amazon.com, URS Corp. and Google rounded out the top five.

San Jose, Calif., is the top metropolitan market for cloud employment. More than 900 cloud postings last month were in San Jose, up 144% compared to the same month last year. Seattle, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and New York City are other booming job markets for cloud computing.

Worldwide Cloud Jobs Predicted to Hit 14 Million by 2015

IDC predicts cloud computing jobs will reach 14 million by 2015, according to a study sponsored by Microsoft.

“The cloud is going to have a huge impact on job creation,” said Susan Hauser, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Worldwide Enterprise and Partner Group. “It’s a transformative technology that will drive down costs, spur innovation and open up new jobs and skillsets across the globe.”

The cloud helps companies to be more innovative by freeing up IT managers to work on more mission-critical projects, the study shows.

More than one-third of cloud jobs will be in the communications and media, banking and discrete manufacturing industries.

China and India will account for half of new cloud-related jobs, according to the study.

 

 

Cloud Computing Link Round Up – April 2

OMGPOP, the gaming startup, whose Draw Something iPhone app used cloud computing and a NoSQL database to scale from zero (relatively speaking) to more than 35 million downloads in three weeks, never missed a beat.

Gigaom’s Derrick Harris discusses the impressive feat in Gigaom’s Structure blog.

“I had a brief call with Couchbase CEO Bob Wiederhold, whose company worked with OMGPOP to scale its implementation of the Couchbase database as demand started growing,” writes Harris.

Although the companies aren’t ready to give exact details yet, here’s what Wiederhold revealed:

  • OMGPOP is hosted in the cloud, but “they’re not on Amazon.”
  • Draw Something has been downloaded more than 35 million times. Players have created more than 1 billion pictures and are creating around 3,000 pictures per second.
  • To handle the incredible traffic spike, OMGPOP had to reconfigure its Couchbase cluster, scale it into the many tens of nodes, and many terabytes of data and increased throughout into the tens of thousands of operations per second.
  • Throughout all this, Draw Something didn’t experience any downtime.

This type of load really stresses a system, Wiederhold said, and if it wasn’t for its decision to use cloud computing and NoSQL technologies, “their game would have fallen over.”

Scalability is one of the primary calling cards for both cloud computing and NoSQL providers. Way to go, cloud.

Cloud Computing Is Here to Stay

Todd Nielsen, of Wired’s Cloudline blog, serves up some strong reasons on why cloud computing is here to stay.

Nielsen writes, “In psychoanalysis, ‘being in denial’ is a defense mechanism used by a person faced with an unpleasant situation too uncomfortable to accept or too ghastly to contemplate. The person rejects reality and insists it is not true, despite overwhelming evidence. I am constantly confronted with people in denial about the cloud.”

So Nielsen offers some cloud statistics:

  • 70 percent of businesses are either using or investigating cloud computing solutions.
  • Worldwide IT spending on cloud computing has increased more than 25 percent from 2008 to 2012.
  • Cloud providers have increased personnel from nil in 2007 to over 550,000 in 2010.

Hard to argue against these figures.

IT Needs to Take Control of the Cloud Before Storm Ensues

IT departments need to step up now and change its approach to cloud services, according to a study, “Delivering on High Cloud Expectations,” commissioned by BMC Software and conducted by Forrester Research.

This includes building trust with the lines of business, beginning to manage public cloud services, and pursuing increased automation for service provisioning and operations, according to ZDNet.

“Cloud and software as a service (SaaS) are in enterprises in a big way,” says Brian Singer, lead solutions marketing manager for BMC. “And we wanted to see how IT was dealing with them.”

For the study, researchers polled 327 enterprise infrastructure executives and architects. Among the key findings:

Today, 58 percent run mission critical workloads in unmanaged public clouds, regardless of policy. The researchers use “unmanaged” to describe clouds that are managed by the cloud operators, but not by the company buying the service.

In the next two years, 79 percent plan to run mission-critical workloads on unmanaged cloud services.

Nearly three out of four responders, 71 percent, thought that IT should be responsible for public cloud services.

Seventy two percent of CIOs believe that the business sees cloud computing as a way to circumvent IT.

Cloud Computing Attempts to Police Its Own

Wanting to provide a measure of security, cloud services organizations and companies whose daily bread is earned through trusted relationships with their clients have decided to band together and create a set of guidelines for the rest, according to Technorati.

The New Zealand Computer Society has put together a basic code of conduct for companies providing Web-based computing services, calling it CloudCode.

According to Joy Cottle, CloudCode facilitator, “The CloudCode is proactive, not prescriptive, based on what the industry is asking for both from a consumer and supplier perspective and more importantly a code of practice that is easily adopted by the providers and easily understood by the consumer.”

“A lack of understanding of the accepted definitions of cloud computing and what it entails results in a situation where services are being offered that don’t meet what are generally considered acceptable standards of practice,” said the Society.

 

 

Mozy Celebrates World Backup Day 2012

Celebrate World Backup Day with Mozy

Mozy is excited to celebrate World Backup Day 2012. As you know, we’re passionate about backup, and we want to help people protect their important memories and business files. Mozy online backup is easy, secure, and affordable. This celebration is a good time to review your current backup situation to make sure everything is in order. Mozy makes this easy to do. Check out the following links for more information.

Why Mozy?

Mozy is the leader in data protection and access

For years we’ve serviced more than 3 million users and 70,000 businesses. With regular updates and improvements under our belt, we know how to protect your data in the best possible way.

70+ petabytes

When we say we have experience in data, we mean it! One petabyte = 1,024 terabytes. So Mozy manages over 71,680 terabytes. That’s a lot of data! With that comes experience and expertise. It’s no small task, but Mozy has perfected the art.

Not backing up yet? Check out our recent blog post series, “What to look for in a backup vendor?

Are you backing up, but not using an online backup provider? It’s never to late to get started. Check out our blog post, “The Top 5 Signs it’s Time to Move to the Cloud” for a fun look at how it’s easy to move to the cloud.

Contests:

It wouldn’t be a celebration without a few contests! To commemorate World Backup Day 2012, Mozy is giving away 3 Zaggsparq device chargers – the best way to power and charge your devices. So, how can you get your hands on one of these goodies? There are two ways to enter:

Retweet on Twitter:

Click here to RT the following tweet and enter to win. (We’ll only count 1 of your tweets per day)

“I’m entering the @Mozy contest to win awesome prizes. You should RT to enter too! Back up with Mozy: http://ow.ly/9XxL8 #worldbackupday”

FB quiz:

Click here to take our Facebook World Backup Day quiz. Ace the quiz and you’ll be entered in the drawing for the prizes. You can only complete the quiz once, so make sure to study first!

Speeding up your applications in the Cloud with Blue Coat MACH5

If you think that moving to cloud-based applications will slow down your business, then take a closer look at Blue Coat’s Mach 5 WAN optimization appliance. It has some nifty features that can really improve cloud performance. While this is an old problem, what is new is how it solves the problem for many companies who are using cloud computing. Putting your apps in the cloud doesn’t mean they have to run slower, in fact, with Mach5, they can be tuned to actually run close to local load times.

Today’s networks are evolving towards more Internet-based cloud deployments using Web applications and protocols, incorporating more multi-media content such as Flash and Silverlight, as well as shared documents and other collaboration tools. There are thousands of software-as-a-service applications today, each catering to an important facet of your business.

Blue Coat believes that the greater adoption of the cloud will lead more companies to bring direct Internet access to branch offices. The company calls this “Branch to Cloud”. The service accomplishes several things: it protects your branch offices from Web-based malware, especially in real-time, moves information back and forth securely, and delivers documents from cloud-based repositories quickly, keeping bandwidth demands lean.

The idea is to install one of their appliances in a local office, and set it up to optimize for cloud delivery as you see in our series of configuration screens. The appliance will cache frequently used content, partial Web pages, images, video and downloaded files, so that subsequent accesses happen quickly.

But the real genius here is what’s missing from their solution. As you can see in our diagram above, you only need a single Blue Coat appliance on your local network – unlike competitors’ gear, you don’t need a matched pair when it comes to software-as-a-service, which is a good thing because that would be difficult to impossible with getting access to most cloud provider’s networks. Blue Coat’s CloudCaching Engine provides asymmetric or “one-sided” WAN optimization by using specialized caching and SSL decryption capabilities.

Better wide-area performance is just one feature of Mach5 and is part of an integrated line of WAN optimization appliances from Blue Coat that also accelerate remote access to email, centralized files, storage and enterprise applications and optimize live and on-demand video by enhancing the user experience and reducing the bandwidth consumption down to a thousandth or less of what it would otherwise be. If you have any of these applications on your network and your users are complaining about sluggish performance, then perhaps you might want to check them out on their website.

 

 

World Backup Day – Are you backed up?

“World Backup Day” is March 31. Is your business backed up properly?

This weekend is a great excuse to make sure your business data is protected.

Consider, in the last year:

  • 50% of all businesses reported that an employee’s hard drive had crashed
  • 11% had a laptop stolen while on business
  • In 72% of all cases above, the data was not fully recovered.
  • 60% of businesses surveyed do not budget for any form of backup
  • Of those that do, 40% only backup to a single location
  • ~30% of businesses allow employees to select their own method of backup

Backup methods include:

Business Backup Methods

These statistics are from a recent Mozy survey of more than 640 small-to-midsize businesses in the U.S. The survey was conducted by independent research firm Compass Partners – to identify employees and executives’ habits and attitudes about backup and data security. The survey found that a significant number of SMBs don’t implement safe backup strategies – despite well-documented risks for loss of sensitive client and company data.

In a press release issued today, Mozy’s director of product management Gytis Barzdukas suggested: “Professionals should take the following steps to implement backup practices. First, find a secure and reliable cloud service to complement a local backup device, which by itself can easily be destroyed, damaged or misplaced. Second, the offsite service chosen should automatically back up data, be user-friendly and should emphasize data security and privacy through a strong encryption method. Finally, companies should extend backup policies to include strategies for protecting the data on mobile devices, as analysts predict a surge in employees using personal smartphones or tablets for business purposes throughout 2012.”

So be sure to get your business data is securely backed up this weekend!

P.S. While this survey was focused on businesses, personal data also needs protection. And for that we have MozyHome.

Be safe,

The Mozy Team