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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.

 

 

Top 5 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade and Enter the Cloud

Upgrade and enter the cloudHard as it is, it just may be time to let go of yesterday’s technology and get on with yourself. The signs have been getter more clear over the last few years. There was that incident with the cat photos at work. And that visit from the uptight suit with the IRS. So before things really get out of control, do yourself, your family and Huey Lewis a favor and trade up to the 21st century and the magic of all that is cloud computing.

Wait For the Beep…

You don’t have voicemail. You have an answering machine. A big, hulking Panasonic monstrosity that requires a team lift it when rearranging the home office.

Solution: Update to a smartphone; any VOIP setup.

Catastrophe

A pile of work documents has somehow co-mingled with dozens of 8×10 prints of your great-aunt’s feline companion “Buttons” dressed as characters from “The Wizard of Oz.” It doesn’t take a wizard to see this is headed nowhere good.

Solution: Explain to the senior vice president that yes, it is a cat, and yes, it is also a flying monkey, but no, it has no bearing on the Rooney account. Hook up Aunt Mable with a Facebook account, and buy yourself a document management solution and add some backup and storage options for your work files.

Tax Alot

You use your buddy who can crunch and store large numbers in his head as your accountant. Sure, he was featured on Stan Lee’s “Superhumans,” but this doesn’t seem to impress the guy from the IRS who’s looking at you in a funny way.

Solution: Utilize the benefits of cloud computing to compile and store important receipts and tax documents.

Mix Signals

Your cassette player is undoubtedly cool, and ’80s retro, and a conversation starter and ironic. But you’re spending $87 a week on AA batteries. Even Huey Lewis would surely understand that simple economics suggest it’s time to hang up those foam-covered headphones and pick up a cloud-based music service.

Solution: Pandora, iTunes, Rhapsody, watching episodes of VH1′s “I Love the ’80s.”

Fine Print

Print may not be dead, but the cost of printing out photos is nearly killin’ ya. The home office is beginning to resemble a second-rate law library, with dozens and dozens of brown, imitation-leather-bound photo albums lining shelves and cluttering tabletops. We know it was a pretty rainbow, but did you really need to print out 45 shots of it? Less is more. For real.

Solution: Store and share the majority of your photos in the cloud, and pick a handful of special ones to print out and display. Like that one of the cat dressed as the munchkin mayor.

 

 

Cloud Computing and Links – March 26

‘Personal Cloud’ to Replace PC by 2014, Says Gartner

The cloud has certainly grabbed the attention of both big business and the typical consumer, but the technology’s impact may signal the end of the PC as we know it. Research firm Gartner believes the personal cloud will replace the PC as the center of our digital lives sooner than you might think: 2014.

“Major trends in client computing have shifted the market away from a focus on personal computers to a broader device perspective that includes smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices,” Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. “Emerging cloud services will become the glue that connects the Web of devices that users choose to access during the different aspects of their daily life.”

Mike Barton, of Wired’s Cloudline blog, delves into the subject here. Barton draws former Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie into the discussion.

“People argue about, ‘Are we in a post-PC world?’ Why are we arguing? Of course we are in a post-PC world,” Ozzie said at a recent GeekWire-sponsored conference. “That doesn’t mean the PC dies; that just means that the scenarios that we use them in, we stop referring to them as PCs, we refer to them as other things.”

And You Thought Your Utility Bills Were High

How many servers does it take to power Amazon’s huge cloud computing operation? Like most large Internet
companies, Amazon doesn’t disclose such details. But a researcher estimates that Amazon Web Services is using at least 454,400 servers in seven data center hubs around the globe, according to a post at Data Center Knowledge.

Huan Liu, a research manager at Accenture Technology Labs, analyzed Amazon’s EC2 compute service using internal and external IP addresses, which he extrapolated to come up with estimates for the number of racks in each data center location. Liu then applied an assumption of 64 blade servers per rack – four 10U chassis, each holding eight blades – to arrive at the estimate.

Liu’s estimate is bound to generate some debate. But it provides an additional point of reference for Amazon’s scale, along with earlier analyses. It clearly places the size of Amazon’s structure well above the hosting providers that have publicly disclosed their server counts, but still well below the estimated 900,000 servers in Google’s data center network.

Cloud Hunts for the Origins of the Universe

When your day job is figuring out the workings of the universe you need some heavy duty computing power at your disposal.

That’s why researchers at CERN, the Swiss research lab that is home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator, are dialing up additional muscle from the cloud, according to ZDNet.

CERN is taking part in the Helix Nebula initiative, a pilot project designed to kick start the European cloud computing industry by carrying out scientific research in the cloud.

“On the CERN site we can’t increase the size of our data center much more. Two or three years down the line we’re going to be limited by space and by electrical consumption. We have to think of what other options are open to us and the on-demand, elastic cloud computing provided by a number of these companies seems like a very good option for us to explore,” said Bob Jones, CERN’s head of openlab, the public-private partnership that helps CERN identify new IT that could benefit the lab.

CERN’s mission is to answer fundamental questions such as “What is the origin of mass?” Heavy stuff.

 

 

Cloud Roundup: Cloud Computing Expected to Produce 14 Million Jobs

Analyst firm IDC released a study March 5 revealing that spending on cloud services will produce nearly 14 million jobs worldwide by 2015. IDC, however, said the numbers are the result of adoption in the private sector rather than in government. The U.S. government’s slow adoption, even as agencies are encouraged to consider cloud computing first for all new IT investments, is largely due to security concerns, according to Washington Business Journal. The report reiterated what many have already predicted: The federal government will seek out private IT cloud services, which bring enhanced security by not commingling data with other customers, and reserve the more open public clouds for less risky applications such as email, Web portal development and collaboration.

Workers: Give Us the Cloud

A report released by Gartner March 5 claims workers will circumvent traditional systems to access cloud services if their employers don’t provide these services. Many companies are using a hybrid model for their IT, with some applications remaining in-house while placing others in the cloud. The ease-of-use and functionality available in some of the newer cloud versions of traditional solutions, however, is enticing for many employees, according to CloudPro. “IT organizations that do not match the request for IT as a service run the risk of internal customers bypassing the IT organization and consuming IT services from the external cloud, thereby placing the company at greater risk,” said Chris Howard, managing vice president at Gartner.

Cloud Computing’s Impact on India

As companies continue to adopt cloud-computing practices, more than 2 million jobs are expected to be created in India by 2015 because of this, according to an IDC study commissioned by Microsoft. “A common misperception is cloud computing is a job eliminator, but in truth it will be a job creator, a major one,” Chief Research Officer and Senior Vice President John F Gantz of IDC said.

Job growth will occur across continents and throughout organizations of all sizes because emerging markets, small cities and small businesses have the same access to cloud benefits as large enterprises or developed nations, Gantz added, according to NDTV.com.

A Clouded Terminology

InfoWorld’s David Linthicum sounds off on what, exactly, cloud computing is and how the term is often misused and over-hyped in a recent blog post.

Linthicum says cloud computing is “so widely defined, and thus so vague, that providing a crisp definition is nearly impossible. More disturbing, there seems to be an increasing overuse of cloud computing concepts as saviors for all past IT mistakes.”

He says “the concept of cloud computing is about the ability for organizations to stop solving all IT problems by themselves. It’s certainly about sharing resources, such as storage and compute services, but it really should be more about sharing solutions and pushing risk out of the business.”

 

 

5 Tools to to Run a Small Business in the Cloud

Mozy Online BackupIt can be a challenge running a small business. As a small business owner, you’ll often find that no task is too big or too small for you to handle, from contending with macro problems such as rising fuel costs, to more at-hand issues such as discovering that a part-time employee mistakenly unplugged a tucked-away power strip and that’s why half the work stations in the office are offline.

With much to worry about and never enough staff to cover all the bases, cloud computing has the potential to ease the strain of running a small business while cutting costs in the process.

Small and midsize businesses in the United States will spend more than $49 billion on cloud services in 2015, nearly double the size of the market today, according to research from AMI Partners. Donald Best, an analyst at AMI, chalked up the growth to a combination of reliable broadband, thin applications and the financial incentive to smaller businesses – namely, that cloud services do not require significant costs to acquire.

“It’s a factor of IT spending increasing, and it’s also an increasing percentage of total spending that’s going to the cloud,” Best said in an interview with InformationWeek.

The AMI study revealed that SMBs are currently setting aside 10 percent of IT budgets for cloud services. This number is expected to grow to 15 percent by 2015.

The number of cloud services aimed at SMBs also continues to grow, which is a great benefit to business owners. The following services or products cover some of the essential components of running a small business in the cloud. While there are many choices out there, here are just a few that make running a business a little bit easier with a little help from above – the cloud.

Productivity

Google Apps

This is an obvious choice, but it’s tough to beat the cost and simplicity of running Google Apps. If you plan to integrate Google Docs into a collaborative workspace, complete with email and calendaring, Google Apps is the way to go.

Communication

Skype

Skype continues to improve its VOIP quality. Its updated interface makes video calls a snap. Since Microsoft purchased Skype, Redmond is working to integrate Skype across its entire product portfolio, with more robust software being developed for both server and client environments.

Database

QuickBase

Ultra-customizable, Intuit’s QuickBase is a business-class online database that comes from a long-established vendor that can be trusted. QuickBase can house any type of data, from invoices to inventory. It’s fast, reliable and has many native applications to get you up and running in a flash.

Finance and Accounting

Bill.com

Bill.com automates small-business accounting by reducing the time and paperwork required for accounts payable. With Bill.com, you get a complete Web-based “finance department” to organize day-to-day finances and optimize cash flow.

Storage and Backup

MozyPro

MozyPro lets you manage multi-user environments, schedule automatic backups and monitor the health of your backups from a single Web-based dashboard. Mozy maintains strict security policies, military-grade encryption and world-class data centers for optimal data protection. Mozy’s pay-as-you-go model saves time and money with no setup fees, no hardware to purchase and little management required – ideal incentives for a small business.

 

 

Roundup of Cloud Computing Coverage and Links

As cloud computing continues to evolve from a novelty to a buzzword to a household term, its impact will undoubtedly be felt in organizations both large and small. The following posts provide some insight into the latest issues with cloud computing that are definitely worth a closer look.

The Cloud: Mover of All Things Across the Internet

ZDNet’s Cloud Builders blog touched on the recent Cloud Expo Europe (CEE) and the state of cloud computing today. According to Cloud Builders’ author Alan Priestley, “One of the most interesting speeches was delivered by David King, CTO of Logica, the outsourcing company. He compared the cloud of today with the railroads of the last century, in which the movement of goods across continents became vastly easier and in turn helped transform business.”

King said the sharing elements of cloud usage are where new business models are forming, which he attributes to public sector services and business services finding new ways to share information and extract greater value from that information.

Big Data Today Is What the Web Was in ‘93

GigaOM’s Structure blog recently tackled the growth of big data, its adoption issues and how big data jibes with cloud computing. Mark Thiele, executive vice president of Data Center Tech at Switch, wrote on the Structure blog that “big data today is what the Web was in 1993. We knew the Web was something and that it might get big, but few of us really understood what ‘big’ meant. Today, I believe we aren’t even scratching the surface of the big data opportunity.”

With this opportunity comes many complex issues, such as

  • Where will that data reside?
  • If your big data is running in a public cloud, what tools and strategies will you use to make that data available to customers and other applications?
  • If you store your data with a service, how often will you use it?

Put Your Money Where Your Cloud Is

The venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is considering a fund for startups looking to deliver cloud services to enterprises, according to Wired’s Cloudline blog.

The VC firm could invest $100 million in the cloud space this year. The announcement isn’t very surprising, with groups such as Market Research Media projecting the cloud computing market will grow at about 30 percent a year, reaching $270 billion in 2020.

A Cloud Computing Revolution and the Barriers It Faces

As fast as cloud computing seems to be moving across the IT landscape, there are some troubling signs that demonstrate how conflicting laws and regulations could threaten to keep the market from reaching its full potential on a global scale. According to BSA’s TechPost blog, there is a pressing need for governments to better harmonize their policies to smooth the flow of data across borders.

BSA offers governments a seven-point policy blueprint for expanding economic opportunity in the cloud with a more level playing field, including protecting users’ privacy while enabling the free flow of data and commerce.

 

 

Comcast Launches Secure Backup & Share (Powered By Mozy)

One of the things we hear about a lot is that customers want to do more with their data than just back it up. Well, today Comcast is announcing the release of Secure Backup & Share, an easy and safe way for customers to share and preserve their digital files. This service is awesome for multiple reasons, including:

  • Data backup – Comcast customers will be able to back up their essential files to a remote, secure location via the Internet. All Comcast customers will receive a complementary 2GB account with their subscription, with additional storage plans available.
  • Online access – Comcast customers’ backed-up files can be accessed and restored via the Internet – any time, anywhere.
  • Sharing – Once their data is backed up, users will be able to share photos, documents, music, and videos with family and friends via an easy-to-use dashboard that’s available across multiple devices.
  • One more thing – did we mention that this new service is powered by Mozy?

We’re thrilled to be able to partner with an industry giant like Comcast, and we’re looking forward to being able to provide the peace of mind and convenience of online data backup and sharing to their 15 million customers, starting today.