Cloud News & Insights

Living with a cloud – paradigm shift in the way we work Part 2

Continuing from my last post, it’s clear that there is a colossal wastage of resources with respect to server utilization – both from the point of view of individual companies and in the universal sense. One of the solutions was to create smaller server units with better efficiency and advanced technology.

Case of large organizations

The battle of in-house resources versus that of a Data Center is quite old. I remember the days when email servers were usually hosted in individual offices. For those with multiple offices spanning the globe, this posed a serious problem. Those tied to Microsoft technology were further hampered by restrictive policies.
Typically a large organization would spread their requirement over a thousand servers, each running at 30 to 40% efficiency. As long as there was no visible wastage, most management either overlooked the inefficiency or simply bore with it because the tech guys did not seem to have any other solution. There was always the danger of the entire IT infrastructure collapsing due to overloading. No one could take chances and therefore status quo was maintained.

Managing on line infrastructure resources

It was not that organizations suffered this inefficiency without waging a battle. Many in-house technologies mushroomed to counter server underutilization. Clustering was one such solution. Load Balancing techniques were refined. However, the need for physical infrastructure remained and with it came the concomitant wastage.

The world of virtualization

Virtualization is a brilliant concept where the physical layer of implementation was separated from the user with a software layer. Using this technology, you can use a single resource to run multiple operations as if each user owned the resource independently. If I remember correctly, the animation industry picked up virtualization first with gusto. Each animation workstation was directly linked with the datacenter for executing operations which were resource intensive. Pooling of infrastructure led to better efficiency. Essentially, clustering was a major breakthrough in animation industry.

Enter the cloud

The next logical step was obviously the cloud. There is a difference between virtualization and cloud computing which is not the subject under review here. Suffice to say that the virtualization concept was carried forward to give birth to cloud computing. Here, I would like to illuminate readers about the fact that not all clouds are the same. The principles may be identical but implementation differs. AWS of Amazon is different from Microsoft offering. The perceived efficiency also varies from vendor to vendor. Though there are no standards as such, the basic building block of a cloud is a server instance. This may comprise of a CPU, memory and some cases a separate database.

The advent of abstraction

The cloud is an abstraction layer which separates the user from the infrastructure. There is a beautiful way in which this has been explained by some geek. Imagine that you are driving a car. You switch the ignition and start the car and rest automatically happens. If you were to understand or comprehend the working of gears and machine and how the gears engage the engine, you would never be able to drive the car. There is an abstraction layer which separates you, the driver, from the actual working of the car. In the case of a car, you can pick up a reputable brand and sleep in peace. Now this brings us to the question of how to evaluate the cloud engine which you would be driving?

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About the Guest Author:

Sankarambadi SrinivasanSankarambadi Srinivasan, ‘Srini’, is a maverick writer, technopreneur, geek and online marketing enthusiast rolled into one. He began his career as a Naval weapon specialist. Later, he sold his maiden venture and became head of an offshore Database administration company in Mumbai. He moved on as Chief Technology Officer of one of the largest online entities, where he led consolidation of 300 online servers and introduced several Web 2.0 initiatives. He holds a Master’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication.

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What lies behind the cloud? Part 3

Now that I have located a few cloud providers who are more likely to meet my requirements, I decided to pose a few questions to them before taking a final call. Here are some questions which you must ask your future cloud vendor.


Everyone is aware that cloud computing has been around for not more than a few years. Obviously, many of them are hardly a couple of years old. Even Microsoft paddled into the cloud recently. How do you then decide how good or bad they are? They don’t have a lineage or a huge track record. One of the ways is to enquire about awards they have won in the recent past. Normally industry organizations give away annual awards to a few specific companies who excel in their respective field. Getting on the top 5 spot for Best Cloud Hosting is a big plus.

Customer feedback

In this world of instant feedback through multiple social media channels, it is quite simple to find independent feedback on companies. I would consider customer feedback as a significant contributor to my decision to choose a particular vendor. I have often seen that disgruntled employees leave negative feedback which is in dissonance with the general opinion. I would therefore ignore such feedback, especially from former employees.

Sometimes you get only generalized feedback which doesn’t say much about the working of a cloud vendor. I would rather appreciate specific and focused look by a customer.

Friendly Help desk

You need handholding only when you are in a real crisis. In such situations, the single ray of hope is the help desk. Many a times I have found myself at the short end of the ladder when trying to contact help. After having burnt my fingers, I have learnt to ensure that I would get adequate support during emergency. An email could take a long wait so a chat support would really help you get things done faster.

You must include all such requirements in the contract to ensure compliance.

Use trial period to evaluate services

You must make use of the Trial Period to evaluate a cloud vendor. Usually, during the trial period, you are unlikely to face a crisis situation. How do you critically appraise a cloud vendor and compare the services with competitors is a difficult question to answer. Probably, you can create situations where the capabilities of a vendor can be tested in real time. Another problem you may face after the trial period is to cancel your order. These are tricky situations which you must plan for.

What about setting up and maintenance?

A small ecommerce shop or a gaming portal faces the problem of adequate support which setting up the services and for further maintenance. A cloud vendor is only as good as the support he offers. I would rather pay the cloud provider and get services on a turnkey basis. By this I mean the entire setting up and maintenance is carried out by the vendor. The cost of such services may be a bit on the higher side, but worth the trouble.


Your online business will only be as good as your cloud vendor. Unnecessary downtime and outrages can damage your reputation. You must therefore ensure that your cloud service provider is reliable and trustworthy.

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Our articles are written to provide you with tools and information to meet your IT and cloud solution needs. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


About the Guest Author:

Sankarambadi SrinivasanSankarambadi Srinivasan, ‘Srini’, is a maverick writer, technopreneur, geek and online marketing enthusiast rolled into one. He began his career as a Naval weapon specialist. Later, he sold his maiden venture and became head of an offshore Database administration company in Mumbai. He moved on as Chief Technology Officer of one of the largest online entities, where he led consolidation of 300 online servers and introduced several Web 2.0 initiatives. He holds a Master’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication.

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Cloud Computing and the Asian Hedge Fund and Investment Market

Various hedge fund and investment firms have expanded their cloud computing capabilities in Asia in recent years. Through the use of private clouds, thousands of hedge fund professionals around the world have streamlined their operations, reduced their up front costs, increased their resilience, and improved their response time to market fluctuations.

More importantly, cloud computing providers have allowed smaller investment firms and independent hedge fund professionals to gain access to advanced, expensive IT infrastructure that is usually only available for hedge funds dealing with billions of dollars.

In today’s rapidly changing investment market which requires the fastest possible computing power to handle millions of micro-transactions, access to the necessary computing equipment is a must for these firms to stay competitive. Gradually, cloud computing has gained a hold around the world with hedge funds and investment firms, and the Asian market is no exception with a drastic shift in the adoption and attitude towards cloud computing.

The most important hedge fund markets in Asia, without question, are located in Hong Kong and Singapore. An important reason for these markets’ importance in this sector is the fact that they have access to high speed telecommunications and governments have friendly policies to financial firms and technology.

The Asian hedge fund market is peculiar in the sense that large funds tend to struggle more than smaller funds. This may be due to smaller funds’ increased flexibility and manageability, an important factor in the modern financial markets that require quick reaction times and efficiency. To deliver positive results and become competitive, firms in the Asian market are looking to streamline their operations and gain the flexibility and agility available typical of smaller firms, an aspect that is helped tremendously by cloud computing technology.

Cloud technology adoption among Asian hedge fund firms

Cloud service providers have an enormous untapped market in Asia, especially those that can deliver increased security and speeds. Most of the demand among financial firms and hedge fund managers is for private cloud services. There is no doubt that the potential is far from realized in the region. Regulations in different countries have led to vast differences in the levels of cloud computing adoption around Asia. Today, many companies are taking a cautious approach to the cloud, waiting for clearer regulations from governments and for a clearer picture of the benefits that the cloud has to offer hedge funds and investment firms.

What are the obstacles for cloud technology in the Asian financial market?

It is often difficult for companies to enter the Asian market due to its competitive nature and the importance of already established players in the region. This also comes from increased regulations in the West, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. Many hedge fund managers have run into obstacles from regulations such as AIFMD (Alternative Investment Fund Directive) which have blocked them from attracting investment capital.

There are also differences in how firms do business, and hedge fund managers in Asia tend to be more cautious when it comes to making significant expenditures in infrastructure and technology at the beginning of a new business venture. There is still widespread ignorance when it comes to how the cloud works and unfounded concerns about privacy have also held many firms back from taking advantage of the many benefits of cloud computing technology.

These attitudes were common in the West only a few years ago, but today most hedge fund firms there have adopted the cloud in some form or another. This bodes well for the future of cloud computing in the Asian hedge fund market. Many aspects, such as expensive real estate and infrastructure have meant that hedge fund firms are looking to outsource many of their infrastructure needs. The most important benefits cloud computing has for this market include:

- Increased speed in operations
- Simplified IT
- Improved flexibility and scalability
- Disaster management and recovery

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About the Guest Author:

Nida Rasheed

Nida Rasheed is a freelance writer and owner of an outsourcing company, Nida often finds herself wanting to write about the subjects that are closest to her heart. She lives in Islamabad, Pakistan and can be found on Twitter @nidarasheed.

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Cloud-Based Services are Changing the Face of the Media

In the media industry information changes at a rapid pace. Breaking news and hot stories are delivered to readers at lightning speeds. So media agencies need to implement agile business solutions that can scale quickly. Sensing the potential of cloud computing technology, media agencies are rapidly moving to the cloud, using new cloud-based services.

How does the cloud benefit media agencies?

Media encompasses a wide range of information services including: journalists, reporters, editors, advertising agencies, print material, audio/video and online content, and much more. Media is another important industry, after IT and video gaming, which requires automatic scaling features.

For instance: a popular newspaper publishes a breaking story. If the story goes viral, the news website starts receiving huge traffic within minutes. Similarly, media agencies receive sudden traffic when they publish a lucrative advertisement. People start bombarding the site to take advantage of that exciting offer. There have been several instances where websites have crashed due to such an overload. It is not feasible for media agencies to set up huge resources to handle sudden traffic surges.

When the media website is hosted on the cloud, resources are automatically scaled up during peak traffic hours. At the same time, resources are automatically scaled down to accommodate slower traffic trends. GMO Cloud calls this the high availability feature where the cloud becomes reliable, possesses fault tolerance characteristics and performs automatic scaling. At the end of the day, media agencies pay for only the resources used.

Faster performance

Another benefit of cloud-based services is faster performance. Consider the same instance where a media agency has published a breaking story. As soon as traffic surges, the performance of the site goes down. But with a cloud solution, when traffic surges the resources are scaled up. At the same time, the performance of the website does not change at all. You can still enjoy faster performance and 99.9% uptime. Broadcasters and visual art agencies can publish rich audio/video streaming.

Business process integration

Media agencies need a greater level of collaboration among their employees. When there is a breaking story, the reporter needs to report it to the agency. The publisher has to create the story and the editor must next finalize the content. When the story is about to get published, there might be additional incidents that need to be added. The head office may need to collaborate with many regional offices to incorporate these changes. Cloud-based services integrate business processes to provide access to every employee involved in that business process. By providing quick access to the required data, cloud technology allows employees the flexibility to dynamically update news and improve the performance of the agency. In addition, the increased use of smartphones allows media agencies to create mobile solutions that boost the SLAs of the company.

Cloud computing concerns

The major concern for media people to move to the cloud is data integrity. News agencies deal with critical information that requires higher levels of confidentiality. Data security is crucial. However, cloud-based services offer secure, resilient, and scalable data management solutions. When every industry is benefiting from the cloud, why should the media lag behind? It is important that the media industry join the cloud to stay ahead of competition.

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About the Guest Author:

Kaushik Das

Kaushik Das is an engineer, research analyst and a technical writer in the areas wireless, IT, enterprise software, next-generation hosting, storage and renewable energy. He specializes in competitive analysis, market research, industry insights, white paper and actionable web content development.

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Japan Tops the World in Cloud Computing

A recent study made a detailed analysis of cloud computing and state of IT infrastructure in 24 countries that together account for 80% of global IT expenditure. Not surprisingly, Japan is at the top of the list with a total score of 84.1 points. But in many other aspects the findings of the study were unexpected. It looked at seven different parameters of cloud readiness and assigned a score to work out the relative positions.

The seven parameters were:

(i) Data privacy
(ii) Security
(iii) Cybercrime
(iv) Intellectual property rights
(v) Support for standards
(vi) Promotion of free trade
(vii) Broadband deployment and ICT readiness

Singapore jumps to 5th from its rank of 10th last year. The country has made major improvements to its privacy laws, as well as user protection and innovation. Malaysia has made major gains over the last year in reducing cybercrime and improving intellectual property rights protection.

As for Brazil, last year’s report noted that the country lacks cybercrime laws. This was amazing considering that cybercrime in Brazil accounted for nearly $8 billion worth in losses in 2012. Disappointingly, the country was last in the list of 24 last year. But government appears to have taken steps to remedy this, as the country has moved up two places this year, overtaking Vietnam and Thailand.

There are six countries from the EU on the list. Every one of them slid in the rankings this year compared to their position last year, even though Poland, the UK and Germany improved their total score by a small margin. Could this have something to do with the slowdown in Europe?

For countries to really benefit from the cloud, they need to understand the full meaning behind each of the seven parameters listed above. Concerted efforts need to be made to improve on each in order to facilitate greater economic growth. Let’s elaborate on these points:

Privacy – Users must have faith that the information they store in the cloud will not be disclosed or misused. While privacy is critical, data should be portable so that the owner can move it around at will.

Security – Users need to be confident that the data they store in the cloud is secure and cloud service providers must be able to demonstrate that they have implemented state-of-the-art security mechanisms. For an example, visit GMO Cloud’s Security page and see how they prioritize this aspect through their multi-level security strategy.

Handling cybercrime – Just as in the real world, in cyberspace too, the law must be firmly established and strictly enforced.

IPR protection – Intellectual property has to be protected so that innovation can continue without worry or loss.

Support for standards – This ensures there is no lock-in and users can port their data and applications to the location that suits them best.

Promotion of free trade – A number of nations are implementing legislation that forces companies to keep their data within national borders. This goes against the grain of cloud computing.

National IT infrastructure – Cloud computing relies on cheap and reliable broadband access. National policies have to support this.

And finally the report card – here are the top 10 places:



























South Korea









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About the Guest Author:

Sanjay SrivastavaSanjay Srivastava has been active in computing infrastructure and has participated in major projects on cloud computing, networking, VoIP and in creation of applications running over distributed databases. Due to a military background, his focus has always been on stability and availability of infrastructure. Sanjay was the Director of Information Technology in a major enterprise and managed the transition from legacy software to fully networked operations using private cloud infrastructure. He now writes extensively on cloud computing and networking and is about to move to his farm in Central India where he plans to use cloud computing and modern technology to improve the lives of rural folk in India.

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