Cloud Computing

Internet Cloud Server Cabinet

Dude, Where’s My Server!?!

By | Azure, Backup, Cloud Computing, Design & Architecture, Infrastructure, Storage, Virtualization, VMware | No Comments

Hello Cloud, Goodbye Constant Configuration

I have to admit that when I log into a Linux box and realize that I have some technical chops left, I get a deep feeling of satisfaction. I am also in the habit of spinning up a Windows Server in order to test network routes/ACLs in the cloud since I like using the Windows version of tools like Wireshark.  Despite my love for being logged into a server, I do see the writing on the wall. Logging into a server to do installs or make configuration changes is fast becoming a thing of the past. Given the number of mistakes we humans make, it’s probably about time. Read More

IDS placed to Inc 5000 for fifth time

IDS Celebrates Fifth Year on Inc. 5000 List

By | Cloud Computing, Data Center, IDS | No Comments

We are excited to announce our inclusion in the 34th annual Inc. 5000 list, honoring the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. This year IDS ranked No. 167 in the Chicago market and No. 3912 overall, and marks the fifth time we have been recognized.

We credit this recognition and impressive growth to our strategic initiatives and a passion for putting customers first. Matt Massick, IDS CEO, explains that this year has been about tightening processes, expanding solutions and revolutionizing the customer experience. He said, “Our Inc. 5000 placement can be attributed to a significantly expanded solutions portfolio which includes a distinguished IT consulting practice, IDS Cloud offerings, and most recently, the IDS Asset Management Portal and the IDS Integration Center.” He added, “Each addition and development for our business is carefully calculated with our customers in mind. The positive response to our improvements has already caused a highly accelerated growth rate in 2015, and we can’t wait to see where the next few years take us.” Read More

Cloud computing contract considerations

Cloud Trends Update: Top Five Cloud Contract Considerations

By | Cloud Computing, How To, Strategy | No Comments

Last week, IDS hosted a dinner featuring a presentation about current cloud trends and how IDS is helping our customers create their cloud strategy. The topic generated a lot of very interesting conversation and one of the biggest discussions was about cloud contracts. If you’re going to trust a partner to host your data, it is critical to have a contract in-place that protects the interests of both parties. Many large cloud providers have a “take it or leave it” approach to contracts and others will work to customize to your needs. Regardless of the flexibility, it is imperative that you understand all aspects of your cloud contract and what it means to your business. Since this was a highly discussed item at our dinner, I decided to create a list of the top 5 contract considerations when evaluating Cloud Providers. Read More

Citrix performance tuning part 1

Performance Tuning Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 Part I: Citrix CloudBridge

By | Cloud Computing, Data Center, Replication, Storage | No Comments

As many companies are making the investment in Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop they want a fast, reliable and secure solution. In this article, we will focus on WAN optimization and performance using the Citrix CloudBridge technologies.

Citrix CloudBridge is a unified platform used to accelerate applications across public and private networks, increasing performance and user experience. CloudBridge offers ICA protocol acceleration, QoS, optimization and security for XenApp and XenDesktop. This is an optimal solution for remote or branch offices that have WAN performance issues. CloudBridge offers extensive monitoring and reporting features, which help IT staff to performance tune any Citrix environment.
Read More

Why Businesses are Avoiding Cloud Services Adoption

Cloud Breakdown Part 1: Why Businesses are Avoiding Cloud Services Adoption

By | Cloud Computing, Data Center, Virtualization | No Comments

No one will argue that IT organizations today are tasked to do more with less in terms of resources – whether it’s hardware/software or people to support the infrastructure. Private cloud has been a focal point of conversations that we are frequently having with our customers. Some are highly virtualized and others are trying to get their arms around how to manage the sprawling cloud technologies that are knocking at their door. Read More

The Hotel California Dilemma with Hyperscale Cloud

The Hotel California Dilemma with Hyperscale Cloud

By | Cloud Computing, Data Center, Strategy | No Comments

At IDS, we are constantly speaking with IT organizations about our IDS Cloud offering and the marketplace in general. For those of you who don’t know, three years ago we built our own IDS Cloud offering based on the latest FlexPod and Vblock technology. Our Cloud is available with roughly 4PB of storage across geographically-dispersed Data Centers. This was a massive investment for IDS that resulted in a valuable ongoing opportunity for our team. I think everyone at IDS has learned many lessons over the past year surrounding the value of our offering versus the Hyperscale Cloud providers like Amazon and Azure. These lessons have shaped our ability to offer a truly valuable cloud offering to our customers. Read More

IDS Cloud Update: Exploring Zerto Technologies

IDS Cloud Update: Zerto Technology Review

By | Cloud Computing, Disaster Recovery, IDS | No Comments

At IDS we are continuously evaluating the effectiveness of new products and partners to protect the integrity of our IDS Cloud Services. We built the IDS Cloud to deliver public, private and hybrid Cloud Solutions that facilitate increased efficiency within IT operations. As we evaluate the continually changing technology landscape, we always have our customers in mind. In this edition of the Monthly IDS Cloud Update, we’d like to highlight our experiences with Zerto, a partner we utilize to deliver a flexible and efficient Cloud Disaster Recovery Service offering to our customers.

Zerto uses an innovative Virtual Replication technology specifically built for virtual environments, which delivers disaster recovery functionality with industry-leading automation for testing and failover.

Zerto makes Cloud DR Services efficient and easy to use for customers, a value that shouldn’t be overlooked in the IT industry.

While there are many benefits to Zerto’s technology offerings, today we’d like to breakdown exactly why we chose Zerto to power our IDS Cloud DR services.

Benefits of IDS Cloud DR Services Powered by Zerto

  • Easy setup. The Zerto Cloud DR service installs remotely within hours, with no complicated services required.
  • Customer control. By using Zerto to power the IDS Cloud DR Services, customers have the flexibility to choose which applications to protect, regardless of the storage they live on.
  • Control failover. Zerto enables automated data recovery, failover and failback and lets you select any VM in VMWare’s vCenter. There is no agent required and this process is automated through a vCenter plug-in.
  • Simplified conversions from HyperV to VMware. Zerto Virtual Replication is the first technology with the capacity to automatically convert HyperV to VMWare for seamless migrations between hypervisors.
  • Secure Multi-tenancy. Zerto’s secure multi-tenancy architecture delivers a secure platform for replication to the Cloud, while providing the security required for companies with strict compliance requirements.
  • Flexible control of replication schedule. Zerto compresses changes in the range of 50%+ in order to maintain a consistently low Recovery Point Objective (RPO), and allows for a bandwidth threshold to be assigned for replication as to not impact other services utilizing WAN links.
  • Storage array agnostic. Zerto has the capability to replicate from any storage to any other storage, allowing customers to completely migrate data from one array, vendor or site to another efficiently.
  • Insightful reporting for customer. Zerto’s dashboard gives customers easy access to SLA information, providing great insight for the customer into their Disaster Recovery environment.

Zerto powers a comprehensive IDS Cloud DR Service that eradicates concerns about performance, availability and security while facilitating savings on resource costs.

Stay tuned for more information about the IDS Cloud by following the Monthly IDS Cloud Update.

EMC Takes Control of VCE

By | Cloud Computing, EMC, Strategy, VMware | No Comments

EMC recently announced that they were buying out most of Cisco’s interest in VCE with Cisco only retaining a 10 percent stake in the company. VCE published that they would keep their mission intact, and continue to create new solutions using their industry-leading VBlock Systems. EMC has also made headlines lately for being nominated as one of the “World’s Best Multinational Workplaces,” and for some speculation that they may be planning a reorg, which may include the formation of a new cloud business unit.

What Does The EMC Transition Mean for VCE?

While there are always different rumblings of opinions throughout an industry, many analysts maintain that the VCE transition towards becoming an EMC business is an entirely natural one, and will probably help to skyrocket their growth. In the article “EMC Buys Cisco’s Stake in VCE, Eyeing Hybrid Cloud Potential” analyst Zeus Kerravala from ZK Research explained that joint ventures are only meant to last for certain period of time.

Kerravala said “If VCE Is going to earn billions more, they are obviously going to have to find a way of growing beyond organic growth. That will probably be through mergers and acquisitions or a change of channel strategy, and it’s going to require making faster decisions.” He went on to say that since there will now be streamlined decision making under EMC, he believes it’s a good move for VCE.

Our Take on the VCE Transition to EMC

With a big industry move like this one, we wanted to talk to IDS Chief Technology Officer, Justin Mescher, and get his take on the VCE transition. Mescher explained that the move might help solidify previous marketplace suspicions.

He said,“Ever since VMware acquired Nicira in 2012 and created their own software-defined networking stack, speculation has been swirling that EMC, VMware, and Cisco would start to grow further apart. While this move seems to confirm the rumors, I think it will be a positive move overall.”

Mescher went on to explain that VCE’s biggest value has been bringing fully validated and pre-integrated systems to customers to accelerate time to value, reduce risk and increase efficiency, and that mantra of the offerings shouldn’t change.

He explained that it will be interesting to see is how the recent EMC re-structuring to create a Cloud Management and Orchestration group will impact this acquisition. EMC has proclaimed that this new business unit will focus on helping customers work in both the private and public cloud independently of the technology running underneath it. This will include EMC’s “software-defined” portfolio as well as some of their new acquisitions targeted at cloud enablement and migration.

Concluding his thoughts, Mescher said,“Could EMC take the framework and concept that VCE made successful and start to loosen some of the vendor-specific requirements? While this would certainly not be typical of EMC, if they are serious about shifting from a hardware company to focusing on the software-defined Data Center, what more impactful place to start?”

About VCE

VCE was started in 2009 as a joint venture between three of the top IT industry companies, EMC, Cisco and WMware as an effort to provide customers integrated products solutions through a single entity. In 2010 VCE introduced their Vblock Systems which provided a new approach to optimizing technology solutions for cloud computing. Since then they have continued to grow their customer portfolio and improve their solutions and be a leader in the industry. See the complete VCE history.

Cloud Computing and Farming from NetApp Insight

An Unexpected Finding at NetApp Insight 2014

By | Cloud Computing, NetApp, Strategy | No Comments

Another year of NetApp Insight has come and gone and I would like to share some very exciting news regarding the many useful updates to Data ONTAP 8.3. However, I will have to wait a few more weeks until NetApp lifts the press embargo. Instead, I want to take some time and share with you something I found extremely interesting from NetApp partner, Fujitsu

NetApp has partnerships with many players in tech, but this story presented at one of the general sessions from Fujitsu’s Bob Pryor, Head of Americas and Corporate Vice President, regarding how Japanese farmers are using SaaS in the cloud really had a profound effect on me.  Not only because cloud computing and farming are perceptively juxtaposed, but having grown up on a dairy farm, I’m always interested in how farmers are using technology to drive efficiency in their daily lives. For example, robots and GPS devices did not exist 30 years ago in the agricultural space, right when I needed them most to help me with my chores.

How Can Cloud Computing and Farming Work Together?

Cloud and farming? Nothing could seem so irrelevant on the together on the paper.After all, farmers use sweat and brawn, machinery, and long hours to accomplish their tasks, but they’re also running a business and need to collect data on crops, commodity prices, livestock, and weather.Millions of potential data points for analysis could open up new ways of discovery to higher yields, healthier livestock, and ultimately, greater profits.Kind of sounds like a “Big Data” opportunity to me. I encourage you to take a look at Akisai, Fujitsu’s SaaS platform aiding Japanese farmers today. 

“Fujitsu’s new service is the first of its kind worldwide that has been designed to provide comprehensive support to all aspects of agricultural management, such as for administration, production, and sales in open field cultivation of rice and vegetables, horticulture, and in animal husbandry. With the on-site utilization of ICT as a starting point, the service aims to connect distributors, agricultural regions, and consumers through an enhanced value chain.” – Fujitsu

As more of us move into large cites and as third-world countries continue evolve from an agrarian to manufacturing/services based economies, it’s more important now than ever to understand where our food comes from, how it’s produced, and how it affects us as consumers. If technology can play a more dominant role in supplying food delivery to the world with less land, resources, and time, and can provide better economies of scale to the farmer, then I believe Fujitsu is onto something here.

Please visit Fujitsu’s website for further information.



Comparing Cloud Storage Offerings: Critical Factors Beyond Pricing

By | Cloud Computing, Storage | No Comments

It is amazing how quickly enterprises are looking to adopt cloud technologies in general. This kind of demand didn’t exist three years ago. Certainly a growing economy is contributing to this. With so many choices out there it can get a little crazy finding the perfect cloud offering. Organizations must take a lot into consideration, particularly critical factors that go beyond pricing.

Pricing: More Complicated Than $/Gig

The first phrase I hear all the time is “How much per Gig?” But in reality there is more to it then just the cost per GB alone. Cloud providers can make the financials of placing your data in the cloud much more complicated then it should be.

Cloud providers can make the financials of placing your data in the cloud much more complicated then it should be.

When you read between the lines you realize that most providers are charging you all sorts of fees and suddenly that dollar per GB usable figure in large bold font is not the only figure you should have paid attention to. Your invoice at the end of the month will include fees like data transfer out dollar per GB … yes it’s a two-way street.

Fees, Fees and More Fees

Another fee is for the number of PUT and GET requests, as well as how many can be done simultaneously. Did you change your mind and you want to delete your data? Well there is an early delete fee. How quickly do you need to restore your data? As you can guess, some providers will charge you a restore speed fee. There is also a limit on the amount of data you can restore on a daily or monthly basis and if you go over that—you got it—additional fees apply. When things go terribly wrong and you need to get someone on the phone there is also a technical support fee.

The bigger the cloud provider, the less that special concierge experience you will receive.

You are just another caller on the system waiting in queue. They don’t know your business or how your customers are affected. They don’t have engineering design diagrams that show how your data is created, how data flows in your environment, or how it is being leveraged.

Now that we have highlighted the economics of storing and accessing your data in the cloud, let’s take a look at more critical factors like security, durability, and availability.

Beyond Cost: Critical Cloud Factors

By now many people in the IT industry are familiar with the concept of object-based dispersed storage. One of these methods uses a type of erasure code known as Cauchy Reed-Solomon. In laymen’s terms, it is a software-defined storage solution that slices up your data and spreads it across a redundant array of inexpensive nodes, enabling you to provide much higher SLAs around security, availability, and durability—and do so in a much more cost effective manner, without having to make additional copies. This technology offers flexibility and efficiency far greater then what the typical RAID schemes have provided over the last 27 years.

This technology offers flexibility and efficiency far greater then what the typical RAID schemes have provided over the last 27 years.

A Software-Defined Storage Solution for Archiving

As Cloud Storage has gained popularity and business value in the Enterprise, this has become a big topic of discussion with our customers. At IDS, we chose to adopt Cleversafe’s software-defined storage solution in our Cloud as the storage foundation for our online archive services.

This has allowed us to set ourselves apart from most other cloud providers whose storage technologies rely on RAID and replication.

It has enabled IDS to offer our customers over 13 nines (9’s) of data durability with a mean time to data loss of 53,297,037,010,000 years. The Cleversafe storage cluster is deployed across four data centers, enabling the IDS Cloud the ability to tolerate an entire data center outage—even being wiped away from the face of the planet—while maintaining read and write access.

As an additional security measure, the information that sits in the individual data center is completely meaningless by itself. This is one of many reasons why the three-letter US government agencies have adopted the Cleversafe technology.

FREE Download: Excel Price Comparison List of Leading Cloud Storage Providers

Using the Cleversafe technology, IDS has been able to differentiate from the competition by offering our customers a simple all-inclusive price per GB model, while at the same time offering an unimaginable SLA.

The next time you are shopping for a cloud provider do the diligence to check and see what is under the hood and what is between the lines.

With that I will leave you with this Dilbert strip and ask, “Who do you trust your data with?”

Photo credit: pacgov via Flickr