Posts Tagged ‘cloud’

Adopting the Cloud Drives Business Agility and a Competitive Agile Advantage

According to a recent study by Harvard Business Review (HBR) Analytic Services, companies that are adopting cloud computing are winning the competitive advantage, and especially achieving business agility, which was found to the leading driver for adopting cloud among all respondents.

HBR surveyed 527 Harvard Business Review readers in large and mid-sized companies in a wide range of industries around the world. 44 percent of the respondents came from organizations with more than 10,000 employees and 34 percent from organizations with between 1,000 and 10,000 employees.Businessman working with a Cloud Computing diagram on the new co

Question: Are you or have you adopted the cloud in your business?

  • 70 percent of respondents had adopted cloud computing for some production use cases
  • 35 percent of adopters are very aggressively moving forward where ever it makes sense

Question: What is the result cloud adoption has had on your business?

  • 56 percent of aggressive adopters told HBR they were gaining a significant advantage as a result

Question: What is your leading driver for adopting the cloud?

  • 32 percent (of all respondents): business agility
  • 41 percent (of aggressive adopters): business agility
  • 14 percent: increased innovation
  • 14 percent: lower costs
  • 13 percent: capability to scale up and down in response to demand

Question: Have you entered into a new market since you adopted the cloud in past three years?

  • 49 percent of aggressive adopters - yes
  • 35 percent of moderates  - yes
  • 36 percent of cautious adopters – yes

Question: Have you been a part of a merger or acquisition since adopting the cloud?

  • 49 percent of aggressive adopters - yes
  • 29 percent of moderates - yes
  • 31 percent of cautious adopters - yes

Question: Among the companies that had already begun to adopt cloud computing, how has it improved company functionality?

  • 37 percent said it had simplified internal operations (e.g., HR, CRM)
  • 33 percent said it led to better delivery of internal resources (like web hosting or storage)
  • 31 percent said it led to new ways for employees to work, connect and collaborate
  • 23 percent of the respondents also cited faster rollout of new business initiatives to exploit new opportunities
  • 23 percent said they experienced improved ability to acquire, share, analyze and act on data

Overall, companies moving aggressively to adopt cloud computing are winning the competitive advantage by reducing complexity and increasing business agility. These companies that are leveraging the cloud for this advantage have two things in common: a champion at the C-suite level and a CIO that can drive change.

To view the original article, click here.

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The Cloud for Modern Business

Scott Guthrie, EVP of Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise, discusses the evolution and ongoing transformation of the cloud, hybrid cloud and data in the cloud, and announces Microsoft Azure Certified, Microsoft Azure in Open and Microsoft Azure Machine Learning.

To learn more, view the demonstration below.


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Yammer brings conversations to your OneDrive and SharePoint Online files

Microsoft’s Office 365 Team released the latest in leveraging the power of the cloud to bring people together. By embedding the social collaboration capabilities of Yammer into the Office apps you use to get work done every day, Microsoft has created a simple way for you to share ideas around Office documents, images and videos right from within the content they are editing or reviewing.

Ask questions, find expertise and offer feedback without leaving the application you are working in. You also have the ability to view and participate in conversations outside your document, on your mobile device, in Microsoft Dynamics CRM or any app where a Yammer feed is embedded.

Click on the video below to see how it works!

Yammer document conversations in Office 365 enabling contextual social collaboration from TopLine Strategies on Vimeo.

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Crawl, Walk, Run to Cloud Adoption

Cloud computing symbol being pressed by handHow can your organization be successful with cloud adoption? In order to accomplish this, you will need to develop careful planning and a road map with measurable metrics to help you along the way.

These stages are outlined on in an article written by Carlos Granda, EVP with RiverMeadow, one of the best tool and solution vendors in the cloud migration space.

Stage One: Crawl

  • Internal readiness assessment: determine which processes, applications, dependencies and data are cloud-ready (not all applications belong in the cloud).
  • Market readiness assessment: determine which competitors are moving to cloud, with which processes and applications.
  • Prepare an adoption road map with all dependencies charted – people, applications, regulated data, regulations, business unit and customer SLAs, backup, storage and retention.
  • Develop a ‘future state’ vision that supports a cloud architecture not just for today, but also for tomorrow.
  • Use the discovery exercises to develop a road map that will have measurable, tangible, and short milestones to demonstrate quick wins and establish credibility.

Stage Two: Walk

  • Identify cloud services providers which meet your criteria and needs list.
  • Demand proof that selected cloud services offerings meet reliability, availability, scalability and security requirements.
  • Confirm the commercial viability of both the cloud offering and the cloud provider.
  • List deal breakers – anything that poses an operational or financial risk.
  • Partner with vendors who understand the market, have experience, and with a business model that aligns closely with your success to ensure cloud adoption.

Stage Three: Run 

  • Initiate sourcing action plan for cloud services.
  • Pilot options meeting your RASS requirements.
  • Identify a cloud mobility or migration tool.
  • Develop migration plan and road map.
  • Transition to new cloud services.
  • 2014 will be the year of the cloud adoption.

Remember, migrating to the cloud is a journey, not a destination.

Read Carlos Granda’s excellent full piece here

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Cloud Infographic: Cloud and the Medical Field

Click on the image to expand it.

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To view the original article, click here.

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Available Now: The Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 2.0

Microsoft released the Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) 2.0, a supported, freely available solution for converting VMware-based virtual machines and virtual disks to Hyper-V-based virtual machines and virtual hard disks (VHDs).icon Cloud door digital

You now have access to many updated features including:

  • Added support for vCenter & ESX(i) 5.5
  • VMware virtual hardware version 4 – 10 support
  • Linux Guest OS migration support including CentOS, Debian, Oracle, Red Hat Enterprise, SuSE enterprise and Ubuntu.

Also, two great new features including:

  • On-Premises VM to Azure VM conversion: You can now migrate your VMware virtual machines straight to Azure. Ease your migration process and take advantage of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure with a simple wizard driven experience.
  • PowerShell interface for scripting and automation support: Automate your migration via workflow tools including System Center Orchestrator and more. Hook MVMC 2.0 into greater processes including candidate identification and migration activities.

To learn more, click here.


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Hybrid Matters, But Why?

Does your company use private or public cloud options? There are benefits to each, but then there is also another vital option in the mix, the hybrid cloud option. This later one is perhaps the most important of all, because few can afford the purity of all private or all public, due both the legacy investments as well as the nature of the app stack. Microsoft in a lot of ways is the pioneer in this space with Azure and Windows, but now the world seems to be moving in this direction all over the place.

Hybrid occurs when two or more cloud systems, private or public, including clouds managed by different service providers, are connected. They remain unique, but can access additional resources on an as-needed basis. Getting the user experience right in this environment through SSO and other means is key, as is ensuring that IT standards for security and data quality are maintained.

Many companies find that this hybrid option provides both privacy and control—the best of both worlds. Not only can you store confidential data on your private cloud application, but you can also use a more cost-efficient public cloud for billing and enterprise resource planning.

Steve Prentice did a cool piece of this recently with a focus on HP’s options and an infrastructure level, but he covers nicely the broader domain as well.

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Microsoft Core OS Virtualization Advancements Improve the Life of the SQL and CRM Server Engineers

Let’s say you are a Microsoft shop, but using VMWare still to host things like MS SQL Server images, CRM Servers and SharePoint Servers.  Are you losing anything by trying to use the VMWare hypervisor stack instead of the MS Hyper-V solution? It looks like the answer is increasingly yes. One example that impacts engineers every day is running test copies of VM’s in local environments, and trying to work out the kinks before deployment into local private cloud.

I saw a neat blog on just this topic, focused on Windows 8.1, which now supports Hyper-V in the desktop mode directly. Check out Jonathan Hassell’s piece here.

He hits on five key points, here is a quick summary of them. I particularly like the first one, which given a pure Microsoft stack world, finally moves us from the “emulation” of physical servers in a VM world to the purity of operating systems engineered for virtualization. The end of the era of trapped BIOS IRQ calls could not come soon enough for me. Long live Hyper-V and Generation 2 virtual machines. This will make life better for the SQL and CRM server engineers, from the desktop up to the private and public cloud spaces, and only works in the Hyper-V world.

1. Generation 2 virtual machines

Windows 8.1 is designed to work within what Microsoft calls a “generation 2 virtual machine,” a new type of VM available exclusively under Hyper-V. This VM essentially strips away all pretense of virtualizing legacy PC deployments. Generation 2 VMs are UEFI-based, rather than relying on a BIOS, and there are no emulated devices. These VMs boot directly off a virtual SCSI and network adapters and also support secure boot — the preferred way to ensure only signed kernels are permitted to boot within the VM.

2. Deduplication for VDI deployments

If you want to run Windows 8.1 in a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environment, with scores of hosts running Windows 8.1 guests in VMs that users log into as their daily drivers, then the Windows Server 2012 R2 deduplication feature can save an enormous amount of space while increasing performance.

3. Storage Quality of Service

Network Quality of Service (QoS) allows administrators to define caps for certain types of network traffic to ensure enough bandwidth exists for other activities and no one type of traffic sucks up the entire network pipe. Similarly, Hyper-V in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 supports storage QoS. This feature lets you restrict disk throughput for overactive and disruptive VMs, which is great if you have a long-running process in one VM and you don’t want the overall I/O performance of your host machine dragged down. Since this feature is dynamically configurable, you can even adjust the QoS settings while the VM is running so you don’t interrupt the workload of a given VM.

4. Online VHDX resize

Have you ever had a VM that runs out of disk space? If you set up the VM with a fixed-size virtual disk rather than a dynamically expanding disk, this could pose a problem. However, the new Hyper-V in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 allows you to increase and decrease the size of virtual hard disks of a VM while the VM is running — a hot resize, if you will. The VM in question can be running any guest OS, so there are no limitations to running Windows XP or even Linux with this feature. But the virtual hard disk file must be in the newer format (VHDX) as opposed to the older (more popular) VHD format.

5. Enhanced VM connect

Hyper-V in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 offers what Microsoft calls “enhanced virtual machine connect,” which is the ability to use the remote desktop protocol to connect to a VM — even if the network within the VM is down. Hyper-V uses VMBus, the internal communications channel for connecting VMs to the hypervisor. It then transmits RDP over the VMBus independent of the network connection. As part of this enhanced mode, you can drag and drop files between the host and the VM, which makes use of the clipboard sharing capabilities, and you can redirect local resources like smart cards, printers and USB devices right over that VMBus connection. This makes it easier to perform troubleshooting tasks and simple administration. This enhanced mode is enabled by default if you’re running Hyper-V on Windows 8.1, but disabled by default if you are running it on Windows Server 2012 R2.

Remember, quite a bit of this is Hyper-V specific. Read Jonathan Hassell’s full piece by clicking here.

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Tons of file-based data to share in the cloud? No problem, with SharePoint Online!

Recently, Microsoft announced that SharePoint Online’s site collection limit has been increased to a full terabyte, up from 100 gigabytes previously, giving the cloud storage quite a boost.Cloud storage with the rain of the social symbols; Eps10

Along with the new site collection limit, Microsoft announced that businesses can better scale their storage on SharePoint Online. They have seen an impressive 485 percent growth in user access and a 500 percent [year-over-year] growth in customer content storage.

In an FAQ, the company revealed that 1TB site collections and unlimited tenant storage affect select Office 365 plans, including Enterprise E1, E3 and E4 and Education A2, A3 and A4, and does not apply to Home Premium users.

Finally, while site collection total storage limits are growing larger, it is still a good practice to keep individual SharePoint Online single libraries from growing beyond 2000-3000 files per library, to keep performance at its peak. Instead, add extra libraries if extra file count is needed. And avoid exceeding 5000 files per SharePoint Online library or list, this has been known to create real headaches.

To view the original article, click here.

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Top 10 Hottest Enterprise Apps of 2013

Many people have associated apps created for mobile devices and tablets with solving the entertainment needs of consumers ie- gaming, social media usage etc. But as the app marketplace grows, organizations around the world have begun to create business oriented platforms that have proven to significantly increase business efficiency. With this in mind, Salesforce compiled a list of their top 10 hottest enterprise mobile apps for 2013. Here is that list with a brief description of their functionality and links to their websites if you would like to learn more.

Apttus – Quoting solution that allows users to quickly configure price and quotes for any product or service.

DocuSign – Allows users to quickly sign and send any document type straight from a mobile device or tablet.

Concur – Tracks travel and expense costs associated with business trips in an easy to use application.   

ServiceMax – A mobile and collaborative field service management software

Bracket Labs – Distributed, through the Salesforce App Exchange, this organization developed apps that share items such as marketing campaign calendars and shared to-do lists.  

Sylpheo – Enables sales people to make more phone calls and organize contact information easier.

Taptera – Allows for more seamless IT integration and security with syncing personal tablets with internal systems

Xactly –  A program designed to build, manage and audit sales compensation programs.

Geopointe – An integration of with Google maps, MapQuest and other geo-technologies. It is the top map app provider on – Builds cloud applications for Salesforce CRM such as cloud accounting software, billing, online accounting, professional services and more.


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