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Cloud Compute

Article by ATI Partner Josh Williams, VP of Solution Engineering – INAP 

 

Yankees or Red Sox, Linux or Windows, Star Wars or Star Trek: There’s no shortage of choices life asks us to make. When it comes to cloud versus colocation, it may be tempting to see it as just another either-or decision. But the question you should be asking isn’t “colo or cloud”—it’s “what’s the right mix for my applications?”

 

Colo is sometimes forgotten because of its more popular, younger and shinier cousin the cloud, but there are use cases for both, and your particular mix will depend on your applications. For example, a financial services company that wants to leverage cloud to gain cost efficiency might use a public cloud for its end-of-day or end-of-month batch processing, while also using colocation or hosted private cloud for its mission-critical databases and supporting applications. This configuration would provide the cost efficiency of public cloud for short-term workloads while also utilizing a dedicated, secure platform optimized for applications that are always on.

 

Regardless of your situation, developing a comprehensive cloud strategy will help you avoid lock-in, providing flexibility, adaptability and room to grow as your needs evolve. And that multi-cloud strategy just might include some smart usage of colocation if, for example, you have a need for specific hardware or want a network presence in certain locations. Here’s a primer for understanding the big pieces of cloud, colo and anything in between.

 

The Hidden Cost of On-Premise Solutions

 

For any organization facing the decision to “build” or “buy” their infrastructure, “buying”—whether bringing your hardware and renting space in a colocation facility or shifting entirely to the cloud—is a simple step that is guaranteed to level up your IT. Yet the conversation about colo and cloud is usually focused on dollars spent and saved. This is understandable, especially since on-premise data centers are often expensive to secure and maintain, and going off-premise can have a clear impact on cost savings. But what could the conversation be if CAPEX or OPEX weren’t the primary drivers of your IT infrastructure decisions?

 

Now don’t get me wrong—I know keeping costs reasonable is important—but I also think it might be helpful to think about your choice in terms of a different resource: time. The math is simple: If you can offload certain tasks to a service provider, that’s time you get back. Every minute not spent handling maintenance and administration is a minute you now have free to focus on your actual applications. With that being said, here are the ways colo and cloud can make your life better.

 

Security and Compliance

 

With a colo or cloud service provider, all the work of physical data center security and maintenance is no longer part of your to-do list—and a lot of compliance too, depending on your provider. With a managed service provider, they can take care of your routine data security and compliance tasks or even help you architect your infrastructure to fit the specific compliance needs of your applications.

 

Connectivity

 

A big part of the decision to move off-premise may be a simple need for connectivity. Your on-premise solution might lack certain connectivity altogether or you may have trouble with reliability or latency. Colocation can solve these issues, whether you need to connect to certain geographies, carriers or third-party clouds like AWS or Azure. Managed services from your provider can give you an edge here too, ensuring dependable connectivity and minimizing latency even in spread-out networks.

 

Backup and Disaster Recovery

 

A huge upside to partnering with a comprehensive service provider is that regardless of your infrastructure solution, backup and DR services can be easily implemented. Whether using a colocation facility or a hosted private cloud, both are effective, efficient ways to build redundancy into your systems—without having to build and operate your own second site.

 

The Biggest Difference-Maker: A Trusted Service Provider

 

When choosing the right mix, it’s a good idea to start by asking a few questions:

 

  • Where do you see your IT infrastructure and operations strategy in three to five years?
  • What do you predict your service needs will be then?
  • And most importantly: Are you working with a provider that gives you the capability to do the things you need to do today and won’t hinder you from doing what you need to do in the future?

Choosing the right provider can determine whether you have the flexibility and freedom to meet your future needs. They can be an invaluable partner in helping you to rightsize for today without limiting your options for the future. So pick one with a wide range of infrastructure solutions and managed services and one that is skilled, knowledgeable and experienced in multiple competencies, whether colo or cloud. At INAP, my team of solutions engineers help customers navigate the process, identify hard-to-spot downsides and share knowledge based on our experience assisting other customers.

 

Applications that are not a good fit for a legacy infrastructure model can be easily migrated with the help of a service provider like INAP, while maintaining a single partner that knows you and your business. The right solution will depend on your applications, and that will inevitably evolve over time. Rather than pitting colo against cloud, start from what your applications require, then find the right mix that makes sense for you.


Article by ATI Partner Josh Williams, VP of Solution Engineering – INAP



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Cloud Compute

Whats your disaster recovery or data backup plan? ATI can help determine:

 

  • Necessary RTO and RPO times
  • Zerto? Veeam? Nimble? Double-Take?
  • Co-Loc or georedundant data centers?
  • Best practices for data backup
Schedule a DRaaS Analysis today.

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ATI works closely with the leader in cloud solutions, to provide a cost effective, dependable set of products to protect the modern business. Our cloud-based Disaster Recovery services provides customers with data loss prevention and various business continuity options leveraging the best-of-breed IT infrastructure as a service (IaaS).



Contact us today to learn more, or click here to learn more about Disaster Recovery as a Service.
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Cloud Compute
AWS vs. Azure: Is There a Difference?

Article by ATI partner Danielle Hagel, Senior Manager of CoreSite’s Customer Engagement Program

Are there differences in cloud services, or is IaaS evolving into a commoditized technology? If you are considering making changes to your cloud strategy or initiating a private, public or hybrid cloud deployment, that’s an important question.

 

Naturally, you will look to the leading providers for an answer. For the past six years, Gartner has placed two companies in the “leaders” box of their Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide: Amazon Web Services and Microsoft1. Let’s put the scale of these two companies in perspective. In 2015, Gartner reported that AWS customers deployed 10X more infrastructure than the combined adoption of the next 14 providers2. Today, although Microsoft lags behind Amazon in overall use, “Azure adoption has increased significantly from 26 percent to 43 percent, reducing the AWS lead among enterprises,” according to RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Report3. Looking ahead, you can expect both companies to make sharing workloads between on-premises and off-premises clouds more attractive.

 

AWS Services, Azure and Enterprise

 

If you look back only a few years, you will find that “bring IT to the forefront of the enterprise” was a common rallying cry. Now, IT is not only at the forefront, every significant decision for the enterprise includes the CTO’s input.

 

AWS and Azure understand this shift, and consequently the array of services they sell satisfy the business needs of their customers. A detailed comparison of AWS and Azure would reveal some differences in each provider’s service offerings. Some are subtle, such as SLA uptime guarantees or published certifications. The salient point is that the services offered address core enterprise requirements; they are business-driven, and will continue to change according to what enterprises need, not according to the cool new things that can be done with more computing power and faster networks.

 

Keep in mind that other players could offer services that suit your company or industry. Google Cloud Platform and SoftLayer are two examples and each differentiates themselves with niche IaaS services: Google’s services include machine learning and natural language APIs; SoftLayer offers a 100% SLA.

 

Again, we are not recommending either of these companies, but are illustrating the fact that the cloud is a dynamic technology with many possibilities. Come to think of it, that doesn’t sound like commoditization at all.

 

Article by Danielle Hagel, Senior Manager of CoreSite’s Customer Engagement Program

  1. aws.amazon.com/resources/gartner-2016-mq-learn-more
    2. www.gartner.com/doc/reprints?id=1-2G2O5FC&ct=150519&st=sb
    3. www.rightscale.com/lp/state-of-the-cloud
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Cloud Compute, From ATI
Considering the cloud? We are your …As A Service technology experts. Schedule a Cloud Consultation today.



There are hundreds of cloud solutions… So how do you choose the right one? We’ve met, vetted, toured data centers & learned the strengths & weaknesses of all the major providers… So, you don’t have to. Cloud Migration? Public or Private? Security & Compliance? Schedule a Cloud Consultation w ATI and we’ll walk you through each.
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Cloud Compute

2018 Gartner IaaS Report

Notable Takeaways

1) Amazon AWS stays on top for another year, well ahead of the pack in the Leaders quadrant
2) Microsoft Azure stays strong at #2 in the Leaders quadrant
3) Google cloud on the rise and makes first appearance the Leaders Magic Quadrant
4) Alibaba Cloud is now a global player for those looking for something similar to AWS but perhaps at a lower price point
5) 8 vendors most notably Rackspace, dropped out for their inability to support large scale workloads
6) The marketplace seems to have almost completed their consolidation in the IaaS space

Learn more about IaaS here, and don’t hesitate to contact ATI to learn more.
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Cloud Compute

Are You Getting the Most from the Cloud?

March 24, 2016 – Forrester indicates that spending on cloud computing is expected to top $160 billion around the globe by 2020 – a growth rate of 22% per year – it’s no secret that cloud technology is becoming an essential part of modern business. But along with the implementation of new cloud computing services comes the challenges that come with adopting any new technology- inefficiency. Inefficiency can mean your employees aren’t working at full capacity or equipment, software, and features you have invested in are sitting unused. If you want to make your cloud computing services, such as cloud VoIP, CRM, and other options, work for you instead of against you, keep reading for five ways to maximize your efficiency with the cloud.
  1. Put Cloud Computing Policies in Place

While security is certainly an issues of top concern when it comes to cloud computing, that’s not the only policy that your company should have in place to protect efficiency. It is important to ensure that you have protocols for managing your cloud resources – from personnel to procedural. This way those critical elements like security and support do not fall into a dreaded zone where everyone believes they are someone else’s responsibility. The sooner your company can get this type of policy in place, the better.
  1. Ensure Your Cloud Apps Communicate

Some estimates suggest that by 2018, business will have up to 27 services in the cloud that were previously in house. However, it is not enough to simply move these services to a cloud system. For maximum efficiency, these services need to actually be able to communicate with one another. For instance, a cloud VoIP can offer advantages in phone communications, but when the system is also integrated with a cloud CRM, productivity can skyrocket.
  1. Take Advantage of Reliability

One of the key ways in which cloud computing services can improve efficiency is by allowing systems to stay up. When software lives off site, it can stay up and functioning – and be accessed remotely – even in the event of downtime in the office, including outages, natural disasters, and other unforeseen circumstances. Make sure that employees know how to use cell phones and home offices to access your cloud systems so that you can take advantage of this standard of reliability.
  1. Use Cloud for Frequent Updates

Some software and systems are updated a lot more frequently than others. Looking to the cloud for these particular services is a great option because those updates will happen automatically and generally at no cost to you. This means you will always be working with the latest version and the best possible tools, ensuring efficiency well beyond standard on-premise solutions.
  1. Utilize Your IT Department

One of the biggest advantages of systems like cloud VoIP is that your IT department does not have to spend their precious hours supporting your phone system or whatever service you decide to take to the cloud. You can use this opportunity to leverage your IT department for bigger business goals – whatever that means for your company. Cloud computing is here to stay. But as you continue to invest in it, be sure that you are using it to its full capacity and taking advantage of the efficiencies it has to offer. Learn more about a cloud phone system that will help you accomplish all of the above 5 tasks.
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Cloud Compute

Cloud Data Solutions That Can Scale as Your Business Grows

February 25, 2016 – Some small businesses may be content reaching a limited size. But many more see growth as a top priority. If you want your business to grow, you have to have the right infrastructure in place, which includes the right data solutions for storing and accessing your business’ data. The right solution will be easy to use and understand, secure, and able to grow with you.

Cloud Data Storage

Turning to the cloud as a data solution can be intimidating for small business owners, but more and more it is becoming the only feasible option, especially for businesses that want to grow and need a solution that scales. On-premises data storage might feel more secure, but once you start adding employees, applications, and clients, you will keep needing to add more servers and possibly upgrade software to make sure you have enough room. The other option is cloud storage. That means you purchase space on an off-site server to store your important data – from documents like contracts and business plans to cloud-based applications that are used across the company. Cloud storage makes accessing your data easier, even as your company grows.

Cloud Data Solutions & Security

Security can be one of the biggest concerns you have as a small business owner who is considering a cloud-based data solution. You can hardly turn around today without seeing another news story about a major hack or data breach. And if huge companies like Target and Sony are susceptible, how does a small business like yours stand a chance? The good news is that there are security options that are available and attainable, even for small businesses. While nothing is completely foolproof, data solutions like Soonr handle security especially well. Because these cloud storage options integrate office applications with mobile devices, they eliminate the need for third-party mobile apps that can lead to data loss or hacks. This is especially useful for those businesses that rely on a mobile workforce with remote employees or just workers who are always on the go. Good cloud data storage options also have the benefit of segmented access so that you can set up who gets to see what. Internal employees are treated to different access than clients or partners, which keeps things even more secure. That means you can safely store contracts and other sensitive data in the cloud without worrying about who will have access.

How Cloud Storage Scales

When your business grows, your cloud storage grows with you. There is no need to purchase new servers or hire more IT support. Depending on the data solutions you choose, you might have to upgrade your storage subscription over time, but it’s extremely easy to do. That makes keeping your data in the cloud the best possible choice for businesses that are growing fast. Choosing the right cloud data solution for your growing business can be a challenge, but once you know how it works it’s easy to see how it can scale quickly and easily to meet your needs without compromising security. Learn more about how ATI can backup your data here. Host your infrastructure in the Cloud with ATI here.
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Cloud Compute
Technology: it’s often seen as both a blessing and a curse for growing businesses today. From all the conveniences of a mobile world to the stresses of trying to keep up with all the system updates and changes, businesses are seemingly always trying to find smart data solutions. However, technology and data issues at businesses is not a problem that needs a final solution, but should be viewed more like an ongoing project that needs continuous attention and maintenance. Much like the product or service you deliver needs periodic adjustments to adapt to your market, so does the data aspects of your business.

The Problem with Data Use

Today’s digital landscape is reaching new thresholds. Data is coming from a number of different embedded systems like MP3 players, MRI scanners and even traffic lights. Because of this, it’s growing to levels where it’s challenging the more established practices previously located in data centers. Because of all these rapid changes, most growing companies are finding that data is one of their main technical challenges. To begin, you must define the sheer scale of how much data you need to power your business and create your products. Additionally, you need to ask yourself how you can forecast putting your organization’s data to the best use? Make a realistic estimate of a best-case scenario: if costs didn’t matter, how much data would you need to deliver the best possible products and services to your customers?

What Data Can Do For You

After you identify your company’s data needs, you can then begin the process of shaping your technologies around your best-case business results. Go beyond finding the technologies that will work for your business, but instead create your own technologies around your business needs and goals. Doing so will allow you to make realistic measurements of how data adjustments and changes can truly benefit and influence your business.

Overcoming Complexities

But even outlining a best-case scenario doesn’t mean you have the knowledge and experience to implement smart data solutions. As we’ve mentioned, the problem with data management is the sheer amount of data solutions available and keeping up with how the advancements may impact your business. Beyond simply managing a department, a business must remain knowledgeable with the latest developments like data technology and machine learning. Doing this effectively takes someone who can understand and identify what different advancements are the right fit for your organization to allocate resources to. An experienced Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is trained to identify and consistently advise your business through these types of complexities.

Data-Driven Benefits

Making an assumption that it’s not necessary to invest in the data needs of a growing business puts the future stability of the organization at risk.  Although a costly investment, implementing plans that put company data consumption and use at the center of business growth processes helps to ensure the stability of the organization in the future. Learn how ATI can get you the bandwidth for the data you need here.
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Cloud Compute
June 8, 2015 – Upon arriving to the office this morning, I had a sudden realization that my laptop was not with me. After working on it late last night, I forgot to put it in my bag, and was faced with a dilemma. Drive home two and a half hours roundtrip to retrieve it, (Yeah I live downtown Chicago, and we’re out here in Naperville) or MacGyver some sort of solution. The latter option won as I wandered around the office to locate an unused PC tower. I eventually found one, brought it back to my desk, connected the wires, and had something I could get by for the day with. However the computer wasn’t configured for every specific application I needed and the network drives were disconnected. All I had was the internet and therefore a way to web in to my email. Let me tell you it wasn’t one of my most productive days. Well that fateful day above was about 6 months ago, and since then our office has started to implement a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, (VDI) that will all but eliminate that conundrum and fix many other remote worker situations. Here’s a quick overview on how VDI works. Your company files and applications are hosted in the cloud in secure, georedundant data centers, and you access them via a web browser/internet connection for a monthly per user cost. It’s really that simple. Company Files/Applications = MS Office, CRM, Email/Exchange, Virus Protection, Citrix, QuickBooks, etc… Internet Connection = Any Smart Device (Cell Phones, Tablets, Laptops, Desktops, TVs) Let’s rewind and see how this situation would play out now with VDI. Get to the office, no laptop. Obtain the unused PC tower, (Use my iPad, or ask IT for a spare laptop for the day) connect to the internet, login into the VDI portal and voila, my internet browser now looks just like my desktop. Here I can access my secure company files, and utilize my specific programs to get my work done. Now if this service was only to save forgetful people like myself, it’s worth rolling the dice. However just think about some other real world applications where VDI would come in handy.
  • Weather prevents your employees from coming into the office, rather than a day off they can log in from their home computers to access files and apps. You can also direct all calls to your cell, or even put your phone system in the cloud
  • Computer/Laptop upgrades in your near future for all employees? Rather than spend 1k+ per employee, get them Chromebooks for 1/5th the cost. Since all you need is an internet connection that’ll more than suffice, as all the processing is done in the cloud.
  • Upgrading software or licensing? Your VDI hosting provider can take care of all that for you under your current monthly plan
Setting up a virtual desktop infrastructure may be right for a handful of people at the office or for everyone; it’s just a new way of looking at things. Learn more about VDI here, or take a look at other cloud solutions we offer that may streamline your business operations.
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Cloud Compute
Once, managed security service providers were small companies who offered select few larger companies the option to store their data remotely. Now, that market has grown into a widely utilized industry, where providers navigate security issues, compliance regulations, and the importance of data protection for you. But with this burgeoning enterprise comes the difficulty of deciding between the many competent players. When choosing the company that will defend the security of your data and manage your ability to access it, it’s important to look closely at several aspects of each provider
  1. Track Record

    The ideal MSSP to handle your company’s sensitive data will be able to show a strong history of quality information management over a significant period of time.
  2. Response Time and Analysis

    An MSSP must be able to easily determine security threats from false alarms. Your provider should be able to respond immediately after analyzing and interpreting large amounts of network security.
  3. Operation Centers

    The best MSSP will have state-of-the-art security operations centers at multiple locations, allowing for cross-monitoring and double-checking compliance with security standards.
  4. Global Awareness

    To really be prepared, security experts must be able to monitor threats to data not just domestically, but from around the world. International eyes and ears allow for proactive handling of threats and real-time alerts.
  5. High Level Management

    Management personnel in the best MSSPs will often have backgrounds working in military, security, or government: an indicator of success.
  6. Range of Services

    Particularly for larger businesses, MSSPs must be able to provide a variety of services, including real-time monitoring, firewall management, intrusion detection systems, virtual private networks, and more.
  7. Security Procedures

    Ask for documented standards and policies that are in place, from handling of unusual operations to common threats. Look for an MSSP that offers a variety of notification options for optimal staff awareness.
  8. Third-Party Validation

    Whatever these policies and procedures are, make sure that the MSSP has had them validated and certified by a third-party auditor.
  9. Range

    For best brand-specific protection, find an MSSP that employs specialists who have certified experience working with a variety of security providers and in a wide range of products.
  10. Reporting

    Detailed reporting is essential for a company to truly trust the MSSP. Be sure that the reports are based on information drawn from various platforms, include recommendations, are open about latest threats, and are clear about any security changes that have been made.
Your data is only as secure as the company trusted to protect it. Take your time and consider all aspects of the business and relevant details of your own company before deciding. One of the companies that ATI has vetted and trust with your data is iCore Networks. We’re having an executive luncheon with them on May 6th, 2015, and would love for you to attend. Learn more here.
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