Tag Archives: cloud computing

Cloud Enables Business Agility, Scalability and Cost Optimization

In highly volatile markets, business organizations follow strategies to explore new opportunities. These strategies will be based on agility, flexibility and developing capacities to scale up or down to stay ahead of competitors. Cloud computing service models promote business growth because they promote business agility due to advantages such as scalability and cost savings.

Cloud computing in any of its forms viz, IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS enables organizations to minimize their complexities in running their own infrastructure. According to Gartner, IT service industry is constantly facing challenges from two opposing areas – Business and IT. On the one hand, business organizations demand new and innovative systems to engage customers, gain new markets and promote efficient partner interactions. On the other, there is a constant demand for reliable and efficient IT services to handle business demands efficiently. Cloud based services due to their scalable nature can be considered an ideal solution to tackle both these challenges.

To understand how cloud can enable business agility, we consider one business example. Suppose the sales and marketing team identifies one new opportunity to be capitalized quickly, there is an immediate need for new systems and applications which normally takes over 3 or 4 weeks to setup, by which time the opportunity could be lost. Cloud models provide on-demand IT resources rapidly to make available the network infrastructure along with applications which can be used by the organization immediately to gain value. When this opportunity ceases the resources can be de-scaled, thus saving cost in investing and maintaining new hardware.

Organizations desiring to be agile tend to be more elastic in their approach in responding to changing market needs quickly and cloud models due to their elasticity allows organizations to innovate and experiment with minimum financial impact. Hence, business agility is the ability to capitalize on new potential opportunities much more quickly than competitors. According to one study done by HBR analytic services in 2014, companies are adopting cloud computing to increase business agility and gain competitiveness.

Cloud computing due to its ability to scale plays a key role fostering business agility. Scalability refers to functioning efficiently in changed business contexts. For example, consider an e-commerce portal selling gift items and life style products that performs around 2000 transactions per week on the average. The same portal can experience a rapid surge in the number of hits going up to 2 million transactions during festive season. In order to handle such sudden rise in volume, the servers, storage and network needs to scale upwards automatically to handle transactions easily. Cloud models provide automatic scaling or de-scaling of servers, storage and network bandwidth to handle large volumes efficiently. Likewise, again when the demand is low, the cloud bandwidth will adjust itself to the volume of data. Therefore, clouds helps to converge different business processes through rapid provisioning of resources (storage, compute, network, etc.) to handle changes in size or volume of data to fulfill changing business needs driven by external environments.

Cost optimization in cloud is another area for discussion within business circles. Cloud computing models do not require spending money on purchase of new hardware or there is no capital expenditure involved instead, the money spent in using a cloud service model is known as operating expenditure. There are two payment models offered by cloud service providers. One is known as pay-per-use model where the consumer is charged for utilizing a resource for a specified duration. Pay-per-use can be any type of resource such as hardware, software, or application (for example, storage in GB, CPU, network bandwidth, etc.). In this model the consumer pays for each resource utilized. The advantage here is that when the resource is not utilized or needs to scale down it can be returned back to the data center and no charges are billed to the consumer.

The other model is fixed price model where the consumer pays a fixed amount for certain amount of unit resources for a time period (normally in months or a year). Fixed price model is also known as subscription model. In the subscription model the consumer also pays for resources that are not actually used or consumed. This is seen as wastage of resource and cost. The company depending on its business need can choose the most appropriate pricing model in order to benefit from operating costs. It may also be noted that pay-per-use model is dynamic where the prices are changed according to resource purchased.

In addition to pricing, cloud computing optimizes cost to a large extent because the benefits of agility are more profound and substantial in the long run than mere cost savings. The scalable nature of cloud computing in its service delivery model along with the integration of external information sources caters to business growth efficiently. Cloud computing technologies with their service models is a true enabler for organizations to achieve business agility, scalability and cost optimization.

How cloud computing can foster business agility?

In the current competitive market scenario, business agility is one key enabler for businesses to sustain their operations and achieve competitive gains. Business agility is all about adapting quickly to rapid market conditions and not getting lost in the competition. Conventional IT infrastructures have issues in quickly provisioning resources to support new business initiatives. Cloud computing models are an ideal IT service solution to overcome issues in IT resources and simultaneously promote business agility to achieve competitiveness.

Cloud service providers claim that adopting a cloud for business will lead to competitiveness and optimize business outcomes by improving agility. These claims is inspiring but let us first understand agility from the perspective of both, business and IT and examine how cloud models can support business agility. Firstly, the definition of business agility states that it is a term or a concept where organizations approach their markets and operational changes as a matter of routine. Business agility is a quality in which organizations adjust immediately to changing market conditions, take advantage of potential opportunities quickly, rapidly deploy new distribution channels at reduced costs and maximize their profits in the process.

CIOs experts claim that among the number of new technologies available, cloud computing models are ideal to realize business agility within an organization. This is because cloud models permit scalability (up and down), adjustable per user costs, pay for each resource and so on. Cloud computing can embrace an agile organization by supporting mobility, encouraging internal communication through collaboration software and permit interactions with customers in real time in order to create a constant feedback loop to drive business agility efforts.

The concept of agility is similar to the methods of agile project management where project teams analyze their priorities and project tasks are continuously evaluated throughout the entire project life cycle, rather than evaluating outcomes and performance at the end of the project. Basically, business agility is a systematic approach in change management which provides a framework for the organization on how to respond to change without neglecting the needs of the entire organization. An agile enterprise is understood as immune to change, and proficient in adopting itself to any change (internal or external) in a sustainable manner.

Agility is achieved in cloud computing because of its elasticity and flexibility. IT resources can be deployed much quickly and can be increased or decreased to meet market demand. Due to this flexibility enterprises can introduce new products or services, and adapt to changing circumstances. This flexibility and elasticity is applicable to all cloud deployment models. In addition to this since, the infrastructure is managed by an external cloud services organization there is no need to train IT staff within the company. Cloud models support agility in certain key areas for business enterprises, they are:

  • Quickly adapt to changing business processes: In agility existing business processes are changed or new processes are introduced. This change in processes would require IT resources to be replaced or new resources to be added. Cloud computing easily handles these changes by allowing companies to quickly add or change IT resources easily to support their changed processes.
  • Enables on-demand resources for development and testing: Resources are needed to support business processes and to test and develop new software. Procuring new resources and implementing them within the existing infrastructure can be time consuming and can introduce significant delays in capitalizing business opportunities. This can also be a business risk since money is spent on new expensive resources and must not become counterproductive. Adopting a cloud model will eliminate these risks as resources are available on-demand which saves time. Further, the usage based payment offered by cloud models replaces the initial up-front cost spent on new resources within the company.
  • Optimizes IT budgets: The usage model of pay per resource supports business companies to implement and test projects faster, saving money from new resources to be procured and made available. This eliminates budget allocation for IT capital expenditure, and supports finance to easily allocate fixed costs incurred on monthly basis. Cloud models makes it possible to have good control on unexpected IT spending with very little effort.
  • Focus more on IT strategies: Clouds are flexible and can scale quickly to provide speed and efficiency for business processes and transactions. Cloud applications can be accessed via the internet which supports businesses to access their elements and have more productive interactions with customers. IT teams have less burden of maintaining an infrastructure and the focus can be more on implementing new applications that are productive and will drive business results.

In June 2014, HBR Analytic Services conducted a survey titled “Business Agility in the Cloud” to show the link between the cloud, business agility and increased competitive advantage. The survey sponsored by Verizon included 527 participants from large and medium business enterprises. The results indicate that 71% of the responses have implemented cloud computing to reduce complexities in business processes and IT management. Within the cloud adopters, 74% mention that their business is able to achieve competitive advantage by moving their business processes to the cloud.

The Verizon report also explains that 32% of the companies having adopted the cloud are able to achieve business agility in rapidly changing and competitive markets. These 32% respondents further emphasize that with cloud adoption their enterprises are able to see benefits around speed, simplification and are able to connect with people and data which are all enablers of business agility. Looking into the above benefits and advantages and data, cloud computing models are becoming mainstream IT delivery models for enterprises.

CtrlS:Providing Continuity, Customization, Compliance and Control in the Cloud

Post launch of our Cloud Product – Ctrl4C, CIO review magazine has covered it as “Product of the Month” in their May issue. It also features CtrlS in “20 Most promising Cloud Computing Product companies in India” listing positioned at number 2.

Sridhar

With the advent of cloud computing many enterprises today are able to meet their hardware and software requirements with IT infrastructures hosted in huge data centers. Data centers have become an absolute necessity helping enterprises to not only reduce the hardware and software costs but also curtail the ever increasing operational costs. Hence there is no doubt in saying that the future of storage and processing lies in cloud computing and virtualization provided by these data centers. Aiding enterprises, carriers and hosting providers with power, flexibility and economics of cloud computing infrastructure is CtrlS Datacenters headquartered in Hyderabad.

Founded by CEO Sridhar Pinnapureddy, in the year 2008, the IT infrastructure and managed hosting provider delivers infrastructure-on-demand services with automatic scaling of applications, thus exploiting the key benefits of cloud computing. Additionally, with a combination of highest uptime SLAs, low latency networks, 20 percent savings in energy consumption, CTRLS provides benefits to clients with improved business performance, cost effectiveness, and elimination of capital costs required for IT operations. This flexibility also includes security, cost stability, and enterprise-grade performance of a dedicated private datacenter. Based on these factors, the company offers its niche cloud products-CTRL4C and MyCloud.

A four Copy Cloud: CTRL4C

CtrlS, catering to the needs of businesses which wholly revolve around continuity, compliance, customization and control, build a cloud suite that has been built to combat the 4 ‘C’ factors that are key to effective business management. The Four Copy Cloud, CTRL4C is built on the practices mandated by NYSE and RBI for 100 percent data availability and accessibility by provisioning 2N+N network, making it disaster proof. Governed with unique features such as complete compliance and customization, the product offers complete control over IT operations. Thus, with Tier 4 DC offering 99.995 percent infrastructure uptime, it provides the very foundation of the 4C cloud.

MyCloud

Moving on, the company aids enterprises who are on the lookout to harness the power of the RISC, by providing scalability and flexibility of a cloud infrastructure, through MyCloud. With MyCloud, companies get instant deployment of infrastructure for critical business applications or automation projects with ensured cost savings as MyCloud slash Cap-ex to zero. MyCloud also offers capacity on demand with any component mix, be it backup and storage or application and server hardware.

In addition to Ctrl4C and MyCloud, the company further provides certain cloud services for each specific cloud domain, specifically, private cloud, real cloud and the enterprise cloud. In the Private cloud through its range of hypervisor platform, aids companies in meeting the hardware requirements which have been coupled with security and stability. While most customers fall behind in finances while adopting the private cloud, CtrlS, with its cost effective structure provides an advantage. The company further provides a multi-layered management model with its Real cloud, offering a choice in OS images, together with unmatched connectivity and near instant scalability. Companies hence put up and manage applications with ease. Finally, with Enterprise cloud a complete authority is provided to oversee collective resources with use on-demand. Thus, individual elements like memory and disk space are easily scaled and commissioned, making operations live on-demand.

Array of Security Measures

Even though customers benefit from the cloud, security issues are always at the back of their minds. CtrlS averts the concern with its 4C architecture by integrating a list of modules for compliance with an array of security measures. Offering security on a packaged basis (Silver, Gold, Platinum), the company’s security measures range from SSL Encryption, DDoS protection, Web Application Firewall to Host Based Intrusion Detection Systems. Additionally, the Gold and Platinum customers benefit from managed services aligned with the security operations center for proactive monitoring.

Expertise in DRM as an Emerging Differentiator

Moving ahead, the company also boasts of expertise in DRM, through its Disaster Recovery on Demand and Zero Data Loss solutions. CtrlS aids enterprises to bounce back from a disaster, ensuring speedy recovery through its DR on Demand product. With individual IT disaster recovery plans coupled with pay-per-use solutions and negligible cap-ex on disaster facilities, CtrlS makes recovery simple and economical. Taking DR on Demand forward is Zero Data Loss, enabling safeguarding of data by surpassing the Security protocols setup by the Exchange Board of India (SEBI) recovery point for exchanges and depositories.“With CtrlS’s cost effective Zero Data Loss, you can have all the advantages of building your own infrastructure at the fraction of the cost and in almost no time,” says Pinnapureddy.

CtrlS with its secure and fully redundant networks, offering 99.995 percent uptime with zero data loss proves to make a distinction from other competitors in its space. Certified as the Tier 4 datacenter and leveraging over with its 5 ‘9’s capable cloud, CtrlS further plans on building its 4C platform with added ‘control’ capabilities making it user friendly. By providing a rich API aligned with an external SLA management, user experience and provisioning systems, the company continues to offer security, cost stability and enterprise-grade performance creating a robust cloud infrastructure that guarantees success for the enterprise.

Courtesy: http://www.cioreview.in/magazine/CtrlSProviding-Continuity-Customization-Compliance-and-Control-in-the-Cloud-IZNY355416412.html

Data Center Infrastructure is the key to Cloud Service Availability

Cloud computing services are basically provisioned in data centers. Organisations while planning to adopt cloud computing systems must ensure to evaluate the data center which provides the underling foundation and infrastructures for a cloud service model. Tier 4 standard data centers are ideal for clouds because they provide adequate redundancy and fault tolerance to ensure service uptime and zero data loss which is important for cloud service availability.

Widespread interest in cloud computing systems among IT circles is fostering the evolution of different infrastructure models, service levels, and application platforms. Basically cloud computing is a model or infrastructure that provisions resources dynamically and makes them available as services over the internet. Cloud models and services can be accessed by organisations by availing resources as appropriate to satisfy their IT needs. Cloud service levels include Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS) and Software as a service (SaaS). Cloud computing models are classified as three major types’ namely private clouds, public clouds and hybrid clouds.

Cloud service infrastructures have the ability to scale up or down in terms of storage, compute, and network depending on usage. Organisations view the cloud as a viable alternative to outsource their entire IT infrastructure primarily due to cost savings in terms of capital and operational expenditure. Many organisations have adopted CtrlS cloud model(s) in their business operations and are able to realize business advantage. Cloud computing services are available with Data Centers (DC) in different variants to fulfill organizational business needs. An organisation planning for adopting cloud computing model for their IT operations must ensure to critically understand the architecture of DC from where cloud model is availed.

The key criteria for evaluation include:

  • The underlying infrastructure
  • Redundancies
  • Connectivity
  • Uptime
  • SLAs
  • Services
  • These six areas must be considered by organisations from the perspective of cloud capabilities for continuous service availability and reliability. The above criteria are explained in a bit more detail to provide further understanding on existing cloud capabilities available with CtrlS Data Centers.

    The underlying infrastructure of DC plays an important role in cloud computing because when business grows the infrastructure has to accommodate increasing volumes of data and network traffic. The increasing surge in online transactions both by users and businesses require a cloud infrastructure to handle high volume data growth in terms of storage, network and processing. Most organisations have stringent policies on data privacy. CtrlS Data Centers offers private cloud models for businesses and organisations. Private cloud models offer fully secured data network with robust security features to protect information from falling into wrong hands. The cloud infrastructure is fully flexible, it allows users (organisations) to provision and monitor their resources themselves with automated metering service. CtrlS DC infrastructure is fully equipped to handle high volumes of data and perform complex processing on them without affecting efficiency and performance for users.

    Redundancy in DC is a measure of fault tolerance and also classifies the data center standard. DC standards are basically classified between Tier 1 to Tier 4 standards depending on their power capacities and their ability to quickly restore operations in the event of outage or in the event of component failure. CtrlS data center operations handle lot of mission critical data used by enterprise organizations. Hence the infrastructure cannot afford to experience any type of systems failure. CtrlS DC is built to fulfill Tier 4 standard where each component in the data center is provided with adequate backup components thus ensuring zero outage. Tier 4 data centers have the ability to respond automatically to any kind of failure or hardware malfunction. Hence failure on any one component does not affect other components in the infrastructure thus ensuring zero data loss and zero downtime. Organisations desiring to adopt cloud computing must check for redundancy in DC which has an effect on cloud service availability. Availability is a critical business need.

    Connectivity refers to the network connections on how the components are connected with each other to send and receive data in the DC. DCs are driven by consolidation, virtualization and adaptive architectures that enable flexible visions such as IT as a service, cloud computing and autonomic computing. I/O is a key differentiator because connectivity encompasses many components such as switches, routers, gateways and backbone networks and is measured in terms of throughput and bandwidth. CtrlS cloud models are virtualized to support Ethernet and Fiber channels while each virtual machine (VM) is viewed independently for its configuration. VMs are stored in centralized storage which separates the VM from a single physical server. In order to support multiple VMs in the data center the network infrastructure must provide reliable, flexible and secure data transport. CtrlS data centers are equipped with switching architectures to deliver low latency, throughput and high speed inter connects to support cloud models for efficient transport between servers, storage and end users.

    CtrlS DC is built on Tier 4 standards to ensure fault tolerance and provide guaranteed 99.99% data center uptime. This is an important Service Level Agreement (SLA) metric in terms of service availability and quality of service guarantee. SLAs are defined for the services available in cloud computing models. The user (organisation) may choose the right amount of resources in the cloud and adhere to the corresponding SLAs that define with each resource. For example, SLAs are defined specifically for resources such as storage space, backup, network bandwidth, number of VMs used, etc. SLAs that define security, data privacy, firewalls, uptime, etc are common to all users. The organisation must ensure to define SLAs to be specific, measurable, achievable and timely and most importantly there must be no room for any ambiguity for both cloud service provider and users. CtrlS SLAs are defined to revolve around performance metrics that meet business needs for users availing cloud services.

    CtrlS DC provide additional services and features that include different levels of security, firewalls and intrusion detection systems to mitigate any types of attacks and intrusions. This ensures the entire cloud model fully secure. Further users availing cloud models from CtrlS benefit from a wide range of services such as automated monitoring, UI for resource provisioning, zero downtime, zero CapEx (capital expenditure), etc. Tier 4 standards provide the much needed fault tolerance to ensure high availability at all times.

    Data centers are the foundation for clouds. They provide the underlying infrastructure for clouds to run. Data centers are built with thousands of servers, storage disks, switches, routers and other components to provide security, virtualization and application resilience. In a cloud models users normally look for scalability, reliability and service availability at all times. CtrlS cloud is available for enterprises either big or small. Organisations availing the cloud can benefit immensely in terms of speed and efficiency to generate business value.