IT Solutions Blog

The Three Most Important Benefits of Infrastructure as a Service

Posted by Unitiv on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 @ 03:46 PM

Assets-resized-600Cloud computing offerings are almost overwhelming at this point. There are so many different services and service providers competing for your business that it can be hard to know what’s really best for you. Understanding what kinds of solutions work for your business means getting a handle on exactly what solutions are out there and what benefits they can bring an organization. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), for example, is a solution that can offer significant benefits to an organization.

What is IaaS?

In the most basic sense, IaaS means provisioning basic computing resources such as storage, hardware, networks and servers over the Internet. The actual physical infrastructure of your Information Technology systems moves outside of your organization and into a service provider’s environment.

IaaS works well as a foundation for similar technologies, such as Software as a Service and Platform as a Service.

Let’s take a look at three specific benefits Infrastructure as a Service may be able to provide to your organization:

  1. Elasticity and flexibility. IaaS leverages the elasticity and flexibility inherent in the cloud to deliver infrastructure to your organization. It lets you choose when, how and which computing resources are going to be consumed, which will be scaled up or down based on the actual demands of your organization, and doing so in real time. Because it’s your IaaS provider that has to be concerned with configuring and maintaining the infrastructure, you don’t need to be bogged down with upgrades, and you can instead focus on managing your business applications.
  2. Reduction of capital expenditures. When you have IaaS, you pay as you go. You don’t lay out large amounts for new hardware or software. You pay the IaaS provider only for the resources you use during a given period. This makes IaaS an attractive option for small and medium-sized businesses, but also for the enterprise that needs state-of-the-art infrastructure to truly support their business needs.
  3. Short term gains. While the flexibility and lower cost of IaaS tends to pay off over the long term, you can also leverage IaaS in the short term. You can use it, for example, to boost seasonal marketing campaigns or particularly busy times of the calendar year, and scale back down when the demand for resources scales back down.

Most businesses can make a good case for at least considering Infrastructure as a Service. Schedule Discovery Session

Topics: Cloud

5 Key Steps for Cloud Migration

Posted by Unitiv on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Assets-resized-600Cloud computing is finally hitting the IT world in the way that’s been predicted for the past decade or so. Cloud computing simply makes sense for most organizations. It allos you to distribute IT costs over time without having to make huge capital investments. It gives you expertise that you more than likely aren’t going to have in-house. It gives you flexibility to scale up and scale down capacity without having to wait for installations or upgrades. The benefits are many, and they’re hard to dispute at this point.

Still, if you’re going to migrate some or all of your IT functions to the cloud, there are at least five key steps you need to take to make sure the process is as efficient and effective as it can be:

  1. Choose the right elements to migrate. Going to the cloud doesn’t mean moving all of your IT functions into the hands of a provider. It means picking and choosing what IT resources can best be handled externally and which ones should remain internal. Something simple like storage, backup and recovery can easily be moved to the cloud and result in immediate benefits. Other functions, such as an industry-specific software suite, might not be able to make the transition as easily.
  2. Choose a secure cloud provider. If you deal with Personal Health Information (PHI), you need to choose a cloud provider that meets HIPAA regulations. Any company-confidential IT resources, whether it be data or applications, may need to meet other security requirements such as those in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Know what kinds of certifications your cloud provider has in terms of compliance needs for your business.
  3. Know what the cloud provider is responsible for. Your service level agreement with the cloud provider should spell out exactly what they provide and what elements are your responsibilities. For applications that require high uptime, make sure your provider includes that kind of guarantee in your SLA.
  4. Don’t rush in. Take the time necessary to choose what’s going to move to the cloud as well as what cloud provider you’re going to use. Even if you’re bursting at the seams right now, it’s worth the extra time down the road to be diligent.
  5. Prepare for the worst. Incorporate disaster recovery and business continuity planning into your cloud services plan, and ask your provider to give you information related to their disaster recovery plans, as well.

Moving to the cloud can be a smart move, but it’s important to do it right.

Find out more!

Topics: Cloud

5 Reasons Hosted Collaboration Works for You

Posted by Crystal Nichols on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 @ 02:55 PM

bigstock The words Next Big Thing on a  46760632 (1) resized 600Today’s technological trends offer a number of opportunities for collaboration and streamlining of your IT business processes. One of the most powerful value propositions in this area has to do with unified communications and collaboration. UC&C lets you get the right data to the right people at the right time. It allows you to collaborate with various stakeholders both inside and outside of your organization.

Here are seven of the top reasons you should consider hosted collaboration for your organization today:

  1. Deployment flexibility. In the recent past, communications infrastructure had to be implemented in a case by case basis. Every branch office and remote office had their own PBX, their own voice mail and their own features. As more and more organizations migrate to an IP communications base, this model becomes much more limiting in its flexibility. A hosted solution gives flexibility to the entire organization in terms of deployment, wherever the end user may be located.
  2. Centralized management and administration. Premise-based applications have scaling administrative tasks and functions that management has to account for. This includes things like user management, profile changes, software patches and more. The process is replicated at every premise, creating greater overhead and greater margin of error. Hosted collaboration brings all of these tasks into a centralized location, and changes that take place can be made companywide without all of the extra overhead.
  3. Cost efficiency. Hosted collaboration offers a lower barrier to entry, the ability to more accurately plan budgets, a lower overall Total Cost of Ownership than traditional models, and greater efficiency in the areas of IT staffing and IT resources.
  4. Greater business continuity. Disaster recovery and business continuity are critical in today’s worldwide, 24x7 marketplace. Collaborative applications must be made to be available whenever and wherever a worker is located. Because hosted solutions aren’t tied to one specific geographic location, they offer a greater degree of reliability in the event of disaster.
  5. Agility. Traditional deployments take time and resources, and must be planned well in advance. Hosted collaboration services let the IT department meet the needs of the organization’s business leaders faster and more efficiently than ever before.

If you’re not yet using hosted collaboration, now may be the time to take a look.

Schedule Discovery Session

Topics: Cloud, box, hosted collaboration, hcp anywhere

5 Reasons Amazon EC2 Should Be Your Service of Choice

Posted by Crystal Nichols on Thu, Nov 06, 2014 @ 08:18 AM

Amazon Web Services is a leader and pioneer in cloud services, and with good reason. Amazon’s stellar reputation, solid performance and world-class service make it so that your organization’s applications and data are both secure and available. If you’re not already using Amazon Web Services, the most recent updates to EC2 should make you step back and, at the very least, give them another look.

Here are seven things you need to know about what’s going on today with Amazon EC2:

  1. EC2 is elastic. What does that mean, exactly? It means that, if you need to increase or decrease capacity with EC2, you can make it happen in just minutes, rather than days or hours.
  2. You have control. You have full control of all of your server instances with EC2, including root access on each and every one. You even have access to console output of each instance. Whatever you need to do, you can do it with Amazon Web Services.
  3. Reliabilty is world class. In the event that there is a problem with one of your instances, replacement instances can be predicted and rapidly deployed. The basic EC2 SLA includes a commitment of 99.95% availability for your services. 
  4. Security is unmatched. Working along with Amazon VPC, EC2 gives you both high-end security and a robust approach to securing your computing resources. From choosing which instances are exposed to the Internet to creating groups and ACLs, you can completely customize the security of your EC2 installation. 
  5. It’s financially smart. Amazon’s scale insures that you will pay a low rate for the computing capacity that you consume. On-demand instances, reserved instances and spot instances are all innovative ways that you can get the capacity and computing resources you need at the very best possible price. 

On top of all of that, it’s easy to get started with Amazon EC2. You can start with preconfigured software running on AMIs (Amazon Machine Images) and be up and running in minutes. Deployment is fast either via the EC2 console or via Amazon’s 1-Click Launch.

Let's talk. Unitiv is proud to be an Amazon partner. 

Find out more!

Topics: Cloud, amazon ec2, amazon web services

Are You Buying Hardware Or Moving To The Cloud?

Posted by Crystal Nichols on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 @ 08:41 AM

buy hardware or move to cloud? Servers age. User needs increase. Software is updated, requiring greater processing power, storage, and network capacity. At some point, your old infrastructure just isn’t going to do the trick anymore. You’ve got to bite the bullet and either upgrade your hardware or find another solution.

The cloud has rescued many companies facing this dilemma. Moving to the cloud can allow you to incur upgrade costs incrementally, without major capital outlays. On the other hand, there are instances in which increasing your own hardware capacity can be better for your organization.

What buying hardware does for you

There are times when buying hardware makes sense for your company. For example, some smaller organizations who are completely content with their existing applications and the way they run may not benefit terribly from the cloud. Cloud solutions are meant to save money, but there are some cases in which a cloud solution can get to be more expensive.

If your organization has less than half a dozen applications running on just a few servers, and you don’t already have a contract with an IT company or a dedicated IT manager, it might simply complicate things to move to the cloud.

That doesn’t mean it’s always best to ignore cloud solutions, but it is important to look at what’s available and compare it with your actual needs.

When to move to the cloud

The problem is that your on-site servers and hardware can be costly. They can let you down, often with no recourse. Even for small companies, cloud solutions can offer not only cost savings on IT but greater flexibility than what you could have without moving to the cloud.

What does moving to the cloud do for you? It makes it easier to access data wherever and however you want to. It opens up possibilities such as remote access using convenience devices like tablets and smartphones, perfect for those employees who spend time in the field.

One of the most compelling reasons for moving to the cloud over buying hardware is security. Cloud providers offer world-class security that’s often hard to replicate in house.

If you’re ready to dump an old server, make sure you look at the cloud options before you pull the trigger on buying new hardware.

Let's talk about which option is best for you -

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Topics: servers, Cloud, hardware or cloud

Gartner Report on Increasing Bandwidth Needs

Posted by Crystal Nichols on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 @ 08:19 AM

The bandwidth needs of the enterprise have grown exponentially over the past few years, and that growth isn’t showing any signs of stopping. Cloud services, mobile access and increased video needs will place even greater demands on the enterprise’s bandwidth. Gartner group offers a look at just how much those demands will increase between now and 2017, and offers four ideas about how the enterprise can adapt its networks to meet the growing demands for more and more capacity.

Here are the immediate challenges that the enterprise is going to face, according to the conclusions of a recent Gartner report:

  • Greater cloud demands. Users with desktop and mobile devices are going to demand an increasing amount of bandwidth usage. Uplink capacity, which has traditionally been much lower than downlink capacity, will need to be ramped up to meet this greater demand. This will depend, to some degree, on the particular needs of the enterprise’s applications.
  • More devices. In addition to accessing cloud resources, the number and kind of personal machines, devices and other things that will connect to enterprise networks is going to increase, adding to the overall background traffic in the enterprise – even during idle periods.
  • More and more video. Video use – for both personal and professional reasons – has been rapidly increasing over the past few years. The increase will continue, but at a more modest rate than in the past. HD video via WAN will increase bandwidth needs.

There are also some recommendations in the report that enterprises can use to be prepared for the next three years:

  1. Talk about the growth of network use and bandwidth with your users and your business units. This is especially important for cloud and video applications. Budgets should be linked to policies and usage agreements.
  2. Policies and technical mechanisms should be implemented that will help to either optimize or even limit the video and backup traffic that occurs via the WAN and on the cloud.
  3. Implement network capacity, topology and service levels. This will allow the enterprise to support its growth with affordability. VPNs, for example, can support smaller sites and offload certain types of traffic.
  4. Reduce stored backup and video traffic through various WAN optimization strategies. Develop those strategies with cloud-hosted content in mind, rather than with content stored in your data centers.

Increasing bandwidth demands aren’t a new problem, and they’re not going away. Make sure your enterprise is ready to deal with the coming changes over the next few years.

Topics: Cloud, Network, bandwidth

SoftLayer - The Smart Move

Posted by Crystal Nichols on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 @ 07:59 AM

softlayerSoftlayer could be said to be the leader when it comes to one platform offering endless possibilities.  Their unified platform is specially designed to meet the end users requirement of giving cloud computing users the results they want, the way they want it.  Softlayer operates all over the United States, Europe and Asia, giving its flexible technology of data-centers, network and automation and control with no compromise on quality and security to all that require it.

The entire architecture is held together through a private global network offering higher and faster performance.  Their dedicated servers operate using this common network, capable of high speed and enabling maximum functionality between the data centers.  Of course, Softlayer is more than just speed and performance; it is the way that it is built with every service in perfect synchrony with the requirements of the individual and the firm.

Perhaps the most sought for feature behind the cloud technology is the power that one gets.  Be it virtual or bare metal, whatever the business might be, they are all deployed in real time for your web tier.  When IBM acquired Softlayer, it gained an entire Technical Operations team that was capable of teaching the IBM team noteworthy points about efficiency in next-generation cloud computing, along with its impressive clientele which is now spread over 140 countries.  In fact, IBM had just been commenting on how much a system has to be automated while Softlayer started its operations on being fully automated.

For Softlayer, manual provision is something that they would consider only as a final strategy because it is automation from the very start.  This is why they have fully programmed their cloud infrastructure and administration functions so that it is automatically accessible to all their customers through their unique cloud controller and API.

The company also offers a good Service Level Agreement (SLA) to provide uninterrupted performance.  Everything about Softlayer is built mainly for small to medium sized businesses and so the focus is on affordable maintenance and functionality.  IBM and Softlayer are currently working towards offering their clients a more comprehensive and robust technological portfolio.  The emerging portfolio will be compatible with OpenStack while retaining the interfaces which are already in existence.

Topics: IBM, Cloud, softlayer

Akamai - Improving the User Experience with Innovation

Posted by Crystal Nichols on Wed, Nov 13, 2013 @ 09:12 AM

Every day, technology is advancing and becoming more futuristic to meet the demands of the end users.  Each company is seen vying with one another to improve their products and services and to be the first in the market to introduce their wares.  Of course all are not successful, and only a few emerge as leaders; Akamai is seen as the foremost provider of ground-breaking cloud technology.  The reason being is the company comes out with innovative technologies that meet with the users’ approval and needs on the button along with round the clock support for customers.

The foremost of the latest innovations we see is the improved security on their ground-breaking cloud platform with no compromise whatsoever on operation that the individual, firms and businesses are looking out for.  The Akamai Intelligent Platform has become even more of a boon to users with its acquisition of FastTCP technology as proved by the increase in upgraded functioning which boosted to 105 % in China, 8% in Japan, 15% in North America and 22% in Europe.  The Akamai customer can now enjoy faster downloads on anything on the internet from games to videos.

Akamai had also collaborated with Qualcomm to make mobile devices a deadly toy with superior bandwidth and unmatched page performance.  This has been made possible with the amalgamation of the Qualcomm Snapdragon with the Aqua Mobile Accelerator of Akamai.  The combined efforts of both companies are now working on optimizing HTTP connection through SHUTR so that consumers can have seamless network connectivity to access huge amounts of information effortlessly.

Then there is the Akamai Aqua Ion which is designed with cutting edge tools to offer the user the best situational performance solution in the market.  The Aqua Ion suite concentrates on giving enhanced delivery and faster processes along with optimization technologies that are intelligent enough to make the real time optimization decisions needed for the web, relevant to the required task.  In all this, the usage is simplified so that user is able to access the technologies and make use of them to easily meet the demands of the job.

Akamai always aims to present advanced technologies to simply the user experience.

More information:

Topics: IBM, Cloud, akamai

How to Select a Cloud Provider Effectively

Posted by Crystal Nichols on Fri, Nov 08, 2013 @ 01:35 AM

cloudMoving your data storage to the cloud is a smart move as there is an explosion of data day by day and systems are struggling to store all that data effectively and securely.  Cloud computing has proven not only to be cost effective but also frees the businesses to concentrate on the daily workings while the cloud takes care of details such as security, support, maintenance and the ever-so-important backup.  Therefore, the demand for cloud computing is also growing and there are many companies sprouting up by the minute. So the consumer ends up in a dilemma of how to choose the right one.  

To select the right type of cloud for you, analyze what type of data you are basically dealing with.  For example, videos, photos and online documents will require software based cloud services.  Other type of cloud services include Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) where the customer can transfer his data with virtually no changes made.  All that the customer needs to manage is the operating system and its applications.  When the customer wants to use the cloud or offer it as a service to others, then the Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is the right choice.

Moreover, the technical interface must be compatible with the architecture that the company is using.  Also the structure of the cloud should be flexible enough to allow data to flow seamlessly between different cloud platforms.  The cloud should be capable of managing and packaging the data independently of the data environment.

The need to research about the company cannot be stressed enough and their reputation should serve a vital factor before selecting a cloud provider.  All providers are supposed to have SLAs (Service Level Agreements) with standard services and, depending upon the customer’s needs, the SLA could be negotiated.   Clouds are known for their security support and so the provider must assure the company of the levels and types of security they offer.  Some of the issues that security must deal with are identity management, authorization, verification and access control.

The last and perhaps, the most important reason is the money factor.  Cloud has to be cost effective but more than that should enable the client to see huge profits as a direct result.  It should also save the company money that would otherwise get spent on storage and security. 

Find out more!

Topics: storage, Cloud, cloud provider

The Made-for-Each-Other Partnership: IBM and Akamai

Posted by Crystal Nichols on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 @ 10:13 AM

akamaiWhen two giants join hands, the result is a mind-boggling possibility explosion with no end in sight.  Therefore, when IBM joined hands with Akamai, it promised to give faster delivery, and enhanced cloud applications, which can only be said to be the beginning of innovations that can be best described as futuristic.  Businesses today are looking into the future and want technology that will meet tomorrow’s market.  They find today’s technology a thing of the past and are hungry for new innovations, which is why the combined services of IBM and Akamai have been welcomed with open arms.

Akamai is well renowned for its cloud platform that floats higher than any other brand in the market.  Almost everyone is sure to have used Akamai’s cloud sometime or another as Akamai has reached far across the globe and across industries.  It also made cloud computing easy to use by removing the complexities that one normally encounters in a cloud environment and focused on the easy-to-use factor which enabled businesses to achieve their goals faster.  If it is advanced security, reliability and visibility that you need, then Akamai is the cloud for you.

IBM, therefore has made a wise choice in its partnership as Akamai knows what it is doing and knows what the future needs.  So IBM, with its foremost priority being its clients, has enhanced its services so that the user can increase productivity. No wonder it has been a leader for the past 50 years and brought in a high revenue of $88 billion in 2000.  Its products and services are widespread with customized micro-chips, application software, storage products and many more. It does not stop there and the giant is growing by leaps and bounds, day by day.

IBM and Akamai have improved cloud computing by approaching the problems from a very different angle.  Previously companies built more data centers as an answer to improving performance and built complex and confusing network infrastructures in an effort to improve cloud applications.  The IBM-Akamai partnership, however, has brought new, simple, and easy to manipulate solutions that have succeeded in making network traffic flow more easily and has effortlessly improved application performance.

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Topics: IBM, Cloud, akamai