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Tag Archive: cloud computing

  1. Why Cloud? Justification for Non-techies

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    Cloud computing is all the rage today, to the point that it feels like you can’t fill out your “buzzword bingo” card at any meeting without using the phrase. There are all kinds of technical reasons why cloud has the market momentum it does, but what if you aren’t swayed by such things? If you’ve seen technology trends come and go, you need non-technical justification for moving your business in any direction, and cloud computing is no different for you.

    So, what is the main justification for business owners to use cloud that doesn’t involve a lot of technical jargon? Let’s get to the bottom line and talk ROI and payback instead.

    Asset Procurement Financials Before Cloud

    If you go back to a simpler time, before virtualization was even a thing — let alone cloud computing — the financial justification process for IT or any other kind of capital asset was pretty much the same:

    1. Spend a lot of money up front on equipment
    2. Wait for that equipment to be installed and configured correctly
    3. Reap gains to your own business based on this new equipment for years to come.

    In this model, it is common to estimate what the expected annual gains were and to calculate a payback period. In other words, how long will it take you to recoup your investment made in Year 0 before the equipment is even installed? When weighing options against one another, those with shorter payback are more attractive than those with longer payback.

    Another way to judge different choices against one another is with an ROI calculation. Take the total anticipated returns, subtract the total investment, divide at difference by the total investment and multiply by 100.

    The difficulty with either payback or ROI approaches is that you are left to estimate the total returns. In other words, you don’t really know what benefits you’ll receive with your large, up-front purchase — you have to estimate it. And since typically this kind of analysis is made over a three-to-five-year period, it can be awhile before you figure out whether or not you’re wrong. And if you are, it can be a very expensive proposition to correct it.

    Enter Cloud: Getting More At-Bats More Quickly

    Instead of having to wait two years to figure out if your estimated returns are correct, wouldn’t it be better to find out sooner? And instead of estimating the returns in the first place, wouldn’t it be better if you could find out the actual benefits sooner? Also, I bet you’d rather pay as you go instead of investing all that money up front and hoping the return comes at all, right?

    These are the real business benefits of cloud. In baseball terminology, it’s about getting more at-bats, or put another way, more cycles with your technology investment by trying options that don’t require the long installation lead times. That allows you to quickly evaluate the benefits of the investment with a smaller up-front investment and either celebrate the genius of your choice or admit defeat and move on to an alternative.

    Think about what that means for the ROI calculation. The lone value in the denominator of that equation is the total investment. Lower that, and whatever number is in the numerator will look better.

    For the payback, this cloud model enables a business not to estimate returns based on a lot of spreadsheet mechanics that are influenced by the sales team trying to get your investment, but instead can be based on your actual use of the technology as soon as possible with an option to stop without financial penalties. That lets you gather more detailed data on your financial returns sooner.

    Cloud Is Not About Tech, It’s About Speedy Investments

    This is the real takeaway here: Speed. In the modern economy, it is more efficient to try technology investments, quickly determine if they deliver the benefits they promise, and move on than it is to go through some long sales cycle that is followed by an even longer installation process to find out whether or not the equipment you purchased was a huge waste of resources or not. It is OK to fail, just do so quickly so you can cross that wrong answer off your list and move closer to whatever the right solution is. Doing that over and over again with solutions that you pay for as you go is a far better use of your budget.

    This piece originally appeared on betanews.

  2. Time flies when you are having fun – New CloudCenter Release

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    Time flies when you’re having fun and building great products! Those who have been following CloudCenter (formerly CliQr) know that it’s been about 6 months since we were acquired by Cisco. During that time, we’ve have been extremely busy. Not only was there a lot of normal day to day activities needed to integrate into Cisco’s processes and systems, but the team was also working to crank out another great feature-filled release. I happen to be especially proud of this release since I was it’s my first release in the product manager role for CloudCenter.

    Blog image CC

    Image: CloudCenter combining both cloud and data center in one platform

    With my new role comes some great perks like getting to play with the engineering builds right when a new feature is completed. I’m proud to report that not only is CloudCenter 4.6 now generally available, but it’s a great, big, first release under the Cisco banner. This release delivers an even deeper integration with Cisco ACI, a more simplified networking model across clouds, and an easier deployment experience.

    Deeper ACI integration

    CloudCenter first introduced Cisco ACI integration about a year and a half ago—right before CiscoLive 2015 in San Diego. Naturally, after the acquisition in April, one of the first things we set out to do was to deepen that ACI integration and provide more value to our customers. The 4.6 release’s vision centered around generally increasing networking flexibility. But also giving users the option to use either existing Cisco ACI objects (endpoint groups, bridge domains, and virtual machine managers) or dynamically create new ones.

    The net/net of these new and enhanced ACI features is that CloudCenter with Cisco ACI blows away any other solution to give a seamless experience, no matter if you’re using vSphere, OpenStack, Azure Pack, or any other on-premise IaaS cloud API. Network administrators gain flexibility in configuration, automation during deployment, and control of what end users are able to do via self-service on demand offerings —all without ANY coding to the ACI API. On the flip side, end users get a more consistent and expedited deployment of their application profile from an easy to use, self-service experience.

    Simplified Networking

    Since the acquisition, people keep asking us, “are you going to stay cloud-agnostic?” Fortunately, the answer is “Yes” and there is no plan of that changing.  We continue to refine the list of clouds, versions, and regions we support out of the box. And we continue to add enhancements that support a multi-cloud world. The new “Simplified Networking” configuration works by letting an administrator abstract cloud networks and assign a label based on the network’s technical features.

    As an end user, all you have to do is provide your business requirement for the application you’re deploying. CloudCenter then maps all the technical stuff behind the scenes. Need a “Secure” network in Metapod? CloudCenter will map the application in the background to “Network X”. Instead, if the application is landing on AWS, Azure, vCenter, or any of the other clouds we support, the equivalent of the “Secure” network might be “Network Y”.

    By abstracting each cloud’s networks into a business requirement defined label, it makes end users’ life SO MUCH EASIER. Gone are the days when they have to know about the underlying cloud’s network capabilities. At the same time, administrators get more control and guarantee that applications are being deployed appropriately through policy.

    Deployment Experience

    For those old school CliQr users and admins, you’ll notice some slick new user interfaces in this release. Sticking with our mantra of “make life easy for users and admins”, we added the ability for admins to pre-set and hide certain fields from users on the deployment form, let application tiers be deployed across availability zones within a cloud region, and streamlined the deployment screen flow.


    Image: New deployment environment configuration screen

    Above you can see the new deployment environment configuration screen. Note the visible and non-visible settings for each field. If I’m an admin, I love this feature because it means I can lock down and hide fields that my users don’t need to worry about. Less room for error, fewer questions from users, and more smooth sailing!

    There’s a ton more that made it into the CloudCenter 4.6 release and you can find it all in the release notes. In the next 6 months, you can be sure to expect more announcements of our progress, both in feature releases and as we make waves as a new product within Cisco!

    This blog originally appeared on Cisco Blogs.


  3. Why I Joined CliQr

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    I recently joined CliQr as Vice President of Product Marketing. I will be using this blog to share my perspective on industry trends, CliQr product details, and our customer’s success.

    So why, with my experience at multiple technology vendors and time served as industry analyst, did I decide to join CliQr?

    Its all about the app (more…)

  4. CliQr Welcomes Advisory Board Members

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    CliQr would like to extend a very warm welcome to the members of our Board of Advisors! The advisory board brings together six executive leaders in the Silicon Valley to help make CliQr’s vision for the cloud computing industry a reality.

    The advisory board members include:

    Nitin Donde—Stealth Mode Startup founder and chief executive officer

    Jeff Epstein—Bessemer Venture Partners operating partner and Oak Hill Capital Partners senior advisor

    Jason Monden—Global Service Providers/EMC Corporation chief technology officer

    Tom Reilly—Ombud executive chairman and Eloqua board director

    David White—Enecsys Limited chief financial officer

    Neil Zaman—Cadence vice president of sales

    These six highly qualified individuals each bring a unique background and area of expertise to the CliQr team and we look forward to collaborating with each of them.

  5. Portability on the Cloud: What it Really Means for Apps

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    The cloud market is moving fast, starting with huge buzz around a bunch of web apps moving to one or two clouds to where we are today, with companies looking at cloud computing as a means to implement efficient business processes and support a productive work environment. With this maturation in the market, businesses now realize that the early migration vendors and approaches of hardwiring applications to a single cloud did little more than trade the constraints of their physical datacenter to being constrained on one cloud.

    Enter the era of cloud portability, which addresses this very real pain point businesses are facing. With seemingly a flip of a switch, incumbent “hard wire” script-based migration vendors, and a whole host of new cloud migration and management vendors, launched products and messaging promising cloud portability and multi-cloud solutions. But what does cloud portability really mean, and what are the differences in the various approaches?

    Hub & Spoke
    With unlimited time, resources, and money, anyone can make an application portable across multiple heterogeneous cloud infrastructures. This is the approach that incumbent migration solution vendors have taken. After all, if you write enough scripts, create cloud-specific VM images and make necessary code alterations/additions to the application, any app can run on any cloud. After the application is migrated to one cloud, moving it to another cloud involves understanding the next target cloud’s APIs representing its unique rules and behaviors around compute, network, storage and security. Regrettably, most of these primitives are significantly different between various clouds, allowing only the most basic web apps the ability to repurpose the migration activities involved in getting to the first cloud. Some vendors are trying to simplify this process by providing pre-packaged VM images with accompanying deployment scripts. This does arguably cut down the time to complete the migration as one does not have to start from scratch. However these images/scripts and customizations have to be separately maintained on every cloud and does not represent true cloud portability.

    VM to VM
    More recently to the scene are a bunch of newer VM migration vendors with cloud portability as a major positioning point and product focus. Many of these solutions provide enhanced portability, especially in contrast to the older migration solutions attempting to repackage their messaging. With the VM migration vendors, the general proposition is that an intact VM from an on-premises deployment including operating system, database and applications, can be forklifted to any cloud. While these solutions do enhance portability, their drawbacks assume an existing virtualized source infrastructure, have very large and unnecessary VM stacks to move to, and then between clouds, and in many cases, offer performance overhead involved with coordinating a VM on a VM and a loss of visibility into the application.

    The lack of visibility into the application makes it impossible to efficiently monitor the app and its performance, making it difficult to auto scale, tune the application or performance-based bursting to other private or public cloud environments. Furthermore, because of the lack of application visibility, most VM migration solutions make comprehensive app and data security very difficult, and typically lack utilities that support active connectivity and coordination of cloud resources with those remaining in on-premises environments—an absolute requirement for hybrid clouds and enterprise-class cloud computing.

    The good news is for these VM migrations solutions—many of the drawbacks outlined above can be addressed. Once on the cloud, scripting along with integration into one or more of many of the cloud-provider’s management tools can be accomplished. But, doing so effectively hardwires the app and VM to that cloud—eliminating portability.

    Cloud to Cloud—It’s all About the App
    Lift, shift and transform. Another approach to cloud portability is a migration and management approach that de-couples the application from requiring awareness of any underlying cloud infrastructure. With this approach the knowledge of the application and its rules and behaviors around primitives such as cluster, storage, network and security can be described in an interactive migration tool environment. Once described, an active meta-data workflow is produced and presented to the cloud. The supported clouds also host a multi-tenant orchestration virtual appliance that represents its behavior around these same primitives. The coordination of these two (application and cloud) orchestration layers creates, in essence, a software defined datacenter environment that allows the application to be deployed from any physical or virtual infrastructure, natively and optimally on any supported private, public, or hybrid cloud. Using this approach, applications remain visible and accessible, they can be tuned; auto-scaled based on user-defined schedule or application performance based policies and secured.

    Another advantage of the application-based approach to cloud migration and management is that beyond a lift and shift application deployments can undergo an optional transformation, supporting the real world diversity within/between datacenter environments and disparate clouds. The application-centric approach allows many source components, such as operating systems and databases to be transformed “in-flight” to perform natively on different target cloud environments. A transformation example can be moving a Java-web application that uses a database such as MySQL on the source side, but can be ported to a cloud environment to use a different database such as SAP Hana or the cloud’s database service such s Amazon’s RDS.

    This application centric approach to cloud migration and management allows any application that can be supported by some cloud infrastructure to be moved from any physical or virtualized environment to any private, public, or combined hybrid clouds. On-board once, run anywhere—cloud-to-cloud portability allows applications to fluidly and transparently move to, and across, any federation of clouds optimally while requiring no additional migration.

    CliQr provides this cloud to cloud migration.

CliQr Technologies, CliQr CloudCenter and CloudBlades are trademarks of CliQr Technologies, Inc. All other registered or unregistered trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners.