Blog Posts for Thursday – 13 June, 2013

Here are some of the popular #webhostnews blog updates for the day

4 Ways to Maximize Website Uptime
Downtime is a killer for any web business. When your site or application goes down sales are lost, credibility is hurt, and you might just make a user mad enough to tell all their friends about it. You want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to avoid downtime — right? Discussions about maximizing uptime and availability usually center on a few main backend components. Hosting providers boast about their guaranteed uptime percentages, and operations teams constantly monitor components like databases and application servers. These are certainly important pieces of a website or application that deserve due attention. But when the uptime/availability conversation sticks on these well-traveled routes, it can come at the expense of other steps you can take that help to guarantee that your site is up and available as much as possible. Every single asset on a site — be it an image, JavaScript, or CSS file — is a SPOF: a single point of failure. And while a small image failing to load may not bring an entire site crashing down, other types of assets have the potential to kill the experience.

Businesses pursue cloud disaster recovery to improve odds
While disaster recovery initiatives are critical in today’s business world, organizations are taking numerous different approaches to the projects. Although it isn’t always the method chosen, the cloud is quickly gaining momentum in the continuity scene, largely for its ability to quickly restore mission-critical resources from virtually anywhere at any time on any device. A recent survey of 500 IT professionals by AT&T highlighted the growing use of cloud solutions, noting that 76 percent of respondents are either using the cloud or plan to invest in the technology in 2013. In fact, 62 percent said they have incorporated the cloud into the infrastructure, allowing for a more well-rounded architecture. “Companies today are very aware and concerned about the potential threats that could disrupt their operations,” said Michael Singer, assistant vice president of mobile, cloud and access management security at AT&T. “With their business continuity plans in place, businesses are investing in new technologies like network-enabled cloud services to help strengthen and expand their overall continuity strategies.”

So, How’s Xen on Mageia?
As it is widely know, really tough Open Source users –the ones that wear sandals, colored hats of various kind, and are equipped with long enough UNIX beards– always install software via tarballs and some good old ./configure-make-make-install-fu! Then there are the developers, who couldn’t care less about installing: all that matters is from where you can checkout –well, actually, this days it’d better be git clone– the code. Once you got it, and you compile it with no errors, what else is remaining and what on Earth you want to install it for, right? (Un?)Fortunately, there exist different kind of people too. They, whiskered or not, are usually very happy every time they can avoid dealing with either tar or git, and can start using some software by only sending a couple of directives to their favorite distribution’s package manager. That, usually, means a loot of cool things, like automatic dependency tracking, cleanup upon uninstall, smooth update to new versions, and all this kind of stuff. However, for this to work, it is required that someone has stepped up to act as the package maintainer of that particular software for the specific distribution.

WSO2 and SUSE–an open source stack that extends to the cloud
We’re very excited to be working with SUSE, for a number of reasons, of which I’ll limit myself to just three: The partnership provides a greater audience for WSO2 technology as an alternative to JBoss — including areas where we have products not available in the RedHat/JBoss platform (API Management, Governance, Business Activity Monitoring backed by Big Data technologies), areas where we think we have a demonstrably stronger or more innovative offering (Enterprise Service Bus, Identity Server), and areas where we believe our vision for solving the new enterprise challenges is worthy of consideration (componentized middleware, PaaS, DevOps, BigData, API management, Mobile. Alignment of cloud strategy. SUSE has been a groundbreaker in launching an open source IaaS offering SUSE Cloud, based on OpenStack. We’re honored SUSE has chosen to recommend WSO2 Stratos as the preferred PaaS to use with SUSE Cloud. Together we’ve published a WSO2-SUSE Cloud Reference Architecture [link] to help people get started using these two technologies together to bring the advantages of private cloud to all levels of the stack.

Shopping for WordPress hosting? How can you tell your host has amazing support or not?
Web hosting is a crowded marketplace. When you’re shopping for a new WordPress host and type “WordPress hosting” into Google, you’re inundated with a dozen results from companies who all claim to be fast, and secure, and provide amazing support. But how do you know that a hosting company actually provides the best possible support? When everyone claims to be great, how can you tell the difference between marketing and reality? There are three key areas you can use to to evaluate a company’s support (and overall customer experience): The company promotes its support as a feature. What Blog Reviews, and Social Media interactions tell you. The Actual Experience you (and others) have with the company. From Day One, WP Engine has been committed to providing stellar customer support to each of our customers. In the next series of blog posts, we’ll cover what amazing support means, and what it looks like. We’ll include customer stories where our support team has worked closely with the customer to dig in and troubleshoot technical issues with our customers.

WordPress User Roles: A Detailed Look
The WordPress Plugin API lets you add, remove and change roles and the functions and responsibilities within those roles on your WordPress blog or site. You should try to develop an understanding of the differing wordpress user roles so that you can customize your users and the control they have over your content. Be selective as you assign users their roles. Some might have more control of your blog than you might realize. For instance, certain roles let users delete content, parts of content or even the entire blog! This is why you need to review each role before you start to pair them with the most appropriate user. Make sure that once you’ve decided on the right users for each role, you give them the capabilities they need to really shine. Without assigning capabilities, they really just get a pointless title with no real, organized control. As mentioned, the WordPress Plugin API gives you the chance to change the actions in a role, create a new role and customize the capabilities of each role.

PHD Virtual Backs Up and Protects vHost UK client data
PHD Virtual today announced today that vHost UK, a managed services provider (MSP) of backup and monitoring for nearly 400 VMs, has selected PHD Virtual solutions for client backup and monitoring. vHost UK utilizes vCloud and vApps for their client base and has implemented PHD Virtual Backup 6.2. PHD Virtual is the first and only solution on the market to offer powerful local VM backup capabilities and provide a link to public or private cloud storage for offsite backups, delivering the most powerful, feature-filled, easy-to-use backup solution for virtual servers at a fraction of the cost of competitive alternatives. The PHD Virtual appliance can handle multiple concurrent backup threads shrinking vHost UK’s backup window by hours. With this feature, vHost UK can now easily backup all systems nightly for hundreds of customers, which was a hassle in the past. “As compared to leading competitive solutions we investigated, PHD offered us the best solution at the most cost-effective price,” said Neil Duncan, Managing Partner, vHost UK. “In addition, I really like how dedupe is done per datastore and PHD gives us great 10:1 ratios on systems that are changing frequently

DDoS Blog Series 1: Four Approaches to DDoS Protection
I speak about DDoS quite often these days – it’s a topic everyone wants to know about and yet, so few people know much about it. It’s one of those topics where good information is not readily available, and I would like to fix some of that with a few upcoming blog posts. This post, (the first in a series), will be about the 4 types of protection against a DDoS. The next one will cover the six things an enterprise can do to be prepared for an attack, and the final post will be around some of the tools and technologies we use here at Verisign to protect our customers and ourselves from DDoS attacks. A quick refresher – a DDoS attack is a method an attacker uses to deny access for legitimate users of an online service. This service could be a bank website, e-commerce site, SaaS application, or any other type of network service (some attacks even target the VoIP infrastructure). An attacker uses a non-trivial amount of computing resources (either that they have built themselves or more commonly by compromising vulnerable PC’s around the world) to send “bogus” traffic to a site.

First Manning, now Snowden — How to Stop Insider Attacks and Data Loss
As a former Naval Officer who held a Top Secret clearance for many years, I’m watching with interest the latest insider attacks. On the one hand, we have Edward Snowden, the intelligence contractor who revealed top secret NSA programs; on the other, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, under court martial for releasing huge amounts of damaging classified documents. A simple CD/DVD burn in one instance, the passing of a PPT file and other documents in the other. In both cases, the insider attack was successfully and apparently easily executed. In reality, these types of insider attacks happen all too often across all types of organizations – even after millions have been spent on DLP and other data protection technologies. Because most companies and government agencies fail to deploy operationally sound data protection programs. Maybe they plug an infrastructure hole here and meet a compliance requirement there, but most do not deploy an overall data protection program. Okay, for NSA and the DOD this is a big task, yet, they also have advantages over commercial companies.

3 characteristics to look for in a cloud provider
While cloud services often promise to reduce costs, improve operations and give employees better and more secure access to mission-critical resources, the truth of the matter is that every cloud solution is different. Meanwhile, every enterprise has its own demands and objectives. This means there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the cloud, as each organization’s pursuit of the hosted solutions will lead them down different paths. Still, there are some general guidelines that executives can use when searching for a vendor. Not all companies are willing to invest the same amount of time and money in finding the perfect cloud solution. For this reason, decision-makers need to take a step back and understand how much they are able to spend without disrupting the bottom line and the firm’s ability to follow through with other IT projects. Similarly, executives also need to consider the cloud vendor’s pricing structure. While most cloud providers follow the model “pay for what you use,” this isn’t the case in every situation. Companies should also be wary of large upfront costs, as these can impact the budget before tackling the heart of the matter.

The U.S. Army is Swapping Stovepipes for Clouds
Not every army travels on its stomach. In fact, it might be said that the U.S. Army, or its intelligence information at least, is now traveling by cloud. Not that innovation comes slowly to Uncle Sam’s charges. In fact, according to this article in Cloud Times, the U.S. Army, in 1994, was responsible for the development of GPS technology, which initially started out life as a technology exclusive to the military. Fast Forward to 2013 where a privately-held solutions provider, High Performance Technologies, Inc is helping the federal government design and implement a private cloud that will convey the latest intelligence information to US troops in Afghanistan, in real or near-real time. In addition, the U.S. Army is also leveraging Big Data so that forward operating bases can also double as local nodes that collect data from UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones) or other sources. The cloud, in fact, went live in March 2011 following extensive testing and proof of concept by the Army that the cloud can really meet their needs when it comes to handling “intel” analysis, processing, and production.

Blogging @ 33,000 ft…Vembu on the road meeting Partners
Me and Sri were on the road for the past 2 weeks meeting our partners and gathering feedback on how they use StoreGrid to offer cloud IT services to their business customers. This is something we love doing all the time. Getting our face in front of our partners to understand where we’re right now and learn how better we can to enable our partners offer profitable backup services. One thing we learnt is that every MSP is special and their needs are unique. We started off with Labtech Automation Nation in Orlando, FL and we met many Vembu partners and they were all very excited to know how Vembu intuitively integrated with Labtech. Check this blog for more details and fun we had at #AN13. Then a short drive from Orlando to Tampa amidst tropical cyclone Andrea pouring heavily on us. Heavy Rain, Flooding and Storm but MSPs were working as usual and we had the chance to witness the same from our MSP partner. Given that many MSPs manage virtual environments, VMware backup has become a critical portion of their service offering and we did see great interest for StoreGrid v 4.4 VMware backup with offsite replication from Florida MSP partners.

Can service be an innovation? Absolutely!
Tony Hsieh realized that the challenge was not a technical one. He didn’t set out to create a better ecommerce store, to have a better selection of shoes, or better marketing. Hsieh realized that ecommerce is about logistics, delivery, and customer service. As a result, Zappos beat out the competitors and is the amazing shoe internet store that exists today. This made me think about my experience just yesterday with Velocity’s customer service team. At Velocity, we use the same system for internal requests as we do for our customers. I had submitted a server update for one of our development servers. But just like Zappos, it wasn’t the technology of the customer service tool that stood out. I remembered that Melissa from the Customer Support Center (CRC) team came to my office to ask questions about the issue. Melissa was practicing one of Paul Cioni’s (Velocity Senior Vice President) directives: think about both our external and internal customers and how we can positively impact the customer experience.

AWS Free Usage Tier Adds Red Hat Enterprise Linux
I’m happy to announce that the AWS Free Usage Tier now includes 750 hours of Red Hat Enterprise Linux usage on a t1.micro instance. We have supported RHEL on EC2 since November of 2007, and we launched the AWS Free Usage Tier in December of 2010. We are combining these two offerings and customers eligible for the free usage tier now have the option to run RHEL as part of the 750 hours of monthly Linux usage. You can use the AWS Marketplace (1-Click) or the AWS Management Console to launch a micro instance running RHEL:

MMA hosted, co-presented with Marketo – Maximizing Brand Trust and Reducing Corporate Liability: Protecting Customer Data Is Your Responsibility
Protecting the privacy rights of users, and continuing to deliver transparency, is critical to any business. When privacy is breached, this not only affects business operations, but also your end-users and their trust in you. If customer data is leaked or exposed to unauthorized third parties across your digital properties, there may also be monetary risks in the form of lost revenue. Recently, TRUSTe conducted research on consumer privacy across web and mobile channels as well as its relation to business impact in the TRUSTe 2013 U.S. Consumer Privacy Confidence Index. It highlights the disconnect that can exist between consumer concerns and business practices. More details on the research findings and trends in online privacy are available in the detailed report. Brand identity and brand reputation, can be adversely impacted by unauthorized third parties on branded domains making it difficult to establish and retain consumer relationships. This can be circumvented when consumers see the TRUSTe logo because they are then assured that their consumer data is safe. Marketo mentioned

Features Conspire to Connect iPhones to Rogue Networks
Some iPhone users are vulnerable to having their devices automatically join rogue Wi-Fi networks because of a combination of an iOS feature that allows devices to reconnect to known networks and a directory of carrier-specific wireless network SSIDs that are preloaded into iOS, according to mobile security researchers from Skycure. A number of operating systems, iOS among them, contain a convenience feature that allows devices to automatically connect to wireless networks with which they have connected in the past based on the SSID of those networks. Skycure cofounder and CEO Adi Sharabani said this feature is something of a security vulnerability in that an attacker can set up a malicious network with a SSID that mimics the SSID of a legitimate wireless network known to a specific device. In order to exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would have to figure out the SSID of a network that has been accessed on the machine of a potential victim, create a malicious network spoofing that SSID, and then get close enough to the victim’s machine that it will connect to the malicious Wi-Fi network.

MarketplaceLIVE 2013: Telx Networking Event One for the Record Books, Goes West
Telx’s annual Big-Apple-based premier networking event drew nearly 600 attendees to its Times Center venue, surpassing previous year’s attendance to become the company’s most successful client conference to date. In addition to the many well-received panelist discussions featuring an array of industry luminaries on trending subject matter from Mobility and Big Data to Disaster Recovery and the implications of cloud on digital media and content, attendees enjoyed the opportunity to network and make meaningful connections with fellow Telx clients. Attendees also had the opportunity to meet and greet more than 50 exhibitors in the Times Center’s exhibition hall augmented by countless adhoc face to face meetings throughout the spacious venue. A pair of Telx-produced videos book-ended introductory remarks by President and Chief Financial Officer Chris Downie on the state of Telx 2013 and what lies ahead for the company in the coming year. The first was the thematic “Making a Difference” which relates the story of a tech start up that, by partnering with Telx and taking advantage of its interconnections, becomes a huge success.

Being a Modern Fan
Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher, once said that, “without music, life would be a mistake.” This resonates with me, as someone with a profound love and appreciation for music. Like many fans, I’m an avid concert and festival attendee. Just last year, I attended a number of music festivals, from Coachella to Rock The Bells. Last year’s Coachella music festival sold out quickly. While my friends and I managed to secure tickets, not everyone was so lucky. Shortly after ticket sales ended, I observed a Facebook fan page offering “free tickets” to users who liked the page. It had close to 10,000 likes but contained little information. I started warning friends that the page was a scam. The page was eventually taken down, with no free tickets awarded after all. These types of online ticket scams may not seem common, but that perception is precisely why an offer like this—whether through social networking or email—may not arouse suspicions. Symantec recently conducted a global survey to explore fans’ online and digital behaviors associated with concerts, festivals, and sporting events.

Could Your Career Use Some Startup Street Cred?
Think of it as a small town in the Wild West—when you’re the town blacksmith, you really are the town blacksmith. People come to you for answers and ideas relating to your specific area of expertise—no passing the buck or hiding in the shadows. Without bureaucracy and silos, you truly own your job and accomplishments and are a vital part of the town’s success. You also need to be comfortable branching in many directions. You will build on your own value, adding to your problem-solving skillset and expanding your knowledge base. You’re paid to use what you know, learn more, and become a more well-rounded professional. I agree with Paddy Padmanabhan, who said in his recent article Why Working at a Startup is Better Than Getting an MBA: “The degree I earned working at my startup was unique: it was a one-of-a-kind, custom-built program that I alone could experience.” Working for a startup adds an element of street cred to your resume.

Why You Should Be Using SharePoint Lists Instead Of Excel Spread Sheets
Suppose your company is gearing up for a new product launch. You and the product team have a long list of tasks to complete in preparation for the big day. Four weeks in, the CEO announces he wants to realign the strategy. This changes several key deliverables, brings in new people, re-delegates certain responsibilities, and generally wreaks havoc with your carefully established deadlines. In an ideal world, we could use an Excel spreadsheet to create a single task list that would never need to be changed. Everyone would get their work done—well and on time. Approval would be swift and simple, and the outcomes would exceed the set objectives.

Big Data – the Bogeyman has come!
Recent news abounds with concerns about the NSA and its mysterious PRISM program watching your every move and recording your every communication. If any American had not heard the term “data center” a week ago, they most certainly have now. It’s too bad that this is the way we tend to get informed of the world around us – “be afraid of the data center, be afraid of ‘Big (Brother) Data’!” I’m going to leave the question of right or wrong to others. The question is should we be surprised and what should we expect in the future? I touched on this in an earlier post, Unlimited data – A vision of the future. In that post, the data was much more benign: movies, general knowledge, etc. Now we are talking about “my” data and what that means. Many of us in the data center world are aware, at least in part, of HIPAA privacy rule regarding individually identifiable health information. This is rooted in the general technological advancement making it easier and easier to get and store more and more data from an individual’s health history; all the way down to their DNA coding.

EBS Snapshot Copy Performance Improvement
The EBS Snapshot Copy feature gives you the power to copy EBS snapshots across AWS Regions. Effective today, we have made the snapshot copy even faster than before with support for incremental copies between Regions. It is now practical to copy snapshots to other regions more frequently, making it easier for you to develop applications that are highly available. The first time you copy an EBS snapshot of a volume to a particular Region, all of the data will be copied. The second and subsequent copies of snapshots from the same volume to the same destination region will be incremental: only the data that has changed since the last copy will be transferred. As a result, the snapshot will transfer less data and complete more quickly than before.

New Bill Would Declassify FISC Opinions
A group of eight senators from both parties have introduced a new bill that would require the attorney general to declassify as many of the rulings of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as possible as a way of bringing into the sunlight much of the law and opinion that guides the government’s surveillance efforts. The bill comes in the aftermath of the National Security Agency leak scandal that revealed some pieces of the agency’s massive domestic surveillance program, including the collection of call data on millions of Verizon customers. The leaks also revealed the existence of a program called PRISM through which the NSA gets data on users from companies such as Google, Yahoo, Apple and Microsoft. Some of the key sponsors of the bill, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), have been vocal critics of the extent of government surveillance as well as the secrecy surrounding its interpretations of the Patriot Act. Under the terms of the proposed law, the Justice Department would be required to declassify major FISC opinions as a way to give Americans a view into how the federal government is using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Patriot Act.

Three Ways to Secure Your Registration Form
Registration forms are a great way to follow up people’s interest in what you are offering on your website. Unfortunately, registration forms can be a large source of a sender acquiring bounced addresses and spam traps, which could cause your business to spam a host’s mailbox without proper validation of addresses. This can result in a lower SendGrid internal reputation score, as well as reflect poorly upon your business. Fortunately, there are many helpful techniques that can help a sender avoid many of the issue that can come up through their registration form. A good technique in protecting your registration form from automated bots is placing a required Captcha in the form. A Captcha is a test to ensure that form is filled out by a human being as opposed to a bot. The image is not replicable by a bot but easily replicated by a human being.

Cloud-Delivering Key Business Value
More and more businesses are consolidating their data centres in the Cloud. This is accepted at the proven strategy to reduce data centre costs. However, data centre consolidation can cause many problems and frustrate users. As scattered, distributed data centres are consolidated into a centralized data centre, users are being gradually distanced from their physical servers. Issues of latency, application delivery and disaster recovery become more urgent. Organizations have to give a lot of time and thought to if they want to achieve data centre consolidation, and at the same time deliver greater user experience. Data centre consolidation must not cause performance issues. It should be remembered that centralization of the data centre results in the user being further from the server and data has to travel longer distances to reach the end user. This can cause latency in delivery and frustrate the user waiting patiently for the information requisitioned. A number of optimization tools are available to ensure speedy delivery of information over the network and these tools should be used effectively

Getting the Right Event to the Right Person
It’s Friday night. You’re at a friend’s place enjoying the evening’s activities when you get an SMS alert from work. You’re thinking, “I’m not on-call tonight for data center issues? The on-call tech should be on this anyway.” Next thing you know, the phone rings and this time it’s an automated pre-recorded message indicating that your attention is required to address a critical service issue. You step aside from all the fun and login to your notification service portal and check the issue. The normal on-call engineer was unresponsive and you’re next in line in the notification workflow; one step from the Operations Director (your boss). There is a critical incident reported by the ScienceLogic network management system that is being handled by your PagerDuty service. First, you acknowledge the incident so your boss doesn’t get the next call out. Next, you click on the embedded link in the PagerDuty incident and it prompts you to login to your ScienceLogic portal on your tablet. Up comes the source event and you can see the issue causing a potential service disruption.

6 Tips for Using a Command Center for Crisis Management
Crises happen but you don’t have to be flying blind when they occur. Here are 6 tips for using a social media command center during times of crisis. Listen to how people are reacting to your responses and update your replies based on that information. Be prepared to toss it all out at a moment’s notice and change things up to adapt to any situations that may arise. Analyze, Measure and Follow Up: Set up a monitoring dashboard for keywords, customer names and user names that will help you follow up after the crisis is resolved. Having that report will help prevent the problem from recurring. Institute analytics that continue to track the crisis and that alert you to repeat visitors to your site so you can apply techniques usually used in re-marketing to continuing to ensure the crisis is resolved. There are many things you can do to set yourself up for success in a time of brand crisis online. Learn to monitor insights and brand sentiment in real time. Create a clear action plan. Designate responsibility to members of your team in advance. Go through your response drill once

How Cloud Computing Can Reduce Security Risk
There are a lot of benefits to cloud computing, such as access to business software via mobile devices, as well as quality data backup. Some IT security experts now say that cloud computing may be more secure than we previously thought. In fact, it could be more secure than traditional computing. In the past, CIOs have expressed concern about transitioning to cloud-based software because of potential security issues, but as Neil Readshaw, the lead architect for IBM’s cloud security, noted, “security is perceived as an inhibitor of cloud, but it can also be viewed as an enabler.” Readshaw went further, pointing out that it is his responsibility to make the cloud even more secure, and therefore more successful. There are a number of security options that are evolving for the cloud. One of the biggest ones focuses on transparency, which allows cloud users to verify that their data is actually set up on its own server. Most of the larger service providers have virtual private cloud services, where customers can choose to host their data on private servers.

The Rackspace Customer Experience Secret Sauce
I was recently interviewed by Pete Abilla, a blogger and friend, on Rackspace’s unique philosophy on customer experience. Everyone hears the words “Fanatical Support,” but what exactly does that phrase mean in terms of our customers’ experience with us? In the interview, I discuss with Pete how our Core Values, our NPS program and our Operational Excellence program work together as the secret sauce in helping our customers change the world.

The Convergence of Backup and Archive
The convergence of backup and archive is a really hot topic right now. Quantum, as well as some of our partners in the industry, are introducing some great capabilities that are really bringing together backup and archive. An extreme view on this topic is that batch backup is a thing of the past, and for some data types and use cases there is some truth to that. But to unpack this a bit we need to look at use cases and even specific data types. Are backup and archive converging for databases, i.e., for structured data? Not really. For most companies, databases can be backed up using traditional methods and, in fact, deduplication tends to be a great solution for database backup. What about for virtual servers, e.g., VMWare or HyperV data? Sort of – but typically these servers can be backed up using some type of traditional method. More common here is to use a backup application built specifically for virtual environments

Outlook is Coming to Windows RT tablets
Last week at Computex, Microsoft announced that Outlook will be coming to Windows RT tablets. That’s right, the most-used email applications for professionals and business will arrive as part of the free Windows 8.1 update coming later this year. Qualcomm Snapdragon™ powered Windows RT tablets have always been great for use and play at home and on the go, but now that Outlook joins the other Office apps already bundled with Windows RT, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, they will have even more appeal for the office as well. New hardware offerings will also be available around the Windows 8.1 release, including Windows RT tablets powered by Snapdragon 800 processors. The flagship mobile processor for Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., it is designed to have CPU speeds of up to 2.2 GHz per core, USB 3.0 for ultrafast transfers, and great power efficiency for long lasting battery life. The combination of the new Snapdragon 800 powered tablets paired with the latest Windows 8.1 software should equate to a productivity powerhouse.

Myths About Nonprofits
According to a new report from Nonprofit Montgomery, there are a number of myths that persist about nonprofits. Nonprofits aren’t just “do gooders” that help the sick and poor. Nonprofits are business-minded, mission-driven organizations that drive community and economic growth. Consider some facts from the report, which dispel these common myths. Nonprofits employ 10% of the US workforce, representing 13.7 million Americans. If the nonprofit economy were a country, it would be the 7th largest economy in the entire world. While nonprofits range in size and shape, the majority are small and focused on the needs of their immediate communities. Better than any other industry, the nonprofit sector has weather our recent recession well, showing consistent employment growth. The nonprofit workforce is better educated than for-profit, with almost 45% of nonprofit workers earning an advanced degree.

Parse Now Powers 100,000 Apps!
We’re really proud to announce today that we’ve had over 100,000 apps built on the Parse platform, up from 80,000 apps at the end of April. We grew more in the last month than we did in our entire first year of existence! It’s never been a more exciting time to work on Parse. We recently joined forces with Facebook and have accelerated on all fronts. Our ecosystem is heating up with new entrants and big partnerships, and last month we launched two great additions to our offering: Parse Hosting & Express.js support. Come join us at this exciting time!

4 Ways Government Contractors Can Become Proactive Customer Companies
For years many government contractors have had the luxury of acting as a reactive company, or waiting until their customer’s contact them with needs, as it relates to customer identification, acquisition and retention. This way of doing business has been profitable the past decade but that world is changing. With the wars winding down as well as sequestration, government spending will be dramatically reduced over the next few years. This will lead to more government contractors than ever competing for contracts and mind share in a dramatically smaller market. This will lead to smaller deals, higher cost of sales and lower margins – all of which result in reduced profitability and growth for the reactive government contractor. So how does a company make the shift from Reactive to a Proactive customer company. Proactive companies continually leverage their relationships, as well as market and customer data to identify and build relationships with the key decision makers within an agency as well as identify that agency’s issues before others can.

Cloud-making SMBs in India – a force to reckon with
I have been visiting India for more than 10 years and I have seen an amazing transformation in the last years. Today, there are 36 million micro, small and medium enterprises in India. Many face seeming insurmountable challenges of sub-optimal scale of operation, technological obsolescence, supply chain inefficiencies, increasing domestic and global competition, fund shortages, and turbulent and uncertain market scenario. That’s the bad news. The good news is that today’s new generation of entrepreneurs in India is young, bold and willing to try new ideas. They see an opportunity and take the plunge. They know that as small businesses they have the benefit of being agile and nimble against much larger organizations. They are therefore able to capitalize more quickly on emerging opportunities. They are also more willing to take a few hits at the beginning of the business to win big later.

The Winner of the iMac from Parallels is…
The first-ever VloggerFair, created and hosted by tech guru Chris Pirillo, sold out and was a FANtastic hit! We had a blast meeting Parallels fans, famous YouTube stars and demoing Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac tips and tricks for VloggerFair attendees. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to get a free shirt and entered our iMac giveaway on Twitter! We loved seeing all of your pictures and hope you were able to walk away with some new Parallels Desktop learning. Check out our VloggerFair photo album on Facebook, which might even feature you!

Securing industry mobile initiatives beyond BYOD
Securing the deployment of mobile devices is often discussed in the context of employees using their personal smartphone or tablet for basic work-related activities such as email and collaborative tasks. The primary purpose is flexibility, productivity and the ability to remain connected while traveling, working from home or working after hours. In some industries, the use of mobile devices goes much deeper and intersects with core business processes. In healthcare, clinicians use tablets to capture, review and update patient information on the bedside or at home, read vital data and make critical decisions. In banking and online retail, mobile payment is being deployed as a way to lower costs and gain market share. As the use of wireless and mobile technologies becomes more pervasive, the scope of the security needs must expand from protecting pointed interactions to covering a myriad of use cases that impact hundreds of mobile applications, and the enterprise data they access. Both startups and large vendors have jumped on the opportunity and put forward innovative solutions such as MDM, encryption, SSL VPN connections, containers, and more.

End-user experience is key, especially for networks
A few days ago, I had the pleasure to meet Bob Gilbert, chief evangelist at Riverbed, and while we were having French cappuccinos, he told me about Unified Communications and how these exciting technologies were such a heavy load on network infrastructures. Having all these video and audio delivery systems as well as real time collaboration tools is one of today’s challenges: how to keep the end-user experience smooth and fluid? An example he mentioned was latency issues. Since the end-user experience is key, how about having a videoconference between several people located on several continents? That would be a nice experience! :-) But it’d obviously bring a lot of latency issues. And it’s also a matter of bandwidth and several other criteria. If you think about the explosion of video (90% of the Internet traffic is… video!) and how companies use it, whether it is videoconference or telepresence, it starts to give you a headache. All this data, a tremendous amount of data, asked by all this people in all these locations, not to mention all these devices… you need to be ready.

Cut The Red Tape; Build Your Startup On Open Source Principles
I knew that if I ever started a company, I would build it on some of the principles that drive open source projects. While most companies leverage product roadmaps and rigid structure, open source projects operate differently. Let’s look at the Linux kernel, for example. The Linux kernel is among the most fascinating pieces of software ever written. There is no corporate structure of development behind it, yet it has evolved to be one of the most amazing technological advances mankind has created. The kernel does away with armies of product managers, project managers and office managers. It wastes no time on things that managers love to do. The kernel is very much the evolution of code: the good ideas stick and the bad ideas leave (or elements of them turn into good ideas). When we started Mailgun, we wanted to minimize the requirement of a centrally-planned structure and used this evolution to our advantage. Here are some open source principles that were applied to our startup.

Opscode @Velocity Next Week
Headed to Velocity 2013 next week? Then join Opscode and thousands of peers, friends new and old, and really smart people in learning, socializing, and sharing best practices for moving business faster in a web-driven world. On Tuesday, June 18th, our very own Seth Vargo (“Test Driven Infrastructure with Chef”) and Mandi Walls (“Operations Level Up”) will be presenting on best practices topics that you won’t want to miss. Then, on Thursday, June 20th, Mr. ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ himself Adam Jacob will take the stage, bringing his unique combination of wit and wisdom to his talk, “How to Win Computers and Influence Reality.” Still not signed up? Register for Velocity using the code OPSCO25 and save 25% off of your registration costs. Then be sure to check in with us at booth #412 on-site.

OpenNebula Conference 2013 CFP Deadline Approaching
As user of OpenNebula and member of its community you should be speaking at the first edition of the OpenNebula Conference in September in Berlin. The deadline for receiving talk proposals is Saturday, June 15th. We are looking for technical presentations about design, development, and deployment of OpenNebula-based Clouds, and its integration with other related technologies in the data center: Latest developments in OpenNebula. Research using OpenNebula. User experiences and case studies using OpenNebula. Best practices and tools. Integration with other cloud, virtualization and data center components. Any other topics that you feel are relevant to developers, users, researchers and other members of the community.

CentOS Makes Its Mark in the Cloud
With the worldwide public cloud market forecast to grow 18.5 percent in 2013 to $131 billion in total worldwide revenue, according to Gartner, companies are beginning to place their bets in the high stakes marketplace. I’ve been watching as Amazon Web Services works to hold off its challengers in the space. One company to be reckoned with is Windows Azure from Microsoft. Last week at Microsoft TechEd in New Orleans, the technology giant made it clear that it is going to be heavily involved in the cloud services market for the enterprise, where traditional on-premises software is becoming hybrid- or cloud-based. At the center of the Microsoft’s cloud emphasis is Windows Azure, an open and flexible cloud platform that was released to general availability in April. Azure is growing rapidly as enterprise customers look to evaluate and implement cloud solutions. The company says it is adding 1,000 new customers every day to push it over 250,000 customers. In April, the business unit of Windows Azure surpassed $1 billion annual revenue.

OnRamp Announces Involvement with HostingCon 2013
OnRamp has recently announced our sponsorship of HostingCon 2013, June 17th – 19th in Austin, Texas. OnRamp will attend “The Premier Industry Conference and Trade Show for Web Hosting and Cloud Service Providers,” to showcase our suite of data center services which include: colocation, managed hosting, private clouds, disaster recovery and high security hosting. In addition to exhibiting from Booth #423, we are proud to announce that OnRamp Founder, Chad Kissinger will join a paneled discussion titled “The Coming Hybrid Wave: Colocation and the Cloud” on Tuesday, June 18th at 9:00am. This event will kick off Tuesday’s educational content for the Technology Track and will highlight the benefits of merging colocation and the cloud to create hybrid solutions designed to effectively manage a business’s IT operations. OnRamp’s own Hybrid Hosting solutions are designed to accommodate the real world demands for growth and scalability by leveraging the company’s core competencies as a data center service provider.

When Data Centers Come to Town
I have written a lot about what companies should look for in a location when deciding to build or partner with a data center. After the location has been decided upon, what happens when a data center decides to come to town? “Economic developers love data centers,” says Yan Ness, Online Tech Co-CEO. Typically, data centers do not hire a lot of people like a plant would. However, economic developers see data centers as a supporting entity for their technology corridor. To have a highly active technology corridor, you need local capability and access to highly trained, educated people. For example, technology companies can’t be successful if there is not a single intellectual property lawyer in town or an accountant that does not know how to depreciate software. Companies will end up leaving those areas because they can’t get the supporting local help that they need. The same goes for data centers.

Are You a Member of The CA APM Global User Community? Join Today
Have you heard of our flourishing global user community dedicated to CA Application Performance Management? The CA APM Global User Community, formerly CA Wily APM User Community, has been in existence through regional user group communities since 2006 and online, hosted by MyCA, since 2010. It is one of the fastest growing User Communities of CA Technologies users, a truly global community reaching nearly 3,000 members from all over the world. What happens in the community? Activities include monthly webcasts where experienced users and consultants share best practices on their use of CA APM and related products. For instance, we have a Webcast on June 20, 2013 to discuss the new release of CA APM 9.5. The message board is very active with APM user members sharing daily questions, tips, opportunities, or other news they find of interest. CA APM community members attending CA World conferences also get together during the conference, as we did this past April in Las Vegas. CA Technologies is very supportive of the user community and CA APM Product Management regularly updates the members on new releases and features available in CA APM and related products.

How to Deliver a Superior In-Store Omnichannel Experience
While many experts have predicted the impending doom of the traditional brick-and-mortar store, the high percentage of sales still taking place in-store at the point of sale (POS) is proof that old channels don’t have to die—they simply need to be modified to complement and seamlessly interact with new channels. In fact, a recent report from Nielsen, “Brick by Brick: “The State of the Shopping Center,” revealed that despite the boom in online shopping, consumers are still making the majority of their purchases within a physical store. It’s their expectations of what they want from a shopping experience that are transforming. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the fact that when consumers want to buy something, it doesn’t matter how retailers get it to them – they just want to be able to find it, and find it fast – and the store is usually the fastest means of acquiring the product. That mentality is driving retailers to focus on delivering a superior in-store omnichannel shopping experience that integrates seamlessly across all other channels including web, mobile, catalogue and call center.

AVG Buys Level Platforms: What Does This Mean for Managed Service Providers?
Antivirus technology manufacturer AVG has announced that is has purchased remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology maker Level Platforms. Terms of the acquisition were not made public. The acquisition puts AVG squarely in the center of the managed services universe with both a RMM platform and its cloud hosted security suite CloudCare. “We’ve made this acquisition for a variety of reasons”, said Luke Walling, vice president of sales and operations for AVG. “One of the most important is our commitment to listen closely to the needs of you, our partner. Since its release, many of you have asked us to add fully-integrated RMM features and functionality to AVG CloudCare™. This acquisition reaffirms our commitment to providing features and functions you’ve requested, leveraging mature

HIPAA to Healthcare Professionals: Get On the Cloud
As the healthcare industry goes digital, the mountains of paper documents are becoming weightless records stored in the cloud. This change is beneficial to both doctors and patients alike, helping to save time and money, and making processes much simpler. While many healthcare providers have embraced the digital changeover, some are still lagging behind. Now Congress is making sure they get on board. Driving the migration of records to the cloud are two laws, HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) omnibus and ARRA (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). According to Scott Good of Forbes, “by 2015, all medical professionals with access to patient records must utilize electronic medical and health records (EMR and EHR), or face penalties.” Moving medical records to the cloud isn’t just about compliance. It’s also opening up new opportunities to care for patients. Matthew Toohey is a pediatrician for a private practice in Pennsylvania and the co-founder of the website, which provides information on medicine and parenting.

Data: Go Beyond the Interesting to Uncover the Useful
I spend a lot of time at conferences these days. And recently, I was standing on the showroom floor of a major conference when an investor in a retail website stopped by to talk. He was extolling the values of their analytics program, which he said had given the team a boatload of interesting information. The most important piece of data they’d uncovered so far? “iPad users have higher conversion rates than our other customer segments,” he said. “They are our most valuable customers.” He thought it was amazing that his analytics team had uncovered this information. Even though I wanted to be polite, I must have had a dumbfounded look on my face, because the first thought that popped into my head was: “Ok, so I guess you should go buy iPads for all of your other visitors.”

Tweets Missing from Your MODX Site?
Over a year ago, Twitter announced changes to its API which included the dropping of support for RSS feeds. Version 1 of the Twitter API (Application Programming Interface) was turned off on June 11, 2013. If you were relying on RSS feeds to display your Twitter feed on your website using getFeed or some other tool, it will no longer work. Twitter does offer the ability to use embedded widgets to display feeds on your website, however, you don’t have any control over it—and that’s not very MODXy, is it? MODX Ambassador, Jeroen Kenters has written a short guide to get your custom Twitter timeline back on your site using TwitterX and the new Twitter API.

Advanced Miva Merchant Troubleshooting with Jon Burchmore
Jon Burchmore, CTO and Chief Product Architect of Miva Merchant, goes over how to do advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting with Miva Merchant (specifically focusing on the debugging tools added to the 5.17 and higher Miva Empresa Engine). In this video, filmed at MivaCon 2013, Jon Burchmore gives an overview of the diagnostic tools and techniques that Miva Merchant has developed over the past few years. In addition, you’ll be introduced to the top new capabilities, features, and debugging tools for the Miva Merchant shopping cart software. Jon Burchmore goes over an in-depth explanation of how web developers and advanced Miva Merchant users can setup and use these new advanced diagnostics in order to get the most out of their Miva Merchant stores.

When Does Two Tier ERP make sense?
Most organizations have already invested heavily in their existing on-premise ERP systems, both in terms of infrastructure as well as time. However, the emergence and success of cloud-based ERP has made apparent the benefits of the cloud in terms of costs, agility, and flexibility. So, how do organizations take advantage of the benefits that the cloud has to offer while keeping their existing systems in place? The answer is what is known in the industry as a two-tier ERP approach. The reality about businesses, no matter what their size, is they are always changing. They are entering new markets, launching new products, entering joint ventures, and going through M&As. I think all of these changes are opportunities to adopt a cloud-based ERP strategy and marry it with core ERP systems. There are four broad categories of scenarios that lend themselves nicely to a two-tier ERP strategy. In this two-part blog, I will touch upon a couple of these scenarios. I will discuss the other two broad categories in a subsequent blog next week.

The RMM Wars Will Benefit Managed Service Providers
It is now official; we are in the midst of the RMM wars and the beneficiaries of these battles will inevitably be the managed service providers. Remote monitoring and management (RMM) companies started back in the mid to late 1990s with the enterprise class tools like HP Open View, CA Unicenter, and a few others. These tools helped launch the managed services industry. The small and medium sized (SMB) community, however, were left in the cold with no real solutions that were effective for managing smaller customers. When companies like N-able, SilverBack, and Oculan came on the scene, managed service providers serving SMB customers were born. These three companies, in large part, helped spark the modern day managed services movement by allowing VARs to become MSPs without the need to spend a lot of money on enterprise class tools. Since that time, however, when each company (and their successors like Zenith Infotech, Level Platforms, Kaseya, and others) had successfully on-boarded thousands of MSPs, the innovation slowed.

How to Ensure Your SharePoint Content is Ready for High Availability
You’re an avid collector – for arguments sake, let’s say your collection consists of comic books. You love your hobby, it’s an integral part of who you are, and you can’t just stop! But what do you do when your hobby starts to take over the entire living room? What happens when you have so many comics you can’t even find the one you’re looking for? Then factor in your fellow comic book obsessed buddies and you’re stuck – how on earth will you organize and manage what you’ve lent out to them and what you’ve borrowed? Organization is an important for so many things in our lives. In order to make sense of the jumble that has become your hobby, you need a structure – a comic book library where you can efficiently protect your comics, easily access them, and manage them well enough to know which of your friends have borrowed them. Now picture a business, full of various documents and calendars and important content. If this business were in disarray like your comic book collection, it wouldn’t survive. SharePoint is the library housing your organization’s content. However, something more is required to ensure that your SharePoint content is always available to all end users, at all times.

New MailChimp: User Persona Research
A few weeks ago, MailChimp’s DesignLab posted images of our User Personas to their blog. As Jason explained there, we wanted to find out who really uses MailChimp. It was a question posed to us by data analyst Allison last year. We could broadly generalize about our users (savvy, self-reliant, techie, motivated), but we realized that we couldn’t rattle off the four or five archetypical MailChimp users. What we needed was a clear idea of our current users, so we could better empathize with them, and in turn design for and delight them—especially with a massive redesign on the horizon. To reconcile who we think uses MailChimp with who really uses MailChimp, fellow researcher Steph and I embarked on a long-term study of our customers to learn who they are; what, why, and how often they send; what kinds of issues they face; where they work; and what kind of people they are. This helps us understand how MailChimp fits into their day-to-day lives, which in turn empowers us to design smarter.

Cloud Player – Joe Panettieri, EVP and Editorial Director at Nine Lives Media
I think we’re seeing an “anything but Amazon” industry emerge. Back in the 1990’s, we saw an “anything but Microsoft” industry where you would see alliances between IBM and Apple and all these other companies to build solutions that would compete with Microsoft. I think you’re seeing the same thing in the cloud now, where all the vendors are trying to come out and throw their biggest punch against Amazon and/or align with each other to counteract AWS. It’s very true, though, that Amazon’s got momentum. VMware’s greatest strength is something I think the media’s been overlooking in the service provider market. There’s something like 8,000 service providers have built solutions on top of VMware’s technology. Instead of wondering if VMware’s own cloud can take on Amazon (which is something we’re interested in), they should leverage their “strength in numbers” advantage. Instead of attacking Amazon head on, why not surround and conquer them by celebrating the fact that there are 8,000 service providers running VMware-based clouds and supporting those partners as well as your own cloud.

Contact Centers – Customer Experience Will Determine Your Success
If you work for a health insurance provider/payer you must be gearing up for how the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act will affect the way you conduct business. Healthcare Insurance Exchanges (HIXs) will be mainstream by October of this year and have already gone live in a number of states. Soon, a very large set of uninsured Americans will be active on the exchanges looking for an insurance plan, and you can bet they will be picking up the phone for extra support from providers. In addition to the influx of calling you have come to expect during open enrollment, there is now this unknown variable that must be factored into your business model. Have you put any thought into how you can ensure a superior customer experience? One that…

Latisys Day 1 Report from HP Discover
We are nearing the end of day 1 at HP Discover in Las Vegas. The lights of this city always provide an exciting environment for a big event like this – today was no disappointment. I started the day off with a long to-do list, first and foremost, booth set up for Latisys. We have a great location – Booth 1958b in the “Discover Zone” and look forward to the traffic of day 2. In between banner hanging and collateral sorting, I had the pleasure of meeting our HP team. In this virtual world – I spend so much time communicating behind my Latisys email alias, so putting faces with these names provides me with a real spirit of “team”. Lastly, I attended Meg Whitman’s keynote speech; anxious to hear her HP vision — I left feeling excited and hopeful for the year ahead.

Mobilizing Medical Devices: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
The answer, obviously, is “quite a bit.” Under-performing mobile patient monitors may keep life-critical alerts from being received, leading in turn to adverse events, and devastating liability. In extreme cases, monitors, infusion pumps and other devices may be subject to a regulatory recall that mandates a total product redesign, complete with re-submission for FDA 510(k) certification. Even in less extreme cases, a loss of confidence among healthcare workers can wreak havoc with ROI and the manufacturers’ reputation. Wi-Fi-enabled medical devices continue to grow in both number and complexity while the use model for mobility evolves. Healthcare facility Wireless LANs (WLANs) once consisted mainly of laptops on carts stationed outside patient rooms and infusion pumps that operated as standalone devices. The onset of VoIP added a layer of complexity, but it was not until recently that Wi-Fi deployments scaled to include hundreds of highly mobile critical-care devices moving with patients throughout facilities.

IWeb com Ranks Among Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies for the 6th Straight Year – 2013 PROFIT 500
IWeb has been ranked as Canada’s 170TH fastest growing company in the 25th annual PROFIT ranking of Canada’s 500 Fastest-Growing Companies. Having made the ranking every year since 2008, iWeb is one of only 16 companies on this year’s list who have achieved 6 or more appearances on the list. iWeb, who provides Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Cloud server services from its four (4) Canadian data centers in Montreal, grew its revenue 376% over 5 years and, more impressively, grew 4667% since 2003 – from $0.9M in 2003 to $42M in 2012. Published in the summer issue of PROFIT Magazine and online at, the PROFIT 500 list ranks Canadian businesses by the growth of their revenue over five years. “Revenue growth is ultimately the result of managing a good business and working hard to provide customers with the best services, the best infrastructure and the best customer service experience we possibly can. We are very proud to have made the PROFIT 500 ranking this year again!” says iWeb President and COO Christian Primeau.

DCIM Steals The Show at Data Centres Europe
Make no mistake about it – Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) continues to make big waves in the U.S. and Western Europe. According to Gartner, DCIM is heading towards a $1.7 billion market by 2016. And, says Gartner, the bulk of that activity will take place in North America and the European Union. If the recent Data Centres Europe event is any indication, iTRACS, a CommScope Company, will continue to be at the center of the action. The show took place May 29-30 in Nice, France, where the CommScope booth – featuring iTRACS’ award-winning Converged Physical Infrastructure Management™ (CPIM®) software suite – was the site of a traffic jam from morning till night. “You’ve stolen the show!” a CEO told us. Asked a CIO, “doesn’t Dan ever get tired?” The customer was referring to iTRACS’ Vice President of Software Development Dan Fry, one of the industry’s leading technology innovators and the architect of our best-of-breed DCIM management suite. Dan and I were at the booth providing executives with information and demonstrations without a break … gladly!

Christian Teeft talks hybrid cloud capacity and scale at HP Discover in Las Vegas
Leading service providers around the world are teaming with HP to provide hosting, managed, and cloud-based services. HP CloudAgile Service Providers leverage HP’s leading Converged Cloud solutions like HP CloudSystem to bring you services that meet your requirements for security, reliability, and flexibility.

Gigamon IPO Spotlights Network Visibility Market’s Rapid Growth
Today marks another chapter in the continuing development of the network visibility solutions industry as Gigamon conducted its initial public offering. The news shines a spotlight on network visibility’s astronomical growth, and helps raise awareness of the real and costly problems we are solving for our customers. Network visibility solutions are becoming an increasingly critical component in today’s data center architecture. Ixia’s customers – including many of the country’s biggest service providers and enterprises – rely on our products to improve network performance and security, and ultimately meet the expectation for an always-on, secure, high quality user experience. Industry analysts have recently identified the network visibility market as one of the fastest growing markets in the networking industry. While its size is around $300 million today, it is experiencing double digit annual growth and is predicted to be a $1 billion market within the next decade.

Cloud trends: Bare metal cloud maximizes security and performance
As cloud solutions have evolved from physical servers and virtualized environments to SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and even IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), companies today must navigate through a sea of different cloud options. While cloud computing provides organizations with increased flexibility and cost-effective IT Infrastructure solutions, some workloads and applications demand higher performance than the virtualization layer allows. This has led to the next step in cloud evolution: bare metal cloud, which removes the hypervisor and the performance impact created by virtualization. In a recent edition of Tech Talk with Craig Peterson, Internap’s Director of Cloud Services, Adam Weissmuller, discussed the benefits of bare metal cloud and how it can maximize server efficiency and improve performance. Bare metal cloud gives physical servers the same flexibility and benefits as highly virtualized cloud environments. From another perspective, bare metal cloud is giving automation and self-service some cloud capabilities, such as massive scaling, hourly billing and the ability to pay only for what you use.

The Privacy of Customer Data
Intermedia takes information security and the privacy of our customers very seriously. Intermedia has complied with the occasional subpoena, as all service providers do when required by law; however, we do not provide any government organization with direct access to our network, applications or systems. When Intermedia receives legal requests for customer data, we always respect and defend our customers right to privacy by ensuring that every request complies with the law, and we only provide the minimum required information. More detailed information can be found in our privacy policy. Intermedia’s security policies – built around the five Trust Service Principles (Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality and Privacy) — are audited annually by an AICPA-certified third-party firm. This firm not only documents the controls as we state them, but also tests them to ensure they are working effectively. The result is a robust 170 page report (SOC 2, Type 2) that describes our technical process and procedures from security and operations perspectives.

Switching to the Cloud: Economics of Cloud Financials
Intacct has been promoting a paper from respected ERP industry analyst Brian Sommer. Brian wrote “Economics of Cloud Financials” which covers the varieties, costs, and benefits of financial systems in the cloud, from both a customer and vendor perspective. The paper discusses financial systems that are delivered on-premises, hosted by a 3rd party, delivered via single-tenant cloud, and delivered via multi-tenant cloud. You can find the paper here. Naturally, there are some key takeaways from the paper I want to bring to your attention. In previous entries in this series, I discussed the financial impact to your organization of moving your accounting system to the cloud (Outsourcing IT, TCO). However, not all clouds are created equal. Many vendors are hosting a legacy on-premises solution and marketing it as “cloud.” Brian’s analysis helps explain the key differences between a multi-tenant cloud and hosted deployment for your finance and accounting system. Multi-tenant cloud solutions offer you the best economics and benefits for a variety of reasons

Assessing Performance in the Cloud
In Part 1, we looked at how monitoring tools and counters help you get both a real-time picture of what’s happening with your system, and a broader sense of performance over time, so you can spot chronic problems and identify trends. In Part 2, let’s take a closer look at the more active part of performance assessment: the testing and optimizing cycle. Testing in the Cloud is a little different than testing in-house, where you’ve got finite, known conditions. And granted, it’s a bit more complicated. But really, Cloud testing is a more realistic way to determine how your entire system behaves from end to end. Performance in the cloud isn’t just about your software, or just about the cloud provider’s hardware—it’s about how all those pieces interact together: apps, servers, databases, platforms, and infrastructure. These conditions represent a broader, and better, way to approach performance—and something beyond what many businesses could afford on their own. Just like monitoring tools, a myriad of test-generating tools and services are offered by third parties that can help you probe your system as you look for problem areas.

Save Hardware Expenses with Desktop Virtualization
When shopping for your personal computer, you will gladly pay the extra money to buy the best machine possible. However, when buying piles of workstations for your business, paying extra for the best equipment adds up quickly. Utilizing Desktop Virtualization for your business is a great way to get away with buying inexpensive computer hardware and that allows you to save money. Desktop Virtualization allows for one computer to display two operating systems. While every computer has enough resources to display one operating system, the more you ask of your PC, especially when using heavy duty business applications, the more money that will be needed to give your workstations extra RAM and processing power. With Desktop Virtualization, these heavy computing demands that businesses place on their workstations are transferred over to powerful servers, allowing you to instead buy computers that are essentially stripped down. A computer that offers only basic functionality and resources, while being setup for Desktop Virtualization, is called a terminal.

Internet Infrastructure Coalition to Host Issues & Trends Panels at HostingCon
The Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2Coalition) will host a series of “Issues and Trends” panels with leaders of the Internet industry during HostingCon next week in Austin, TX. The panels will focus on the necessity of maintaining a free and open Internet, the future of privacy for customers, the importance of Internet infrastructure organizations in the global economy and the ongoing battles with “patent trolls.”

How can you simplify moving to the cloud?
After virtualization, cloud computing may be the next logical step for many enterprise organizations. But how do you get there? To help, we’ve identified six steps that simplify the journey to the cloud. Implementing a cloud strategy is nothing like buying a boxed, off-the-shelf product. It’s all about custom tailoring a solution to meet your exact business requirements. The key is to start with a thorough assessment of your organization’s business needs, then optimize the company’s existing IT infrastructure to meet those needs. IT funds and staffing resources have been shrinking in recent years, while demand for computing capabilities has increased. Therefore, it’s critical to create a cloud strategy that builds on and preserves the existing capital investments the company has already made in its IT infrastructure, while creating and following a roadmap for enhancements and additions that will work well both now and into the future.

Embrace the Email – Send More!
One subject that gets a lot of attention when it comes to marketing is how often to send emails. While many marketers will argue sending too many emails increases unsubscribe rates, others insist sending more emails increases sales. Both of these positions are valid, so, how do you know what approach to take? Is it quality over quantity, or vice-versa? The answer: it’s a mix of both. Here’s a few of the do’s and don’ts of email marketing and how you can improve the quality of your campaigns. For many companies, the highest ROI of marketing is email, so why not send more emails? The key here is to send relevant emails to keep your customers engaged. There is nothing worse than constantly sending an irrelevant email to a significant portion of your client list – mix it up! To clarify, by suggesting sending more emails, I mean send more high-quality, targeted emails. For example, instead of sending one email to 10,000 people, break it up into 4 segments of 2,500 and send a different version of your email to each segment. The statistics might surprise you.

Launch New Services with Agile Methodologies
Most web hosting companies continually look for ways to expand their product ranges, but launching a new service is a complex task. The processes of analysis, design, development and launch are all time consuming and, as a result, expensive. It is essential to keep development periods minimal in order to achieve a faster time to market for a maximum return on investment. However, a hurried development process often leads to unreliable services that fail to deliver the performance customers expect. At HostingCon 2013, you can learn how to balance development speed against quality in “Leveraging Agility to Launch Well-Tested Services Fast.” Covering the basics of what agility really means and some practical tips for creating an agile workflow in your business, the session will enable you to deliver better services in less time.

Building Apps Efficiently on Heroku
Whether you’re building your initial prototype or running a large scale profitable business, there will be times where you will have questions about building, maintaining, or troubleshooting your application. One of our goals is to help make your business successful by empowering you to build quality software with best practices, clear documentation on a stable erosion-resistant platform. When in doubt, there are several channels here at Heroku available to help you get the support you need. Brand new to development or just new to Heroku there’s a place for you in the Dev Center. As you’re getting started you likely want to setup your application so you can get better visibility. Several tools are recommended, including add-ons for monitoring, add-ons for logging and native tools such as log2viz that provide visibility into application performance and issues. Throughout the app development process, you will want to take into consideration best practices for application architecture and scaling, The Twelve Factor App provides the recommended methodology for building software-as-a-service apps on Heroku.

Business Model of Waze, sell for big bags of Google cash
Next week is GigaOm Structure. I have gone from attending as a blogger, to working freelance as a GigaOm Pro Analyst, to speaking at the conference. This next one I am moderating a panel discussion on a Private Cloud with Revlon and NetApp. You could look at what I did as like coming up through the mail room, but another way is I was spending time in various roles to get a better understanding. The folks at GigaOm eventually figured out how much I knew and started using my skills more. One of the latest insights on GigaOm was when I was talking to one of my old bosses at Microsoft Frank Artale. Frank is a partner at the VC firm Ignition Ventures. Besides working for Frank on Windows 2000 he is also on Lake Sammamish and he likes to cook. Next time I see Frank we need to talk about his kitchen vs. my woodstone oven. But more relevant is the last time I saw Frank at GigaOm Structure Data he mentioned how many VCs are at the show. I paid more attention and have gone through the attendee list and 2nd after the the technology companies (which have the highest attendee) is the VC community.

6 Reasons Why Archiving to the Cloud is a Smart Idea
Storing and managing massive amounts of data – such as email or electronic records – has become a huge challenge for organizations. Not only does the information need to be easily retrievable, but data retention policies often require you to archive it for a number of years. The cloud is a great environment for archiving since it’s instantly scalable, cost-effective, and virtually maintenance-free. Here are six smart reasons to move your archiving from on-premise to the cloud: Less Expensive and a Better ROI than On-Premise Archiving. Maintaining a private archive infrastructure is costly and IT management-intensive. Since archiving is inherently a long-term operation, multiple hardware refreshes will be required throughout the lifecycle of your data, support contracts need to be maintained, and your IT staff will spend a great deal of time managing the hardware, software, and archived information. By contrast, cloud archiving offers many choices about how and where archives are hosted. The cloud doesn’t require you to purchase or maintain servers or the infrastructure to house and cool them.

Use VoIP to Make Contact Centers Work Smarter, Not Harder
Cultivating meaningful channels of communication with business partners and clients is key to building and maintaining a robust consumer base and building your company’s value over time. Contact centers are at the focal point of this initiative and business phone systems are necessary to anchor operations. We also live in a time of heightened expectations – consumers drive markets, and the perspectives of customers and business users are increasingly merging. The consumerization trend is exciting – it gives forward-thinking organizations the opportunity to show clients and customers that they believe in forging strong relationships based on meaningful interactions. Social media offers more visibility for companies to interact directly with their customer base, and many organizations have forged extremely positive reputations by being consistently receptive to customer insight and zealously pursuing increased transparency. Consumerization also presents challenges and higher requirements for companies that are serious about intelligent communications.

Using SDN to Simplify, Not Complicate
The only thing people seem to agree on when it comes to the direction SDN will take networking, is that no one agrees. So the headlines read, at least. One (perhaps the) core tenant however is clear to most equipment vendors, service providers, and enterprises – amongst other things, SDN will bring more programmability to the network. Given that this driver alone could result in a drastic shift in how networks work years from now, the opinions vary when painting what that picture will look like. In the mean time, network needs of today are not waiting for the jury to return. In other words, what will that programmability look like in the short term? In parallel to wrapping their heads around the technology shift, network operators and administers would be happy to hear how they can benefit today. And how is that? In a recent poll conducted by Enterasys, just over 20% of respondents said that network customization is the greatest benefit of SDN – but over 50% were looking for it to bring simplicity, automation, and faster deployment of new applications.

Gen 5 Fibre Channel. What’s In A Name?
Emulex has moved to a new generational-based naming scheme for its LightPulse Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters (HBAs). So why the change? The currently shipping fifth generation (Gen 5) Fibre Channel HBAs pack more than just a 16Gb punch as the previous name leads you to believe. LightPulse Gen 5 Fibre Channel HBAs have been designed from the ground up for the virtualization, cloud and database era, taking Fibre Channel SANs to the next level by delivering more than just incredible performance and higher throughput. Emulex Gen 5 HBAs deliver: Increased SAN reliability, data integrity and availability. Management simplicity. Reduced operational costs across the data center. Multi-speed adapters. Performance acceleration for virtualization and mission critical applications. As you can see, Gen 5 is so much more than incredible performance. Fibre Channel development has evolved as data center needs have changed. Traditionally storage was measured by Gb/$ metrics, and many technologies have been developed that have helped address the Gb/$ requirement such as data-dedupe technologies, and flash-based storage.

Facebook finally opens Lulea Data Center, 18 months after announce
One of the conversations I have had with data center friends is when will Facebook bring its Lulea data center online. The project was publicly announced in Oct 2011. There was Swedish papers covering the commissioning process in May 2013. Uhh, 18 months after project announce Servers are deployed. Building in Sweden was not as easy as it looks. Facebook has built 2 data centers in Prineville and Forest City. On the edge of the Arctic Circle, where the River Lule meets the Gulf of Bothnia, lies a very important building. Facebook’s newest data center – in Luleå, Sweden – is now handling live traffic from around the world.

EdgeWave Completes SSAE 16 Audit with 100 Percent Pass Rate
With the highly successful release of ePrism v9.0 earlier this week, today EdgeWave is proud to announce that the company has successfully passed the SSAE 16 Type II audit – achieving a rare 100 percent pass rate across 156 different inspections. The SSAE (Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements) 16, which replaces SAS 70, is an internationally recognized third-party assurance audit designed for service organizations and establishes data protection, privacy, confidentiality and reporting standards. The confidentiality of our customers’ data is of the greatest importance to EdgeWave, as is maintaining the trust and confidence of the markets we serve. The successful completion of this external audit is evidence that the integrity of EdgeWave’s operating procedures and the quality of our technology is world class. It has been determined that EdgeWave’s technology, business processes, physical security, and infrastructure controls meet or surpass the stringent SSAE 16 standards. It should be noted that this successful audit is of particular importance to EdgeWave’s financial services

SharePoint Alternatives Fix Slow Search & Customization Difficulties
Microsoft SharePoint has gained a lot of popularity over the past 5 years, but many companies are now looking towards SharePoint alternatives for a variety of reasons. Microsoft is a big name in business software and almost all companies utilize their Office suite for the creation of documents. As a step outwards, they created SharePoint as a way to manage and share all of those documents across the organization by using a web-based system. However, many companies have found that it is not as simple of a solution as they originally thought. The overwhelming concern for most SharePoint users is the need for instant document retrieval. If your files are stored according to their metadata properties, there should be no reason that they cannot be accessed in a flash. Unfortunately, SharePoint systems with a large number of files can take minutes to retrieve a single document. SharePoint is marketed as a highly-customizable system that is flexible enough to meet just about any business’s needs. However, the customization process is also not as simple as you may have been led to believe.

From the Eyes of a College Student
Some may ask, when would a typical college student need to use electronic signatures? I don’t run my own business, and I don’t have my own clients or customers. However, many would be surprised – just as I was – to discover how DocuSign can provide solutions to an everyday lifestyle. First impressions are extremely important. When applying for a job, they can make the biggest difference for either the interviewer or the interviewee. This spring, I interviewed at eight different companies. Two of those businesses used DocuSign. I was amazed and appreciated being able to fill out any necessary documents before coming into an interview. It was simple, quick, and comforting to know that I wouldn’t have to fill out more documents once I arrived at the office. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves to come early to an interview, end up having to fill out tons of documents, and then have my recruiter comment on my tardiness. What was my first impression? I had already narrowed down my job search to two companies. I was amazed, and I was already an advocate. What’s even better is that there was a DocuSign app!

One way to view what is important to Google’s data center group look at the Google search UI
It is interesting thought experiment to be low level in data centers discussing sites, power, cooling, etc, then sometimes pop your head up and get a big picture view what you can see. I was chatting with a Google person last week and I was thanking him for a response to an e-mail I sent a year ago to check on their data center calculations on their web site. Thanks X number of data centers is what you have and Y number of data centers will come on line within the next 12 months. He was surprised I knew. I told him I can count the number of announcements made over the past year. It’s easy to see when you know where to look. When I was at another data center conference someone asked me what is Google going to do with all that capacity. I don’t know. Then I saw the below graphic when I was playing around with some ideas of a Triumvirate. And, then it is was simple to say. Google is focused in order of priority – web, images, maps, shopping, videos, news, books, blogs, flights, discussions, recipes, applications, and patents.

How to Get Support Like a Pro
We still get the email message in our helpdesk queue and we still provide you with the same support you need. However, emailing support@ isn’t the best way to contact us for assistance. Well, when you email us directly we might not have any idea who you are, depending on the address you email us from and what you state in the email. It may take longer to resolve your issue because our next reply to you is often, “What is the domain name associated with your hosting account? Can you also please authenticate this support ticket…” (we have to authenticate because we don’t want to provide potentially sensitive account information to anyone who isn’t supposed to have it). But all you want to do is to resolve your issue as soon as possible, and I don’t blame you.

DataCore Continues to Advance its Proven Software-defined Storage and Updates SANsymphony-V
Storage is undergoing a sea-change today and traditional hardware manufacturers are suffering because they are in catch-up mode to meet the ‘new world order’ for software-defined storage where automation, fast flash technologies and hardware interchangeability are standard,” said George Teixeira, co-founder, president and CEO of DataCore Software. “We have listened to our customers and stayed true to our vision. With the latest release of SANsymphony-V, we are well-positioned to help organizations manage growth and leverage existing investments, while making it simple to incorporate current and future innovations. Our software features and flexibility empowers CIOs and IT admins to overcome the many storage challenges faced in a dynamic virtual world. Amid all the talk and future-looking promises of software-defined storage from hardware-biased manufacturers, DataCore Software has delivered real-world solutions to thousands of customers worldwide. DataCore continues to advance and evolve its device-independent storage management and virtualization software, while maintaining focus on empowering IT users to take back control of their storage infrastructure.

Colocation and High Performance Computing Go Hand-in-Hand
A long-time preferred strategy for IT infrastructure, colocation has now also emerged as a viable solution for High Performance Computing. Experts have long made the case that colocation costs a business 20% of what it would take to build a company-owned data center. And, companies can scale colocation space out quickly as they need it. This value proposition is hard to beat. Now, if a business requires High Performance Computing, the same value proposition applies. A colocation provider can offer cluster computing and in-house expertise very economically. The quicker time to market for companies also makes colocation a strategically appealing option for HPC. The colocation strategy makes sense for general IT initiatives and for High Performance Computing. Colocation is an especially good move if a company lacks the investment, staffing, skill set, expertise, time or desire to construct and operate its own data center facility.

CloudWatch Monitoring Integration
Many folks that I talk with believe that CopperEgg is competitive with Amazon CloudWatch. Actually, it is not at all competitive, but rather quite complementary. First, let’s compare CloudWatch and CopperEgg to understand the differences and overlap. Cloudwatch monitors all things AWS. For example it measures the ELB (Elastic Load Balancer) performance, RDS (Relational Database Service) metrics and EC2 (Elastic Cloud Compute) server performance. It even allows you to see your spend with Amazon. There is actually very little overlap with CloudWatch and CopperEgg. With regard to monitoring EC2 instances, CopperEgg Server Monitoring provides extremely detailed performance metrics, including up to a 5 second performance monitoring frequency, with visibility into system processes and clear insight into critical performance killers like CPU Steal. CloudWatch gives some basic stats on server performance, at a maximum resolution of 1 minute updates, with their paid version.

Connecting tomorrow’s next generation workspace “today”- where do you start?
I was fortunate last week to visit one of our enterprise customers for an executive strategy session. The customer invited a room of senior stakeholders to discuss and debate future ways of working and connecting next generation end user workspaces. Many questions were posed – what are the needs of tomorrows employee, what does tomorrows customer look like, who will the competitors be – how many of today’s major players will remain? Most importantly what changes are required, personal, cultural, professional, operational, technological and so on to take everything that makes the organisation great today and recalibrate it to ensure they are great tomorrow. It is a pleasure to interface directly with business stakeholders discussing how their organisation needs to evolve to realise business success in the future. And you know it’s a mutually rewarding session when discussions pose new and radical questions that encourage all to rethink even the most robust personal viewpoints. Understanding the “future way of working” or “tomorrows workplace”

Some Out of the Box Thinking
If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know that I’m a big believer in looking outside of our industry to incorporate new ideas and techniques that can contribute to the development of better data center solutions. For this reason I’d like to offer my kudos to George Slessman and the guys at IO on their recent agreement with McLaren Applied Technologies. For those of you who don’t know, McLaren has been a legendary force in Formula 1 racing for years with drivers like Emerson Fittipaldi and James Hunt, and they will be working with IO to develop new methodologies for more energy efficient cooling. While I can’t predict if these efforts will be successful, I applaud George and his teams willingness to embrace the prospect that the lessons learned in other industries may help us improve our own product development efforts. As further evidence of George’s commitment to out of the box thinking I am sure that the fact that he is a car nut had nothing to do with his decision to work with McLaren…

The Certified Ones
As a consumer, I like to have certified professionals in my corner when I need help with important issues. When my automobile has a problem, I take it to a certified mechanic. When I need solid advice on money matters, I trust a certified financial planner to point me in the right direction. For legal matters, I use a board certified lawyer. When an issue is really important to me, I seek the help of individuals that have met special qualification levels within their field—the certified ones. The same is true in the world of communications. Companies like Cisco, IBM and CommScope have certification programs to validate the skills of individuals and organizations in the latest technologies and solutions. At the CommScope Infrastructure Academy, we train and certify individuals and organizations in broadband, enterprise and wireless technologies and solutions. Through a comprehensive selection of courses, we provide in-depth training on today’s advanced infrastructure solutions and recognize those individuals and organizations that have met our rigorous standards. We believe in quality through qualification.

Telx Flagship Data Center set to open June 19
Telx, a leading provider of data center solutions, is set to open a new flagship data center in New Jersey on June 19. The Tier III, N+1 data center is Telx’ first facility designed from the ground up. Telx invested $200 million into the 215,000 sq. ft. facility primarily to meet the needs of clients in the financial services industry. Located in Clifton New Jersey, just outside New York’s 500 year flood plane, New Jersey data centers are strategically located to offer high-speed connectivity to 60 hudson street and 111 8th Avenue in New York. By adopting all the latest LEED design techniques, Telx will be able to deliver competitive pricing models to trading firms who require the fastest connectivity to Wall Street and direct connections to nationwide IP providers. Smart design techniques were employed throughout the facility; the chillers are mounted on the roof away from server rooms and the perimeters are highly secure. Upon entry, clients will go through fingerprint and or eye recognition systems in order to gain access to their servers.

CloudFlare will be at HostingCon 2013 in Full Force
The CloudFlare team will be at HostingCon 2013 in Austin next week. This is our third year at the show and we have a lot of things in store for partners. We are looking forward to connecting with our current partners and meeting new partners at the show. If you are already a CloudFlare Certified Partner, be sure to stop by and introduce yourself. If you are not a partner yet, stop by to learn more about how CloudFlare can reduce your server load, improve the performance of your network, block spammers, botnets and other web threats, and provide DDOS protection. More details about the CloudFlare Certified Partner program here.

Java EE 7 and GlassFish Day at CloudBees
The launch of Java EE 7 today is a very important event for the Java EE community. Since Java is our DNA here at CloudBees, and as we try to anticipate our customers’ needs, we wanted to be part of this new episode of the Java EE adventure. For GlassFish v3 users, you now have the same kind of fully managed CloudBees experience that we’ve been providing for Tomcat and JBoss. And if you want to explore EE 7, understand its new features and how your applications will behave on it, it’s all waiting for you on CloudBees. please be patient when starting your app on GlassFish. The initial deployment often takes more than 30 seconds and during this time GlassFish temporarily displays its welcome page instead of your application’s homepage. We hope that you will have a lot of fun using our GlassFish runtimes and exploring Java EE 7 on our platform!

Back in the Bosh Bunker
In the last post on the topic of Bosh I put together a simple Cloud Foundry environment using the tools & repos of Stark & Wayne. Even though the bootstrap is a great way to get an environment up and started, it doesn’t explain a lot of things about Bosh. So let’s take a look at what we’re dealing with here. Bosh handles deployment and upgrades of Cloud Foundry environments. However, it isn’t particularly limited to just Cloud Foundry. It’s been used to launch Riak Clusters, setup Redis, Cassandra, CouchDB and other services that don’t just fit neatly in the Cloud Foundry services design. It is a very important tool in regards to keeping a Cloud Foundry environment up to date with the latest bits, security fixes, bugs and related elements. Bosh is broken down into several key components that work together to handle these deployment and maintenance tasks.

The Bitcoin Buzz: The Currency’s Past, Present, and Future
1 euro is equivalent to 1.33 U.S. dollars. Similarly, a British pound sterling is worth $1.57. One bitcoin is worth $110.01. One of these things is not like the other. Unlike the euro, the pound, and the dollar, Bitcoin is a digital currency that functions independently from any government. The first of its kind, Bitcoin is a trailblazer that has been turning a lot of heads in recent months. A year ago, each bitcoin was worth about $5, but in April 2013, Bitcoin’s worth rose to an unprecedented $266 per coin. Over the weekend of May 17th – 19th, roughly 1,100 people attended Bitcoin 2013, a Silicon Valley based conference dedicated to the “crypto-currency”. In Nov. 2008, an anonymous programmer operating under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto published a whitepaper explaining his vision for a nation-neutral, completely anonymous, finite, irreproducible digital currency. Three months later, Nakamoto released the Bitcoin software to The Cryptography Mailing List, a community dedicated to achieving private and secure online communication.

Cloud-based contact centers a rising focus for improving business efficiency
The contact center is a major component of any business, as an effective one can fuel more efficient customer interactions and boost sales, while an inefficient one can greatly hinder productivity and profit. But many firms may be overwhelmed by the complexities and costs associated with managing communications, and as a result, are leveraging cloud hosting for these centers. A recent report by the Aberdeen Group determined that the average cloud contact center benefits from annual costs that are 27% lower than those for in-house operations. The firm attributed this result to the fact that cloud-based contact centers demonstrate better customer retention rates. A key metric for the study is lower call abandonment rate, which hosted contact centers help to achieve. The average call center, according to Aberdeen, takes 2.5 million customer calls per years and abandonment rates were 4.5% lower for cloud-based centers than in-house ones. Aberdeen also revealed that one in 10 unaddressed contacts results in a lost customer, and further, that each severed relationship can cost a business $10,000.

What to Look for When Purchasing an EHR System
EHRs aren’t supposed to be like contact lenses — used for a while and then replaced. But unfortunately, according to a 2012 KLAS survey, 50% of practices are looking to replace their current EHR. Obviously, this can be problematic, as no physician wants to deal with the costs and adjustment period associated with EHR adoption more than once. That’s why practices should look for an EHR with the following elements to keep them satisfied and off the market for a replacement. According to a 2012 American College of Physicians survey, 37% of physicians are dissatisfied with their EHR system’s usability. This lack of user-friendliness is usually caused by flawed design. A well-designed EHR will be accessible on all popular Internet browsers, especially Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. It should also keep all of the applications you use on one screen. Having to constantly click back and forth between screens complicates the charting process and wastes valuable time.

How to measure reliability of a web hosting company
If you type a web hosting keyword in search engine (Google, Yahoo and Bing) you will find number of web hosting companies in the list. For example if you use US Google to search web hosting keyword you will find 518,000,000 results (0.51 seconds) and it becomes hard for a newbie to make a decision with the right web hosting provider, of course web hosting has become the most reliable business online which helps one to earn unlimited but there are fraud people who makes fake promises to deploy quality services. And to find a reliable web host lets understand how to measure reliability of a web hosting company, If you are interested in any web host then first just check the website environment. Check if every plan and services they are offering are described properly with the prices. Search for a customer review on website. It’s a good sign of a web host. Check if they are listed in the Google places by typing the company name in the respective Geo based Google. Before making any final decisions initiate a chat with sales representative and ask any questions about SLA, Money back Guarantee and Disaster recovery plans.

Cloud News Report: Top 3 in Cloud – Week Ending
The Cloud News Report is a weekly list of our top three favorite cloud computing articles from the past week. Since the beginning, cloud has promised efficiencies. What a recent study from Lawrence Berkeley Lab, funded by Google, showed, however, was that the cloud is actually green, too, saving power and energy compared to legacy solutions. In this GigaOm article, Katie Fehrenbacher details the findings that say moving email, CRM, word processing and spreadsheets to the cloud saves enough energy annually to power L.A. for a year. Fehrenbacher cites the energy efficiency coming from the fact datacenters hosting clouds are as a rule more efficient and run more efficient servers than IT infrastructure used at home companies. This second article, this time by Michael Kanellos at Forbes, looks at the same Lawrence Berkely Lab report, funded by Google, but explores the impact on the server market due to cloud adoption. In this article Kanellos cites the reduction in the amount of hardware required to run the country’s email servers reduces from 3.5 million servers to 47,700 servers.

CloudFlare, PRISM, and Securing SSL Ciphers
Over the last week we’ve closely watched the disclosures about the alleged NSA PRISM program. At CloudFlare, we have never been approached to participate in PRISM or any other similar program. We do, from time to time, receive subpoenas and court orders. A human being on our team reviews each of these requests manually. When we determine that a request is too broad, we push back to limit the scope of the request. Whenever possible, we disclose to all affected customers the fact that we have received a subpoena or court order and allow them an opportunity to challenge it before we respond. One of the ways we limit the scope of orders we receive is by limiting the data we store. I have written before about how CloudFlare limits what we log and purge most log data within a few hours. For example, we cannot disclose the visitors to a particular website on CloudFlare because we do not currently store that data. To date, CloudFlare has never received an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Moreover, we believe that due process requires court review of executive orders.

CIO lessons from the Boston Celtics
Basketball is a big deal here in Beantown, so it was with great pleasure that I visited the Boston Celtics to meet with Vice President of Technology, Jay Wessel, and legendary player Jo Jo White. Of course, the Celtics is a professional sports team, which naturally influences how the organization thinks about both business and technology; perhaps needless to say, the conversation quickly turned to teamwork, discipline, and competition. Jo Jo White is profiled in a biography called, “Make It Count, and holds the team record for playing 488 consecutive games, an obviously extraordinary accomplishment. Jay Wessel has been with the Celtics for 23 years, so both men know the team inside and out. The subject of teamwork is a consistent theme throughout the discussion, which you can watch on the video embedded at the bottom of this post. Jo Jo credits coach Red Auerbach for bringing together the players needed to make a winning team

Top 5 benefits of a VPN for Internet security
As a company grows, offices and operations may become more geographically distributed, thus increasing the firm’s dependency on a reliable, secure Internet connection. In order to ensure that users can efficiently and safely access information, the Virtual Private Network (VPN) has become a popular small business solution. With the following considerations, any enterprise can effectively deploy this technology to ensure all critical applications and data are safeguarded. When an employee uses a public wireless network to craft an email, there is a chance that a nearby hacker on the same connection could gain access to that message and all of its contents. Business 2 Community explained that a VPN encrypts Internet traffic, thus stopping unauthorized parties from intercepting it and stealing critical information in transit. A high bit encrypted VPN ensures that upon leaving the server, the data is decrypted and sent to the appropriate destination, and then encrypted once again as it passes through the VPN server back to the user.

How to Create an Email Signature for Your Company
Last week we updated our email signatures. Sure, they’re just a few lines at the bottom of an email, but a great signature – or a horrible one – can truly impact how you present yourself within and outside of your company. An email signature adds context to your emails, especially if you’re interacting with someone for the very first time. Or perhaps you’re trying to set up a meeting. By putting your office address and phone number or even a link to appointment slots in your signature, you can avoid the back and forth of scheduling. So what makes a good email signature? Well first and foremost, your signature should look great. A poorly designed signature can seem unprofessional. It’s not hard to create a nice looking signature, but people seldom take the time to do so. Second, your signature should be useful. You could have the best looking signature out there, but if it doesn’t include information like your work and / or mobile numbers, your office address and your email, it’s really not serving any purpose. And lastly, signatures need to be consistent.

Resources for Advertisers
Riak can be the perfect solution for advertising platforms because its redundant, fault-tolerant design ensures that advertisers can serve their data reliably and quickly. Riak is also built for operational simplicity at scale, making it easy for advertisers to quickly grow to meet peak loads. We have put together a number of resources for advertisers who are evaluating Riak. Below are some of the highlights: The “Advertising on Riak” whitepaper provides an overview on how Riak can be used by advertising services and platforms. OpenX, an ad platform that serves over four trillion ads each year, has a video about why they selected Riak and how they use it to store user and trafficking data. Velti, a mobile marketing and advertising technology provider, uses Riak to provide high availability and scalability for their interactive subscriber service. Their case study goes into more detail about the process of moving to Riak. The Basho Docs site discusses common ways to model advertising data within Riak’s key/value structure.

The Great Enabler of the Internet of Things
I recently contributed a blog post to Please take a look and share your thoughts! According to estimates by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in 2022 the average household with two teenage children will own roughly 50 Internet-connected devices, up from approximately ten today. Conservative estimates put the number of connected devices currently at approximately 12 billion, with the number due to grow to 50 billion by 2020, according to a separate Cisco study. Therefore, while the trend known as the Internet of things (IoT) isn’t a new idea, with each new Wifi-enabled thermostat and each new car dashboard touchscreen, it is steadily becoming a reality. The results include enhancements to consumer experiences, improved operations for enterprises, as well as the creation of new revenue channels for traditional industries and the spawning of new business models.

Automation Software Helps Companies Deal With the Silo Syndrome
Business operations stuck in silos are the biggest braking factor on company growth, according to research done by Industry Week. A survey done by the American Management Association showed that 83% of respondents thought silos existed in their organizations, and that 97% considered this phenomenon to be negative. This silo syndrome can have an impact inside and outside an enterprise: customers experience disjointed contacts and information flows from the same firm and come to the inevitable conclusion that they are dealing with a poorly organized business. However, if companies recognize the problem, IT automation software that bridges the silos may be a first operational step to overcoming it. The origins of the silo syndrome are often in command and control style organizations, where departments have grown up with a turf war mentality, instead of constructive collaboration. Information and decisions move up and down, but not laterally.

Moving to a Private Cloud? ARA Can Help
The private cloud presents a variety of challenges that IT departments have to tackle. From some perspectives, the private cloud is such a difficult technological architecture to establish and maintain that it may not be worth the effort. However, private cloud computing also delivers operational efficiency, flexibility and scalability from an end-user viewpoint. These benefits can snowball into major gains for a company, making an investment in an internal or hosted private cloud a valuable decision for companies that can handle the burden of the technology. The complexity of the private cloud creates a dynamic in which organizations that can maximize operational efficiency can also position themselves to create the greatest return on investment. Conversely, companies that struggle to establish the cloud efficiently and manage it in a streamlined way can be overwhelmed by the complicated technological configuration. Application release automation solutions give IT managers a key tool that can help them streamline application deployment in the private cloud.

Starting a Web Site on a Budget—Design
We live in a world that is increasingly governed by design. It’s no longer enough for our cars and clothes to look stylish. We want our silverware, our coffee cups, even our computers to look good enough for the movies, or at least television. Instead of being something that’s incidental or invisible, design is now an essential service, one that we ignore at our peril. Whether you’re starting a new web site, or starting from scratch on an old one, you need think about how your site looks. Here are your design options if you’re working on a budget. Note: these figures assume that this is your total budget, not just your budget for site design. If you’re working on a tight budget, you probably don’t have the money to hire a professional website designer. Which means you’ll need to put together a quality website from free and cheap sources. For logos, color schemes, and other design elements, you’ll want to borrow from your existing material. If you don’t have ready made material, you might try your luck on sites like Fiverr, where five bucks will buy you a logo.

Five Capabilities for Securing Mobile Workforce Data
With the number of mobile workers on the rise, the need to protect mobile workforce data is increasing in importance to protect the integrity and security of data assets. With decades of experience in providing data recovery for the distributed enterprise, Asigra is highlighting key capabilities necessary to ensure the safety and security of remotely stored business data. In a recent press release, our Product Manager, Pavan Vyas, points to five capabilities to consider when overhauling or updating the enterprise backup environment to include desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The five capabilities highlighted are: Integration with primary enterprise backup solution. Enterprises are looking for solutions that allow them to back up the data on all employee devices including desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones. As remote workers are outside of the corporate perimeter, and therefore may not have IT staff at close quarters, enterprises prefer easy-to-use solutions which allow employees to recover their own data quickly

Mobile Malware’s Next Generation
Android devices accounted for the majority of smartphone sales worldwide in Q1 of 2013. As the number of people using these devices has grown at a rapid pace, so has the variety and availability of malware targeting these devices. In fact, various reports have shown that malware targeting Android devices is now somewhere above 90 percent of all mobile device-based malware. While some threats still exist for the Symbian OS, those threats are on the wane. Malware writers appear to be now focusing their efforts almost exclusively on Android devices with the total number of malware variants more than doubling over the past year. The motivation for the attackers is the same as with nearly all PC malware, profit. Androids ”open” type policy that makes it so attractive to developers and allows users a less restricted access to mobile apps is proving to be a double edge sword. While other operating systems tend to limit the permissions that an app developer can ask a user to grant access to, Android has a more lax approach.

Burndown Before you Burn Out
At AppNeta we use an extremely lightweight method to develop software. While it doesn’t necessarily map exactly onto one of the many agile methodologies, our process is very much inspired by this video. Although there are many unique characteristics for each software development methodology, one thing is consistent: the goal of progress. Everyone wants to know how a particular project or task is coming along and when it’s going to be complete. So even if you don’t believe in due dates and delivering to a schedule, it’s still useful to know and to be able to communicate your current progress to others . To aid us on our never-ending quest to know just how awesome we really are, we’ve developed Burndown, an open source tool to assist in tracking progress of a Github milestone! Github is great for source and issue management, but it’s a bit lacking for project management. One thing we found ourselves wanting was a burndown chart to help keep track of progress, and Burndown made it easy to make sure momentum didn’t die on our projects.

Protecting Cloud Infrastructure: An Alert Logic/Amazon Web Services Webinar
Securing cloud infrastructure can be challenging. What are the key threats you need to worry about? How do you find solutions that deploy in cloud environments, and autoscale with your cloud instances? Is the cloud really a secure choice for business-critical workloads? We hear these questions from customer all the time, which is why we’ve teamed up with Amazon Web Services for a webinar to help you understand the most relevant threats to your cloud environments and how to secure against them – including the lines of responsibility between cloud providers and cloud customers. Join us on Thursday, June 20 at 10 AM Pacific / 1 PM Eastern for Protecting Your IT Environments: Cloud Security Insights from Alert Logic. Our speakers are Miles Ward, Senior Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services, and Stephen Coty, Director of Research at Alert Logic. You’ll learn about the actual threats that we see in cloud environments, and how the combination of Amazon Web Services and Alert Logic can offer you a secure cloud experience.

Sustainability: A continued story of achievement
As I look back over the last year of sustainability activities at Alcatel-Lucent, for me more than ever, 2012 “is the year of achievement.” As you watch our highlights video below and on the pages of our Sustainability website, you will find circle factoids telling a story. It is the story of a global team demonstrating innovation, talent and continued achievement on our three core priorities of green, people and digital inclusion as well as our three values, all within a very challenging business environment. The numbers speak for themselves— in just four years on our green targets alone, we have increased the energy efficiency of our key products by more than 25% and in some cases, up to 176%. We demonstrated our commitment to sustainable innovation through the launch of our ground breaking 7950 XRS router providing more capacity, more network versatility and more accessibility while dramatically cutting power and space costs by 50% for our customers over a five year horizon. More than 50 Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs scientists, researchers and engineers have been involved in research and collaborations focused on green and energy efficient communications

A History of Akamai InfoSec Storytelling
As part of my new role as Akamai’s security storyteller, I’ve been digging around in search of all the press coverage this group has gotten over the years. I’m finding that many articles and blog posts came from me, particularly what I wrote in my last job as managing editor of CSO Magazine. You could say my coming here was destiny, based on how easily I focused on Akamai InfoSec research as a journalist. Most recently, I wrote about two presentations from SOURCE Boston 2013. One, by Senior Security Architect Eric Kobrin, was an analysis of the BroBot DDoS attacks that have targeted the banking sector. The other talk, by researcher Christian Ternus, was about Akamai’s Adversarial Resilience program. The goal: better protect Akamai’s customers by thinking like those who attack them. “At Akamai the attack surface is huge,” Ternus said. “As the bad guys attack our customers, we are constantly being tested to see if our systems are good enough. What’s needed then is resilience — the ability to adapt. Our job is to think and act like the adversary to make Akamai safer.”

Four Things an OEM Needs in a Cloud ERP Partner
You are an ERP vendor or developer of business software. You have a cloud strategy and you’re looking for the right partner to take you to the next level. I’ve talked about Acumatica’s OEM Advantage, but today I’d like to go into detail about how Acumatica is the right business choice for you. Developing a robust cloud platform and building advanced ERP applications on top of it can be a long process. We know it, because we have been doing this for the last five years. If you decide to do the same from the scratch, it will take the same time. Re-using the Acumatica platform and ERP is a much faster way. In a year or less, Acumatica’s comprehensive education and onboarding processes can help any company without a cloud solution get on the cloud. And it is proven by our partners. Software companies that develop software for end-customers should focus on the needs of these customers instead of developing and managing the platform to run functions from General Ledger to Accounts Payable. Think about it. Hardware was a platform in 1970s.

Get Ready for the Great Contact Center Metamorphosis
What’s the first thing you think of when someone says “call center”? A lot of people in a room—maybe offshore, maybe a “boiler-room” operation—lined up in a phone bank, talking into phones or headsets? That’s a vision that may soon become obsolete, as cloud-based communication systems transform the nature of customer interaction. Someday soon—maybe just a few years away—“call centers” might have very little to do with either telephones or centers. The fact is that virtual call centers—powered by Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and delivered over the cloud—are evolving, undergoing a metamorphosis into more of a general customer communication vehicle. Delivered inexpensively via the Internet, they’ll bypass traditional “phone company” communications channels, big boxes in the closet, and the per-call charges that go with them. For small and medium businesses, this means that there’s a new solution that lets them energize their Web presence and contact their customers in ways they never could before. Large contact center operations used to be the exclusive domain of large enterprises

Three Major Network Provisioning Challenges Facing Service Providers
Businesses’ and consumers’ growing dependence on the network, the rise of mobile computing, virtualization, dual stack networks and the demand for more and better Cloud-based services, have combined to present service providers with three major challenges: ensuring service quality; adding new, revenue-generating mobile and managed services, and preparing for accelerated adoption of IPv6: Even as the demands on network performance and reliability have soared, IP network management processes haven’t kept up, and the network managers at most service providers today are swamped with change requests. The home grown and manual spreadsheet-based processes still in force at most service providers are no longer sufficient for tracking configuration changes and provisioning new services. Plus network administrators have to contend with an increasingly complex and brittle environment, where years of accumulated protocol overlays, competing standards, proprietary equipment, rotating personnel and virtual devices have created a rigid, unwieldy and error prone infrastructure that is difficult to manage.

Considering the possible changes in business environment for Big Data adoption
The hype around big data is omnifarious. With its promise of unearthing new possibilities, big data is becoming an important part of organizations’ business strategy for optimizing their business processes, and accurate mapping of service needs. Its high volume, variety, and velocity have brought new opportunities for organizations to get deeper insights than ever before; and enabled operational processes to respond in real time. The availability of broad range of data for integration and correlation have facilitated firms to get enhanced perceptiveness to better analyze their customers and create more targeted offerings. Though many organizations have turned to big data adoption, or many are planning to embark, yet most organizations don’t have a well-formulated strategy to make the most out of big data. Adopting big data is unique, not just because of technology, but also from a business and organizational perspective. From a technology standpoint, organizations are increasingly adopting Hadoop to address their growing data challenges.

Jed Wylie – Make Your Website Sell – How to Pick the Perfect Web Designer
Your website is a critical part of your business and so choosing the right web designer is a big decision. It’s a decision which you take without really knowing what the outcome will look like. Take buying a car – you can easily see and experience the difference between a new Ka and a BMW. This makes understanding why they are priced differently easy. However, this is not the case with your website. It is complicated by the fact that, like any other marketplace, there are huge price differences between web designers. This makes is tricky to understand the nature of those differences when you have yet to experience the service or see the result. To help you get to the bottom of this here are a few more questions for you to ask so you can determine which web designer best fits in with your website project. Some web design companies are protective of the code they use to develop your website because they regard it as their intellectual property. Consequently, they may charge you a license fee either as a one off or annually.

From Instant Messaging to Personalization
Growing up I was slightly addicted to instant messenger (IM), the way any middle school/ teenage kid is around social media. It was the only way we could communicate with friends on a mass level before the world of smart phones. Although the world of instant messaging has been taken over by text messaging, the nostalgic days of IM’ing still ring true to a large population of Gen Y’ers. The world of instant messaging was the first time many people began to expose themselves on a public platform. Away messages were put up so all of your friends could know what you were doing when you weren’t on the computer. Basically, it was the first time people started getting personal. IM still stands for this personalization today in the world of domains. Just as instant messenger user names were personal and unique to each user so is the .IM. So take your name and add it to the .IM or something personal to you and create a unique domain.

Why Cloud-Based Solutions for Designers?
Remaining competitive in the current landscape requires speed, agility, control and visibility; as such, designers are no different than the rest of the workforce, they seek anywhere, anytime, any device access to the files and programs that drive their work functionality. On the other hand, designers need to manage massive amounts of data but don’t want to deal with bulky equipment and messy cable connections. This is where the cloud-based solutions can play a key role. A recent study shows that 87% of small businesses report that the cloud-based solutions offer them a competitive advantage, by enabling them to go to market faster and increase productivity amongst their mobile workforce. Even the US government believes in the cloud; to the degree that they have set aside $2.5 billion to invest in the cloud through 2016.

Why Hybrid Cloud Storage is the Best Solution for Businesses
Hybrid cloud storage is a combination of public cloud storage and private cloud storage. Public cloud storage involves the enterprise’s data being stored outside of the enterprise’s data center, while private cloud storage keeps the enterprise’s data and cloud resources within the enterprise’s data center and behind a firewall. Thus, hybrid cloud storage is the best of both worlds: allowing certain data to be accessible to the public, while keeping important, confidential information strictly internal. There are many benefits to hybrid cloud storage. For one, companies are able to store all of their files in one place, while being able to access them from anywhere and share them with others. There is also the benefit of quick and efficient data transmission. That is, the time taken for data to be transmitted between two users is not extensive. This is because the cloud storage caches data locally, while using WAN optimization to reduce data traffic. Users are able to send things quickly to one another without having to wait for internet traffic.

Content Modeling in Alfresco
Content Model is very significant part of any CMS (Content Management System).Now just to give brief Idea about content model it define the different types in which stored documents going to be categorized and also define the set of properties (meta-data) which will be associated with those types. Along with this basic features it can also defined the associations between different content types, set of properties which can be applied to various content types (ASPECTS), Constrains on properties. Initial phase for using CMS for any organization is Content Modeling. Different steps for content modeling are as follow. Identify different possible content types from business requirement. This is the phase where we need to identify the different types of content types which will be required to categories the documents and also properties associated with those content types which later can be used to search contents easily. Also identify the possible associations between them. For Instance if there is organization which wants to store Invoices

How Execs Can Inspire Trust, Engagement and Loyalty by Building A More Open Business
Today’s business is about sharing. It’s about transparency. Enlightened employees, social business and the remote workplace are the new norms. Forbes Magazine called “creating a more transparent business model” the “most important job facing CMOs.” There’s plenty you can do to inspire a more open business environment in your organization. Done right, the benefits of transparency are huge. For example: A more invested, motivated and loyal staff. Open business isn’t just a suggestion for today’s progressive organization—it’s a necessity. Getting onboard doesn’t require a huge investment. It does require a shift in perspective, though. How can you create a more open business environment for your organization? We put together five business approaches that can help. All of these are tactics we practice at Duo Consulting. They’ve had huge implications for our business, forming a much tighter internal team and much happier clients as a result.

5 Tips for Training and Selling Employees on Internet Fax Technology
Let’s face it: While everyone is created equally, not everyone can figure out how to use new technology with as much ease as the next person. But as new technology is increasingly integrated into today’s business world, employees need to learn how to use it in order to work more efficiently. One such piece of new technology that’s becoming more and more common is Internet fax. Because the technology allows data to be transferred in the same way emails are sent, Internet fax provides business owners with a less expensive alternative to a traditional mode of communication. Businesses are also able to save on ink and paper costs, as well as the cost of maintaining and powering a machine. Because of this, companies are increasingly adopting the flexible technology. Picture this: You’re a business owner who is thinking about taking the next step and adopting Internet fax technology because you see how it could be a boon to your business while saving money in the process. But you’re a bit skeptical about training some of your employees on how to utilize the new technology

Why Nutanix is a Great Fit for US Public Sector
Nutanix has enjoyed extraordinary success in the Public Sector for a company at our stage and a dinner conversation at Citrix Synergy got me thinking, “Why is this?” Unfortunately, there was a light federal presence at Synergy, and due to Sequestration and government travel restrictions this has been a common theme at many industry conferences this year. In this tough economic climate how is Nutanix still seeing such great traction across federal customers? I think the answers lies in a combination of some decisions Nutanix made early on and some key trends prevalent across the Federal Government. Nutanix made a conscious decision to invest in the federal space. Some of our first customers happened to be federal agencies and integrators and rather than shy away from this complicated sector we dove straight in; hiring a team who is comfortable speaking in acronyms, achieving a GSA schedule, as well as having an engineering team that was willing to invest in government compliance items like STIGs and Common Criteria.

The future of Private Cloud
What is a Private Cloud? It is a complete cloud infrastructure that is dedicated to the needs of a single organization, typically implemented within the firewall of the organization employing internally available resources and controlled by the IT department. Now, how is this different from a public cloud? In a public cloud, the services are delivered over a network that is open to public access and data travels through an un-trusted network. So is private cloud better than public cloud? It depends. There is definitely a choice to make. While private and public clouds share several architectural similarities, there are clear differences. A private cloud solution comes with the following advantages: Better control over data (and data security). Ability to balance and provision resources with very little turnaround time.

Ansible just got way more fun! Join our happy hour
Here at LogicMonitor we love our happy hours, and since we will be speaking at the upcoming AnsibleWorks Fest (or AnsibleFest) we thought of no better way to tie it off than over a drink. Our very own Jefff Behl, Chief Network Architect will be speaking at 5:05pm about the importance of measurement and monitoring the whole IT stack in a DevOps world. And then afterwards…. we’d love the chance to meet you over drinks at Dillons (around the corner from the event).

Facebook Rolling Out Hashtags
If you are a Twitter user, and you probably should be if you run a business, you know that using hashtags can be quite beneficial. Just some of the advantages of using hashtags in your tweets include. The word on the street is that Facebook is finally rolling out hashtags themselves. This means you’ll be able to experience many of the same benefits of using hashtags on Facebook as you would on Twitter. Of course there are concerns about privacy, but according to Facebook, only the people you share a post with will be able to see your hashtag. So when you do use them and care to share it with the world, make sure to make the post public. Now before you get frustrated that Hashtags aren’t working for you, Facebook is still rolling them out slowly. Also it appears that anyone can type a hashtag in a post, but not everyone will be able to click on it.

Before considering a unified communications project ask yourself these 3 questions
I heard a statistic from a leading vendor last week that said 80% of all unified communications projects fail. As someone who tries to help organisations truly embrace the transformational opportunity that exists with UC I was shocked by this statistic. The biggest problem I see for those 80% of UC projects is that it is seen as a technology initiative. It isn’t. Technology is of course key, but a successful unified communications project must consider so much more than infrastructure, servers and software. To ensure your project is truly transformational you must look outside the technology and at how this project will and should affect people, process and communication. I believe many projects fail before they start, but asking some very basic questions can avert this: What do your people need to be as effective as they can be? What are the core processes that allow your customer to flow from being a prospect to paying advocate of products or services? How can we, as group of individuals, communicate more effectively

The Official InMotion Hosting Blog
Blog. It’s a weird word with a lot of meaning. Historically, blogs have been perceived as a digital journal for an individual to voice opinions, thoughts, or stories, and this definition holds true today, for some blogs. For example, I have three personal blogs that I update regularly and they are just that, an online journal of my life. But, I also have a professional blog designed solely to display my skills and services to the internet. I use it to market my skills and display my knowledge. This concept of the professional blog is becoming a regular occurrence for many businesses with an online presence. But why? Does it behoove your business to add a blog page to your website? What content should you include, and how often should you update it? First, ABSOLUTELY, you should have a blog on your website. Groomers, caterers, graphic designers, even hosting companies (like this one) can benefit from a blog. There are several reasons the blog page will benefit your business.

VMworld 2013 Content Catalog is Live!
As pressures mount to maximize IT agility and increase profitability, small and midsized organizations like yours face unique challenges. Limited budgets, minimal resources, increased service demands and reliability are top of mind for IT professionals like you. At VMworld 2013, you’ll gain the tools you need to transform conventional legacy IT into seamless, agile solutions that can dramatically simplify your operations. Check out VMworld’s 2013 Content Catalog today. The Content Catalog is your guide to VMworld 2013 information. Find detailed descriptions of designated tracks, sessions, speaker information and Hands-on Labs, and customize your own event experience. Register now and learn how to Defy Convention by extending the benefits of virtualization to all data center services.

To Train or Not To Train
As the Training Manager at SADA Systems, the question I hear over and over again from our clients considering Google Apps is…”Do the employees really need training?” My answer is always the same, “Yes!” Not just because it’s my job to train people, but because I have seen what happens when employees do not receive training. I have found that both employees and the company benefit when proper training is provided in advance. Organizations often believe that because most of their employees have a personal Gmail account, they are already familiar with the enterprise tools. The way a person uses Gmail at home is much different than the way they will use it at work. Training on Searching, Labels, Stars, Filters, Contact Groups and Labs can make a huge difference in the way Gmail is used at work. Maximizing Google Apps for Business Capabilities. Employees don’t know, what they don’t know. After attending training, employees have a better understanding of the full capability of the Google Apps Suite. Without training, employees can get frustrated and become unhappy with the change to a new Mail

Be Sure and Secure in the Cloud
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s recent statement regarding cloud computing have made headlines, but many of the due diligence and vendor management processes outlined are those that the NCUA already requires credit unions to perform with any vendor they choose for outsourcing. The benefits credit unions may experience from utilizing cloud solutions (including reduced cost, flexibility, scalability, and speed) are reviewed in the new statement and potential issues related specifically to cloud computing are identified. While the current NCUA/FFIEC guidance on outsourcing also applies to cloud computing providers, the term cloud continues to be overused and can be downright confusing. While definitions still vary, here are two definitions that are helpful: Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, defines the cloud as: A style of computing where massively scalable IT resources are offered as a service delivered across the internet and paid for on an as used basis.

Marketo Review — Powerful Marketing Automation
If you want to improve your entire sales, marketing and customer service cycle and save both time and money then you’ve probably looked into various forms of marketing automation software. Founded in 2006, Marketo seeks to simplify, streamline, automate and measure marketing tasks and work flows in order to increase efficiencies and grow revenue. We all know about the 80/20 rule by now. In short, 20 percent of our hard work gives us 80 percent of our results. Marketo seeks to help you know what 20 percent is working best for your business and then helps your business optimize and automate these processes and channels. Marketo’s marketing automation software includes many different functions to support inbound and outbound marketing, such as email marketing, landing page & form creation, lead management, CRM integration, social marketing, event marketing, marketing budgeting, and marketing analytics. It also has convenient cloning features so you can easily copy successful emails, landing pages, and even entire programs.

Speaker Interview: Alex Gorbachev
Continuing our ad hoc series of Hadoop Summit speaker interviews. This short interview is with Alex Gorbachev, CTO of Pythian. You can register for Hadoop Summit here, and see the detailed schedule here. No problem. I’m really excited to present at Hadoop Summit 2013. I’ve been working with relational databases and presented at conferences for a long time but in the last few getting deeper and deeper in Hadoop and other Big Data technologies. Now I feel like we have something interesting to share with the attendees of Hadoop Summit this year. I’ve seen quite a lot of presentations on various Hadoop features and architectures as well as generic sessions on how companies exploit Hadoop to solve various business challenges. However, I’ve seen relatively few sessions about practical Hadoop implementations and I noticed that they are constantly some of the most popular – the audience seems to be hungry for information about real implementations. This is why we decided to present about our internal Hadoop project rather than talking generically about what we do for the clients.