Extending Privileged Identity Management To The Cloud

CloudCow Contributed Article.  Author: Dale R. Gardner, Director of Product Marketing, Xceedium

In working with customers and prospects moving to the cloud, Xceedium finds approximately 80 percent of organizations attempting to re-use privileged identity management solutions from their existing physical environments encounter problems. They quickly learn these solutions-designed for relatively static data center environments-lack the complete set of controls needed to manage privileged users in the cloud, as well as the flexible, scalable architecture the cloud demands.

Efforts to simply migrate existing privileged identity management offerings to hybrid-cloud environments result in a number of issues. These traditional solutions aren't built to gracefully adapt to the dynamic nature of the cloud-and as a consequence, slow administration and management efforts. That imposes an unacceptable drag on operations-minimizing, if not outright eliminating, one of the principal benefits of the cloud. The lack of appropriate and complete controls leave sensitive cloud-based applications and systems open to compromise and misuse. And inflexible deployment options increase costs and constrain security architectures.

Taking SharePoint from On-Premises to Online – When, Why and What to Move

CloudCow Contributed Article.  Author: Ilia Sotnikov, product manager for Microsoft SharePoint reporting, management and governance products at Dell Software

Cloud computing is the new reality for information technology. As an IT professional, you cannot ignore the various cloud services, regardless of whether your organization is already relying on some of them or not. For every new IT project or initiative started today, you have to evaluate alternative approaches that would involve cloud – whether in a form of software-as-a-service, platform, or infrastructure.

SharePoint is no exception to this. If you currently run SharePoint in your datacenters, you will face the same question sooner or later: do you stay on-premises, or do you move to the cloud? Here are some thoughts and considerations from a SharePoint admin’s point of view:

Is it time to change your social platform?

CloudCow Contributed Article.  Author: Evelyn Watts, PMM – Dell Software

In the long, long ago when social media was shiny and new, and people were MySpacing and AOLing with wild abandon, enterprises were trying to figure out what "Web 2.0" would actually mean for their business. New social tools, online applications and interactive websites with user-generated content were becoming very popular, and more and more employees were accessing these tools in their day-to-day workflow. Instant messages instead of email, blogs and wikis instead of static updates, cloud storage and file-sharing instead of networks and FTP ─ it was all changing.
Naturally, every new product or technology has early adopters, and those companies who jumped on board and opted for an enterprise social platform were definitely forward thinkers. The advantages of having an entire workforce communicating and collaborating in the same familiar environment, with the ability to share content, connect easily with other teams to share ideas and innovate quickly provided a huge competitive advantage.

Soaring in the vClouds: vCloud Director Integration for Data Management: Part 1 of 3

CloudCow Contributed Article.  Author: Robbie Wright, Senior Manager of Product Marketing, focused on Server Virtualization and Cloud solutions at CommVault


VMware still dominates in market share - there are only a handful of IT organizations that don't use VMware to some degree. However, "simple" virtualization is table stakes now, and IT organizations that aren't at least thinking about how they can make their environment more cloud-like, by deploying more scalable shared services infrastructure will soon be left in the dust. To help with this, VMware introduced vCloud Director quite a while back. For those who don't know, vCloud Director is meant to be the central management tool for VMware-based private clouds that automates and orchestrates the provisioning, maintenance, chargeback, etc. of virtualized resources in the data center.

I'll come right out and say it: vCloud Director (vCD) is an under-used tool in today's VMware environments. Yes, there are plenty of alternatives, and those alternatives might well be the tool of the future. However, if we're looking at what we have today, there is a growing ecosystem of integration with vCD, and companies like CommVault are leading the way to help you achieve a better return on your IT investment. In CommVault Simpana 10, we've introduced some significant new data protection and recovery capabilities for vCD.

“It just works.” Three Simple Words and Microsoft Lync

CloudCow Contributed Article.  Author: Connie West, Dell Software

These days, no matter what size organization you work for, it is commonplace to work as part of a geographically dispersed team. Workers are located in business and home offices, and rely on solutions to collaborate with their remote colleagues. Technology cannot solve all the challenges that distance introduces, but it provides the foundation that can greatly reduce those challenges. We’ve all been on conference calls where people have been dropped, we all go to music hold, and/or the echo or static on the line is all you hear. And, most of us have been involved in videoconferencing, which seems to take a long time to set up (unexpected technical issues inevitably occur) and the meeting start time gets delayed.

Choosing the Right Approach for Migrating to SharePoint Online in Office 365

CloudCow Contributed Article.  Author: Alexander Kirillov, Dell Software

Whether driven by a merger or acquisition, a new platform release, or through growth, SharePoint migrations, consolidations and reorganization projects are realities for many organizations.  With the release of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft has made significant improvements in its Office 365 offering. Therefore, more and more enterprises are considering migrating from their legacy SharePoint environments, Windows files, Exchange public folders, and Lotus Notes applications to SharePoint Online in Office 365, or a hybrid on-premises and cloud deployment.
Moving to the cloud provides some significant incentives for many organizations, as it holds the promise of reduced overhead. This is a serious incentive now, as IT resources are tasked to do more with less. Organizations considering a move to the cloud, however, must first evaluate what it would take to move their existing collaboration environments to Office 365.

When Should You Create a Golden Virtual Machine Factory?

CloudCow Contributed Article.  Author: Kelsey Hightower, Head of IT Operations, Puppet Labs


Most virtual environments live off "golden images." These are virtual machines (VMs) that were built as templates. When a new VM is needed, the designer or administrator selects the golden image that will be used as a starting point, and then creates the new VM. Typically, these golden images are handcrafted, and incorporate all the libraries, tools, and software needed to support the apps and other software that will run on them. The golden image is refined by trial and error until it works as intended, then used until it comes time to change it. But let's face it not everyone needs the same thing on their VM. There are always variations. An old-school golden image basically assumes that one size fits all, but is that really true?

Wouldn't it be better if you could construct each VM based on what was going to run on it? Ok, maybe you're objecting that this isn't really a golden image, but hear me out. The problem with most golden images is that they are too complex and bound to change. What if you have a slim golden image and then add just what you need to it? You'd be creating a kind of golden image factory, where the repeatable baseline is easy to generate (the slim golden image) and additional software can be added quickly to that VM.

Real-Time Processing Solutions for Big Data Application Stacks – Integration of GigaSpaces XAP and Cassandra DB

CloudCow Contributed Article.  Author: Yaron Parasol, Director of Products at GigaSpaces


GigaSpaces Technologies has developed infrastructure solutions for more than a decade and in recent years has been enabling Big Data solutions as well. The company's latest platform release - XAP 9.5 - helps organizations that need to process Big Data fast. XAP harnesses the power of in-memory computing to enable enterprise applications to function better, whether in terms of speed, reliability, scalability or other business-critical requirements. With the new version of XAP, increased focus has been placed on real-time processing of big data streams, through improved data grid performance, better manageability and end-user visibility, and integration with other parts of your Big Data stack - in this version, integration with Cassandra.

Clearing Things up in the Cloud – a PCI Tale

CloudCow Contributed Article.  Author: Tim Sedlack, Dell Software

Back in mid-February, the people who help control security of credit card data, the PCI Standards Console, did us all a favor. They clarified something that technically, should make handling credit cards in, around and through “the cloud” more secure. They released the document called, “PCI Cloud Computing Guidelines.” Certainly, clarification was required. Before this document, if you used a Cloud Service Provider (CSP), you couldn’t be sure whether you had to have a separate audit for them, or if your audits covered everything. It was nebulous, to say the least. 

The Cloud Special Interest Group (SIG) and the PCI Standards Council got together and agreed that you own the security of the data you handle, regardless of where it’s stored, processed or otherwise transmitted. That’s right ─ it’s incumbent upon you, as a certified credit card processor (you do take credit cards, don’t you?), to ensure the safety and proper handling of customer credit cards in accordance with PCI-DSS standards. I know that’s not going to be a very popular stance for vendors – to tell them that they are the responsible party ─ but, honestly, not knowing would have had me walking on eggshells wondering whether we’d lose certification if our CSP failed an audit! Who wants to live like that?

The Cloud Has Transformed IT—Here's Why It Will Never Be the Same

CloudCow Contributed Article.  Author: Jared Jacobs, Dell Software

The industry shift to cloud computing has meant more than just a shift in services for users. IT professionals are asking themselves why they should deal with services that could be outsourced to larger cloud providers, and then reposition themselves to take care of the mission-critical technologies that their businesses really want.

This is the main drive behind IT managers pushing their firms to adopt cloud-based solutions. They're looking to free up their in-house resources for more strategic applications and specialized infrastructure.