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.

How the Mobile Cloud is Changing ERP

When it comes to streamlining operations, ensuring accountability and providing in-depth information to those who need it, few things are as important as a solid ERP platform. As the post-PC era takes shape, cloud and mobile computing will change the way that ERP solutions are planned and implemented in many ways.
Gartner recently predicted that by 2016, cloud services will grow to a global market size of approximately $206 billion. From NetSuite integration to in-house mobile ERP platforms, transitioning and integrating existing technologies to a mobile, cloud-friendly platform is shifting from cutting-edge to necessary at rapid pace. However, planning and proper implementation are essential parts of the ERP migration process.

Big Data in the Cloud

CloudCow Contributed Article.  Author: Alexey Korotich, Dell Software

It is hard to say which of the two buzzwords tops IT news today: Big Data or Cloud. It's much easier to see how these two can play nicely together.

Big data symbolizes the explosion of computer generated data, which is said to double every year and outgrowing the capacity of IT data centers. In trying to cope with ever-increasing data volumes and make sense of the data, companies find themselves in desperate need of high scale data aggregation, processing and analysis tools.

I won't dare give another definition to such a multi-faceted thing as Cloud. Instead, let me summarize a few of its inherent capabilities, representing different levels of the cloud stack:

The Growing Importance of SaaS as an Application Deployment Platform

Grazed from CloudCow - Contributed.   Author: Dick Csaplar, Senior Research Analyst, Aberdeen Group.

In January 2013, Aberdeen surveyed 123 organizations to learn how they use the Public Cloud as part of their IT infrastructure as well as the use of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This Blog will focus on Software-as-a-Service as a platform for enterprise applications and the growing importance it plays as an application deployment method. Companies now have an alternative to purchasing a software license when they decide to use a commercially available application. Aberdeen research shows wide use of Cloud-based SaaS applications in many different parts of today’s enterprises. The full report can be found here.

Cloud SaaS Offerings

Most software vendors now offer a SaaS deployment of their application. Users are likely familiar with, Google Apps, and Microsoft Office 365 as the most widely used of these applications, however there are now SaaS offerings for almost every aspect of business management. The technology can be used for departmental apps (such as customer relationship management (CRM), product lifecycle management (PLM), and business intelligence (BI) or by function (email, database, and ecommerce)...