Contributed

A Comprehensive Guide to Cloud Backup Solutions

Businesses are now seeking cloud-based solutions that provide the level of security and backup functionality they have come to expect from on-premises deployment.

With cybercrime posing a significant threat to organizations of all sizes, most companies are looking for a cloud service that can secure their data while pushing their operations into the future. While Microsoft Office 365 does provide the native security and backup functionality companies require, it may fail to provide the peace of mind and protection an organization needs.

If you are evaluating whether to deploy Office 365, we are providing a comprehensive guide to a third-party backup tool that can support the cloud solution.

Data Recovery
 

Cloud Computing. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Article Written by David Marshall

Cloud computing is absolutely one of those words that shows up on everyone's "Tech Buzzword Bingo" cards. Even so, that shouldn't and doesn't negate the fact that cloud computing is driving innovation across many industries and will continue to provide a significant impact on revenue in the coming years. 

Recently, hybrid cloud has become the cloud model of choice for many companies looking to foster greater flexibility into their infrastructure, and it can do so in a cost-effective manner. For many, hybrid seems to be a good way to ease into things, allowing a company to keep some data on-premises while freeing up some of their infrastructure by moving other data up into the public cloud.

But like so many things in life, it isn't all good all the time.  So what's the good, the bad and the ugly? 

What have we learned from the Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure outages?

Article Written by David Marshall



In the past month both AWS and Microsoft Azure have experienced lengthy outages due to issues with the storage supporting the cloud. These outages have flooded through companies globally and brought into focus the potential downsides of putting all your eggs into the public cloud basket. After both of these incidents, the question is, how reliable is the public cloud and what options and alternatives are available?

A few technology experts have offered their opinion:

The best of both worlds is a multi-cloud strategy

 

Are You Scared of the Cloud? Well You Should Be…

Are you afraid of using cloud services? Well, you should be because the very computing service's model introduces many different reasons to be concerned. There are a number of security flaws common across many different cloud services. In some cases, the cloud service or website poses a security threat and risk to one's privacy by its very design. Let's look at the biggest problems that come with using cloud services, websites and their associated apps.

Non secure Exchanges of Information

When you are connected to the cloud, you have to exchange information with the cloud servers. Your data is at risk when you upload it to the cloud or download it. Dropbox had to patch a flaw found in 2015 that allowed hackers to steal new information uploaded to its cloud through compromised third party Android apps. This is separate from the 2011 glitch that temporarily allowed anyone with a password to log in and view customer accounts.

The Important Elements of a Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has easily become a core focus for companies across the globe. Many businesses are now looking at ways to introduce the use of analytics, social media, mobile technology and innovative software to improve their internal processes, value propositions and customer relationships.

However, to successfully embark with a digital transformation, you must first look at the important elements to ensure you create a successful strategy.

Understanding the Customer

Amazon Corrects Massive AWS S3 Cloud Outage While Vendors React

Article Written by David Marshall

Last Tuesday, parts of the Internet came to a grinding halt when the servers that powered them suddenly vanished.  The disappearing server act came from servers that were housed as part of Amazon S3, Amazon's popular Web hosting service.

When that incident happened, several big and popular services and Web sites were disrupted, including DraftKings, Gizmodo, IFTTT, Quora, Slack and Trello.

According to the Web site monitoring firm Apica, 54 of the largest online retailers experienced performance impairments on their Web sites, with some slowing down by more than 20 percent; 3 sites went down completely (Express, Lulu Lemon, One Kings Lane); and for effected websites, average slow down time was 29.7 seconds - 42.7 seconds to load.

What happened?

"At 9:37 a.m. PST, an authorized S3 team member using an established playbook executed a command which was intended to remove a small number of servers for one of the S3 subsystems that is used by the S3 billing process," Amazon said.  "Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended.  The servers that were inadvertently removed supported two other S3 subsystems."

Those subsystems are important.  One of them "manages the metadata and location information of all S3 objects in the region," according to Amazon.  And without it, services that depend on it couldn't perform basic data retrieval and storage tasks.  The second subsystem, the placement subsystem, "manages allocation of new storage and requires the index subsystem to be functioning properly to correctly operate."  The placement subsystem is used to allocate storage for new objects.

CI & CD are meaningless without CT

Article Written by Sanjay Zalavadia, VP of Client Services, Zephyr

Agile methods have introduced a bunch of new processes to help support fast-paced operations and ensure that products meet quality standards. Continuous practices have become a staple for facilitating these needs, but they can often be dependent upon each other to function effectively. Alone, continuous integration and continuous delivery can bring essential benefits but they cannot reach their full height without continuous testing. With quality testing tools, teams can uphold continuous testing requirements and establish an environment for successful continuous integration and continuous delivery efforts.

The importance of CT

Continuous practices were implemented as a means of ensuring that a deliverable would be ready to release at any moment. However, this couldn't happen if it wasn't appropriately tested. Users are placing a major emphasis on whether an app is functional and meets their needs when they download it to their devices. In fact, according to research by Localytics, 23 percent of people abandon an app after just one use. Although this is a slight improvement over last year, the numbers show that 62 percent will use an app less than 11 times. User retention is the name of the game for organizations that want to be competitive, but to do this, they'll need to step up their testing capabilities.

Sneak Peek at SolarWinds NEW Correlation Technology -- PerfStack

Article Written by David Marshall

For years, VMblog has covered numerous technologies coming out of the SolarWinds think tank.  Perhaps the best known or most covered technology thus far (for obvious reasons) has been SolarWinds Virtualization Manager or VMAN -- the company's popular VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V monitoring and management solution.

[ Watch the SolarWinds VMAN video interview from VMworld 2016 ] 

Beyond Virtualization Manager, SolarWinds has been working hard to up-level and incorporate each of the company's individual product lines into a unified view and centralized management platform by leveraging its modular, extensible and unified Orion Platform.  Bringing numerous monitoring and management applications under a single umbrella was probably hard enough, but SolarWinds is about to launch something that takes the Orion Platform to a whole... other... level.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where things get REALLY interesting.  This upcoming technology is known as "PerfStack."

SolarWinds PerfStack and Orion

 

Free Hyper-V Backup using Vembu VMBackup

Article Written by David Marshall

Microsoft Hyper-V is becoming a tough competitor for VMware vSphere ever since Microsoft unveiled Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 R2.  And Hyper-V has been constantly attracting a lot of users, many of whom are already benefitted by the new and improved function of Hyper-V server.  Setting up a Hyper-V server and creating virtual machines is really an easy and simple task, but creating a backup policy for the VMs running on Hyper-V is still complicated for many IT admins. 

Now that  your organization has created its own private cloud by way of Hyper-V, and you've migrated most or all of your physical servers to VMs -- and in many cases, you've even moved over your mission-critical servers -- how do you protect them and keep the organization operational when "stuff happens" and things go wrong?  What, if anytrhing, are you currently using to backup those VMs? 

If your business is currently looking for such a solution, but the budget isn't where you need it in order to get all the features you require, you should check out the new Vembu VMBackup FREE edition which might just surprise you.
 

In Search of S3: Read the Fine Print

Article Written by Jon Toor, CMO of Cloudian  

For businesses using and creating applications for the Internet, it is becoming more difficult to ignore Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). S3 is the massively scalable, cost-effective cloud storage solution developed specifically to house the huge influx of data created by organizations around the world. Amazon S3 commands twice the market share of all its closest competitors combined and is likely to be the storage platform of choice for on-premises hybrid or private cloud deployments for years to come. 

S3 has become the standard for cloud storage. Almost every application connects to S3 and most storage vendors have already announced that they connect to S3 or are working to do so. In addition to Amazon, there are a number of competing storage implementations that are S3-compliant, including Google Cloud Storage, Openstack Swift, Rackspace's Cloud Files and Ceph. These services use the standard programming interface but have different underlying technologies and business models. 

The rise of S3, which Amazon describes as "cost-effective object storage," has also helped to drive the adoption of object storage. In addition to Amazon, household brands such as Facebook, Netflix, Dropbox and Twitter all use object storage. It's also deployed by enterprises for applications that require massive amounts of unstructured data, including content media storage, bioinformatics, data analytics, private cloud, file distribution and sharing, and backup and archiving.