How the Cloud Has Changed Education as We Know It

The cloud has impacted many aspects of everyone's everyday life, from the classroom to the workplace and everything in between. But how has the cloud changed education, in particular? Keep reading to learn about a few of the ways that this 21st century technology is helping teachers instruct better, and helping students learn better, even when they're in tough MBA programs online.

Collaboration Is a Snap

Thanks to cloud technology, collaboration with people from all over the globe is easier than ever. There are plenty of ways that you can create files, share them, edit them, and more when you use free products, such as Google Docs, as well as other types of software and apps that are designed for professional collaboration. Everyone from the high school student to the student enrolled in an online MBA program can use the cloud to work on projects with fellow students, as well as share their work with their instructors.

5 Cloud Trends to Watch in 2017

It's almost impossible to believe that just a few short years ago, the cloud was a new idea, and more than a few experts were convinced that it was never going to be more than a passing trend. There is no doubt now that the cloud has been one of the most transformative technologies of the last decade, and an important part of any business. In fact, a study by Cisco found that by the end of this decade, it's likely that more than 80 percent of all data center traffic will be cloud based. It's no longer a question of if a business should move some or all of their functions to the cloud, but a question of how to best leverage the technology for the greatest benefit.

With that in mind, there are some trends in how businesses are using the cloud that are likely to be the major stories of 2017.

Why Do Most American Companies Outsource Their IT Services?

Author: Stephanie Rowan.

As your company grows, so does its responsibilities and capabilities. However, your time to manage these responsibilities shrinks in a comparable fashion to the speed of your company's growth, and you are left with few options. You can scramble to manage everything in-house, but the quality of your work and your level of customer service will most likely suffer. A second option would be to never sleep and suffer through a terrible work/life balance. The third option is to outsource. There is a better way to balance the demands of quality and value.


Play to Your Strengths

How Retail IT can Address Challenges and Reach Big Data Potential This Shopping Season

Article Written by David Marshall

This year, the National Retail Federation projects that 137 million consumers will shop between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. Retailers have stocked their shelves and warehouses and are already weathering the traffic storm that comes with this time of year. 

While the profit potential of the holiday season is the upside for retailers, there are many IT challenges related to successfully managing this increase in traffic - ensuring networks stay up, servers can handle demand and data is protected should something go wrong. In store and online, Black Friday sales are dependent on a sound IT infrastructure. On the flip side, Black Friday and Cyber Monday present many opportunities for retailers to capitalize on the massive amount of data collected at this time. To stay on top in the market, it's crucial for retailers to understand and leverage data analytics tools this season. 

How is retail IT preparing for this all important weekend? Here are a few idea from some top industry experts:  

Zerto Announces General Availability of Virtual Replication Version 5.0 With New Enterprise Cloud Edition

Article Written by David Marshall

Today Zerto announced the launch of the new Enterprise Cloud Edition with the general availability of Zerto Virtual Replication 5.0 (ZVR).  Zerto states that ZVR is the industry's only heterogeneous data and application protection, replication and mobility solution for building and managing a hybrid cloud platform, and with the 5.0 launch, is now available with Microsoft Azure support. The new Zerto Enterprise Cloud Edition that comes with the 5.0 general availability, is designed to enable organizations to implement a hybrid cloud strategy by simultaneously protecting and recovering any virtual machine (VM) in any environment, from on-premises data centers to public clouds, all with different SLAs and retention policies using One-To-Many replication. Zerto Virtual Replication 5.0 will also be available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace starting November 15, 2016.

"Zerto Virtual Replication recently completed a successful alpha test phase, and we're pleased to see it a step closer to becoming generally available as cloud-based and software-defined infrastructures become more pervasive in today's IT-enabled businesses," said Dominic Anschutz, director, Global Cloud Team, Microsoft Corp. "Across industries we see our mutual customer base embracing the shift BC/DR software is driving for these cloud environments, including Microsoft Azure, and how they're allowing business leaders to build and execute their cloud strategies using Zerto."

Gartner Magic Quadrant Names Tintri a Visionary for General-Purpose Disk Arrays for Third Time in a Row

Article Written by David Marshall

This week Tintri announced that it has been named a Visionary in Gartner Inc.'s 2016 Magic Quadrant for General-Purpose Disk Arrays. This is the third straight year that Tintri has received this distinction. Gartner placed Tintri in the Visionaries Quadrant for completeness of vision and ability to execute. 

This year, it was Tintri's VMstore T800 Hybrid-Flash series that was evaluated. In its final 2016 report, Gartner notes, "Tight budgets and skills shortages have caused vendors and users to focus on technologies and features that lower acquisition and ownership costs while improving performance and throughput. This has resulted in thin-provisioning, auto-tiering, hybrid configurations (Flash and HDDs) and near-autonomic operation becoming ubiquitous general-purpose disk arrays. It is also driving the deployment of SSAs into I/O-intensive environments and creating opportunities for emerging storage companies that can refactor infrastructure designs to obtain incremental improvements in performance, economics and staff productivity." 

VMware and AWS Team Up in Effort to Lock Down Hybrid Cloud

Article Written by David Marshall

VMware has had its eye on the hybrid cloud for quite some time.  And the company has signed numerous deals to try and get there, deals with Google, Microsoft, and IBM among others.  But it was the deal struck this week that it signed with AWS that has everybody talking.

VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a strategic partnership to build and deliver a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud offering that will give customers the full software-defined data center (SDDC) experience.  This alliance brings together two leaders in Enterprise IT, VMware as the leader in the private cloud market with vSphere on-premises, combined with Amazon AWS, the leader in the public cloud.  Together, the pair will allow customers to deliver a vSphere-based cloud service running on AWS, a service that will make it easier for customers to run any application, using a set of familiar software and tools, in a consistent hybrid cloud environment.

Startup Blue Medora Lands Series B Round for Cloud and Database Performance Monitoring

Article Written by David Marshall

Blue Medora, a cloud and database management software startup based in Grand Rapids, Mich., recently closed on a Series B funding round of $8.6 million, led by St. Louis-based Lewis & Clark Ventures. In a statement the company said the fresh investment will be used to expand more sales, marketing and development in cloud environments. 

Blue Medora completed its Series A for $4.6 million in 2015, and current investors VMware, Inc., eLab Ventures, Start Garden and Grand Angels also supported the series B. The total capital raised since the company's inception is up to $14.5 million. 

Zerto Revamps Partner Program to Address Partner Growth

Article Written by David Marshall

Disaster recovery solutions provider Zerto announced today that is has made some significant changes and updates to its Zerto Alliance Partner (ZAP) Program. The updates have been put in place to better meet the needs of Zerto's partner network since experiencing extreme growth; from 33 partners in 2012 to more than 1,500 reseller, cloud service provider (CSP) and system integrator partners today. Looking at more recent figures, Zerto has seen 50 percent year-over-year (YoY) growth in its partner network and 112 percent YoY growth in partner certifications. The program refresh, according to Zerto, is based directly on feedback they have received from partners as they've experienced this growth, and focuses on providing extra simplicity, an equal rewards approach regardless of partner type and a unique rewards-based training method Zerto calls "gamification." 

"The Zerto partner program is simple, far more simple than any other program we've been a part of -it just works," said Stephen Johnson, President, Corus360. "It's easy to get to the Zerto team and resources that we need, which allows us to focus on designing and deploying DR solutions and services in the field. The new Zerto partner program changes the way we do business and enables us to be more successful in growing our data recovery and business continuity opportunities." 

Citrix Acquires Norskale for User Environment Management (UEM). What's Next?

Article Written by David Marshall

Citrix quietly announced that it has acquired Norskale, a French-based startup with a proven track record of optimizing workspace performance, accelerating application delivery, and enhancing environment scalability.  The company has operated throughout the European, Asia-Pacific and Americas markets by providing a full-featured workspace and user environment management solution.  With more than 100 customers worldwide and enterprise deployments reaching up to 80,000 seats, Norskale brings a welcomed amount of performance and scalability value to the Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop application and desktop virtualization solutions.

Demand for business mobility by end-users is creating far-reaching implications for how mission-critical applications are being delivered.  These businesses are increasingly searching for solutions that help simplify the management of end-users as they move from desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones due to the complexity of managing these assets in silos.

But in the last couple of years, Citrix has fallen behind in this area.  The company, which was once a market leader in this space, seemed to find itself playing catch up with competitors like VMware who in February of 2015 acquired Immidio to beat Citrix to the punch by offering its own Workspace Environment Management (WEM) solution.  With that acquisition, VMware gained a strong UEM solution which they have been integrating more and more into their existing product lines.