Free Windows 10 Virtual Machines Lets Anyone Try Microsoft's Edge Browser

Article written by David Marshall

Even though Microsoft's Edge browser has been available to Windows 10 users since its release on July 29, not everyone has tried it yet.  Perhaps you have no interest in upgrading to Windows 10, or maybe you just haven't gotten around to it yet.  Either way, if you have an interest in trying your hand at the new browser, you can now do so without updating your main system.

Microsoft has announced that it is making available a set of free virtual machines (VMs) with Windows 10 and the new Edge browser.  It's designed for Web developers to test how Websites function with the new browser software, but anyone with a virtualization platform can use it -- and in return, receive a safe Windows 10 environment that they can try out.


Private Cloud or Public Cloud?

Article written by Leo Reiter

I’ll be very clear up front… I am not a big believer in private cloud (versus public cloud) for most organizations and use cases. But in the spirit of objectivity, let’s look at both approaches and when one makes more sense over the other. I reserve the right to offer my biased but carefully thought out perspective along the way, because well, this is my column after all!
Let’s start at the beginning…
What is Private Cloud?

Private cloud, unlike public cloud, begins with dedicated infrastructure. Customers leveraging private cloud enjoy the benefits of not having to compete with other “tenants” for resources. The flip side of this (among many other issues) is that capacity is fixed, until it’s explicitly increased, but more on that later.

How are Cloud Applications Different?

Article written by Leo Reiter

One of the most often misunderstood concepts in cloud computing is the architecture of the applications themselves. Cloud applications are different than traditional workloads in many ways, and getting the architecture wrong can mean the difference between something that scales while delivering reliable service and something fragile that falls terribly short.

Cloud “Hosting”?

Don't Allow VENOM VM Security Vulnerability to Bite Your Virtualization Platforms

Article written by David Marshall

VENOMThis latest virtualization exploit is being widely reported to affect virtual machines running on hypervisor platforms such as Xen, KVM and native QEMU. 

A security researcher, CrowdStrike, discovered and reported the new vulnerability, claiming it could allow a hacker to infiltrate potentially every machine on a datacenter’s network, leaving millions of virtual machines vulnerable to attack.

Microsoft Announced Nano Server and a Home Grown Container Technology

Article written by David Marshall

It's been quite a number of months since Microsoft first announced its partnership with Docker, the company behind the widely popular open source Docker container platform.  At the time, the announcement described a partnership that ensured Docker containers would be able to operate on Linux-based virtual machines in a Microsoft Azure public cloud, and also support Docker's open orchestration APIs and Docker Hub images.  The pair followed up that announcement with another partnership that ensured Docker containers would be able to run in Windows Server environments.

Fast forward and the Redmond giant now finds itself back in the container news stream with an equally interesting announcement... but this time, not about Docker but rather its own container platform dubbed Hyper-V Containers.  The introduction of Hyper-V Containers comes just weeks ahead of Microsoft's plans to debut the preview of its next version of Windows Server, currently code-named "v.Next."

Software Licensing and its Impact on Cloud Strategy

Article written by Leo Reiter

With so much to think about regarding providers, platforms, and delivery models, it’s often easy to overlook the most critical part of any cloud computing strategy: the applications. After all, without applications, there’s simply no use for any computing, whether it’s cloud-based or not. Once we start to focus on applications, the complexities and intricacies of software licensing immediately become “front and center”.
In an ideal world, all cloud applications would be open source and providers would get paid on usage, which they would apply to system and software support. But in the real world, we often depend on vendors and thus have to pay careful attention to their proprietary software licenses. Not only is this understanding critical for compliance, but it can also steer cloud adoption strategy itself. Let’s consider the 3 primary ways vendors license software and how this plays in cloud computing…

Containers Explained

Article written by Leo Reiter
It’s hard to spend any time in cloud computing today without hearing or reading about containers. Let’s understand what they are, and why they are disrupting the landscape so much…
Containers, the “Elevator Pitch”

Containers take individual applications and their dependencies (libraries, configuration files, etc.), and package them up for easy deployment on any virtual or physical infrastructure. Unlike virtual machines they do not capture full operating system “images” (complete with device drivers, boot loaders, etc.). This makes them much lighter weight, faster to launch, and easier to move, without giving up many of the benefits of virtualization. Simply stated, containers are much more agile and scalable for today’s most demanding applications.

Choosing the Right Class of Public Cloud Service

Article written by Leo Reiter
If you’re in the market for public cloud services, it’s extremely important to understand what class of service best aligns with your needs as a buyer. Most public cloud services can be categorized into one of three classes:
Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is something we all use almost every day, sometimes without even realizing it. It combines preconfigured software “best practices” with automated workflows to solve end user problems directly. SaaS hides the underlying complexity of infrastructure orchestration and application management. It also reduces integration effort with existing systems and tools, since it simplifies workflows for specific use cases. The result is immediate value without costly setup woes, combined with straightforward ways to pay for service. Examples of SaaS providers include Google, Microsoft, and SaaS is typically billed on a monthly recurring basis, per user, since the details of the underlying infrastructure are not exposed. Buyers range from individual end users (consumer or professional) to departments (who purchase in volume).

Intermedia Shares 2014's Top Cloud IT Pitfalls and 2015's Key Risks

CloudCow Contributed Article.  Author: Michael Gold, president of Intermedia

2014's Top Cloud IT Pitfalls - and 2015's Key Risks

2014 was a year of incredible growth in business cloud apps. But it also saw a slew of security challenges.

As even more companies embrace the cloud in 2015 (IDC has predicted that businesses will spend $127 billion on public cloud services by 2018), the risks associated with the cloud will also grow and evolve.

To help businesses arm themselves for the dangers ahead, it will be important to look back at the valuable lessons they can learn from the notable cloud IT downfalls of 2014, and to consider the growing trends that are certain to make headlines in 2015.

Cloud Security: 5 Ways Hosted PBX Can Help

CloudCow Contributed Article.  Author: Sheldon Smith - Senior Project Manager, XO Communications.

Security in the cloud remains a top concern for businesses — according to a recent ITWire article, worldwide IT security spending will reach more than $71 billion this year and top $76 billion in 2015. And what's driving these security concerns? Research firm Gartner describes a “nexus of force” made up of social, mobile and cloud (SoMoCo) solutions.

Used in concert, these technologies offer huge market advantages, but open up unique new vulnerabilities. One option to manage cloud security is a hosted PBX system, which supplants a traditional telecommunications company to supply all incoming and outgoing phone services. Here are five ways hosted PBX can help secure your cloud.