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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cloud Computing + Things = "Information Excellence", Not IoT


The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become the next “be all to end all” in information technology. Touted as how cloud computing will connect everyday things together, it is also feared as the real- life instantiation of The Terminator’s Skynet, where sentient robots team with an omnipresent and all-knowing entity that uses technology to control, and ultimately destroy, all of humanity.

Not there yet

Lucky for the humans among us, the technical capabilities of both cloud computing and IoT are way behind these Orwellian fears. Although the technology is promising, research and technical hurdles still abound. Challenges include:
  • Datasets that span multiple continents and are independently managed by hundreds of suppliers and distributors;
  • Volume and velocity of IoT dataflows exceed the capacity ad capability of any single centralized datacenter;
  • Current inability to conduct “Big IoT” data processing across multiple distributed datacenters due to technical issues related to basic service stack for datacenter computing infrastructure, massive data processing models, trusted data management services, data-intensive workflow computing; and
  • Benchmark limitations associated with heterogeneous datacenter application kernels.
Despite these current challenges, the blending of Things and cloud computing can deliver real value today in the creation of “Information Excellence”. Joe Weinman, author of “Cloudonomics: The Business Value of Cloud Computing”, eloquently explains this in his new book, “Digital Disciplines: Attaining Market Leadership via the Cloud, Big Data, Social, Mobile, and the Internet of Things”, information excellence is an extension of traditional operational excellence and its traditional static process design towards a business model that leverages real-time data to maximize process throughput and minimize process costs.[1]

Using cloud to optimize productivity

Also known as dynamic optimization, “Solving these types of problems requires big data collected in real time from things and people, processed in near real time through an optimal combination of edge

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cloud Computing Price-Performance Could Vary By 1000%!




Yes, you read that right. The price/performance of your cloud computing infrastructure could vary as much as 1000 percent depending on time and location. High levels of variability have actually been seen within the same cloud service provider (CSP) processing the exact same job. This also means that the cost to you of processing the exact same job in the cloud could vary by this much as well.
This surprising result was discovered by a Rice University group, headed by Dr. T. S. Eugene Ng, that has been focusing on cloud computing. Recently they published their joint work with Purdue University: Application-Specific Configuration Selection in the Cloud: Impact of Provider Policy and Potential of Systematic Testing, in the IEEE INFOCOM 2015 Conference Proceedings. That paper took a first step towards understanding the impact of cloud service provider policy and tackling the complexity of selecting configurations that can best meet the price and performance requirements of applications. That work resulted in a collaboration between Rice University and Burstorm, a developer of computer aided design (CAD) software specifically built to support cloud computing architects.
The Burstorm platform contains a product catalog of over 36,000 products across 900 CSP product sets. Working with Dr. Ng’s group, the study looked at seven suppliers across three continents (Asia, North America and Europe) with a total of 266 computer products spread over three locations per vendor, where available. Raw data was collected every day, for 15 days. The results were then normalized to reflect a 720-hour, monthly pricing model. The final output were price-performance metrics graphs that were used to look at performance and price variance both between the CSPs and geographic regions.
Analysis of the final output showed a 622 percent variation of performance within a same instance type and a price/performance variance of 1000 percent. Performance of the exact same virtual machine instance can also vary by as much as 60 percent over time. The best performing instance also did not show the best price-performance. Availability and behavior of instances was also very dependent on location, even when the instance was provisioned by the same CSP. Dave Hansen, Vice President and General Manager of sales, marketing and services for Dell Software sums up the importance of these results saying:

Dave Hansen, VP and General Manager, Dell
“…[This] report is incredibly valuable. I’ve looked at this problem many times over the years and it is very difficult to make buying decisions on cloud services without this context.”
These results also show that today’s enterprise desperately needs to use active metering and monitoring when procuring cloud-based services. Changes in instance types, pricing, performance over time and availability of services by location highlights the inadequacy of traditional benchmarking philosophies and processes. Another hidden gem in this report is the use of “performance quota” by some service providers. When a customer meets this CSP management quota, the performance of the relevant instance will be reduced. In other words, exceeding this limit will drive up your usage bill. These findings also drive home the need for enterprises to ramp up their due diligence when selecting CSPs. They should

Friday, July 10, 2015

E-book: Educate Yourself With Dell Insight Partner Views on Cybersecurity


Data security breaches and hacker attacks on private businesses, health organizations and government agencies in the U.S. have grabbed headlines with increasing frequency, it seems. There is zero doubt about the damage these events cause. Cybercriminals and hackers walk away with customers’ payment card information and employee data while companies and federal authorities investigate the source of the leaks and spend millions of dollars to repair the harm.
Some see these breaches as a threat to national security and in response, the U.S. government has launched the “30-day Cybersecurity Sprint” as a tactic designed to beef up cybersecurity protocols. According to media reports, specific program steps include:
  • Immediately fixing any cybersecurity vulnerabilities
  • Tightening policies and practices for privileged users who can access sensitive information
  • Implementing multifactor authentication procedures for accessing federal networks
  • Employing electronic “indicators” provided by the Department of Homeland Security that show when there has been a malicious cyberattack
Do your part in supporting the sprint by educating yourself about cybersecurity. The “Insight Partner Views on Cybersecurity” e-book can help. By addressing security from multiple viewpoints, the e-book reinforces the need for society to build a culture that embraces information risk management.
The “Insight Partner Views on Cybersecurity” captures the latest news, trends and best practices surrounding cybersecurity by influential bloggers in the Dell Insight Partner program. Topics include:
  • The chief information security officer (CISO) role in cybersecurity
  • Security attacks and countermeasures
  • Mobile device security
  • U.S. Department of Defense cloud security guidelines
  • The emerging science of digital forensics
http://www.slideshare.net/kvjacksn/security-e-bookv5pg



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

IEEE Cloud Computing Magazine Focuses On GovCloud

Today I am especially proud and honored to publicly announce my appointment to the IEEE Cloud Computing Magazine Editorial Board!  I am truly appreciative to Dr. Alan Sill and Dr. Masin Yousif for their trust and confidence in nominating me to this position.


As the world's largest professional association for the advancement of technology, IEEE has always been a part of my professional career. Their mission, Advancing Technology for Humanity, also aligns with my own personal aspirations and goal of helping global governments better realize the promise of cloud computing.

IEEE Cloud Computing is committed to the timely publication of peer-reviewed articles that provide innovative research ideas, applications results, and case studies in all areas of cloud computing.
Topics relating to novel theory, algorithms, performance analyses and applications of techniques are covered.
  • Cloud architectures (delivery models and deployments),
  • Cloud management (balancing automation and robustness with monitoring and maintenance),
  • Cloud security and privacy (issues stemming from technology, process and governance, international law, and legal frameworks),
  • Cloud services (cloud services drive and are driven by consumer demand; as markets change, so do the types of services being offered),
  • Cloud experiences and adoption (deployment scenarios and consumer expectations),
  • Cloud and adjacent technology trends (exploring trends in the market and impacts on and influences of cloud computing),
  • Cloud economics (direct and indirect costs of cloud computing on the consumer; sustainable models for providers),
  • Cloud standardization and compliance (facilitating the standardization of cloud tech and test suites for compliance), and
  • Cloud governance (transparency of processes, legal frameworks, and consumer monitoring and reporting).
Upon accepting this position, my first duty was to establish an advisory board. The board will advise and assist me in:
  • Identifying and selecting topics of interest for publication:
  • Identifying and selecting contributor to author articles on topics of interest; and
  • Reviewing and recommending submitted articles for publication.
My esteemed advisory board is composed of:
 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Is Social Media Right For Your Small Business?


Everyone from pre-teens to granddads, does social media today. With Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and many newer ways to stay in the know popping up every day, picking the right platform can be a difficult task. While the personal value of this modern convenience seems obvious to most, the task of proving the channel’s worth to a business can be very challenging.

With this said up front, many larger companies have taken the plunge anyway. According to a recent eMarketer survey, 88 percent of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees that were surveyed are using social media for marketing purposes. This figure is actually expected to rise slightly to 89.5 percent in 2016. Dell has been a leader in the use of social media for business and recognizes that it has value for more than improved brand awareness. This large global corporation has become especially adept with social media, learning how to meaningfully increase business sales and revenue.

A similar survey of 350 small businesses done by the research firm Clutch, however, found that nearly half of those organizations don’t actively use social media to promote their businesses and 25 percent say they have no plans to do so in the future. Do these numbers represent a business “social media gap”? Are small businesses missing the boat?

Strategize, then analyze the numbers

As a small business owner myself, this question is more than just academic. When I founded GovCloud Network over a year and a half ago, using social media for marketing and opportunity identification was one of my strategic planks. In my simplistic view, we would use Twitter to advertise new content posted on the company’s blog, Cloud Musings. The expertise and knowledge demonstrated by thought-leadership pieces would, in turn, drive our targeted customer segment straight to the company website.

After reading this study though, I began to second guess both the money and time investments. So