Posts tagged business
Want proof? Industry leading vendors are snatching up OpenStack-based companies
This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.
IT is headed toward being something more akin to a utility service, transformed by OpenStack’s open standardized cloud architecture, which will improve interoperability and render vendor lock-in a thing of the past.
Initially a solution adopted by smaller ISVs lacking the capital to build private clouds, OpenStack-based cloud solutions are shaping up to be the logical choice for large enterprise as industry leaders, including IBM, Cisco, EMC, HP and Oracle, bet on its value for defining the next-generation model for business computing.
These industry giants have been snatching up OpenStack-based companies over the past couple years, building up their capabilities around the architecture. IBM and Cisco are some of the latest to close deals, with their respective acquisitions of Blue Box and Piston Cloud Computing. Other relevant acquisitions include EMC’s purchase of Cloudscaling, Oracle’s Nimbula acquistion, and Cisco’s MetaCloud acquisition.
OpenStack’s value for business lies in its capacity for facilitating seamless private-to-public scalability and extensive workload portability, while removing the need to lay out capital to acquire and maintain depreciating commodity hardware.
These companies see that innovations in open clouds will inevitably win out as the premiere solution for business data management. The days of commodity hardware and internally managed datacenters are rapidly fading. With cloud services available on a pay-as-you-go basis and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) removing the need to invest in commodity hardware, customers will look at performance, pricing and quality of service as the most important factors in choosing a cloud provider, while maintaining the freedom to easily switch if a better option comes along.
OpenStack’s core strength is interoperability, allowing for seamless scaling across private and public environments, as well as easier transition and connectivity across vendors and networks.
Companies like IBM and Cisco buying up OpenStack-based providers to bolster their own hybrid cloud solutions does not mean the architecture will lose touch with its open-source roots. Open standards and interoperability go hand-in-hand and are at the heart of OpenStack’s unique capabilities.
What we are seeing is the maturation of OpenStack, with major names in business computing positioned to mainstream its adoption by leveraging their financial, IP, R&D resources and brand trust to meet complex demands and ensure confidence from large enterprise organizations transitioning to the cloud.
Cisco listed OpenStack’s capabilities for enhancing automation, availability and scale for hybrid clouds as playing a major role in its new Intercloud Network, while HP is utilizing OpenStack to facilitate its vendor-neutral Helion Network, which will pool the services of Helion partners to offer global workload portability for customers of vendors within their network.
Adoption of OpenStack by these providers signals a major shift for the industry, moving away from dependence on hardware sales and heavy contractual service agreements to a scalable IaaS utilities model, where customers pay for what they need when they need it and expect it to just work. Providers may need to shoulder the burden of maintaining datacenters but will reap the reward of pulling the maximum value from their commodity investments.
Interoperability may seem like a double-edged sword for companies that were built on their own software running exclusively on their own hardware. But the tide is shifting and they realize that closed platforms are losing relevance, while open architecture offers new opportunities to expand their business segments, better serve customers, and thrive with a broader customer base.
Cisco recently added new functionalities for its Intercloud offering, extending virtual machine on-boarding to support Amazon Virtual Private Cloud and extending its zone-based firewall services to include Microsoft Azure. Last year, IBM partnered with software and cloud competitor Microsoft, each offering their respective enterprise software across both Microsoft Azure and the IBM Cloud to help reduce costs and spur development across their platforms for their customers. OpenStack furthers these capabilities across the quickly expanding list of providers adapting the cloud architecture, enabling a vendor-agnostic market for software solutions.
Open standardized cloud architecture is the future of business IT, and OpenStack currently stands as the best and only true solution to make it happen. Its development was spurred by demand from small ISVs who will continue to require its capabilities and promote its development, regardless of whether large enterprise service providers are on board.
However, its inevitable development and obvious potential for enterprise application is forcing the hand of IT heavyweights to conform. Regardless if they’d prefer to maintain the status quo for their customers, the progress we’ve seen won’t be undone and the path toward vendor neutrality has been set.
Can a business-grade cloud storage service that doesn’t come from Google, Microsoft or Apple make it big in the enterprise? Here’s why Dropbox for Business makes a strong case.
Apple iCloud. Google Drive. Microsoft OneDrive. Box. Dropbox. Hightail (formerly YouSendIt). Online storage services have been a mainstream option for consumers for some time now. But as the business world wrestles with adopting cloud-based collaboration services, can a so-called independent company offer a competitive product to the business-centric offerings by Google
(Apps/Drive), Apple (iCloud for Work) and Microsoft (Office 365)?
To answer this question, we take a closer look at Dropbox, arguably one of the most popular online storage services today, with more than 400 million registered users as of July 2015. Though it went through some security missteps in its early days, Dropbox successfully leveraged its popularity and success with consumers to develop a credible business-grade service – Dropbox for Business – that was launched in April 2013.
Despite being priced at $15 per user per month – compared to $10 per month for Dropbox Pro – Dropbox says the service now has 100,000 customers around the globe. (Unfortunately for power users looking to make the switch to Dropbox for Business, the plan starts at a minimum of five users. This means that small companies with fewer than five users will have to pay the equivalent of $150 per user, or $750 per year.) So what does the more expensive Dropbox for Business offer over the nonbusiness version of the product?
dropbox for business – webinterface
Administrators will see an additional “Admin Console” option added their minimalistic Dropbox Web interface. Note also the additional Dropbox for “CIO.com.”
What you get is more than what you see
To be clear, Dropbox for Business builds off the basic Dropbox offering, which includes strong encryption, support for two-step authentication and the trademark simplicity of Dropbox. In addition, both “personal” Dropbox and Dropbox for Business accounts are supported by the official software clients – albeit separately; both can also be accessed from the Dropbox home page.
How the Dropbox app looks like on Android after signing in to Dropbox for Business.
This is where the similarity ends. Unlike Dropbox Pro, Dropbox for Business comes with a long list of capabilities that include unlimited storage (available upon request; users are initially allocated 1GB each), centralized billing, phone support and an Admin Console for administrators. The Admin Console is used to access a range of other capabilities and controls endemic only to Dropbox for Business:
Depending on industry vertical, some businesses may be more concerned about the possibility of data leakage due to “over-sharing” or accidental leaks. On that front, Dropbox for Business offers various ways that organizations can tighten the lid with such controls as the ability to limit the sharing of links to external parties, or the joining of shared folders outside of your organization.
In addition, administrators can also mandate that only one Dropbox account can be linked to each computer – though users would still be able to access their private Dropbox accounts from the Web. Ultimately, while the controls won’t stop a determined insider from leaking confidential data to competitors, they should go a long way towards preventing any unintended sharing of files.
Finally, organizations will be interested in such Dropbox for Business features as its comprehensive audit log, creation of groups, unlimited file recovery and integration with third party services, each of which are outlined below.
You can also specify a date range to download the entire Activity feed as a CSV file.
Dropbox for Business maintains a comprehensive feed of various activities under the “Activity” tab, ranging from the sharing and un-sharing of a folder, and the creating and sharing of links. Similarly, activities including those related to passwords, groups, membership, logins, admin actions, apps and devices are also logged.
Audit logs brings increased visibility and control over sharing and access of company data, and could be inordinately useful to trace data leaks, as well as to narrow down misconfigured devices. By being able to track permissions and apps that are linked to the Dropbox for Business account, administrators could also potentially find successful phishing attacks, and even identify data that’s been compromised.
It’s important to note that individual file edits, deletions and additions are not currently shown in the Activity feed reports, though a running history of edits, deletions and additions of all files can be viewed from the main Dropbox Events page.
Creating a group
Larger organizations will appreciate the Group feature in Dropbox for Business, and how it allows them to create departmental or project-level groups for easier collaboration. This feature makes it possible to share new information directly with an entire group instead of having to add each person individually – and likely missing some team members. Moreover, any new members that are added to a group will be automatically granted access to all shared folders to which the group has previously been invited.
You can also manage the permission of a Group as a single entity when it comes to granting editing or view-only access, while the ability to create Groups can be restricted by the Dropbox administrator, or be left open to everyone. When individual and group permission settings differ, Dropbox will always grant the permissions that grant users with the highest level of file or folder access.
The many versions saved of this feature as it was being written. In this case, you can see that cloudHQ is used to cloud sync from a different online storage service to Dropbox.
security tools 1
One of the most powerful capabilities reserved for Dropbox for Business is undoubtedly its automatic storing of all versions of a file, as well as the ability to recover deleted files. In fact, it’s this author’s opinion that Dropbox for Business currently offers the best versioning support among the top cloud services.
Specifically, there is no limit to the number of versions that are saved, and versioning does not contribute your account’s total storage cap – which is unlimited anyway. Similarly, there are no time limits on when deleted data can be recovered.
While this feature certainly shouldn’t supplant a proper offline backup and disaster recovery strategy, storing multiple versions of a single file can be help users, groups and companies quickly recover from editing mistakes, whether the mistake is noticed hours, days or even weeks later.
Third-party enterprise integration
Dropbox for Business also stands out due to the many third-party apps and services that are built on top of the Dropbox for Business API. The API essentially gives developers access to the members, groups and audit log data for a particular Dropbox for Business deployment.
While there are too many for an in-depth evaluation in this space, a few categories stand out:
Data loss prevention (DLP). For organizations that require better tools to manage sensitive data stored on Dropbox for Business, services like CloudLock and Elastica promises enterprise-class DLP with auditing and compliance functionality.
Identity management. Larger organizations or those using Active Directory can rely on cloud services such as Microsoft Azure AD or third-party offerings such as Centrify and Meldium to keep their Dropbox for Business managed and authenticated in a seamless fashion.
eDiscovery. Integration with industry leading tools (Nuix, Splunk) makes it possible for administrators to respond to litigation, arbitration and regulatory investigations involving files stored on Dropbox for Business. The comprehensive Activity feed data is automatically collected and visualized to help businesses better understand activities related to sharing, devices and security.
Of course, there are also the many third-party apps and services that work perfectly fine with the Dropbox platform without relying on the Dropbox for Business API. For organizations that are already on Dropbox for Business, this translates into usability and flexibility that is not matched by other cloud storage services.
Because you’re doing your research on MCTS courses, the chances are you’re in 1 of 2 situations: You might be wondering about completely changing your working life to the field of computers, and research demonstrates there’s a growing demand for people with the right qualifications. In contrast you could already be in IT – and you want to enhance your CV with the MCTS accreditation.
When looking into training providers, ensure that you steer clear of those that short-change you by failing to provide the latest Microsoft version. This will only hamper the student due to the fact that they’ll have learned an old version of MCTS which doesn’t fall in with the present exams, so they’ll probably fail. A training provider’s focus must be centred on the most for their students, and everyone involved should have a passion for getting things right. Studying isn’t simply about qualifications – the process should be all about helping you to decide on the best course of action for you.
Best Microsoft MCTS Certification, Microsoft MCITP Training at certkingdom.com
It’s essential to have an accredited exam preparation programme included in your course. Because many examining boards for IT are from the USA, it’s essential to understand how exam questions will be phrased and formatted. It’s no use just answering any old technical questions – they must be in an exam format that exactly replicates the real thing. A way to build self-confidence is if you test your depth of understanding by doing tests and mock ups of exams prior to taking the actual exam.
There are colossal changes washing over technology over the next generation – and this means greater innovations all the time. We’ve barely started to see just how technology will affect our lives in the future. Computers and the web will profoundly revolutionise how we see and interrelate with the entire world over the next few years.
Let’s not ignore salaries moreover – the typical remuneration in the UK for a typical person working in IT is considerably better than remuneration packages in other sectors. Odds are you’ll make a whole lot more than you could reasonably hope to get in other industries. With the IT marketplace developing year on year, it’s predictable that the requirement for well trained and qualified IT technicians will continue actively for decades to come.
Make sure you don’t get caught-up, like so many people do, on the training course itself. Your training isn’t about getting a plaque on your wall; this is about employment. Focus on the end-goal. It’s a sad fact, but a great many students begin programs that seem amazing from the syllabus guide, but which provides the end-result of a job that is of no interest. Try talking to typical university leavers for examples.
It’s a good idea to understand what expectations industry may have of you. Which precise qualifications they will want you to have and how you’ll go about getting some commercial experience. Spend some time assessing how far you think you’ll want to go as often it can control your selection of accreditations. Talk to a skilled advisor that has a commercial understanding of the realities faced in the industry, and could provide an in-depth explanation of what tasks are going to make up a typical day for you. Getting to the bottom of all this before commencement of any study program will save you both time and money.
Many trainers will provide an useful Job Placement Assistance program, to assist your search for your first position. Don’t get caught up in this feature – it’s easy for eager sales people to make too much of it. In reality, the massive skills shortage in the United Kingdom is why employers will be interested in you.
Nevertheless, don’t leave it until you have finished your training before bringing your CV up to date. As soon as your training commences, mark down what you’re doing and tell people about it! Quite frequently, you will get your first job whilst you’re still studying (occasionally right at the beginning). If your CV doesn’t say what you’re learning (and it isn’t in the hands of someone with jobs to offer) then you won’t even be considered! Actually, an independent and specialised local recruitment consultancy – who make their money when they’ve found you a job – is going to give you a better service than a recruitment division from a training organisation. They should, of course, also know local industry and the area better.
A slight frustration of many training companies is how hard people are prepared to work to get qualified, but how little effort that student will then put into getting the job they have trained for. Don’t falter at the last fence..