Saturday, 18 February 2012

Why your business should move to the cloud

Many small and large businesses will have either considered or be considering moving their IT over to a Cloud based solution. Change is the hardest thing to consider as it's hard to see the value without the risk. You need to consider the change in performance, service and ultimately value.


How could moving to the Cloud benefit your business?

Energy costs:
It is shown that moving to a Cloud solution and replacing desktops and in house servers with think clients and remote Cloud server can save upto 90% on your companies energy bill. With the cost of energy rising this is a major factor in considering change.

Staffing costs:
Many companies feel that they pay too much for their IT department but realise that there are many parts to an IT infrastructure and this generally requires a group of people to support each part. Cloud services already have a skilled team who cover all these parts for you and generally only the top technicians in their field get to work for these companies after years of study and experience. Offloading your IT to the cloud could cut your IT staffing, training and HR costs down by 80%.

Data security is an important part of any IT infrastructure and inhouse security can often be lacking. By offloading your data to the Cloud you can ensure that all your important data is secure on servers in secure datacenters not local on a laptop that could be stolen or left on a train. Many government organisations have moved to the Cloud after recent scandals with data being lost due to theft. This is a real indicator of how secure Cloud solutions are.

Servers are becoming more and more powerful each year and having your virtual desktops or applications hosted on these servers rather than an old slow PC in the office can vastly improve performance. The main thing companies who move over to the Cloud notice is speed, how much faster things load and how much more productive their staff can be due to this.

Many Cloud solutions offer an any device anywhere policy. This means whether you are using your laptop, desktop, tablet PC or even your smart phone you can connect to your service and work. This has allowed many companies to allow their staff to work away from the office saving them even more money. As the digital revolution means that more and more people are using their phones the same way they use their laptop more and more people can now check their emails from work on a Word document or spreadsheet. There has been a big shift from people traveling by car to now traveling by train to allow them to connect to their Cloud solution using either 3g or the trains wifi and continue to work. The work hours gained from this could be reason alone for switching for some companies.

Licensing costs:
New subscription based licensing costs that Cloud services offer mean companies can save hundreds even thousands of pounds on software costs each month. Using a pay as you use method you only pay when you are using the product rather than having to pay the full price for all your software generally each year.

Cloud computing is making IT more of a utility rather than an in house necessity. How many times have you wished you could just get another company to handle all your IT needs? Cloud computing makes this possible. We don't have electricity providers and gas providers in each company providing a service and costing companies thousands each year so why do we need to do the same with IT? With Cloud computing we don't!

What does this mean for IT staff?

As we know the economy everywhere is suffering and many companies are cutting their IT staff down and suffering by keeping few staff to carry out the work of many. IT candidates are experiencing these difficult times but there is nothing stopping them gain the necessary qualifications and skill to work for a Cloud based company. As more businesses are moving to the Cloud more staff are needed. This is a major shift for IT staff but we have a responsibility to keep up with current times to stay in the game.

You may be asking the question "why should we move to the Cloud?" now but if you wait you may find yourself asking "Why didn't we do this a long time ago?"
One UK based Cloud computing solutions company who are leading in their field are AtlasIM
and thier vision of "A PC off every desk" sums up the benefits of moving to the Cloud.

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Friday, 17 February 2012

Intel Cloud Computing Vision

Exciting stuff

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The Virtualization Wars: Microsoft and Citrix vs VMware

This post is part of our ReadWriteCloud channel, which is dedicated to covering virtualization and cloud computing. The channel is sponsored by Intel and VMware. Read the case study about how Intel Xeon processors and VMware helped virtualize 12 business critical database applications.

Watch this battle unfold. The virtualization wars are just getting started.
On one side we have Microsoft, which announced changes in its licensing structures this week. The change reflects an understanding that the customer wants full access to its virtualization platform and not be charged a tax for that right to access it on a PC, no matter if it is at work or in their home.
And in true fashion, Microsoft is on the attack, Citrix at its side, in a full on fight with VMware for the virtualization market.
On the VMware side, we see a company ready to move into Microsoft's customer base by offering more than virtualization as witnessed with its recent acquisition of Zimbra. VMWare is gearing up to tap into the Microsoft Exchange market by combining its virtualization technology with the Zimbra email platform.


Microsoft Offers Some Flexibility

Historically, Microsoft has charged for separate licenses to access Windows operating systems in a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environment. Until now, there would be separate licensing fees for people to access their virtual desktops from secondary devices like home personal computers.
The licensing issue in all of this gets complicated pretty fast. According to Simon Bramfitt:
"Right from the start Microsoft showed that it had been listening to its customers' feedback. As of July 1st Microsoft is rolling Virtual Enterprise Centralized Desktop (VECD) into the Windows Software Assurance (Windows SA) program. This means that anyone with Software Assurance can deploy desktops locally or in the data center at no additional cost. At the same time Microsoft is extending the remote access rights so that remote isn't tethered to a single PC in the primary users' home. This awareness of the fact that users want flexibility around when and where they work is the key element that has been missing from Microsoft's virtualization strategy since day one. If this wasn't enough, Microsoft is introducing a new desktop virtualization license called Windows Virtual Desktop Access (Windows VDA) costing $100 per year per device and aimed at organizations who are using endpoints that do not have a Windows SA license - Contractors PCs, devices that are do not run Windows (e.g., thin-clients, smart phones and Apple Macs) and yes, PCs with OEM licenses. Hang-on, isn't that just the same as the old non-SA VECD license? More or less, yes; it's certainly cheaper, although at $100 per year not by much. What's more important is that Windows VDA is now a first-class citizen in the Microsoft licensing hierarchy with all the benefits of Software Assurance (e.g., 24x7 support, upgrade/downgrade rights), and as a desktop virtualization license it gets the same extended roaming rights offered to the a full member of the SA club."
VMWare, in smart retort, praises Microsoft for the move and bowing to "intense customer pressure."
Raj Mallempati, director, product marketing, calls it an opening for VMWare View.

You know it's competitive when you see this kind of rhetoric:
By loosening up the restrictive desktop virtualization license policy (VECD), Microsoft has finally bowed to intensive customer pressure. This validates the acceleration in demand in the desktop virtualization industry that VMware helped start and continues to lead. Microsoft's move here is extremely positive for the industry.

But what is Citrix part in all of this?

At the beginning of the year, VMWare offered the opportunity to exchange Citrix XenApp licenses for VMWare View. In response, Microsoft and Citrix announced a partnership this week aimed right at VMWare with some pretty attractive licensing deals.

The promotion intends to undercut VMWare by reaching into its customer base with offers to trade in as many as 500 licenses in exchange for a Microsoft integration offered with Citrix.
To kick it off, the two companies plan a 100-city tour.
But what this really represents is Microsoft providing some flexibility in its virtualization licensing agreements. That move alone will help open up the market.

And VMWare? The company has 80 percent of the virtualization market. Any move on its customer base should be expected. VMware's vision for Zimbra is another matter. That's a battle it is taking right back to Microsoft - square on its home turf.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Part 14 – Setting and checking quota schedule on Exchange 2010 setup Multi-Tenancy

Once you have the quotas set for Exchange you need to set when they are checked and when people will receive warnings.

To set the quota schedule use the following command

Set-MailboxDatabase -Identity "Mailbox Database" -QuotaNotificationSchedule "Mon.01:00-Mon.01:15","Tue.01:00-Tue.01:15","Wed.01:00-Wed.01:15","Thu.01:00-Thu.01:15","Fri.01:00-Fri.01:15","Sat.01:00-Sat.01:15","Sun.01:00-Sun.01:15"

Set the times accordingly

To check when your quota schedule is set at use the following command

Get-MailboxDatabase | fl Name, QuotaNotificationSchedule

Private Cloud Computing Explained

2012 is the year of private cloud computing, as there is a growing trend that organizations are moving back their data from off-premise cloud (a.k.a. the public cloud) to be hosted on-premise, in a private cloud environment. One of the main reasons for the move is to gain better control of their data, as there are yet-to-be-fully-resolved cloud issues, such as cloud outages and security.

It’s time for you to take a closer look at what private cloud computing can offer you, including its pros and cons. If you are still looking for a better explanation about private cloud computing, I have a video infographic I recommend you to view…

The cloud computing video infographic – brought to you by edCetra Training, a company offering custom content developer for educational and training purposes – will explain you in plain English about the concept of private cloud computing, including some facts about cloud computing trends and how organizations go for private cloud computing, instead of public cloud computing.

Here is the video – enjoy!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Green environmental consultancy save 90% energy costs moving to cloud

Another cloud computing client for AtlasIM

HOSTED desktop provider Atlas Infrastructure Management has added another client after encouraging environmental consultancy ECUS to try out its pay-as-you-go cloud computing model.