From Hyperscale to Open Options: Preparing for Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack

Microsoft Azure StackFollowing the recent announcement of our Azure Stack Beta program, we spoke with LeaseWeb’s Technical Evangelist Robert van der Meulen about how Azure Stack will usher in a new era in hybrid cloud computing. Today’s cloud adopters will see many benefits by developing a hybrid cloud strategy that combines the features of both open cloud providers like LeaseWeb and hyperscalers like Microsoft’s Azure.

Why is LeaseWeb offering Azure Stack Beta (ASDK) and what is the demand from customers like?

It helps IT teams to experience in practice what kind of services Azure Stack brings, and how they fit in their existing and planned landscapes. Particularly it shows how public cloud-like services can be available in the trusted environment of a private cloud, or hosted data center. Azure Stack addresses the market for private cloud services with public cloud capabilities. The ASDK opens that environment up without the large up-front investment, and gives IT teams the capability to validate that their solution will work in a private Azure Stack setup.

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What It Takes to Stay Relevant in a Gamer’s World

gaming infrastructureNobody ever accused game developers of having an easy job. But over the past decade, more powerful and expensive hardware, as well as social games hosted on smartphones, have upped the ante. The gaming world is larger and more competitive than ever, and the market is evolving constantly.

Nowadays, even really good developers will make games that get passed over or lost in a sea of other options. It’s a global arena, and if you’re not making world-class products, you’re not going to last.

Undeniably, making great games that reach a large audience requires some element of luck. But more than luck, it requires commitment. You have to be dedicated to overcoming the challenges you’ll inevitably encounter, whether you’re an indie or AAA developer.

Today’s most successful developers aren’t the ones who spend the most on production, obtain the most funding, or utilize the best engine — they’re the ones who are relentlessly focused on giving gamers the best experience possible and that requires the right gaming infrastructure.

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Embrace Your Natural Talent for True Career Success

Career Success

Most people have tried at some point to be someone they’re not. Sometimes it’s because we like the change, and sometimes it’s because we feel like we have to change in order to fit in.

When I was a little boy, I loved playing football. While I was a decent central defender and right wing-back, because I was fairly strong and had a good pace and a fierce shot, I ended up as a striker once in a while, too.

My technique and instincts let me down when trying to be a good striker, though. I’m more a problem solver than somebody who loves to score. I love to steer a team from the back, and come time to make a decision, I thrive under pressure. And I have a tendency to lead and help other people out, which are all good assets for a defender.

A striker, however, needs other qualities. The best strikers are patient, focused on individual success, and maybe even a little egotistical at times.

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Protecting Your Business From Increasingly Sophisticated Cyberattacks

cyberattacksWhether you’re leading a Fortune 500 company or your own small business, cybersecurity must be a fundamental business objective. Several high-profile cyberattacks in the first half of 2017 have affected organizations of all sizes all over the world, and these attacks are only going to become more common and more sophisticated.

As a business leader, it’s important to understand that the threat is constant. Even if you’ve never experienced an attack, your servers are perpetually being scanned by hackers for vulnerabilities — and the damage can be fatal to your business. A cyberattack can result in the loss of critical information, putting the reputation of your brand at stake.

If you suffer a cyberattack and are able to react quickly, it’s certainly possible to mitigate the damage to your business and your customers, though containing an attack can get tremendously expensive. If you have a plan in place, however, you can save yourself a lot of time and money — and protect the future of your business.

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The Secret to Shorter Load Times on E-Commerce Sites

shorter load timesE-commerce sales have increased dramatically over the past few years, and the growth continues to accelerate. Between 2015 and 2016, online sales increased almost 16 percent, and e-commerce is expected to continue to grow at rates above 20 percent. For online sellers and developers of e-commerce sites, this means the market will only become more competitive, and shorter load times will become more important.

 

Alongside increased sales, internet speeds continue to rise — and so do consumer expectations for online experiences. A measly four-second wait time causes 25 percent of site visitors to abandon a page, and for a site as large as Amazon, a single second of slowdown could cost $1.6 billion. Those numbers are nothing to sneeze at.

 

If your competitors’ sites load faster than yours, you could see your revenue start shifting to them. The effect is multiplied the longer you ignore your slow website, so why wait? The first step is to identify the mistakes that could be slowing down your website, keeping you from shorter load times, and costing you customers and cash. Next, you can take steps to correct them:

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How we build our API documentation

API DocumentationIf you have ever used APIs you know that good documentation is important. It should also always be up-to-date. In this post I’m not going to discuss how to write documentation and what is required, but rather which tools we use to get the documentation updated as quickly as possible on our developer portal (developer.leaseweb.com).

We employ a number of different tools to help with the process.

  1. RAML (raml.org)

Good documentation starts with good specifications. For this we have decided to use RESTful API Modeling Language (RAML) (created by MuleSoft), together with tools like raml2html (https://github.com/raml2html/raml2html) for creating HTML. Using templates, we can create the HTML as we need it for further processing. Within the RAML specifications, we give descriptions to each endpoints that will become the documentation a user can see on the site.

We already had experience with RAML, which made our choice easy, but there are other tools/specifications around that can do the same. Swagger (swagger.io) is probably the largest and most supported framework around.

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How to Choose the Right SaaS Hosting Provider

SaaS HostingOver the past decade, SaaS has grown to be the primary service delivery model for companies across all industries, and according to a recent Gartner report, over 70 percent of companies utilize the model. While that same report forecasts slower growth in the SaaS market over the next few years, it predicts that among all global cloud services, only Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will grow more quickly.

There are a number of reasons for the success of the SaaS model, including the flexibility and scalability it offers. The fact that companies can easily offer new integrations and software upgrades to users on an ongoing basis — and test new features and functionality without having to wait for a full release — makes it a more efficient and cost-effective way to provide software.

As the leader of an SaaS company, however, you’ll also be faced with some challenges that are unique to this type of delivery model. SaaS companies often have to process tremendous amounts of data — a challenge that grows as your company also increases in size — and must serve a geographically dispersed user base with demanding security and accessibility requirements. Because of this, finding the right SaaS hosting provider is an important decision.

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Management Training Is Taking Off

management trainingAt Leaseweb we recently kicked off our Management Development Program. Socrates famously said “Know thyself”, but this is only the beginning. Self-knowledge also leads to a better understanding of the people around us, and the ability to work together in teams. This is why the first step in the program is such an important one: looking into everyone’s unique talents, behaviors, and potential.

Since Leaseweb’s history is connected to aviation, we decided to bring teams to a Flight Simulator session. Besides it being a unique and enjoyable experience, it teaches you that there are many circumstances win which you can’t rely on previous experience, and that our natural, immediate responses to stressful situations are often based on ineffective patterns of behavior. Landing a virtual airplane, without any previous experience, can teach you a tremendous amount about teamwork and the importance of clear communication.

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The Amazing Story of Leaseweb

leasewebOne of the first things you learn as a professional pilot is the importance of teamwork. Even with raw talent, thousands of hours of training, and years of experience, you can’t do it alone.  From the co-pilot sitting by your side, to the flight attendants, mechanics, maintenance staff, and ground crew, everyone needs to work together to get the plane off the ground. But, of course, it doesn’t stop there. It also takes the tower, air traffic control, the airport administration, government agencies, airplane manufacturers, and countless other people and organizations to make flying a Boeing 747 look easy.

The importance of teamwork is something I have carried with me since the earliest days of Leaseweb, and something that we as a company decided should be at the very heart of our business. From the beginning we set out to create a great team, bringing together both talented employees from around the world (we have 35 nationalities and counting), as well as our business partners and customers. By understanding that all of these pieces are necessary for real teamwork, we have been able to develop a company that empowers our customers to achieve amazing things.

20 years on, it’s incredible to think that all of this started out of a dorm room in Utrecht. With our original 4 servers, we could have never imagined that we would end up working with leading global brands, and standing at the forefront of the cloud computing industry. We have been fortunate to have had the chance to work with incredible partners whose ideas and feedback have helped continue to push us forward. By always treating our customers as an important part of our team, we have learned from them and used their feedback to create new products, services, and even expand to new markets.

As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we have decided to look back at everything we’ve accomplished together, the people who have made it possible, and what it means for the future of our company. To do so, we asked our colleagues and customers to come up with 20 amazing stories and reflections, which they feel encapsulate the spirit and values of Leaseweb, and collected them in an anniversary book.

I invite you to read it for yourself and share our journey with us.

Scrum Can Help Your Projects Take Flight

ScrumWith founders who began their careers as professional pilots, the history and culture of Leaseweb have close ties to the principles of Aviation. So when deciding on a development methodology, Scrum became the natural choice because it fits well with these principles.

In Jeff Sutherland’s book Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time, he explains the origins of Scrum. I recently recognized the strong correlation between some of these principles and the one’s held by Leaseweb while attending a management training day that included a flight simulator experience.

Jeff Sutherland describes the following model:

  • Observe the target area and find the past path into and out of the hot zone.
  • Orient yourself in the face of unexpected events.
  • Decide instinctively.
  • Act decisively based on instincts and hard wiring.

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LeaseWeb on Twitter

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