Cloud

What You Need to Know When Choosing a Cloud Solution for SaaS

SaaS hostingUnless you are Oracle, Salesforce, or another enterprise-level company, the cost of opening your own data center can be prohibitive. While this may be true, the benefits of operating in the cloud are clear from both a business and an IT standpoint. You can deploy software quickly, applications are easy to use, and maintenance and upgrade costs are lower than in the traditional model.

If your company doesn’t want to deal with the hassle or expense of managing everything itself, then working with a SaaS hosting company can offer you all the advantages of a cloud solution without blowing through the company’s capital expenditure budget.

By hosting in the cloud, you’ll be able to focus on developing software that runs smoothly without having to worry about managing equipment. IT departments will be able to rest easy, knowing that your cloud provider will handle data security, software upgrades, and compliance requirements — all without getting in the way of your business. What’s more, many IaaS providers offer models based on meeting various levels of operating expenditures, making it easier for your business to meet its budgetary needs.

As you explore different cloud providers, it’s important to consider each platform’s performance, reliability, and scalability before you make a final decision. The best cloud platforms are fully redundant, provide state-of-the-art equipment, are built to scale, and are backed by a team that understands the unique needs of different businesses and verticals.

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5 Ways to Protect Your Company from DDoS Attacks

DDoS AttackAs an online business, you have the responsibility of ensuring the safety of your customers’ hard-earned money from DDoS attacks. Unfortunately, hackers are making it harder to fulfill that responsibility. Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report found that the e-commerce industry falls victim to cyberattacks more than any other industry. In some cases, hackers are looking to extort money from your company. In others, they’re coming at your business as a form of industrial sabotage.

One of the most common strategies used to carry out these intrusions is a distributed denial of service attack. Digital Trends reported that the frequency of DDoS attacks increased by threefold in 2016. These attacks typically take on one of three forms: protocol, volume-based, or application layer attacks. Each uses a different method to overload your network, but the results are the same: chaos.

Sizing Up the Threat

To put the threat of DDoS attacks in context, just imagine if the online component of your business were disabled for hours, minutes, or even seconds. Depending on the size of the company, this loss of service could cost as much as $250,000 per hour — maybe more.

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5 Ways to Prepare Your Site for Peaks in Traffic

Peak trafficAs an IT professional, you covet page views and unique visitors to your site. But at times of peak traffic, they can be as much of an obstacle as an asset. The popularity of your website can make it the victim of its own success.

Target experienced this problem firsthand when it introduced its Lilly Pulitzer product line with a torrent of multichannel advertising. Unfortunately, this advertising worked as intended. Customers flooded Target’s website, but it wasn’t quite prepared to handle the stress of that load.

The site never crashed, but it did experience severe lags in performance. At one point, administrators even shut the site down for 15 minutes voluntarily. Worst of all, the customers who did have the patience to wait through slow load times often discovered that products were out of stock or in limited supply. Customers were eager to buy, but Target’s website lacked the resiliency to accommodate peak demand.

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E-commerce Success Requires the Right Partner

e-commerceThere’s a saying in the venture capital community: If you want money, ask for advice; if you want advice, ask for money.

It doesn’t work quite the same way with cloud hosting providers. But it is true that customers who ask us for advice during the pre-sale process are often the ones who end up saving money further down the line. The best approach is to start with an honest conversation about your needs and plans. Using an e-commerce company as an example: Is the business even and steady, or do you see major spikes around big sales? What are your plans for outbound marketing? Are your customers just in the United States or around the world? For what contingencies do we need to plan?

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Launching a New Game? Make Sure to Use These Technologies

cloud computingGame design is like the virtual Wild West, where anyone with a dream and some courage has a chance to build something great. But you can’t grow an indie game studio on dreams alone; you need the right technology to turn your vision into reality.

 

Cloud computing offers game developers a means of quickly and easily spinning up or down, depending on their circumstances. The technology enables them to respond quickly to unexpected performance demand, which is critical to building a thriving user base.

 

Cloud computing becomes an even bigger asset when it’s paired with dedicated servers. A system built on these technologies working in tandem offers flexibility, customization, and raw performance power.

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Buy or Build? How IT Services Firms Can Partner for Cloud Success

Hosting InfrastructureIT services companies – from managed service providers to pure consultants – often face a difficult decision whether to “buy or build” hosting infrastructure to meet client requirements. As the cloud market matures and providers expand their options for partners, services companies now have better options for working with infrastructure that is already there rather starting from scratch. Nevertheless, let’s consider both sides of the fence and look at where it makes sense to buy and build a cloud service.

When buying into the cloud is better

There are many good reasons for IT service providers to engage with an existing cloud provider, including:

  • No data center or hardware infrastructure investments. This might seem obvious, but many IT companies invest in cloud infrastructure only to find the return is less than anticipated. The procurement and management requirements of all the components necessary for a scalable cloud are easily underestimated and require specialist skills.
  • Avoid high maintenance costs. In addition to the capital investments, running a cloud requires ongoing maintenance costs often not anticipated during the build stage. And as a cloud partner you get access to better rates and healthy margins usually associated with equipment reselling, but often overlooked in the cloud.

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How to Ensure Business Continuity in the Cloud

Business ContinuityBusiness continuity, like its little sibling backups, is too often overlooked until it’s too late. But with the cloud on their side, IT and business leaders have a new chance  to rethink the breadth and effectiveness of their business continuity capabilities to help avert the next outage.

The ‘build it and they will come’ days of business continuity

If you look at how business continuity was traditionally performed in medium to large organizations it usually involved a lot of talk about the “second site”. Core systems, applications, and data are literally duplicated (sometimes with watered-down capabilities) at an off-site data center or server room.

In the event of a business disruption, such as a fire alarm, the production systems would be switched over to the DR system and, at least in theory, the business would continue as usual.

One of the major challenges with using this architecture is the cost and resources required to do it properly. While some core business applications might require hardware duplication, the vast majority of applications can be run on standards-based hybrid cloud infrastructure.

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5 Things You Should Do When Migrating to the Cloud

Migrating to the cloudFrom both a business and an IT perspective, migrating to the cloud can be a good option for many businesses. But, it’s not something that can be done without the right research and preparation. If you want to be successful when migrating to the cloud, you need open communication with both your own team and hosting provider, as well as a clearly defined cloud migration strategy that is connected to your business needs. What follow are 5 tips to help you get started.

  1. Share your roadmap

Setting goals is everything. Your goals for migrating to the cloud should be closely connected to your business goals. How fast do you want to grow (i.e. how scalable does your technology need to be)? Who in your organization needs what functionality in order to reach which goal?

Select a cloud partner who is open to discussion about your roadmap and its implementation. Together you can create a technology roadmap that best supports your ambitions. Ideally, your cloud partner is a trusted advisor who shares his expertise with you. Keeping in close contact with your partner and sharing the load will also enable you to divide tasks between you: while your cloud provider focuses on hosting a cloud platform and making sure your servers are up-and-running, you will be able to concentrate on creating more value for your customers.

The value of leveraging a third party can only be achieved when both sides understand their responsibilities and expectations. This means communication between you and your partner should be one of your top priorities.

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From Colocation to Cloud: What You Need to Know

Colocation to cloudOver the course of the past few years I have had an increasing number of discussions with customers and prospects, who already have hosting infrastructure but are considering moving to a real IaaS solution based on a monthly subscription fee. In most cases these customers, who are often in the SaaS industry or offer professional IT services, are interested in moving from on premise or colocation to cloud (virtualized cloud solutions), usually a private cloud due to legal, security, or performance restrictions. The intention of this change is to reduce costs and free up time to focus on their core business.

Customers looking to make the move to the cloud usually either still have racks in the basement of their office, or infrastructure hosted in a data center where the customer rents one or more colocation racks. In both cases, it is possible to make a solid business case for the shift, even it means that the infrastructure needs to be moved from the office to a data center, or from one data center to another that offers hosted services.

To make a strategic move from colocation to cloud, it’s important to have a solid business case. What always surprises me is that the first version of the business case, often only accounts for the CAPEX of the hardware, the cost for rack space, and the cost for internet traffic. As I have learned from working with hundreds of companies, this isn’t enough. To draw up a fully developed business case you need to consider the following points:

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5 Key Phases of a Successful Cloud Migration

Cloud MigrationNoted cloud analyst David Linthicum recently predicted that 2017 will be the year of the “great migration”. Enterprises will begin to migrate significantly more on-premise workloads than in previous years as they search for the right infrastructure solution to fit their business needs.  We at LeaseWeb and WSM International agree with this prediction, having seen for ourselves a significant increase in inquiries about cloud migration, as well as the accompanying questions which arise when businesses begin to consider what it would actually take to make the switch.

While we recognize that migration can seem daunting, we have developed a comprehensive, and proven, approach to cloud migration based on 5 distinct phases.

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