Power-up with hybrid cloud

If you’re already using a virtualised local IT infrastructure, then we don’t need to convince you of the advantages of private cloud.

No doubt you’re already benefiting from the simplified management that comes from being able to control all of your computing resources from a single point. You may even have had a pat on the back from the people in charge of the purse strings, who have seen the reduced capital costs that have been possible through server consolidation and being able to squeeze the most out of the hardware you already have. Not to mention the improved experience of your users and customers that comes from the added resilience of a cloud environment.

What if you could power-up these advantages, and add even further benefits to your virtual infrastructure? By linking your private cloud with a trusted public cloud you can. Here lies the compelling case for hybrid cloud: it’s cloud as you know it, but this time it’s free of limiting factors.

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We’re VMware Hybrid Cloud Powered®!

We’re pleased to announce that we have achieved “VMware Hybrid Cloud Powered®” status with our cloud technology partners, VMware.

vmware_hybrid_powered partner

This is an important milestone for us and signals the recognition of both our investment in, and commitment to, the leading technologies available in virtualisation and cloud computing.

The VMware Hybrid Cloud Powered program involves meeting criteria to give customers the confidence that their computing workloads can be easily migrated between their existing cloud/virtualised environments, and the Hybrid Cloud Powered public cloud service offered by the provider. This direct interoperability allows organisations to take advantage of compatible public clouds like those offered by 1st Easy, to form so-called “hybrid” clouds, and gain the ability to consume computing resources in the most efficient and flexible way possible.

In conjunction with obtaining this status, we’re offering free test drives of our cloud platform: 30 days full access to your own virtual data centre, so that you can get real hands-on experience of the hybrid cloud — after all, there’s nothing like trying something for yourself to truly understand it and the benefits it can bring.

If you’re interested in getting your own cloud test drive, you can visit our sign-up page, or contact us for more details.

A slice of cloud for everyone: VMware™ cloud servers

Hot on the heels of the launch of Cloud Utilities (our cloud computing platform) it’s time to announce the next evolution in our range of services: Linux and Windows VMware virtual cloud servers. This new service replaces our previous range of virtual dedicated servers, and as “true” cloud servers, they offer many of the benefits typically associated with larger-scale cloud computing.

Improved reliability:
  • The important thing to know here is that a cloud server doesn’t run from a single piece of hardware.
  • Instead, it’s part of a much larger infrastructure (the very same commercial-class infrastructure we designed for Cloud Utilities) and draws the RAM, processing power and storage it needs from a large pool of resources.
  • This means that if a piece of hardware should go down, it is much easier to recover quickly – your cloud server simply pulls in what it needs from elsewhere in the resource pool, while you (and your visitors and customers) carry on without being disrupted by downtime.

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Shared hosting, dedicated server or cloud server — what’s best for you?

You’ve chosen your hosting provider (hopefully taking into consideration some of the ideas suggested in our 10-point guide!) and next you need to decide on the hosting platform you’re going to use: should it be a shared account, a physical dedicated server, or a virtual server in the cloud? In this post, we’ll take a look at each hosting type in turn, summarising the benefits of each platform.

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Cloud computing for software and application developers

Whether you develop bespoke software for specific customer requirements, or deliver specialised applications for business processes or vertical markets, what are the benefits that deploying in the cloud can bring to your business (and your customers)?

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is nothing particularly new — for many software houses, online deployment of applications (or at least some element of their functionality) has become the norm. Customers benefit from being able to access their applications from remote locations, they get streaming updates to ensure they have the latest features and security patches, while the impracticalities and costs of shipping physical media and the related on-site installation (not to mention dealing with platform differences) are distant memories for most.

The advantages to both developer and customer are clear.

However, as more software and solutions are delivered online, these old challenges are replaced by new ones…

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Cloud Computing Perspectives 3: The End User

In the final part of our “Cloud Perspectives” series, we’ll see how cloud is rising to meet a range of challenges faced (and actually posed by) end-users, and changing the way they interact with their applications and access data.

If you missed the previous two articles in this series, you can catch up here: Cloud Perspectives No.1: The Business Owner, and No.2: The IT Department.

The Challenge for the End-User

For the people using the services that cloud delivers, it’s all about getting things done: without frustration, faster, and in the way that suits them best. The end-user wants:

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Cloud Computing Perspectives 1: The Business Owner

Lots of the information we’ve seen about cloud computing concentrates on the technology behind it. This is great if you absolutely need an in-depth understanding of Distributed Resource Scheduling, but not so useful if you’re asking the “what’s in it for me?” question, and trying to make business decisions about your IT strategy.

Over the next few posts, we’ll take a step back from the technology and look at the bigger picture: what does cloud mean to the different people working within a business, and how does it help to address their everyday challenges? How does all of this come together to help you decide whether cloud is right for your business?

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From water wheel to… cloud?

You might well ask — just how do we get from the historic cast iron water wheel outside our leafy Cheshire HQ all the way to cloud computing?

Well, the link isn’t quite as tenuous as it first appears, because there happens to be quite a neat analogy between the way in which industry has sought to scale to meet its ambitions in the past, and the pressures that today’s businesses face in overcoming their own obstacles to growth.

The way we were…

During the 19th century with the Industrial Revolution in full swing, mills and factories propelled their activities with their own self-generated power supplies. Driven by water (see right!), steam, and eventually electricity, these on-site engines of industrial lifeblood were expensive to build and maintain, while expansion required lots of space, lots of planning, and lots of time. Power was both an enabling and limiting factor, its availability dictating the speed and volume of output, no matter the ambitions of the owners or the demands of the market.

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Cloud scenarios: and stretch! And relax…

One of the big advantages of cloud computing is the flexibility that it brings to IT. Many of you will no doubt be familiar with the conundrum of managing resource availability: make sure there’s enough in the tank to keep things going smoothly — but be mindful that you’re on a budget and can’t simply over-spec and be done with it. Ideally, demand is stable or at least predictable, which makes the job simpler.

However, not all of us are lucky enough to preside over such a harmonious utopia, leading us into the territory of the “calculated risk” which isn’t always the ideal situation.

Download: Cloud scenarios - real world examples of how cloud can help your business

Resources on demand…

It’s the ability to scale up resources quickly that is capturing the attention of embattled IT managers who are looking to make their lives just a little easier.

Whereas in the past, reacting to a requirement could take weeks (ordering, building, delivery, installation, integration, testing), deploying in the cloud means that resources can be scaled up (more or less) at the touch of a button.

Whether this takes place as part of a well planned process or in reaction to an unexpected event, the on-demand “vending machine” of cloud gives organisations the ability to accommodate dynamic, or changeable demand in an efficient and timely way.

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