Archive for the ‘IT Infrastructure’ Category

Cloud Computing Revenues – 2016

December 27, 2011 7 comments

The cloud computing market will represent $240 billion worth of revenue by 2016, up from $77 billion in 2011, according to Visiongain.

Visiongain believes that mobile cloud service revenues will reach $45 billion in 2016, with a compound annual growth rate of 55.18 percent from 2011.

At year end 2016, more than 50 percent of Global 1000 companies will have stored customer-sensitive data in the public cloud, Gartner researchers also believe.

Those forecasts are higher than some forecasts in early 2011. To forecast revenue, analysts start with the concept of average revenue per employee per month. Yankee Group calculates average revenue per employee for software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) as $4, $2 and $1, respectively.

For example, a typical enterprise will spend $4 per employee per month on SaaS. This is equivalent to $48 per year per employee, or what a small business or sole proprietor might pay for an online backup service such as Mozy or Carbonite and simple collaboration software like Evernote or Dropbox.

All of that adds up to annual revenue of about $23 billion by 2014, Yankee Group has estimated.

The Yankee Group global forecast for cloud computing revenue includes some key definitions.

Yankee Group defines midsize to large enterprises as 250 or more employees. The forecast also includes SMBs, which the firm defines as organizations with two to 249 employees. The forecast excludes consumer cloud services but does allow that small businesses will often adopt consumer cloud services for business use.

Yankee Group excludes sole proprietors from infrastructure as a service and platform as a service because analysts do not believe the typical small business has a need for those services.

The forecast likely understates demand in the small business segment to the extent that many small software firms will have high incentives to buy platform and infrastructure services “as a service.”

Those developments will affect many other industries and businesses. Separately, analysts at Gartner estimate that, by 2015, low-cost cloud services will cannibalize up to 15 percent of top outsourcing players’ revenue.

Gartner sees low-cost cloud services disrupting traditional IT in the same way that low-cost air carriers like Ryanair and Southwest disrupted the major commercial airlines.

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Bandwidth Management is now a critical

November 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Bandwidth management is now a critical part of any organization’s connectivity strategy. It is defined as the processes, products and policies designed to ensure optimal results for both public Internet access and private link such as MPLS. Bandwidth management consists of managing all carrier links and how traffic flows through them, with the right strategy for continuity when disaster hits.

To deliver consistent bandwidth management, the most appropriate devices are Link Balancers, defined as network-based appliances that have the capabilities needed to fully manage bandwidth, and multiple ISP or private links. In a majority of situations, these devices are typically installed between the firewall and modems and/or routers.

Some of the functions that Link Balancers provide are: link failover, which allows for one or more links to take over in place of a faulty ISP link until service returns to normal; outbound traffic balancing, which enables the link balancer to delegate traffic coming from the organization and going across various links that work in conjunction with organizational preferences; inbound traffic balancing, which is, in essence, a link balancer able to distribute incoming traffic across all chosen links; and session persistence management, which is when certain types of traffic including SIP (VoIP), HTTPS (secure web site access) and FTP (File Transfer Protocol) cannot be balanced. Most organizations with a Link Balancer will use outbound balancing for VPN clients as well.

According to Elfiq Networks, the leading provider of bandwidth management technology such as Link Balancers, the benefits associated with implementing these solutions are bountiful. First, business continuity is easily attainable as the use of many ISP links simultaneously creates a dramatically increased connection speed. This then helps the organization to be able to handle online activities, even in cases when certain ISPs are not working. Crucial processes such as web surfing, VPN access and voice traffic will always remain intact and business operations can continue without any adverse affects. Second, productivity is increased as the ability to run multiple links directly through one Link Balancer allows for a business to complete multiple activities such as uploading and downloading in a short period of time. Third, cost is greatly reduced due to the fact that downtime is virtually eliminated and employees can continue their work even if a link ceases to work. Fourth, help desk are decreased because Internet access will continue to work under various circumstances and users will no longer need assistance. Fifth, sales departments will gain traction as prospective employees have continuous access to the company’s website and their product offerings. If a website is rendered as functioning improperly, a customer can quickly lose interest and instead travel to a different competing organization.

When building a bandwidth management strategy, a diverse combination of ISP technologies can yield significant advantages and it is recommended to choose ISps with different carrier technologies. T1/E1/fibre circuits are very popular within organizations and offer symmetrical bandwidth. In addition, these ISPs come complete with SLAs that provide increased uptime. DSLs on the other hand are lower in cost than many ISP links. The most common type is ADSL which allows for increased download speeds. Cable modems power increased download speeds as well and usually operate on a parallel physical network so if a carrier’s network stops functioning normally, the second one will be available to take over the operation. With fixed wireless carriers, services have the potential to reach up to 100Mbps.

Mobile networks allow for 3G mobile telephony services and give organizations access to the Internet or other services, if in the case where wired providers become inactive. WiMax and LTE offer increased performance functions over 3G networks, while utilities’ ISP links offer another type of bandwidth distribution, either through electrical grids or fibre through natural gas pipelines. These ISPs can even act as an alternative network in situations where ISPs fail. Satellite links are prevalent all over the globe, which makes them a great option when either geography or local ISPs are major obstacles but throughput is limited while latency is high.

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What are SIP Endpoints?

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment

The term SIP Endpoints refers to the architecture that is responsible for enabling advanced call processing and call management functions.

SIP clients typically use TCP or UDP on port numbers to connect to SIP servers and other SIP endpoints. These SIP endpoints are typically referred to as the user agent client and the user agent server. A SIP user agent client is typically tasked with sending SIP requests while the user agent server receives the requests and returns a SIP response. The user agent client and server only assume these roles for the duration of a SIP transaction.

According to industry experts, because of the widespread use of instant messaging, SIP endpoints have become commonplace. Instant messaging applications such as Microsoft MSN Messenger and Apple iChat are SIP clients that can be used to transport voice and video free of charge. As a result of the growing popularity of instant messaging, specific instant messaging protocols based on the SIP standard have been created, including Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) and Session Initiation Protocol for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE). These two protocols allow presence information to be exchanged between SIP endpoints.

SIP is an industry that has quickly burgeoned, particularly because of the growing availability of open source PBXs and hosted service offerings. SIP phones allow businesses to route calls over the Internet, through VoIP, which guarantees them reduced hardware costs and increased savings on monthly bills. SIP phones are the “wave of the future,” according to many industry experts.

Many SIP leaders attempt to distinguish themselves in this competitive market place by making sure that their phones are certified by Digium’s Asterisk and BroadSoft’s Broadworks, in particular. Other SIP providers will ensure that their SIP phones boast: noise reduction technology; lower power consumption; HD Voice in all series models; and multi-year warranties.

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Planning to ‘Reset’ the WLAN Market, ADTRAN Buys Bluesocket

August 10, 2011 3 comments

ADTRAN believes the move to 802.11n, the explosion in demand for wireless connectivity, and the adoption of cloud virtualization in enterprise networks creates the ideal climate for it to enter the wireless LAN space. As a result, the company has acquired Bluesocket Inc. in a deal announced today.

Terms of the purchase were not released.

Bluesocket, a privately owned, venture-backed business out of Burlington, Mass., considers itself a fourth-generation wireless LAN solutions provider.

Christopher Koeneman, vice president of sales at the newly acquired company, explains that first-generation WLAN was all about autonomous access points. The second generation saw companies like Aruba and Cisco introduce thin access points managed by single controllers. The third generation involved the entrance of companies like Extricom and Meru to enable sustained roaming sessions for services such as voice over Wi-Fi, and the emergence of products that separated out the control plane from companies like Colubris (now part of HP) and Trapeze Networks (now under the Juniper Networks’ umbrella).

However, fourth-generation WLAN solutions, he says, are controller-less. A company called Aerohive that falls into this category builds the controller into the access point, he says. But the Bluesocket solution leverages virtualization to put control of the wireless network into the data center.

And cloud virtualization changes everything, notes Gary Bolton, vice president of global marketing at ADTRAN, who says cloud-based delivery of WLAN solutions will obsolete controller-based implementations, resetting the market for Wi-Fi as a whole. (The cloud/data center in this case will likely initially be a private cloud, but this technology could work in scenarios involving service provider-hosted offerings as well.)

Placing WLAN control in the data center makes sense, he explains, because it allows for unprecedented scalability. That’s important in light of the explosion in wireless endpoints and the fact that wireless access has become a must-have not just a nice-to-have capability, meaning that more organizations are now deploying larger numbers of access points. Controlling WLAN networks from servers (the Bluesocket solution in this case is software running on a VMware platform) at the data center also significantly reduces power requirements, Bolton adds, and it allows for a more secure overall architecture.

“We believe this is a perfect time to reset and redefine the whole wireless LAN industry,” says Bolton.

Eliminating the hardware requirement of the WLAN controller and putting it in the cloud is an architecture that – coupled with move to 802.11n, which is happening now – will put Cisco and others “back on their heels,” Bolton says. Pair that with ADTRAN’s ability to strengthen R&D investment on this front, its strong stable of channel partners, and its existing product portfolio, including its leadership position in LAN infrastructure, Bolton continues, and you have the potential for ADTRAN to really shake up the WLAN marketplace with new and more efficient solutions.

Today most enterprises have separate wireless and wireline networks, he adds, but with Bluesocket under its wing ADTRAN can now integrate those dual networks into a single, seamless network that can serve any endpoint virtually anywhere. The end goal, Bolton explains, is to allow for complete endpoint freedom across the enterprise, even if that enterprise is distributed across the world.

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Cloud Computing Must Address Issues of Interoperability

July 5, 2011 Leave a comment

What’s the one thing standing in the way of long-term adoption of cloud computing services?

Not security, if you ask cloud computing experts from IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional association. Instead, the greatest challenge is cloud interoperability and data portability, a topic that will be addressed at IEEE Cloud 2011, taking place July 4-9 in Washington, D.C.

“Security is certainly a very important consideration, but it’s not what will inhibit further adoption,” said Dr. Alexander Pasik, CIO at IEEE, in a statement. “To achieve the economies of scale that will make cloud computing successful, common platforms are needed to ensure users can easily navigate between services and applications regardless of where they’re coming from, and enable organizations to more cost-effectively transition their IT systems to a services-oriented model.”

IEEE experts say that there is a way around this challenge, however, as cloud providers could easily reassure customers about cloud computing by improving the tools they offer enterprise customers to give them more control over their own data and applications while offering a security guarantee.

Today, many public cloud networks are designed as closed systems and are not equipped to interact with each other. The lack of integration between these networks makes it difficult for organizations to consolidate their IT systems in the cloud and realize productivity gains and cost savings, according to IEEE. In order to address this, industry standards must be developed to help cloud service providers design interoperable platforms and enable data portability.

“Security in the cloud is no different than security issues that impact on-premises networks,” said IEEE Fellow Elisa Bertino, professor of Computer Science at Purdue University and research director at the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance. “Organizations are not exposing themselves to greater security risks by moving data to the cloud. In fact, an organization’s data is likely to be more secure in the cloud because the vendor is a technology specialist whose business model is built on data protection.”

Despite the challenges that exist with cloud computing, it is continuing to increase exponentially. In fact, according to industry research firm IDC, revenue from public cloud computing services is expected to reach $55.5 billion by 2014, up from $16 billion in 2009.

Cloud computing has emerged as a leading trend as it has begun to play an important role in people’s professional and personal lives by supporting a variety of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications used to store healthcare records, critical business documents, music and e-book purchases, social media content, and more.

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What is Cloud CRM?

June 21, 2011 2 comments

Cloud CRM stands for “cloud customer relationship management” which essentially refers to any cloud-based technology that streamlines and harnesses a company’s customer data for improved customer service and overall revenue.

Customer relationship management is a term that refers to the system through which businesses market, sell, and deliver services to clients. Various CRM solutions are available from different providers that can be tailored to the needs of the business, whether it is a small to mid-sized business or an enterprise organization.

Enabling companies of any size to capture customer information and analyze the data to achieve better product deliverance and ultimate customer service, CRM solutions used to only be stored in central databases consisting of hardware and network infrastructure. Now, with the advancement of cloud technologies, many companies are drifting away from the hard locations of data and moving to Internet-based solutions.

“Cloud-based” simply means that the technology does not live in an IT-based environment such as a hard database, accessible through desktop only. Cloud CRM can now be delivered through the Internet which means that agents, supervisors, and executives can all access the same information in real time.

As long as a user has an Internet connection, he or she may access the cloud CRM applications and software, making customer interactions more timely and less costly. Putting CRM in the cloud means businesses do not have to purchase expensive hardware or software, and the solutions are much less time-consuming to maintain. Retrieving support is fairly easy, since providers of cloud CRM have the same access to the software from wherever their headquarters are located.

Ultimately, the cloud is a growing trend amongst businesses hoping to take advantage of the ability to host technology without having to maintain the cumbersome database, and the CRM industry is steadily coming into play in the cloud-based arena.

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Hosted Contact Centers as the Future of Customer Service

June 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Hosted contact centers offer a wealth of benefits to communications outposts that can help them remain nimble and effective even as they grow. The reduction of operational cost, removal of startup cost, and ability to expand software access as the need arises mean that with a hosted contact center managers can remain vigilant on the tasks that require their attention– namely offering top notch customer service.

In addition to these advantages, cloud based technology can also allow call centers to seamlessly integrate diffused workforces. This helps them to increase the number of expert representatives on the phone and in some cases totally eliminate the need to run a facility of any kind.

In a September 2009, a report by the Aberdeen group made reference to this as possibly the strongest advantage of hosted solutions.“We discovered that a new disruptive technology has changed the nature of traditional contact center outsourcing: cloud services,” the report said. The company predicted the impact of hosted solution on the contact center manager would be an effective blurring of the lines between in-sourcing and out-sourcing.

In a follow up report this year, the Aberdeen group confirmed this suspicion they posed in 2009’s report saying, “The top business drivers contact center managers are contending with is the need to reduce costs and enhance competitiveness. Their customers increasingly want to interact with contact centers at the time and in the manner of their choosing.” The only way to do both of these things in a simultaneous fashion is to move to a hosted solution.

Aberdeen’s report is available for free download: Here

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