Digital asset delivery community for automotive OEM launched, as SaaS-based TRUexchange and TRUcore SOA enable collaboration for auto makers
By ECM Plus staff
Digital asset delivery community for automotive OEM launched, as SaaS-based TRUexchange and TRUcore SOA enable collaboration for auto makers
By ECM Plus staff
Dashboarding, email integration and marketing capabilities for CashBox billing
By ECM Plus staff
ECM Plus +++ Vindicia, providers of SaaS billing has launched new marketing capabilities for its CashBox SaaS billing solution. Cashbox’ new dashboard applications aim to help digital merchants identify key trends in their customer base and make better business decisions. A new integration feature provides native integration into common email systems, beginning with Responsys’ Interact Suite. Continue reading
Tens of millions of pounds tied up in petabytes of wasted storage as Zombie Virtual Machines continue to be a problem
By ECM Plus staff
ECM Plus +++ Real-Status CTO, Stace Hipperson, has warned that Virtual Machine administrators still need to be extra-vigilant against VM sprawl as more and more users ‘self-provision’ to set up their own virtual machines.
VMs, software implementations of computers that execute programs like physical machines, are the enabling technology behind cloud computing. Continue reading
Today’s enterprise application forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of Transformation
By ROB PRINZO
The rapid pace of technology innovation combined with market forces creates the opportunity for organizations to find additional operating efficiencies through technology. These efficiencies are being found through consolidation, shared services, outsourcing and new deployment models such as SaaS and cloud computing. Continue reading
Trubiquity takes off into cloud ECM and SaaS with NexPrise takeover – WebSpace platform will expand cloud computing offerings for Michigan-based MFT specialist Trubiquity
By PAUL QUIGLEY
ECM Plus +++ Managed file transfer bellwether Trubiquity has just acquired the assets of NexPrise, providers of cloud-based Enterprise Content Management (ECM).
According to the company, the acquisition includes substantially all of NexPrise’s assets, customers and business operations, including the WebSpace and InfoPrise product lines. Continue reading
ENTERPRISE FINANCE: ERP, HCM, specialist secures expansion capital in £50m Lyceum investment
By ECM Plus staff
ECM Plus +++ Colchester-based business management specialist Access UK has been successful in its bid to go ahead with a rapid expansion strategy after securing a £50 million deal with growth investor Lyceum Capital.
According to the company, the capital injection will help to boost the range of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and services, with a particular slant on financial management systems (FMS) and human capital management (HCM) the company said. Continue reading
Embedded integration partner programme for ISVs and SaaS providers for B2B cloud
ECM Plus +++ GXS has just taken the wraps off a new programme for collaborators in the independent software vendor community and SaaS players to embed GXS’s Trading Grid integration cloud platform into cloud services and software apps.
GXS said that their collaborators can now connect banking, manufacturing and retailer customers to make the most of their six million trading partner relationships already in GXS Trading Grid. Continue reading
BY CLAIRE GALBOIS-ALCAIX
Ten years ago, if you’d asked a small businesses owner what they did to back up their data, the majority would have pulled a tape from their bag and told you how they swapped out a cassette each night and took them home for safe keeping.
But times have changed and, today, everyone is talking about ‘the Cloud’. So what does that mean? Are all Cloud services the same? And is all Cloud data protected? Continue reading
All Your Servers Are Belong To Us
BY ADAM POWERS
From IT consumerisation to user mobility, corporate network and security teams have had their fair share of challenges to deal with over the past few years. These trends have created what is often referred to as the ‘vanishing perimeter’. reducing the efficiency of traditional defences, such as proxy servers, firewalls and IDS/IPS. Continue reading
Cloud provider commits to industry forum for high-quality cloud computing services
ECM Plus – ScienceLogic has just joined up with the Cloud Industry Forum established to promote trust, security and transparency within the sector. cienceLogic COO Richard Chart has joined CIF’s Member Board.
Andy Burton, Chairman of CIF, added: “CIF members are directly responsible for the shape, format and governance of the CIF Code of Practice and as such are instrumental in influencing public confidence and industry best practice.” Continue reading
Connectria selects Scality to launch a public cloud storage service, Scality’s first ‘Storage as a Service’ customer
ECM Plus – Enterprise hosting behemoth Connectria has just given the nod to Scality for its RING as its core technology that will go into its new so-called ‘Storage as a Service’ offering.
Scality’s RING platform creates a series of nodes that are built using off-the-shelf servers. Each node on the RING controls its own segment of the overall storage pool. Continue reading
As the hype curve around cloud computing continues north, it’s increasingly easy to get lost in the pressure – perceived or real – coming from all sides to quickly formulate a strategy to leverage today’s IT super trend.
BY CRAIG BEDDIS
The promise of benefits such as fast time to implementation, cheap infrastructure
in a pay-as-you go model, substantially reduced electricity and overall IT costs, and a host of other tantalising would-be benefits can seem overwhelming. But as the old adage goes, cooler heads will prevail. Continue reading
MSN Sankei launches new photo archive in the cloud
BY PAUL QUIGLEY
ECM Plus +++ Microsoft’s Japanese media outlet MSN Sankei News has just taken the wraps off its cloud-based service to operate its photograph publishing and sharing site.
According to CMS vendor Sitecore, using the Windows Azure platform for the content delivery and management of Sitecore’s software, MSN Sankei News was able create and launch the photo site in ten weeks. Continue reading
BY JOHN WALKER
Economics dictates that the CEO, and CFO have a balancing act delivering security, and quality operational services, whilst at the same time, attempting to reduce the organisational and operational costs of delivering the business’ mission.
One opportunity in focus is that of ‘CloudSourcing’, where, depending on the size and type of business, they may be considering engaging in a contract in which part, or all, of their operations are placed into the hands of a Cloud Provider, be this SaaS, PaaS, IaaS or any other such ‘Anything-as-a-Service’ that may accommodate the operational model. Continue reading
RTG Ventures’ media business RTG Media launching a cloud-based content management service, ArchiveGo.com.
BY PAUL QUIGLEY
ECM Plus – According to the RTG Ventures, the new Archive2Go service is aimed at corporations that own digital media content with a secure way of managing media with access from any internet enabled device.
RTG said that /ArchiveGo.com would offer a round-the-clock catalogueing and archiving service with automatic back-up.
ArchiveGo also boasts a single-click interconnect to CloudChannel, RTG Media’s auto-syndication and monetization application,
CloudChannel is a platform supporting media owners’ content to monetize it directly from their own archive.
Colin Burgess, RTG Media’s technology director, commented: “ArchiveGo.com was borne out of the needs we identified while working with record labels on the CloudChannel product and because of my specific expertise, we were able to create a solution very quickly.”
Added Burgess: “I don’t think we’ve come across a single company in our space that doesn’t like the idea of what CloudChannel can do for them, but many organizations don’t have their whole back catalogue in good enough shape to be able to take advantage of its unique monetization methods. It quickly became clear that there was a role for us in organizing the catalogues prior to monetizing them and to do that, we needed a tool. Meeting another unidentified business need will give RTG an additional source of revenue and illustrates one of our core values of being opportunity driven. This new technology will act as a stepping stone towards full integration with CloudChannel.”
Burgess also said that when they could not find a solution at the right price to buy, the company decided to build its own and that it had been so well received, that the company is now opening it up to the wider market by selling it online as a web application. “For our core markets, we’re wrapping a service layer around the product providing not just the technical infrastructure, but also the people they need to get their assets properly cataloged and archived” Burgess added.
eZ Publish CMS now available with Granite Horizon In The Cloud.
BY PAUL QUIGLEY
ECM Plus – eZ Publish is now available in a ‘cloud-based’ version to meet the web publishing needs of medium and small businesses.
Dubbed ‘Granite Horizon In The Cloud’, the content management system is available on a SaaS software as a service basis through Granite Horizon LLC, a California-based web developer and implementer.
“Talking to people in the market for a CMS, we saw a real need for a SaaS-type offering” commented Greg McAvoy-Jensen, Granite Horizon’s executive director. “Many organizations can’t muster the internal IT or financial support for a full-blown CMS effort, despite their need.
“We looked at current SaaS offerings and thought that eZ Publish, a proven CMS powerhouse, would provide a uniquely strong answer,” he said “Site owners can concentrate on their content – creating, editing and publishing words and images – without having to worry about hardware, software, upgrades, IT resources or hosting their CMS.
According to the company, GH In The Cloud is based on the eZ Publish platform with added extensions and custom features including a basic mobile site version, e-commerce and payment gateway, Google Analytics integration and RSS import/export. The service is hosted at a Tier IV data center with financial grade security and N+2 redundancy for complete reliability.
eZ said that GH In The Cloud is offered on two levels, determined by the need for custom workflows, storage and bandwidth. It is available to organizations who want to integrate a CMS into an existing site or create an entirely new one.
Platform proffers capabilities for process automation and workflow
BY PAUL QUIGLEY
ECM Plus +++ SpringCM has released the latest cloud enterprise content management (CECM) platform.
According to the compan, new features include enhanced e-forms and metadata functionality that enable easier and faster deployment of SpringCM for a variety of process-automation, workflow and document-management applications.
The new release boasts features that claim to ensure knowledge workers have the most current data and eliminates manual picklist maintenance with a new capability to manage picklist values from ERP, CRM, and other systems.
SpringCM said that the latest version can also reduce errors and exceptions due to improperly formatted data in e-forms with new field masks, and, it includes external content and websites and the ability to assign attributes and search on them with a new feature to store Web links or URLs.
Other new features of their cloud ECM offering include the ability to eliminate file downloads and printing with enhanced online document viewing; provide user interface enhancements based on customer usability research and metrics, and, provide non-technical users with an easy way to define automated document and workflow applications through use of additional document rules.
Said Roger Bottum, vice president of marketing at SpringCM: “Capabilities such as integration with ERP data and workflow that real business users can configure on their own, make it easier, faster and more affordable for organisations to move away from the on-premises content management trap and start delivering real business value.”
BY PAUL QUIGLEY
ECM Plus – According to new findings by Indian software developers, this year will see several major themes leading the way in business and technology.
The Bangalore-headquartered firm said that, thus far, outsourced product development (OPD) has gained substantial traction with what it sees as an ‘improvement in economic environment across the world’.
Aditi said that independent software vendors (ISVs) have again started focusing extensively on the newer technologies and taking their offerings rapidly on the emerging platforms and trends.
Aditi Technologies themselves specialise in software product and application development services and said that it believes the top few ISV/OPD trends for 2011 were led by the cloud. Said Aditi: “Cloud is a big disruptive change and ISVs are rapidly building solutions and competencies to surge ahead in this multi-billion dollar market. Small and new ISV players stand to gain in a big way because of the low initial investment requirement for providing new software solutions.” Aditi added that cloud strategy acts as a revenue and customer-growth engine, facilitating penetration to wider customer segments and geographies. ISVs are looking at solutions from a spectrum of open public to closed private. The next two years will see the delivery of a range of cloud service applications that fall between these two ends. The rapid adoption can be attributed to a latent need in the IT industry for a delivery mechanism that is ubiquitous, scalable and elastic, and at the same time does not incur premium costs. Business cases have emerged for using this delivery mechanism that provides a clear ROI.
The second trend, according to Aditi, is now mobilitu. “With more than a billion people carrying handsets that are capable of rich, mobile commerce, it provides an ideal environment for the convergence of mobility and the Web. Smart phones today come with an astounding amount of processing ability and bandwidth and increasing mobile penetration has opened up new vistas for the ISV to build mobile solutions as an extension to their existing enterprise offerings.” Aditi added that it was of the view that ISVs have started reusing most of the server-side functionality in their business process, while giving it a new “mobile facelift”. The surge in popularity of mobile devices is forcing ISVs to incorporate mobile strategy into mainstream development processes.
The firm also thinks the third key trend will be a generic ‘technology modernisation, whereby constantly changing business requirements and consolidations of companies will require ISV players to be quick and deliver according to changing situations. Said Aditi: “Technology modernization will continue to be a focus area for ISVs looking at leveraging the power of newer technologies and platforms. Increasing emphasis on collaboration and social media is necessitating the adoption of newer technology paradigms.”
The fourth key trend for 2011 according to the Indian ISV is that of business intelligence. Aditi said that software is now getting ‘richer’ and more complex along with the changing trends in business. The applications have become more collaborative and social, which creates huge demand for Business Intelligence and analytical solutions. “BI tools are now making a mark in the decision-making environments, enabling visibility and providing insights across operational improvements, finance & cost management and sales & marketing decisions” Aditi stated.
To round out the top five trends of this new year, Aditi said that digital marketing would be the real clincher. “While in some ways social media has made communication easier, it’s made digital life and digital marketing infinitely more complex with social platforms and tools competing for time, attention and dollars” Aditi said. “Integration of business applications with social collaboration technologies, such as wikis, blogs, instant messaging and collaborative and unified offices, are the technology trends being witnessed by ISVs. Companies are bringing together their social CRM, internal communications and collaboration, and public social site initiatives into a coordinated and cohesive strategy.”
FirstSpirit launches AppCenter for Integration of Web applications into the content management system, focus on workflow optimisation for editors
ECM Plus – e-Spirit’s new AppCenter for content management system FirstSpirit is the only solution on the market supporting the straightforward interface integration of virtually all web applications whether from cloud and SaaS environments, or from the desktop directly into the CMS.
According to the firm, this results in a whole new experience for online editors, since applications that were previously used separately are now available right in FirstSpirit with the accustomed interface and functionality and can be used directly in the CMS.
Editors no longer have to keep switching between many different programs in order to transfer content from other applications to the CMS or to conduct information research. This makes the editing processes faster and more efficient – with thousands of different applications.
e-Spirit’s said AppCenter could provide infrastructure for the integration of all types of web applications that makes the daily work of editors easier. This new FirstSpirit functionality allows editors to use key programs they are accustomed to directly in the FirstSpirit JavaClient, rather than outside the CMS which was the case previously.
Online image databases, image editing, video and web analysis services are examples of its use. The programs are opened using a simple one-click request in the CMS. Thanks to seamless integration with the applications, data are displayed in the CMS and can be used, edited and subsequently published on a website, intranet or any other channel. Text, images, audio and video files, road maps, product information etc. can be comfortably processed in the FirstSpirit editor interface regardless of the source and with media continuity. Prior to deployment, the layout in various output channels can be verified in the WYSIWYG preview.
“The FirstSpirit AppCenter opens up new horizons to companies for the optimization of their content management processes” commented Jörn Bodemann, CEO of e-Spirit. “It represents the continuation of our best-of-breed strategy to the Cloud: We allow companies to seamlessly integrate the applications they need into FirstSpirit so that editors can simply continue using their favorite programs in the CMS. Not only does this result in enhanced usability, it also improves the efficiency of editing processes and thereby leads to measurable savings for companies.”
AppCenter is based on the powerful web browser integration in the JavaClient which was already established in FirstSpirit. AppCenter API is suitable for integration into the editing interface of existing applications, new development, customer-specific programmes and third-party software based on different technology platforms, including web applications, platform-independent Java applications, operating system-independent native applications like Mozilla Firefox, or complex RIA applications such as Flash, AIR and Silverlight.
In combination with cloud and SaaS services, e-Spirit said that FirstSpirit AppCenter also supports the integration of complex applications that cannot be operated in-house due to extensive hardware requirements, maintenance and licensing costs such as with video transcoding, the company said.
Report says cloud will dominate market in 2011
BY PAUL QUIGLEY
ECM Plus – Adoption of cloud-based services is set to accelerate as buyers are developing business cases and piloting projects and devising strategies to migrate select legacy processes to lower-cost models, according to new research by EquaTerra.
It said that the outsourcing market was now becoming increasingly fragmented. EquaTerra’s survey found that demand for outsourcing and third-party services’ pie will be divided up differently as the industry continues to evolve.
Apparently, buyers are doing more multiple small deals in a range of sub-process areas, outsourcing new types of work and experimenting with a range of cloud-based offerings, the survey revealed.
“Buying patterns are changing,” said Stan Lepeak, managing director of global research for EquaTerra. ”Throughout 2010 we characterized slower growth in traditional IT and business process outsourcing as cyclical and attributable to cautiousness associated with a severe recession. It’s increasingly apparent, however, that what’s going on is more systemic.”
Some fo the survey’s findings reveal that demand for conventional business process outsourcing and ITO is now ‘sluggish’. 48 percent of respondents cited demand in the fourth quarter was down three percent quarter over quarter and five percent year over year. 51 percent said the new deal pipeline growth for the quarter was also down 13 percent quarter-on-quarter, and that 24 percent year-on-year saw further evidence of a systemic change in buying patterns versus cyclical fluctuations.
According to EquaTerra, cloud was the ‘next logical step’ in the evolution of outsourcing. Cloud computing was redefining the concept by offering “as-a-service” capabilities ranging from infrastructure to platform to applications.
EquaTerra said that such offerings were particularly attractive to cautious buyers who welcome the opportunity to shift operating expenses to capital expenses, peg price to usage, lower overall costs, and to scale up or down as needed. Cloud-based services are also the logical next step for organisations.
The ‘As-a-Service’ categories were expected to experience significant uptake in 2011. Desktop applications were a cost-effective alternative to licensed/installed desktop software, such as documents and spreadsheets, project collaboration, short messaging, email and calendar.
Infrastructure, it stated, which includes integrated technologies that work together seamlessly to enable fast, flexible delivery of both IT infrastructure and managed services certified data centres, secure storage, disaster recovery, development and testing.
Added Lepeak: “Many firms in emerging markets are forgoing enterprise systems. They start up using standardized cloud-based systems and their operating costs are one-tenth of the legacy model.”
How can we expect users to trust the cloud, until it has really been put to the test? Well, it has been, and it works.
Considering the business world’s dedication to efficiency and minimizing expenditure, the personal computer revolution of the 1980s coulde seem pretty perverse to later generations. Why fill the office with PCs loaded with identical software rather than centralise on one mainframe with simpler, cheaper workstations on the desk?
And yet the PC survived well into the age of the Internet, when it first became possible to deliver all software as a service from a central source. The idea of ”Software as a Service” was good, but pioneering attempts failed, simply because broadband access was not good enough to support the service. But with today’s widespread broadband it has become a practical proposition.
It’s now called ”Cloud Computing” because actual processing takes place at some unknown location, or in a dispersed virtual machine, across the Internet cloud. And it only becomes practical when the Internet access is fast enough not to frustrate a user accustomed to the speed and responsiveness of on-board software. Simarly, the success of a virtual data centre must depend on network links fast enough to preserve the illusion of a single hardware server.
We do now have networks and access technologies fast enough to meet these challenges, but many are held back because they do not have the confidence to engage in the Cloud.
Knowing what we do about the determination and skill of cyber-criminals, how can we secure a system as amorphous and connected as the Cloud? And, after decades of experience in which enthusiastic technology-advocates have promoted systems too complex to be reliable, why should the public now put its trust in cloud computing?
The answer would be to find some way to test these shapeless and dynamic virtual systems with the same thoroughness and accountability as testing a single static piece of hardware. That is asking a lot, but it has been achieved – according to a recent report from European test specialists Broadband Testing.
The performance challenge
Cloud computing potentially offers all the benefits of a centralised service – pay for what you actually use, professional maintenance of all software, single contact and contract for any number of applications, processing on state-of-the-art hardware – but it has to match the speed, responsiveness and quality experience of local software if the service is going to be accepted.
So how does the provider ensure that level of service will be maintained under a whole range of real world operating conditions including attempted cyber attacks? The answer must lie in exhaustive testing.
But there is a fundamental problem in testing any virtual system, in that it is not tied to specific hardware. The processing for a virtual switch or virtual server is likely to be allocated dynamically to make optimal use of available resources. Test it now, and it may pass every test, but test it again and the same virtual device may be running in a different server and there could be a different response to unexpected stress conditions.
This is what worries the customer – is it really possible to apply definitive testing to something as formless as a virtual system? Broadband Testing’s report, Secure Virtual Data Center Testing (September 2010), provides the answer.
“Can we trust the cloud? The answer now is ‘yes’” according to Steve Broadhead, founder and director, Broadband Testing. “Virtual Security works in theory but, until there was a way to test it thoroughly under realistic conditions, solution vendors have had a hard time convincing their customers. Without Spirent we could not have done this – the testing proved not only highly rigorous, but also quite simple to operate.”
Maintaining the application library
Whether the central processing runs on a physical, virtual or cloud server, it needs to hold a large amount of application software to satisfy the client base, and that software needs to be maintained with every version upgrade and bug fix as soon as they become available. It’s a complex task, and it is increasingly automated to keep pace with development. There must be a central library keeping the latest versions and patches for each application package, and some mechanism for deploying these across the servers without disrupting service delivery.
At this stage the service provider is in the hands of the application developer – the service to the end user can only be as good as the latest version on the server. We hope the aplication developer has done a good job and produced a reliable, bug-free product, but the service provider’s reputation hangs on that hope until the software has been thoroughly tested on the provider’s own system.
In the case of a physical server, we do not expect any problem because the application is likely to have been developed and pre-tested on a similar server. But virtualisation and cloud computing adds many layers of complexity to the process. The speed of the storage network becomes a significant factor if the application makes multiple data requests per second, and that is just one of many traffic issues in a virtual server.
Faced with such complexity, predicting performance becomes increasingly difficult and the only answer is to test it thoroughly under realistic conditions.
One cannot expect clients to play the role of guinea pigs, so usage needs to be simulated on the network. It is critical to gauge the total impact of software additions, moves and changes as well as network or data center changes. Every change must be tested to avoid mission critical business applications from grinding to a halt.
Application testing in a virtual environment
There are two aspects to testing applications in a virtual environment. Firstly functional testing, to make sure the installed application works and delivers the service it was designed to provide, and then volume testing under load.
The first relates closely to the design of the virtual system – although more complex, the virtual server is designed to model a hardware server and any failures in the design should become apparent early on. Later functional testing of new deployments is just a wise precaution in that case.
Load testing is an altogether different matter, because it concerns the impact of unpredictable traffic conditions on a known system.
To give a crude analogy: one could clear the streets of London of all traffic, pedestrians, traffic controls and road works then invite Michael Schumacher to race from the City of London to Heathrow airport in less than 30 minutes. But put back the everyday traffic, speed restrictions, traffic lights and road works and not only will the journey take much longer, it will also become highly unpredictable – one day it might take less than an hour, another day over two hours to make the same journey.
In a virtual system, and even more so in the cloud, there can be unusual surges of traffic leading to unexpected consequences. Applications that perform faultlessly for ten or a hundred users may not work so well for a hundred thousand users – quite apart from other outside factors and attacks that can heavily impact Internet performance.
So the service provider cannot offer any realistic service level agreement to the clients without testing each application under volume loading and simulated realistic traffic conditions.
The Spirent test solution
Network performance and reliability have always mattered, but virtualisation makes these factors critical. Rigorous testing is needed at every stage in deploying a virtual system. During the design and implementation phases it is needed to inform buying decisions, and to ensure compliance. Then, during operation it is equally importantand to monitor for performance degradation and anticipate bottlenecks, as well as ensuring that applications still work under load as suggested above.
But large data centers and cloud computing pose particular problems because of their sheer scale. Spirent TestCenter™ is the company’s flagship test platform for testing such complex networks, and it meets the need for scalability in a rack system supporting large numbers of test cards, to scale up to 4.8 terabits in a single rack.
As a modular system, TestCentre can be adapted to any number of test scenarios. In particular, Spirent Virtual is a software module that specifically addresses the challenge of testing in a virtual environment. It was named the 2010 Best of Interop winner in the Performance Optimization category, on the strength of its innovative approach for testing the performance, availability, security and scalability of virtualized network appliances as well as cloud-based applications across public, private and hybrid cloud environments.
Spirent Virtual provides unsurpassed visibility into the entire data center infrastructure. It is designed specifically to meet the needs of a complex environment where as many as 64 virtual servers, including a virtual switch with as many virtual ports, may reside on a single physical server and switch access port. With Spirent Virtual in the TestCentre, it is not only possible to test application performance wholistically under realistic loads and stress conditions, but also to determine precisely what component – virtual or physical – is impacting performance.
To create realistic test conditions, Spirent Virtual software is used in conjunction with devices designed to generate massive volumes of realistic simulated traffic. Spirent Avalanche is such a device. It is designed to replicate real world traffic conditions by simulating error conditions, realistic user behavior, and maintaining over one million open connections from distinct IP addresses. By challenging the infrastructure’s ability to stand up to the load and complexity of the real world it puts application testing in a truly realistic working environment.
The latency issue
Even minute levels of latency can become an issue across a virtual server. So how does one measure such low levels of latency, where the very presence of monitoring devices produces delays that must be compensated for?
Manual compensation is time consuming and even impossible in some circumstances, whereas in the TestCentre this compensation is automatic and adjusts according to the interface technology and speed.
The acceptability of cloud computing depends upon delivering a quality of experience as good as local processing but without all the overheads of licencing and software version management. Quality of experience is a subtle blend of many factors such as latency, jitter and packet loss and all these can be precisely monitored on the TestCentre under wide-ranging traffic loads, both running pre-programmed tests automatically and allowing operator intervention via a simple user interface.
And the question of security
As well as delivering good quality of user experience, the cloud computing provider needs to satisfy the clients’ fears about security in the Cloud. The hacker that accesses a soft switch can re-route traffic at will, and so virtualisation leads to potentially severe vulnerability across the whole business – and the social infrastructure in the case of cloud computing. Again, the growth in virtualisation demands a corresponding increase in prior and routine testing.
Here it is not only the need to test under unusual load conditions – because those are the times when attacks are most likely to succeed – but also there is a need to simulate a whole range of attack scenarios. The application must still work when tested in the context of the network security devices working under attacks and vulnerabilities.
Spirent’s system delivers the most comprehensive, accurate user emulation of end user traffic and unexpected attack traffic even while at high load. Simply put, Spirent can model the user behavior while scaling to full Internet levels. This “no compromise” approach is important since measuring the impact to the user and the network while loading the application with real-world loading patterns helps identify, isolate and resolve problems before the provider commits them to service agreements and puts them on-line.
Putting the test to the test
Broadband Testing set out to determine whether it is possible to secure a virtual environment, knowing that their first problem was to create a rigorous and repeatable test process.
The security system under test would be the TippingPoint IPS-based Secure Virtualization Framework (SVF), and the test bed itself would consist of both the physical and virtual versions of Spirent’s Avalanche traffic generator. These were to be combined with a typical network environment including both physical and virtual elements in order to replicate a truly representative hybrid data center environment.
Using Spirent’s pioneering cloud computing testing solutions with performance, availability, security and scalability (PASS) methodology, Broadband Testing were able to monitor and test internal and external-to-internal traffic under normal operating and extreme conditions plus a wide range of attack scenarios. All the threats in the HP TippingPoint signature base were successfully blocked, and the only ones that passed were those not yet added to the then-current database.
David Hill, Spirent’s vice president for EMEA commented on the Broadband Testing report: “The key takeaway was that testing with Spirent stressed the
capability of the security solution right to its limits. ”People assume that security is the final objective, when what is really needed is a precise way to
quantify and tailor the level of security in a complex system. ‘Tried and tested’ means more than any amount of theoretical argument in this case.”
“The economic benefits of cloud computing are overwhelming, but so are the security concerns of network operators and their customers. This independent report breaks that deadlock, as reliable testing now makes it easy for system vendors to mitigate the risks of migrating to the cloud, while optimizing resource utilization under an exhaustive range of real-world operating and threat scenarios.”
Cloud computing offers many advantages to the user, but the provider must assure the client that the service will consistently deliver on its promises. Fail, and users will vote with their feet.
The only way to ensure success is to offer a tried and tested service. Broadband Testing has now shown that this can be done and it can be proven. Most significantly for practical purposes, they found that: ” the testing proved not only highly rigorous, but also quite simple to set up and run.”
By Maggie Meer, Event Director of Cloud Expo Europe 2011
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Cloud Computing are hot topics right now as they enable companies to better manage their IT investments and reduce costs.
Analysts predict that 20 percent of businesses will own no IT assets by 2012. But how do businesses know whether Cloud Computing is right for them? Should they adopt an on-demand type of environment hosted by software vendors or their partners; or go for a public cloud environment such as those offered by Azure or Amazon EC2 or implement a private cloud? Is Cloud Computing a revolution or actually nothing new? How will it change the IT landscape and what technological developments can we expect in the future?
Most importantly, how will cloud computing save money and ensure efficiency all round?
All these questions and many more will be addressed at Cloud Expo Europe which is to take place on 2nd and 3rd February in London at The Barbican.
The event will play host to the top providers of Cloud Computing, Virtualisation, Solution providers, SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, Storage Management and Next Generation Datacentre technology providers such as Amazon, Carrenza, Redhat, Terremark, Rackspace, OnApp, Ping Identity, Xiotech, Zeus and others.
Respected luminaries and key industry leaders will speak at the conference which features three tracks: Business, Solutions and Security & Storage. The conference will provide a balanced mix of real-life case studies, presentations from third party experts and seminars to investigate the issues and opportunities of Cloud Computing.
The public sector will be particularly well represented. A keynote by Joan Miller, Head of Parliamentary ICT, will address how Parliament is investigating the options and criteria to be used to assess which version of the Cloud they will back. Hillingdon Council’s Roger Bearpark will talk about the Council’s Cloud Initiative and Transport for London’s Emer Coleman will outline TfL’s recent move to the Cloud for the live feeds of information on the Tube.
Security continues to be a key concern for IT and business decision-makers considering cloud alternatives. What are the key differences between the traditional computing models and virtualized computing models, and what does this mean for security strategy? Large scale cloud deployments can result in large amounts of data in the Cloud.
Putting that data on low-cost storage results in unacceptable performance, but putting all the data on high-performance storage results in unacceptable costs. How can this issue be resolved and how can you ensure that the data is secure? The Security and Storage track will examine all these issues in depth as well as present the different technologies on offer.
Finally, several respected Industry experts will reveal research on the types of cloud computing environments being used, considered or ignored, what the drivers and expectations are, which countries are leading or lagging in adoption and what the trends are for the future.
2011 is the year of the Cloud and Cloud Expo Europe 2011 aims to provide visitors with the latest information, resources, ideas and examples which they can apply to their own working environment to maximise performance, improve scalability and minimise outlay whatever their business and company size.
Paywall versus ads debate is history
BY PAUL QUIGLEY
ECM Plus +++ Cleeng has begun seeding its latest content monetization solution to beta testers on the WordPress platform. Cleeng is a patented cloud-based service for Content Management Systems that provides a way of collecting micro-payments when customers access online content,
According to Cleeng, the new system is a ‘missing link’ between online adverts and subscription paywalls. It claims to open a new revenue stream for publishers and is compatible with existing CMS and subscription models.
It also enables customers to buy content whilst mobile with a single click, without needing to be a site subscriber.
“In the quest to monetize content, online ads and subscription paywalls have shown their limits. We saw that there was room for a high-volume, low-unit cost solution for paid-for content that provides a service to both users and publishers alike,” said Gilles Domartini, founder of Cleeng. “We’ve invented a frictionless, unified content acquisition system that’s a breeze to integrate and leaves content visible to search engines.”
Cleeng enables publishers to define which part of their content is available to Cleeng users and the figure for each content item. Content items can be priced at between £0.12 to £0.83. Apparently, all but ‘a fraction’ of the revenue is retained by the publisher. Cleeng is technology-neutral and will function on all web browsers.
When published, the content item is hidden behind a secure Cleeng layer on the publisher’s website, and the page remains completely visible to search engines. The Cleeng layer is embedded in the HTML, so the content is always under the publisher’s control.
However, users must register using their Facebook, Yahoo! or Google accounts, and then can, as Cleeng calls it ‘experience content acquisition’ five times for free on any registered publishers. Users can pay for their content items with usual credit cards as well as Skype credit. Content appears instantly and is available for unlimited usage, on any of their devices.
Cleeng said it would be available for other Content Management Systems, including Drupal, Joomla and Brightcove.
Icelandic new business venture fund invests in Transmit
BY PAUL QUIGLEY
ECM Plus – Icelandic New Business Venture Fund has invested in the software development company Transmit, and now owns 30.6% of the company.
According to the venture partners, Transmit’s aim is to become a market leader in providing on-demand software for managing digital marketing- and brand assets.
Transmit said its product, Brand Regard, is a web-based software solution that enables companies to maximize the potential of their most valuable asset: Their brand. It is a low cost, low risk brand asset management solution that helps companies convey their brand and make sure it is communicated effectively and consistently to its customers.
Helga Valfells, CEO of the New Business Venture Fund:
“We are very pleased with our investment in Transmit. We have much faith in the company and in the team behind Brand Regard. For us as investors, it is also very positive that Transmit has already made inroads in its marketing efforts in the UK which confirms both the market’s demand for their product and the company’s growth potential.”
Geir Freysson, CEO of Transmit added: “With Brand Regard, Transmit aims to seize a significant, new opportunity that has emerged in the digital asset management market. This investment in our company will allow us to move quickly in capitalizing this opportunity. We look forward to working with the New Business Venture Fund, and its involvement in our company is a great recognition in the progress we have already made.”