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Datacenter Interviews

“Demand for scale and speed delivered at the right economics is opening the door for a new breed of Hyperscale Service Provider being sought by the biggest Internet-based businesses.” – Chris Ortbals, QTS.

The rapid adoption of public cloud and the onset of new technologies like the internet of things, neural networks, artificial intelligence, machine learning and mega-scale online retailing are reshaping the data center industry, driving demand for data center capacity and cloud connectivity.

QTS is the leading data center provider that serves current and future needs of both hyperscale and hybrid colocation customers via software-defined data center experience. We recently interviewed Chris Ortbals – Executive Vice President, Products & Marketing, QTS, to know about his take on the changing data center requirements and QTS strategy of redefining the data center.

1. Please share an overview of QTS’ journey from inception till date with DHN readers. How has it transformed from being a single data center to becoming one of the leading national data center providers?

QTS is the creation of Chad Williams, a business and real-estate entrepreneur who had a strong vision of what a data center can and should be. Williams foresaw increasing IT complexity and demand for capacity and recognized the opportunity for large, highly secure, multi-tenant data centers, with ample space, power and connectivity.

Chris Ortbals Executive Vice President, Products & Marketing QTS

In 2005, QTS was formally established with the purchase of a 370,000 square foot Atlanta-Suwanee mega data center. Williams focused on building an integrated data center platform delivering a broad range of IT infrastructure services ranging from wholesale to colocation, to hybrid and multi-cloud, to hyperscale solutions, and backed by an unwavering commitment to customer support.

Since then, we have grown both organically and through acquisition into one of the world’s leading data center and IT infrastructure services providers, and in 2013 we began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under symbol (NYSE: QTS).

Today, QTS offers a focused portfolio of hybrid colocation, cloud, and hyperscale data center solutions built on the industry’s first software-defined data center and service delivery platform and is a trusted partner to 1,200 customers, including 5 of the worlds’ largest cloud providers. We own, operate or manage more than six million square feet of data center space encompassing 26 data centers, 600+ megawatts of critical power, and access to 500+ networks including connectivity on-ramps to the world’s largest hyperscale companies and cloud providers.

More recently, we have been accelerating momentum as a hyperscale data center provider able to meet unique requirements for scale and speed-to-market delivered at the right economics being sought by the biggest Internet-based businesses.

2. Throw some light on the recent QTS strategy of redefining the data center. What’s the Software-Defined Data Center approach, how do you plan to execute it and how will it help hyperscale and hybrid colocation customers?

We believe that QTS’ Service Delivery Platform (SDP) enables QTS as one of the first true Software Defined Data Centers (SDDC) with 100% completeness of vision. It is an architectural approach that facilitates service delivery across QTS’ entire hybrid colocation and hyperscale solutions portfolio.

Through policy-based automation of the data and facilities infrastructure, QTS customers benefit from the ability to adapt to changes in real-time, to increase utilization, performance, security and quality of services. QTS’ SDP approach involves the digitization, aggregation and analysis of more than 4 billion data points per day across all of QTS’ customer environments.

For hybrid colocation and hyperscale customers, it allows them to integrate data within their own applications and gain deeper insight into the use of their QTS services within their IT environments. It is a highly-automated, cloud-based approach that increases visibility and facilitates operational improvements by enabling customers to access and interact with information related to their data center deployments in a way that is simple, seamless and available on-demand.

3. How do you differentiate yourself from your competition?

QTS software-defined service delivery is redefining the data center to enable new levels of automation and innovation that significantly improves our customers’ overall experience. This is backed by a hi-touch, enterprise customer support organization that is focused on serving as a trusted and valued partner.

4. How does it feel to receive the industry leading net promoter score for the third consecutive year?

We were extremely proud to announce that in 2017 we achieved our all-time high NPS score of 72 and the third consecutive year that we have led the industry in customer satisfaction for our data centers across the U.S.

Our customers rated us highly in a range of service areas, including customer service, physical facilities, processes, responsiveness service of onsite staff and our 24-hour Operations Service Center.

As our industry-leading NPS results demonstrate, our customers continue to view QTS as a trusted partner. We are also starting to see the benefits of our service delivery platform that is delivering new levels of innovation in how customers interact with QTS and their infrastructure, contributing to even higher levels of customer satisfaction.

5. QTS last year entered into a strategic alliance with AWS. Can you elaborate what is CloudRamp and how will it simplify cloud migration?

AWS came to us last year telling us that a growing number of their customers were requiring colocation as part of their hybrid IT solution. They viewed QTS as a customer-centric colocation provider with the added advantage of our Service Delivery Platform that allowed us to seamlessly integrate colocation with AWS as a turnkey service available on- demand.

We entered a strategic collaboration with AWS to develop and deliver QTS CloudRampTM – direct connected colocation for AWS customers made available for purchase online via the AWS Marketplace.

By aligning with AWS, we were able to offer an innovative approach to colocation, bridging the gap between traditional solutions and the cloud. The solution is also groundbreaking in that it marked the first time AWS had offered colocation to its customers and signaled the growing demand for hybrid IT solutions. At the same time, it significantly accelerated time-to-value for what previously had been a much slower purchasing and deployment process.

For enterprises with requirements extending beyond CloudRamp, QTS and AWS provide tailored, hybrid IT solutions built upon QTS’ highly secure and reliable colocation infrastructure optimized for AWS.

6. Tell us something about Sacramento-IX. How will the newly deployed Primary Internet Exchange Hub in QTS Sacramento Data Center facilitate interconnection and connectivity solutions?

QTS is strongly committed to building an unrestricted Internet ecosystem and we are focused on expanding carrier neutral connectivity options for customers in all of our data centers.

Interconnection has evolved from a community driven effort in the 90’s to a restrictive, commercial industry dominated by a few large companies. Today there is a movement to get back to the community driven, high integrity ecosystem, and QTS is aligning our Internet exchange strategy as part of this community.

A great example is how the Sacramento Internet Exchange (Sacramento-IX) has deployed its primary Internet Exchange hub within QTS’ Sacramento data center. It is the first internet exchange in Sacramento and is being driven by increased traffic network performance demands in the region. It expands QTS’ Internet ecosystem and simplifies our customers network strategies by providing diverse connectivity options allowing them to manage network traffic in a more cost-effective way.

Once considered the backup and recovery outpost for the Bay area, Sacramento has quickly become a highly interconnected and a geostrategic network hub for northern California. It also solidifies our Sacramento data center as one of the most interconnected data centers in the region and as the primary west coast connectivity gateway for key fiber routes to Denver, Salt Lake City and points east.

7. Hyperscale data centers are growing at an accelerated pace and are expected to soon replace the traditional data centers. Can you tell us some factors/reasons that aid the rise of hyperscale data centers?

The rapid adoption of public cloud, the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, neural networks, machine learning, and mega-scale online retailing are driving unprecedented increases in demand for data center capacity and cloud connectivity.

Hyperscale refers to the rapid deployment of this capacity required for new mega-scale Internet business models. These Hyperscale companies require a data center growth strategy that combines speed, scalability and economics in order to drive down cost of compute and free up the capital needed to feed the needs of their core businesses. Think Google, Uber, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and many more needing huge capacity in a quick timeframe. They are looking for mega-scale computing capacity inside hyperscale data centers that can deliver economies of scale not matched by conventional enterprise data center architectures.

This demand for scale and speed delivered at the right economics is opening the door for a new breed of Hyperscale Service Provider being sought by the biggest Internet-based businesses. These are data centers whose ability to deliver immense capacity must be matched by an ability to provide core requirements for speed, quality, operator excellence, visibility and economics, that leaves out a majority of conventional hosting and service providers who are not interested in or capable of meeting them.

And while the organization may have need for very large geostrategic 20, 40, 60 megawatt deployments, typically they want a provider that can deliver it incrementally to reduce risk and increase agility.

8. Throw some light on your current datacenters and future expansion plans.

Chad Williams’ had the vision for identifying large, undervalued – but infrastructure-rich – buildings (at low cost basis) that could be rapidly transformed into state of the art “mega” data center facilities to serve growing enterprise demand for outsourced IT infrastructure services.

In Chicago, the former Chicago Sun Times printing plant was transformed into a 467,000 square foot mega data center. In Dallas and Richmond, former semi-conductor plants are now state of the art mega data centers encompassing more than 2 million square feet. And in Atlanta, the former Sears distribution center was converted into a 967,000 square foot mega data center that is now home to some of the world’s largest cloud and social media platforms.

However, in some cases, a greenfield approach is the more viable option. In Ashburn Va. the Internet capital of the world, we are building a new 427,000 square foot facility from the ground up that is expected to open later this summer. Expansion plans also call for new data center builds in Phoenix and Hillsboro, Oregon.

9. What is your datacenter sustainability and efficiency strategy?

At QTS, we understand that being a good environmental steward takes much more than just a simple initiative. That’s why we have focused our efforts on developing a company-wide approach – one that utilizes reused and recycled materials, maximizes water conservation and improves energy savings.

Central to this is our commitment to minimizing the data center carbon footprint and utilizing as much renewable fuel as possible by implementing a 3-pronged sustainability approach featuring solutions in containment and power usage effectiveness (PUE) metric products.

This encompasses:

       1. Develop and Recycle Buildings

Part of our data center sustainability strategy is reusing brownfield properties and transforming them into state-of-the-art data centers.

        2. Water Conservation

With a large data center comes a big roof that is capable of harvesting rainwater. We collect millions of gallons of water using a harvesting system on a portion of the roof.

        3. Energy Efficiency

As a data center provider, cooling is a critical part of our job and is approximately 30% of the electricity load at the data center.

QTS is one of the first data center companies to invest in renewable energy specifically for its hybrid colocation and hyperscale customers.

A recent example is a multi-year agreement with Citi to provide 100% renewable power for our 700,00 sq. ft. mega data center in Irving, Texas. The power and renewable energy credits will come from the Flat Top Wind Project, a 200 megawatt utility-scale wind energy facility in central Texas. QTS will purchase 15 MW of 100% renewable power for its Irving data center, with plans for a similar agreement in its Fort Worth data center later this year.

The investment supports QTS’ commitment to lead the industry in providing clean, renewable energy alternatives for QTS hybrid colocation and hyperscale customers that include five of five largest cloud providers and several global social media platforms.

In addition to the new wind power initiative in Texas, QTS’ New Jersey data center features a 14 MW solar farm to offset emissions associated with power consumption at that facility. QTS plans to expand renewable power initiatives in existing and new data centers including those being planned for Phoenix and Hillsboro, OR.

10. What’s in the roadmap for the year 2018?

QTS is now executing on our 2018 strategic growth plan that involves continued innovation with the Service Delivery Platform. It enables a software-defined data center experience for hyperscale and hybrid colocation customers. QTS’ SDP represents a big data approach enabling customers to access and interact with information related to their specific IT environment by aggregating metrics and data from multiple sources into a single operational view.

More importantly, it provides customers the ability to remotely view, manage and optimize resources in real time in a cloud-like experience, which is what customers increasing expect from their service providers. In addition, through a variety of software-defined networking platforms, enterprises can now get direct connectivity to the world’s largest cloud providers with real-time visibility and control over their network infrastructure using QTS’ SDP application interface.

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Cloud News Domain Event Hosting

Get ready for the country’s top cloud, hosting and domaining event of the year – CloudFest India

The largest gathering of the cloud, hosting and internet infrastructure space – CloudFest India, is returning this year to Mumbai, on 23rd May 2018 at The Grand Hyatt Mumbai Hotel.

CloudFest India brings together the business leaders to discuss everything from infrastructure, services, security, software, content to deployment and deliver insightful key takeaways for the attendees.

India stands as an emerging market for the internet professionals in terms of various growth opportunities present. SMBs (small and medium sized businesses) act as the backbone of the Indian economy. Per a report published by the Ministry of MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises), India is home to 51 million SMEs, contributing 37.5 percent of India’s GDP.

*The onset of digital technologies has transformed the landscape in which SMBs operate. As per TRAI and BCG-Google study, India has 1.03 billion mobile subscriptions and over 350 million internet users.

The event will talk about more such opportunities that exist in the Indian market. It will showcase the latest technologies, innovations and trends that facilitate the modern communication.

The event will bring together the key branches of the internet infrastructure space – cloud and hosting, security and privacy, software and services, CDNs, telecoms, website builders and CMSs and domain registries and registrars.

It’s a must attend event because:

  • It’s a platform where the movers and shakers of the internet industry meet and network.
  • Attendees get to explore latest, state-of-the-art technologies in the exhibition hall.
  • All get fun and networking opportunities at the ConneXion party.

Attendees can also hold in-house private meetings to discuss growth opportunities with their fellow attendees, including customers and partners.

The ConneXion Party will also be an attraction at CloudFest India, where the attendees can have fun and at the same time network with each other.

This year the list of keynote speakers includes some eminent personalities like Nikhil Arora (VP and Managing Director at GoDaddy), Samiran Gupta (Head of India, ICANN), Manish Dalal (Vice-President – Naming Services, Asia-Pacific at Verisign), Rajendran Dhandapani (Director of Engineering at Zoho), Deepak Daftari (CEO at eShiksha.com) and many more.

GoDaddy stands as the diamond sponsor of the event while Duda and Zoho are the platinum sponsors. Other sponsors include Donuts, Domain Dhaba, E2E Networks, serverloft, OpenSRS, resellerCONNECT and more.

It is a must attend event for those with online businesses and those who aspire to start one.

*Source: https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/in/pdf/2017/01/Impact-of-internet-and-digitisation.pdf 

Categories
Cloud Event Hosting News

CloudFest – the mega cloud and hosting festival in full swing – fog, edge computing, latest processors and more

CloudFest, formerly WorldhostingDays, is the wonderland of cloud and hosting industry. The mega 7-day festival has kickstarted from 10th March in Europa-Park Rust, Germany, and is now in top form with over 6500+ enthusiasts from the cloud, hosting and service provider industries taking part from more than 80 countries.

The event is proving to be the ultimate platform for networking exchanges and sharing of the latest innovations and technologies in over 250 keynotes and panel discussions.

It is the most happening days for the cloud and hosting industry professionals who have come together to explore and analyze the future of the data center, cloud, internet and hosting industries.

Highlights till now

  • CloudFest Hackathon

The largest gathering and exchange of open source technology projects and knowledge – CloudFest Hackathon, just like its previous years, helped solve real-life open source problems.

  • Come2Gather Party on 12th

The perfect opening of the CloudFest – was the platform for attendees to network with each other in a calm and relaxed environment.

  • Speaker Line-up

This time the event is not only having speakers from the leading IT industries but also has some out-of-the-box lectures by various headliners like slackline world record holder Alexander Schulz, and technology futurist Ian Khan, to name a few.

  • Lords of Uptime Concert

In context of music, in 2017 the event had Royal Machines – rock band with music legends like Billy Morrison and Steve Stevens. This year, the president of CloudFest – Sören von Varchmin, is here with his own band, inviting his fellow colleagues from the cloud and hosting industries to form – the Lords of Uptime.

He has also tattooed the name of the event and has reportedly promised each imitator a free VIP ticket as part of the #nofake Tattoo Challenge, worth € 999.

  • Business, fun and rollercoasters

The 7-day festival is the perfect blend of technology meet fun. Hosted in Germany’s most popular theme park, participants are feeling awestruck with amazing roller coaster rides, side events and parties.

Some interesting sessions so far

  • Das Kamhout – Sr. Principal Engineer and Global Director, Cloud Solution Architecture at Intel Data Center Group talked about the evolving cloud computing landscape in his session – Defining what’s possible: Cloud Services Built on Intel.

He explained how Intel’s latest cloud infrastructure innovations are exclusively designed to help CSPs accelerate and differentiate their services and define new possibilities. At this occasion, he also introduced Intel’s latest generation Xeon scalable processors, accelerators and technologies to meet the demand of fast growing cloud workload.

  • Scott Schnell – senior vice president of Marketing and Channels at Verisign, talked about the latest trends that have an impact over the demand for domain names and how they are connected to cloud hosting in his session – Domain Name Industry Drivers.
  • Daniel Bounds – Sr. Director, Datacenter Products at AMD, launched new EPYC processor that is ideal for the scale and density requirements for both physical and virtual hosting environments.
  • Jacques Boschung – SVP Global Alliances and Telco at Dell EMC talked about the artificial intelligence (AI) world and how Dell which is at the forefront of AI can help their partners by offering latest high performance, edge computing and real time predictive technologies.
  • Igor Lebedev – CTO at SONM in his session Decentralized Fog Computing: A step into the future with SONM talked about how fog computing solutions can become a complementary technology which can eliminate cloud computing limitations.
  • Ebrahim Keshavarz – the senior vice president at Verisign, showcased their latest NameStudio API – a sophisticated domain name suggestion service that will deliver .net and .com domain names.
  • Lindsay Leonard, the enterprise territory sales manager of Seagate talked about the company’s updated portfolio of new technologies and products fueled by the cloud.
  • Jan Loeffler – CTO of Plesk in his session explained the importance of selling bundled solutions and how by selling infrastructure combined with Plesk technology will help solution providers win in the market era.

RackNap’s Senior Vice President, Sabarinathan Sampath told DHN about how their cloud platform helps CSPs manage their provisioning, billing, support, inventory, partner and customer lifecycle from a single platform.

Not-to-be missed

  • NGD Systems, Inc. showcase of computational storage. They are using FAISS (Facebook Artificial Intelligence Similarity Search) in a POC (Proof of concept) around the distributed implementation of ANN (Approximate Nearest Neighbor) search. NGD’s Cataline-2 (CAT-2) In-Situ Processing NVMe SSDs will be used for faster and scalable search of nearest neighbors.
  • Leaseweb, which is a Gold partner at the CloudFest’s session about digital transformation with the motto Not your average cloud – We empower your digital transformation with our hybrid cloud solutions.
  • Super Micro Computer, Inc. exhibition of SuperBlade, MicroBlade, and 2U BigTwins.
  • ASRock Rack’s latest 4U100-C612 storage server that features 4U 100-bay high performing and high-density storage capacity for the hosting businesses.
  • CloudLinux – leading manufacturers of web security and stability solutions. The CEO Igor Seletskiy session about the role of big data in securing cloud servers.
  • StackPath’s Michael Marques discussion on the business of internet privacy, showcasing a white-labelled VPN service (WLVPN) to protect user privacy and security.

Free tickets for DHN readers

If you are a DHN reader, you get standard pass worth € 349 euros, without any cost, by simply registering using the code CF18JUJ, as we are the official media partners of the event. Only two more days left, so, register today.

Stay tuned, to get exclusive updates from the event.

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News

Why 451 Research’s ‘Hosting and Cloud Transformation Summit 2017’ is the most sought after industry event?

There’s a lot of buzz in the hosting and cloud industry for the biggest B2B event – The Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit 2017 (HCTS), that will be held from September 18 to 20, 2017 at Bellagio Resort & Hotel, Las Vegas. The event will witness the largest gathering of corporate leaders, IT practitioners, industry visionaries and financial professionals.

The august gathering will be discussing about the digital future being brought forth by the advanced innovative technologies like cloud, IoT and the huge opportunities that this digital transformation wave is bringing in for the Cloud Operators, Managed Service Providers, Hosters and Datacenter Owners.

The three-day event, for which the registrations are filling up fast, will witness the industry powerhouses – 451 Research analysts and industry experts, talk about the latest hosting and cloud industry trends. The attendees will be able to get insights into powerful, practical and effective IT rollout strategies and how their implementation can lead the companies towards a successful digital future.

The list of speakers includes the names of 451 Research’s best analysts and research directors with an expertise in datacenter technology and IoT (Internet of Things) framework.

In the beautiful ambience of Bellagio hotel with a Mediterranean – blue lake facing view, the event will be an outstanding blend of knowledge, networking, and fun. Apart from the event, while in Las Vegas and at the Bellagio, one can enjoy the dance, music, and acrobatics with “O” by Cirque du Soleil aquatic theatre in a Parisian-Style Opera house.

HCTS have some elite sponsors for the event who are the established experts in their fields like Western Digital – the diamond sponsor and DH Capital – the platinum sponsor. The gold sponsors include leading companies like Bank Street, Deutsche Bank, OnApp, Red Hat and more.

The event registration is now open for all interested members of the hosting and cloud industry. They can get themselves registered here. For the convenience of the members, the registration has been divided into – Enterprise end users (Complimentary), Service Providers ($1199), General Attendance – 451 Research client ($2095) and Non – client general attendance ($2895).

The organizers have even discounted room rate with the Bellagio, interested members can apply through a direct link (available on the event’s official website) until August 14, 2017.

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Hosted Cloud Apps News Partnership Technology

Enonic Teams with Standing Cloud; Brings Open Source Enonic CMS Community Edition to Cloud

March 5, 2013 – Boulder, CO – Enonic, developers of Enonic CMS, a leading Java-based software platform for business-critical, innovative web solutions, today announced the launch of Enonic Cloud Hosting, a new cloud-based offering that makes hosting and evaluating Enonic CMS Community Edition fast, simple and affordable in the cloud.

Being able to offer instant cloud hosting for Enonic CMS through Standing Cloud enables us to reach markets faster and more efficiently than we could with just downloads. – Thomas Lund Sigdestad, CTO, Enonic.Mr. Thomas Sigdestad.

Built on technology from Standing Cloud, a leading provider of cloud marketplace and management solutions for cloud providers and ISVs, Enonic Cloud Hosting brings choice, flexibility and easy point-and-click deployment and management to Enonic CMS, delivering single-click managed hosting, provisioning, deployment and management at a simple monthly bundled price. Essentially eliminating the need for software downloads, the hosted offering includes a fully functional installation of Enonic’s open source Community Edition, including Tomcat appserver, MySQL, and a fully functional demo site with mobile support.

“Being able to offer instant cloud hosting for Enonic CMS through Standing Cloud enables us to reach markets faster and more efficiently than we could with just downloads,” said Thomas Lund Sigdestad, CTO of Enonic. “For Enonic, it means companies and organizations looking to leverage the advantages of an open source CMS solution have less risk and lower cost when evaluating different vendors. It also means more freedom, increased predictability, greater flexibility and better control over their own IT solutions.”

With Enonic Cloud Hosting, customers can choose the hosting provider, data center and geography of their choice from a wide range of 20 leading public cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, HP Cloud, Rackspace, VPS.net and more. Enonic deployments hosted through Enonic Cloud Hosting on Standing Cloud are completely portable from cloud-to-cloud, meaning customers are never locked in to a single platform or cloud provider. They can quickly add capacity or move to another cloud, and are protected against downtime and service outages.

In addition, Standing Cloud’s built-in automated application lifecycle management features provide easy point-and-click access to a range of automated management services, including 24×7 server monitoring, free back-ups, auto-restore, single-click version and resource upgrades and more.

“We developed Standing Cloud’s hosted cloud solutions for ISVs on the principles of flexibility, openness and simplicity, and we’re excited to be working with a company like Enonic, who shares our commitment to open source,” said Joni Klippert, Director of Customer Development for Standing Cloud. “By reducing the complexity of downloading software and configuring servers, and adding the choice, flexibility and reliability of multiple clouds in the U.S. and Europe, we can help them grow the global customer base for Enonic CMS among public and private enterprises and organizations.”

Enonic Cloud Hosting is available today at enonic.com/try. Users interested in evaluating the solution can get started immediately with a no-cost, 24-hour “Test Drive” in the cloud, including a fully configured version of Enonic CMS 4.7.1 CE. Following the free trial, users can seamlessly upgrade to a fully hosted account on any one of Standing Cloud’s 15-plus supported cloud providers through Enonic Cloud Hosting.

About Standing Cloud
Standing Cloud is a leading provider of cloud application marketplace and management solutions. Integrating application software with on-demand infrastructure, we deliver an automated application layer for cloud providers, technology solutions providers and ISVs that makes application deployment and management simple for their customers.

The Standing Cloud Marketplace includes a web-based Marketplace Storefront, where cloud users can discover, purchase and deploy software and applications; an Orchestration Engine for provisioning and managing IaaS resources, applications and add-ons through their production lifecycle; and automated Software Packaging, utilizing scripted software packaging to add software to the marketplace and enabling multi-cloud deployment and management via the orchestration engine.

Founded in 2009, Standing Cloud is based in Boulder, Colorado. Investors include Foundry Group and Avalon Ventures. Visit www.standingcloud.com for more information.

About Enonic
Enonic is a leading Norwegian based software vendor. The company developed the Java-based web platform Enonic CMS to enable medium to large-sized enterprises to offer a complete and integrated web experience. The Enonic platform supports the entire web value-chain, from business and communication/marketing to development and IT. The company was founded in 2000. Visit Enonic.com for more information.

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Articles Cloud Web Hosting

What is SaaS? Software-as-a-Sevice Explained!

Saas Explained.When someone explains Software as a Service or Cloud Computing to you – do you have one of those moments where you hear the words, but can’t make sense of what they are saying? Here is an analogy that virtually everyone can understand.

We all understand the cost of buying and maintaining a car. Today, people can either buy or lease a car. In both cases, some repairs are covered under warranty or included in the lease, but there are still costs involved to operate and maintain it. Not to mention the hassle of selling or trading the car in when you need a new one. What if a third option were available – Car as a Service?

In this model, you would pay a flat monthly fee to use the car. All maintenance, repairs, and even upgrades are included. Fuel, oil changes, standard maintenance, unexpected maintenance, body shop work, etc. are all included in the monthly fee. To top it off, when the manufacturer comes out with a time tested new model, your car will automatically get exchanged for latest model at no additional cost. No need to sign anything and go through the hassle of signing a new lease – the new car would be delivered to your home or office, all your personal belongings in the car would be transferred to the new car, and the old one would be taken away.

You might be thinking that this still sounds like nothing more than a fancy lease. But it’s actually very different. In addition to covering all maintenance expenses and model upgrades, there are no long term agreements or commitments. If at some point you no longer need the car, you simply turn it in at the end of the month and the payments go away.

Now let’s say that you have 5 employees and got each of them a car under the Car as a Service plan. These same benefits would apply to all of your employee’s cars as well. If 2 employees leave, simply return their cars and keep the rest. Your monthly fee will immediately be adjusted accordingly. You only need to pay for the cars as long as you need them. You always know exactly how much to budget each month because there are never additional expenses for fuel, maintenance, or repairs. And you never have to worry about your car getting old because you will receive a new model every few years.

If Car as a Service really existed, would you entertain this option the next time you need a car? If the answer is “Yes”, then you need to consider Software as a Service the next time you need to buy or upgrade any software applications or computer hardware. The video below will make things clear as to how SaaS works:

What is SaaS?
Software as a service (SaaS) is a model for using software as a subscription service instead of buying the license and installing the application files on a local computer from a CD, or increasingly as a download from a vendor website. According to technology analyst firm IDC, key characteristics of Software as a Service include:

  • Network-based access to, and management of, commercial software.
  • Server management from a central location rather than at each customer site.

Software as a Service is generally priced on a per-user basis for each application, with billing managed by a major credit card. Sometimes there are minimum user requirements, minimum subscription time periods, as well as additional fees for setup, extra bandwidth and storage.

Saas-Working-Model
Saas Working Model

Who is it for?
In the business-to-business arena, the Software as a Service model is most often focused on the small-medium business segment. Unlike large enterprises, smaller companies have:

  • Little or no staff devoted to information technology, and the employees they do have are often stretched thin and are generalists in their knowledge and skills.
  • Limited budgets, particularly for capital expenditures.
  • More fluid needs for tools and people due to rapid growth and other changing requirements.
  • Greater demands on time, as most small business owners and their employees wear multiple hats.
  • Growing propensity to operate on a ‘virtual’ model, with employees working from home, at remote work sites, or from rented office space that is shared with other businesses.

The flexibility of software as a service is particularly attractive to small business owners –

  • No upfront investment in money or time, and often no contracts.
  • Ability to use powerful business applications without having to acquire the specialized infrastructure and staff needed to manage them.
  • Power to mix and match applications or add and remove users as needed
  • Freedom to work from any location.

How does it work?
The Software as a Service model requires primarily a web browser and an internet connection:

  1. The customer goes to a website and ‘buys’ a subscription – generally monthly – to the desired Software as a Service applications and number of users. An account is set up with a major credit card for billing.
  2. The person who places the order (who generally becomes an administrator) is given login credentials and a web URL for secure access to the Software as a Service application.
  3. Every user added to the account receives his/her own log-in credentials granting them web access to the Software as a Service application(s) for as long as needed and as long as specified terms are met.

Most Software as a Service vendors provide a secure web portal with additional services such as support, along with administrator access for changing the number of users or applications and maintaining other account information.

SaaS BenifitsAdvantages:
Since nothing resides on a single hard drive (with a few exceptions in which files must be installed locally), the application can be used from any internet connected PC, providing greater flexibility.

  • With pay-as-you-go terms, you pay only for what you use.
  • You’re never locked into a license, so there’s no obsolescence and no buyer’s remorse if something doesn’t work out the way you thought it would, or if requirements change. While purchased software cannot be returned, software as a service subscriptions may be cancelled.
  • Reap the productivity rewards from an application whenever you want, without a commitment or big upfront investment in money or an evaluation process.
  • Add or remove users as staffing needs change, and applications as business needs change.
  • Predict and budget how much you will spend, and move the cost from a capital expenditure to a business expense.
  • Redirect financial resources, people and time for other needs and priorities.

Disadvantages:

  • With SaaS, the users do not have a copy of the executable file: it is on the server, where the users can’t see or touch it. Thus it is impossible for them to ascertain what it really does, and impossible to change it. SaaS inherently gives the server operator the power to change the software in use, or the users’ data being operated on.
  • Users must send their data to the server in order to use them. This has the same effect as spyware: the server operator gets the data. She/he gets it with no special effort, by the nature of SaaS. This gives the server operator unjust power over the user.

Final word on SaaS:

  • Software as a Service vendors manage software as a core business with experienced, dedicated staff in professional data center facilities.
  • Security, redundancy and resources are equal or superior to those of the largest, most sophisticated enterprises. With today’s security threats and the growing importance of information technology for productivity and competitive advantage, robust facilities are moving from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’.
  • Bandwidth has become readily available (particularly with the growth of wireless) and highly competitive, making it more dependable as well as less expensive. Today, homes and offices are routinely equipped with high-speed, broadband internet access.
  • You will have one less thing to worry about. No servers, systems or software to install, administer, backup, protect and upgrade.

Credit: WorkPlace2Go

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CloudZoom Launches Cloud App Distribution Platform

CloudZoom has announced the launch of its Cloud App Distribution Platform. The platform serves as a single source of easily deployable, ready-to-run IaaS Cloud Apps. An IaaS Cloud App is a virtual image containing an Operating System with one or more preconfigured applications. The platform supports a robust list of hypervisor types: VMWare, OpenStack, CloudStack, KVM and others. As one founder stated, “CloudZoom improves the way Cloud Providers connect with new and existing customers. The platform delivers product solutions that make a customer’s virtual machine (VM) deployment experience better.”  The platform facilities a mutually beneficial arrangement between Public Cloud Providers and Cloud App vendors. To help Cloud Providers and Vendors visualize the potential of its new platform, CloudZoom has also launched a demo site.

Vendor marketing and sales concerns are reduced, freeing them to focus on developing and supporting the best Apps possible. We want Vendors to concentrate on quality. After all, it’s in their best interest and will reduce their support costs.

Cloud Providers can achieve a competitive advantage from an increased Cloud App selection for their customers, while at the same time decreasing costs and reducing the time required for App inventory management. For Cloud Providers, they no longer have to build and maintain a series of Cloud Apps, or negotiate contracts with individual App Vendors. By signing one contract with CloudZoom, they gain access to an ever increasing collection of high quality, verified Cloud Apps. The concept is that an increased App selection will drive cloud usage, thereby increasing revenue. There is also the potential for additional revenue generated by Cloud App sales.

Vendors can benefit from greater market exposure, in turn, helping them to grow their customer base, and focus on their core business competencies. “Vendor marketing and sales concerns are reduced, freeing them to focus on developing and supporting the best Apps possible. We want Vendors to concentrate on quality. After all, it’s in their best interest and will reduce their support costs.”, as one founder put it. The benefits to Vendors are available with no risk and at zero up-front cost. Today, the process of introducing Apps into the CloudZoom platform requires Vendors work with CloudZoom to download the Cloud Apps. Development is currently underway to provide Vendors with tools, an API, and UI for supporting the management of their Apps.

There are two pricing models available to Cloud Providers: subscription and usage. The subscription pricing model allows Cloud Providers access to a limited, but broad selection of Open Source Apps. One upside of the subscription model is the unlimited VM usage per App. For the usage model, the key is the complete selection of both Commercial and Open Source Apps, and this is based on usage per VM hour. The usage model may be more profitable with the increased selection, but it requires an integration with the CloudZoom platform for handling billing and auditing. Upgrading from the subscription model to the usage model is available. This upgrade feature is a nice option for those interested in testing the CloudZoom platform before investing too much capital.

Cloud Providers that feel they could benefit from a wider selection of Cloud Apps, please click  here.

About CloudZoom
CloudZoom is an IaaS Cloud App Distribution Platform that populates Cloud Provider App Stores with quality apps from a growing Cloud App Vendor network. The CloudZoom platform reduces the cost, time and effort to find, manage and sell IaaS Cloud Apps. CloudZoom is a startup (founded in 2011) based out of New Hampshire (USA).