Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Scalable Cloud Solutions For Developing, Hosting, Sharing And Storage

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Scalable Cloud Solutions For Developing, Hosting, Sharing And Storage
And Some Criteria Upon Which To Evaluate Them

The supply side of cloud-hosting providers, combined with the demand-side need for software-as-service, big data storage, backup and transferability (or sharing) of large quantities of data have made the very notion of the ever-scalable easily accessible cloud irresistible for small and medium-sized business in all stages of maturity.

While I am still quite concerned about the risks of downtime, temporary inaccessibility, and the ever-evolving cyber security threat of data theft, data deletion and potentially downloadable viruses (I've referred to the foregoing as "dangerous dependencies" in The Global Futurist Blog), the cloud seems to make tremendous economic sense, and there are means of redundant backups and advance encryption of data prior to storage which may well mitigate some of these risks.

Business planners, budget managers (CFOs and the like), project managers and program professionals are aggressively incorporating the cloud into their thinking and reporting. The increasing use of mobile devices has made the cloud, and cloud access all the more appealing. No C drive? Uplink to the cloud.

For data backup, storage and file sharing, there is an excellent article which compares the latest web-based or cloud-based solutions in terms of their most important variable attributes:

  • storage space and pricing levels
  • features and benefits for the user
  • ease of file access and support for accessing specific files or groups of files
  • simplicity, in terms of ease of use for an employee to adapt and accept the new method
  • help and support - this refers to either email support (ugh - tickets), chat room or IM support (much more interactive) or direct telephonic person-person technical support.

The best site that The Business And Project Planning And Management folks have seen is
"A comprehensive comparison of cloud-based and web-based storage and back-up packages offered by the top ten vendors [as of the date of this writing]. "

If you want to combine all of the hosting, storage and transfer features with a team-oriented project development platform, the one which I have heard the most about has been the MS Windows Azure, which is described in an admittedly biased advertorial tutorial below. One fine aspect of this particular package (at least while it is new and being vigorously marketed) is that they actually permit new users a 90-day free trial. Information follows:









What is Azure?

Windows Azure is Microsoft's cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications.  Compatible with a wide variety of programming languages, Azure offers greater functionality than its competitors with access to Microsoft's PaaS environment. 

Who uses Azure?

Read up on Azure.

Technical Podcasts: http://channel9.msdn.com/shows/Cloud+Cover/
Tools & Resources: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/overview/
YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/user/windowsazure

If you'd like to take AZURE for a trial spin (free for 90 days)...


Having gone through all of this information, I still think it prudent to be ever cognizant and vigilant of those things which can go terribly wrong with the cloud -- call them 'cloudbursts' if you like, and I would predict that they are going to become more and more frequent as clouds make integrate themselves into the strategic planner's, programming professional's and project manager's toolkit.

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) is the most visibly active organization in all aspects of standardizing, evaluating and certifying cloud security. It would be wise to keep up to date with what they are doing as frequently as possible.

Douglas E. Castle

This Article was sponsored, in part by Crowdfunding Incubator LLC and ICS - International Connection Services

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