Tag Archives: Virtual Machine

Debate over Public Cloud TCO is mostly Linux noise

A recent article of an interview with the Red Hat CEO touts the benefits of private cloud implementation. See it at HERE

Maybe your next Server won't be collocated with you!
Maybe your next Server won’t be collocated with you!







This debate is usually short sited and doesn’t include all CAPEX & OPEX cost associated with the “Free OS” type of cloud operations.  Also the reusable components from more sophisticated partner communities afford both AWS & AZURE much greater long term valuations when responsible Enterprise accounting methods are used to drive the cost benefits analyses.  The proper engineering of a cloud infrastructure which includes smart VMs well orchestrated by business-demand-level-driven auto scaling will always push the TCO/ROI argument to a public solution for large scale systems.

Microsoft actually has a TCO tool that they can use to estimate TCO of on-premises vs. Azure. There are many considerations when comparing costs of running an on-premises datacenter with full infrastructure, servers, cooling, power etc to a cloud-based service like Azure where you pay a cost based on the services consumed such as storage, compute and network egress. It can be difficult to know exactly what typical costs are for your datacenter and what the costs would be for services running in Azure. Microsoft has a pricing calculator available at http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/ which can help access costs for Azure services and a VM specific calculator at http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/virtual-machines/.

When running on-premises, you own the servers. They are available all the time which means you typically leave workloads running constantly even though they may actually only be needed during the work week. There is really no additional cost to leave them running (apart from power, cooling etc). In the cloud you pay based on consumption which means organizations go through a paradigm shift. Rather than leaving VMs and services running all the time companies focus on running services when needed to optimize their public cloud spend. Some ways that can help optimize services running are:

  • Auto-scale – The ability to group multiple instances of a VM/service and instances are started and stopped based on various usage metrics such as CPU and queue depth. With PaaS instances can even be created/destroyed as required
  • Azure Automation – The ability to run PowerShell Workflows in Azure and templates are provided to start and stop services at certain times of day making it easy to stop services at the end of the day then start them again at the start of day
  • Local Automation – Use an on-premises solution such as PowerShell or System Center Orchestrator to connect to Azure via REST to stop/start services
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New Technology Coming to Marry the Internet of Things with small appliance world!

My firm has been engaged by one of the world’s largest small appliance manufacturing PRC-based companies to architect and implement a cloud/mobile/appliance IoT offering. This new small wine appliance will be launched in Q4 of 2014.

In fact this is an exciting project where WilQuest is Partnering with Microsoft, interKnowlogy, Tridea Partners and others to create a “Cloud of Things” CoT infrastructre where a global software/hardware engineering team is developing products on Azure,Windows 8,  Android, iPhone, iPad, Intel and ARM platforms to create a seamless web srevices orchestration of devices and applications that each perform a segment of a task that the end user request via gesture/mouse/keyboard action.




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Are Cloud Technologies Replacing on-premise Servers?

It seems that that is the case.  In fact the old-style justifications for on site servers and attendant OpEx costs don’t seem to make sense any more.  Read this interesting article  Is the data center in the Cloud or is the Cloud in the data center?

Maybe your next Server won't be collocated with you!
Maybe your next Server won’t be collocated with you!


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Cloud Enterprise Architects must use Elasticity Guiding Enterprise Design

The IaaS and PaaS cloud models allow architects to decouple components of an application or enterprise system into the lowest functional components and design for failure how these pieces can be utilized as “independent black boxes” to form an application.  This allows for provisioning elasticity and resiliency of individual components and their states in the inevitable event of hardware or software failure.

One of the least understood impacts of this approach is that the message queues used by components can become the most important elements in assuring availability, scalability and ultimate reliability.  In essence the messaging infrastructure components become the most critical parts of an applications infrastructure designed to exploit elasticity. If you envision these Enterprise Apps as complex organisms, then the message queues and their reliability become mission critical organs of the living, agile enterprise architecture. Components such as controller apps, databases and such should be isolated allowing buffering of request along with replies making the network of components more durable and state independent facilitating failover and scalability.

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Hybrid Cloud Computing Model Should dominate Enterprise Usage

As enterprises come to grips with Cloud Computing demands (both internal and external) the IT groups will soon realize that the Hybrid model is the “best fit” for the new Enterprise IT organization.  This will also force a closer alignment with various business units and provoke a rethink of the costing models for IT. can IT really stay a coast center given the inevitable variable demand curve of Cloud Services? Enterprise IT shops will consider various vendors (E.G., Azure, HP, VMware, Amazon & others) in light of the matrix created by matching customers service type needs to flexibility of leveraging a vendors Cloud Service offerings to suit the enterprise’s complex business needs. the ease of entrance and exit will be the driving forces behind vendor selection not just cost but ease of achieving true operational excellence.

Finance, Corporate Strategy, Biz Units and IT will collaborate to determine which “flavor” of Cloud Services are needed.  For example the SaaS, IaaS or PaaS models may all be needed in the view of the business objectives.  The decision of what kind of service offerings to implement will drive IT’s customers to do a functional decomposition of existing applications and distil what services are used today.  This will lead to an “applicability analysis” of which type of Cloud implementation makes good business sense.  Some may choose from Cloud Platform as a Service, Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Cloud as a Software Service model.  These may also include convent “off ramp & on ramp” strategies to allow customers to switch as circumstances dictate.  An example of the choices is illustrated below:

Whatever Business Situation Determines That's the Right Cloud Service Choice
Whatever Business Situation Determines That’s the Right Cloud Service Choice
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VOIP and Data Communications must combine

To be successful going forward in voice and data communications, companies must be able to integrate the cost benefits of VoIP wire line carrier transmission with cellular/mobile end-user voice and data product suites. E.G., AT&T, COX et al are bundling offerings to increase conglomerate market share. Wireless and Wire line service offerings – previously, large corporations have spent billions of dollars expanding their PSTN network.  As mobile and cellular technologies became available (and dominant) additional investments were spent creating the second stage of telecommunications.  Today, trends are foretelling the final tale in these under-connected technologies.  With the introduction of mobile data communications such as 8.02.11 (Wi-Fi) and 8.02.16 (WiMax), the Next Generation Networks (NGNs) will begin to support both data and voice communications, to a wireless end-user, while taking advantage of the cost-effective VoIP network backbone.  Smart Phone carriers have already successfully integrated a VoIP/Wireless package for this product-type powerhouse.

These companies also must be able to saturate their combined products suites into the international origination retail marketplace. As we have seen in the US domestic marketplace, companies are offering bundled services to customers, including:

  • Enhanced voice products that are easily integrated into a VoIP switching platform such as voicemail, conference calling, international toll-free, and the personal secretary (follow me number)
  • Integration of voice and data products together such as 802.11 wireless hot spot services, local phone services, and cellular (CDMA, GPS) subscriptions.
  • Initiatives with strategic partners

A key driver to ride this momentum is the ability to penetrate the market with affordable voice services, then maximize product suites with customer up-sell, using the Internet for advertising, provisioning, and selling, eliminating large personnel infrastructures that have, in the past, proved to be too costly for the PSTN Contribution model shrinking gap.  In addition, these marketing plans can be handled virtually from one corporate operating entity, for each geographic/ethnic market segment.

Finally, success will be contingent on companies familiarity with the sensitive balance between Revenues and associated Cost Minutes of Use (CMOUs), while building and maintaining a low-cost ongoing capital expense network.

  • Revenue vs. Cost Minutes – Although Operating Margins will continue to decrease by MOU, these declines will be offset by the strong demand for wireless data and voice services, both standard and enhanced, worldwide.  The addition of wire line and wireless customers in the less developed countries will gain huge market segment and will produce high Revenue dollar figures until the international accounting recalibration of the industry in these “start up” markets.

Building a low-cost enhanced service network. While VoIP networks have rendered old business models obsolete, it is expected to drive down the cost structure of providing service.  By building a MPLS access network for VoIP, Telecom Engineers, Operators, and Technicians are now located virtually, significant reducing operating costs and initiating an increase in service quality.  Because large domestic providers have billions of dollars invested in PSTN networks.  Understanding that cost reductions will be a necessity to stay competitive, migrating away from PSTN networks to VoIP will produce a large dilemma of instigating and executing an expense plan, with a result in reduced revenues.  RBOC and telephone carrier leaders seem to be slightly behind the curve of independent players who are building their model on the future, instead of the past.  How these large conglomerates handle this transition and these financial challenges will foretell their viability and future. Simply put tomorrow’s phone company will not be your parents’ phone company.

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HIIPA/HITECH Compliant Cloud Services

HIPAA Network Architecture Using MSFT Azure

An example of leveraging Cloud Services is to  deploy an application that services the healthcare industry by ultilizing the Infrastructure as  Service(IaaS) model E.G., Azure:

  • To deploy a Cloud-based Azure Platform meeting HIPAA regulations, all application code segments must be designed using a web-services model where database elements and application code running in the cloud publish secure streams
  • Windows Azure allows an organization to create virtual machines (VMs) that run in Microsoft datacenters. Suppose the organization wants to use those VMs to run enterprise applications or other software that will be used by customers. We can create a SharePoint farm in the cloud, for example, or run HIIPA data management enterprise HITECH applications. To make life as easy as possible for our users, these applications would be accessible just as if they were running in an cost intensive local datacenter.
  • The Enterprise offering the Cloud Services must follow these five rules in order to stay comliant with HIIPA:
      1. Privacy
      2. Security
      3. Transaction & Code Set
      4. Unique Identifiers (Admin Simplification)
      5. Enforcement/Compliance


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