Tag Archives: Business

Four Cloud-Based Services: PaaS vs. IaaS vs. SaaS vs. Precipitation

IBM Cloud Computing

Let’s look at the basic categories of cloud-based services – PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS. These acronyms stand for Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Software as a Service. What’s with the “as a service” lingo? Well, similar to with hosting, you’re accessing these services from a remote server. Your platform, your infrastructure, or individual pieces of software – that you’re using via your network or an individual PC or device – can be running in a remote location rather than directly at your location or on the server at your data center or hosting company.

Below we’ll dig into exactly what these different types of hosting services provide and what, if any of them, might be right for you or your business. I’m referencing articles from VentureBeat by Sean Ludwig, Wikipedia, and Network World by Jeff Caruso.

Alongside the various “as a service” models, precipitation is also provided by clouds. Forms of precipitation include rain, snow, sleet, and hail. This service is not a good choice during picnics or parades.

What is the Cloud?

Cloud is a way to pull everything together onto central servers – providing a service through those servers – rather than running off your own PC or host machine. The term “cloud,” though, has been somewhat misunderstood and made more complicated than it actually is: it’s been turned into this concept for sort of an abstract universe accessible via the Internet. That is in part marketing language, trying to make us think of certain services as ethereal or dreamy. Sean describes the cloud succinctly – as a metaphor for the Internet. That’s more apt: it’s simply different services that are provided via the Internet that used to be provided directly on networks or PCs.

Cloud is not something that was invented but something that was defined and refined – framing the Internet in a certain way. (As Sean points out, any company with an Internet-based focus for any aspect of its business is a cloud company in a sense.) New technologies, however, have developed to support a more cloud-based approach – and these services have certainly become much more prevalent and popular in the last few years.

The different layers of the cloud are the different types of services that are provided – again, these layers, like the cloud, are a way of organizing information, not something that was invented. The layers are the various “as a service” models: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS (and actually more of these types of terms are used, though not in as common of usage).

There are many reasons to dislike and distrust the cloud. With its precipitation capacity, the cloud can ruin your picnic, for example. IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are much less likely to ruin your picnic. In this sense, the cloud is like fire ants. It doesn’t care about you. It’s selfish. It’s like that ex-boyfriend you spent years trying to get your sister away from before he moved to Pierre, South Dakota, to work in his cousin’s sign shop.

Layer 1: SaaS (Top Layer of the Cloud)

SaaS or Software as a Service means that you have access to software that has been installed “in the cloud.” In this scenario, you are only controlling variables within the software itself. You do not have any administrative control over the infrastructure or platform. Because you are accessing the software via the Internet (as it resides on another company’s servers), you do not need to maintain the software yourself. There are, of course, security concerns related to cloud-based software; something that managed it services could solve for concerned businesses. Their solutions may include timely data back-up; zero-trust security; implementing a secure firewall, and development and testing of an incident response plan, or a combination of them. With measures in place for potential security-related issues, you could securely browse through end-user applications. Additionally, if you are working with a SaaS provider, you might need to document your rights and limitations regarding the use of the software with the help of a SaaS Lawyer.

Cloud applications – those operating as SaaS – are more scalable than other types of applications are, per Wikipedia. Using a variety of VPSs (virtual private servers) to complete a task via cloning can make it easier to spread out the load across a number of different servers, finding resources where they are available. So that the load does not become excessively heavy on one VPS, a load balancer is used. Anyone who’s accessing the software does not see that back-end aspect, but it allows a heavier volume of traffic without interruptions in data flow.

A cloud application can be multitenant (think of a multitenant home). Having more than one “tenant” company use the same VPS at one time also can allow for a greater number of people to be using the software at one time.

Generally when you use a cloud application, you will pay for a month or year at a time for each user within your network – and then you can change your number of users throughout that period. This is one of the things that people especially like about SaaS, and cloud services generally, is its adaptability: you can quickly and efficiently expand or retract your usage of the service. It doesn’t have a set size in the same way that non-cloud offerings do (which are not as immediately easy to adjust for size).

Here are a few samples of subcategories of software as a service, per Wikipedia:

  • desktop as a service
  • test environment as a service
  • communication as a service
  • business process as a service

Sample SaaS providers:

  • Google Apps
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • GT Nexus
  • Casengo

Here are a few things you want to do before a cloud becomes angry and starts to dump stuff all over the place:

  • Close your windows and blinds, and hide under your table in case there is thunder.
  • Get your snow shovel and go outside so that you’re ready to clear your walkways as soon as the precipitation falls. This makes the cloud feel powerless.
  • Put on your raincoat and get ready to do your “It’s Raining Men” routine for the other soldiers, who love musical theater as much as you do.

Layer 2: IaaS (Bottom Layer of the Cloud)

IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service means you’re using virtual machines (VM’s), otherwise known as virtual private servers (VPS’s). This service allows you full control of the environment in which your applications exist – just not at the level of the hardware itself. No need, then, to support and maintain servers. Everything is virtualized, but you have full control.

IaaS means that you can install whatever applications you want on your system. A cloud service provider (CSP) provides whatever bandwidth or other resources you need but doesn’t set any other guidelines. With virtualization, your network is separated from other networks that might be running on the same server – and from the hard drives as well – protecting all parties involved both regarding security and speed/stability of the network.

Amazon and IBM are examples of companies that provide this service. Jeff specifically addresses the importance of picking out a quality CSP when using cloud services at this deep of a level. The article he references on that subject is here.

Ways to know if the cloud is going to precipitate on your parade:

  • You hear a rumbling sound in the distance.
  • Lightning strikes one of the floats, and it falls over to the side. That’s the float you helped build for the nonprofit dog-racing track, and it makes you very upset to see how heartless the cloud is being right now.
  • The clown’s and beauty queen’s makeup are both running. The beauty queen looks more concerned for some reason. The clown got second place in the beauty pageant, so she doesn’t feel like she has anything to hide.

Layer 3: PaaS (Middle Layer of the Cloud)

In between software and infrastructure you have the platform – also known as middleware (additionally the term given to tableware that is made out of a combination of plastic and metal). If you use a CSP to provide your platform, you can develop your network at that level. In other words, you don’t have to worry about managing the whole infrastructure, but you have wider freedom and mutability than you do just at the level of using cloud-based software.

The platform that the CSP offers, per Wikipedia, typically includes the database, server, operating system, and programming language execution environment.

Development and deployment of applications via platform as a service can involve virtual machines and virtual OSs. Use of the cloud at the level of the platform cuts down on hardware costs and make it easier for a bunch of different users from various locations to access the same code and content as it develops. Per Jeff, here are a few of the basic categories of PaaS tools:

  • Storage
  • Security
  • Application development
  • Application management
  • Application hosting
  • Application design

A few of the most prominent CSP’s for platform as a service:

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google App Engine
  • Salesforce
  • Engine Yard

What you should do if the cloud starts precipitating on your entire network:

  • Turn off all the electricity in the building.
  • Call the CEO – even if it is the middle of the night. Tell him to get to the office immediately, and to bring his galoshes.
  • Install a roof on your company (likely with the help of a reputed firm providing commercial roofing austin, or elsewhere). Many companies have not discovered the value of a roof. Sunlight is nice, but it is not worth the threat of precipitation that can arrive from an angry cloud.

Summary & Conclusion

So again, we can think of the cloud, simplistically, as the Internet or as the realm of Internet-based services. The cloud is typically divided into layers that basically describe the degree of administrative control a cloud client has over the environment within which they are working.

Software as a service (SaaS) – the top layer – is simply a web-based application. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – the bottom layer – gives you control over virtual private servers, which means you can install whatever applications you like and have significant freedoms but must handle administration yourself. Platform as a service (PaaS) – the middle layer – is sometimes referred to as middleware. This level can be used for development of applications without the need to maintain infrastructure.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

Apps over Mobile Websites

It must be very confusing for site owners debating whether to spend on a duplicate mobile website, or maybe an application version of their website, just because business trends suggest empirically this is what consumers want.

Here is a following example from a recent econsultancy blog:

85% of Consumers Favour Apps over Mobile Websites

In the early days of m-commerce it was often asked whether brands should opt for a mobile app or a mobile website.

We can observe what looks almost conclusive that people prefer applications because they are more convenient, faster, easier to browser etc. Think of as an example how you shop on eBay. I personally prefer shopping on eBay and Amazon using their mobile Apps, however this sort of functionality doesn’t often translate to every website. Also, I bet that consumers will unlikely want to download an app for every website they want to visit on a less than monthly basis.

The mobile war is over and the app has won: 80% of mobile time spent (Apps vs web apps ?)

Yes this shows the way we consume the net on our mobile devices has changed. In just the same way Youtube for example can consume a significant proportion of our desktop browsing habits, our mobile browsing habits are narrowing their stranglehold onto specific apps only. This means that the wider internet only receives less than 20% of our attention. And this is quite natural if you think about it. Imagine, you’re planning a hike and want to find out what the weather on your trail is like. If you have a hiking app (with a Weather API, likely) that gives you all the information you need about any trail imaginable, would you not prefer to use it rather than hunt around online for info?

There have been plenty of articles telling us that businesses have now got no choice in that their business website MUST be able to be viewed from a mobile. …

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

With users only spending 20% of their mobile time on the world wide web, we might have to think about what makes our website more mobile friendly. Ultimately we have a very short attention time to capture the interest of our mobile visitors because their browsing span is probably a lot shorter than infront a desktop device.
This article looks at the different options for making a website mobile friendly: for example enabling the Mobile Theme on your website: Is that really enough? Realistically if a user is only going to devote 3 minutes to your website. make sure it’s well spent and provide fast and easy access for them to contact you and bookmark you. So that on their return to their desktop device, they have a means of being prompted to browsing your website.

Juliana

 

We are looking for a programmer with 10yrs experience with the iPad

But the iPad hasn’t been around for ten years!

Not just C++ programmers – John Cook | Google+

John Cook - Google+ - Not just C++ programmers. | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From plus.google.com – Today, 1:08 AM

John’s advice: Never talk to an HR department. Talk directly to the people you’d work for. Send them your resume etc. Only talk to HR when it’s time to fill out your paperwork after you have a job offer.

John goes on to say (And the discussion is pretty hilarious):
As far as 10 years iPad experience, There are many analogous job descriptions. For example, an ad looking for 5 years HTML experience before HTML was 5 years old. Also seen the opposite; asking for experience with obsolete or irrelevant technology. Don’t take job descriptions too seriously. If a job sounds like a good fit, don’t worry if you don’t have one of the requirements.

 

Tips To Hire Veteran Php Programmers with Off-the-Shelf solutions to meet Atypical Business Needs

Tips To Hire Veteran Php Programmers with Off-the-Shelf solutions to meet Atypical Business Needs | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From hirephpcom.wordpress.comToday, 3:31 AM

Essence of php can be felt in almost each and every corner of the web. It has vigorously stormed the market of web development and has highly streamlined the methods by which bespoke websites are developed.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:
Being open source in nature, PHP not only reduces your overall development cost but also offers your business a crucial thrust necessary in today’s competitive world. I have personally met the challenge of looking for assistance to develop small business websites. It’s not easy! One search for experienced web developers and you are faced with hundreds of coders. Even on a platform like Elance, you may not be the best project manager who understands the details of your own project. My advice, is to find a project manager or consultant to oversee the individual tasks for you. This allows developers to work efficiently on the job without having to educate you on their process at the same time.

The Importance of Non-Programming Programmers

English: A wireframe document for a person pro...

From infolific.com – Today, 3:42 AM

What’s the solution for the lack of expertise across each phase of programming? The non-coding programmer. Non-coding programmers are people such as requirements analysts, GUI designers or graphic designers, testers, etc. They’re good at the things programmers are told they should pay attention to, but don’t really want to deal with and aren’t very good at.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

Programmers enjoy coding mainly, not learning how to create a drop-shadow or bevel for good looking icons. Programmers also enjoy learning development platforms, not how to make things ‘pop’. I have a vague understanding of code and know how it kind-of goes together. I would be considered as a non-programming programmer who is the common ground between client and programmer, like a project manager. This doesn’t mean I have to be a techie, far from it, it simply means I probably suck at coding, but can interpret what a client needs and diagrammatically relay that as task lists for the resource of Coders. On a small business scale, a non-programming programmer can be your Graphic Designer, Project Manager, or Virtual Assistant.

Are you in need of a Non-Programming Programmer? Or indeed real project development on your website? Give this article a shout out if it helped you understand what type of person you need to hire. – Juliana

 

 

 

Don’t Have a Website For Your Business?

Becoming web-savvy is an essential basic skill. So much so that it’s expected of our children to graduate from school with sufficient web understanding that they can represent themselves well later on. You have no excuse to say that kids can pick up technology with far more ease!

To be honest, there are various ways in which businesses can attract potential clientele. Starting from using neon signs (which can be fabricated by the likes of National Neon Sign Company) to reflect greatly on your business, to keeping the workspace neat and clean with the help of janitorial services, there are several ways you can attract customers. Besides this, you can also consider creating a Business Avatar, hiring a good content writer, and creating a website to promote your business!

Recently, however, the trend is to promote business on the Web because a larger number of people can get an idea of your brand. Due to this reason, several business owners look for opportunities to market their business on the Internet, which is why I have talked about the three introductions from different fields of web discipline to help you understand why getting online representation for your business is so important. I’ve picked out fields from web designers to SEO, to Marketing Copyrighters and Information Architecture, on having visibility for yourself online. Additionally, using expert services similar to a Miami Web Design Company could prove especially useful in streamlining your website and bringing in more traffic to your site. However, in the event you do not want external help and want to build the website on your own, then you can simply take the help of a Website builder like WordPress. Remember that WordPress can not only provide you with various styles to choose from for building your website but can also allow you to use wp seo plugins rank math or All in One SEO to gain a quick online presence. (Note: Having a website is pertinent for the growth of any organization or brand. It is necessary that all businesses understand the importance of websites)

You Don’t Have a Website for Your Business – Are You Serious? | Sean Bryant

All businesses should have websites! You Don’t Have a Website for Your Business…Are You Serious? – @OneSmartDollar

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

I find it difficult to understand how any business can keep its doors open today without having some sort of online presence. After reading this article I realize those businesses exist and I can bet they barely make it work. Who picks up the phone book these days? Without an online representation, and visibility in Google, how are new customers going to find you. Sean Bryant examines some of the reasons that hold business owners back.

A corporate website is your digital storefront, and can lure new clients and customers. If you’re not making one of these four deadly mistakes, that is.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:
Laura Click provides us with an easy to understand four step elimination process of what not-to-do with your website. Starting out with the meaning of “bad navigation”, and what that really means translates into user experiences. Bad navigation encompases incoherent url structure, strange image layouts, and non-semantic structuring. Poorly written copy, and Zero personality, are simple mistakes to avoid yet
in an attempt to pretend to be professional and claim a corporate image, sites become devoid of translucency that allows us to trust, then finally failing with no reminders to purchase or “calls-to-action”.

I am a woman of many talents and one of them is information architecture, just in case you didn’t know

Kate explains in easy terms, just what it is she does to help increase conversion rates of your website online. She explains what wire-framing is, and basically does the nitty gritty that Laura Click mentions above when it comes to re-working that bad navigation issue. This is information architecture.

Please do hit me up with Google Plus comments and suggestions for our audience if you have an alternate discipline of web skills that can help business owners get online. – Juliana

An Overview on Colocation

Server Rack - Superb Internet
Server Rack – Superb Internet

Colocation is a general term in the Web industry. It is any situation in which hardware is sent to another business’s location for housing. You, as the owner of the hardware, still have full access to it, but you are using the environment to store your equipment and to take advantage of the facility’s services.

Generally, hosting uses this method, which involves moving your server to a colocation data center to take advantage of its hardware-friendly environment, particularly with regard to climate and security. Therefore, colocation offers almost the same benefits as hosting, but you own the physical server rather than renting space on the hosting company’s or data center’s servers.

(Note that when your husband tells you that he wants to colocate with another woman to optimize for security and climate, that’s a warning sign. Unfortunately, you may need to get a new husband.)

Basic Advantages of Colocation

1. Bandwidth Costs

Your cost for bandwidth should be reduced in a colocation scenario. This occurs because you’re tapping directly into the bandwidth at a data center. You’re taking a piece of a big pie – as opposed to requiring that your own bandwidth be allotted to the physical location of your business. Network connectivity also becomes more redundant.

(Another warning sign is when your husband calls to excitedly tell you about his new redundant family.)

2. Security

You get to benefit from the firewalls and other security protocols of a professional data center. Undoubtedly this will be an upgrade from your current security environment, unless you already have a full-time dedicated employee in charge of security. Data centers are constantly monitoring the security of their networks to ensure no Russian spies or angry teenagers invade the system. Besides that, these centers often have a fully-equipped commercial alarm system (or, as it’s called in German “alarmanlage gewerbe“) to monitor the premises 24/7 for any physical break-ins, intrusions, or emergencies as well.

Your data is also backed up, typically, on a more regular basis. Colocation partners will back up your data as much as every day. Additionally, you aren’t impacted at all by the other clients using colocation because those clients have their own servers as well.

Your physical security is also often improved with colocation. It is further enhanced by having a good security ecosystem such as evalink and others is fundamental for data centers. Any damage or tampering with the servers needs to be prevented in order to keep the data protected. Security equipment such as surveillance cameras, as well as protections against fire and flooding, are common necessities for data centers. Besides that, any necessary repair or maintenance work is often taken care of by expert electricians – professionals who know the ins-and-outs of power in large facilities; can handle the work safely; know what is nfpa and other electric safety codes; so that customers can feel comfortable knowing the environment is safe for their hardware.

(Most colocation centers also have a missile-defense system and have the green light from the military to set fire to their entire stockpile if the Germans attack, firing off weapons in all directions at random and leveling the whole town.)

3. Emergency Preparedness

A business may have backup generators, but they still won’t always be strong enough to keep power going during inclement weather or natural disasters. If your electricity goes out for an extended period, do you want your sites to go down as well? Even a generator won’t always protect you. In a colocation environment, again, you have an expert system focusing specifically on issues such as power backup, so storms won’t throw your business off the Web.

As you can see, these are improvements – upgrades to what your business might already have in place. For example, a colocation environment might even have its own fuel on hand, allowing it to go far beyond what’s possible with a charged generator. Colocation environments, then, are centers designed for emergency-preparedness. They are insurance, in a sense.

(Similarly, your disco ball, strobe light, and smoke machine are insurance against party poopers, keeping this soiree from stopping prematurely, aka any time prior to the break of dawn.)

4. Space

Something that’s always easy to miss when we discuss the advantages of one network situation or another are the physical aspects – even just in terms of space. As a business grows, it can become more and more challenging to allot the necessary space for servers, as well as the environment necessary to properly care for them and keep them cool.

Due to concern with having the best possible environment, many companies have to consider whether to have their own in-house data center or to outsource that responsibility to another company. One consideration with a data center is not just all the parameters of security and storage room and climate, but how much that’s all going to cost. An easy way to defray costs is to collocate so that it’s your equipment, but experts with many different clients are allotting space to you and other businesses.

(If your husband tries to convince you he’s colocating to defray costs because his new family is closer to his work and allows him to cut down on fuel, he actually does have a valid point, and you should cheer him on for his green-friendly zeal.)

5. Ownership

In a colocation situation, as opposed to a typical hosting scenario, you own both the hardware and the software. So if you ever, at any point, want to upgrade your hardware, you just go ahead and do it. It’s your machine. You just make out the switch. You know what you have, and you go out and buy a new one if the cost and features make sense.

Similarly, if you want new software to run the server, you go out and buy that as well. Any of the ways in which a hosting arrangement might keep you from making the immediate upgrades and changes you want will not be experienced with colocation. Once you know what you want, you can immediately make the change without having to switch plans or ask the hosting team to make alterations on your behalf.

(One of the most important colocation strategies is not to change the hardware or software, but instead to reorganize what’s on the current server by “shuffling” it. Shuffling the server involves hiring someone at the data center to pick it up and shake it as hard as they can.)

6. Location, location, location

One of the greatest advantages of colocation is that you don’t ever need to move the servers. Once your hardware is in the colocation facility, it doesn’t matter what happens to the business. Everything can remain at the data center for as long as you like, regardless your physical location.

Basic Disadvantages of Colocation

1. Distance

Obviously, as with hosting via a data center, all your hardware is at a distance. If you like to have immediate access to your equipment and have it stored within a facility that you own, colocation is not for you. (Similarly, you will want to get your own Weed Eater rather than always borrowing Tommy’s.) Keep in mind, the expense of your own data center is substantial – much more substantial than colocation or hosting.

2. Expense

To extend the financial aspect, colocation can be more expensive than hosting because you’re using your own equipment. It’s easier for a data center to use its own servers to provide you service. This aspect varies, but expense is often a disadvantage.

Summary

Colocation is not for everyone, and there are many reasons to choose that model for your company. It’s easier in many ways because a company that specializes in server housing and security is handling that aspect of your business. However, hosting via servers at a hosting company is often an easier and more cost-effective way to go. Some larger companies also like to keep their servers on-site in their own data center. (Whatever you do, don’t take Tommy’s Weed Eater on Saturday morning, when he does his yard. You don’t want him to have to peer over the fence, awkwardly staring at you while you finish up the area around the shrubs.)

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

Correctly Linking Social Media to your Business

If you’re new to bringing your business idea online, then you have probably decided that Social Media is your first port of call. Social media can allow significant growth, especially with tools such as TokMatik TikTok likes, and apps that allow you to buy followers. There is also limitless potential for what you can do on different social media platforms. After all, it represents no initial outlay.

However, as you develop your brand and business model – be it a franchise or your own, you would require help to get a strong foot-hold. For example, if you would want to start a franchise business, you might need the right advice (like this Franchise Empires podcast that could help) to lead you on to the right path. Or in another instance, if you have a business of your own, you’ll adjust your targeting with a bit more finesse and realize you need more control of your landing page or website. To help build on your business model, you may want to look into how digital transformation can be incorporated so adapting to being online for your business happens smoothly and correctly for you to gain positive feedback.

Here’s a few of the recent newspoints I collected over the last week to help you define and structure your business model utilizing the Social Networks.

How and from where to link to your website on verious social media websites. Syed speaks from a traffic driving perspective, and where to claim your vanity URLs to increase your personal brand footprint.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

There are those who don’t even own a website and manage their business purely on social networks there are some limitations. Pay attention to some of Syed’s comments here as he is honest about these limitations. Knowing the ins and outs of the social networks that businesses are using is important, so if they are looking up things like ‘Twicsy buy Instagram followers‘ or ‘Facebook scheduling services’, and so on, then they are going to need to see how utilizing these, within their limitations, are essential in keeping them relevant without a website.

My parents and many of my friends still don’t understand what it is I do every day. They envision me frolicking in the fields of Facebook and Twitter, swapping gossip and sharing funny memes.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

If you want your business to appear less spammy as indicated above in one of Syed’s comments, you have to figure out a way of introducing story telling into your social media that will engage your followers. Sometimes just having a website on it’s own seems much easier!

Google officials have downplayed the lukewarm public reception, saying they view Google+ more as an invisible data “backbone” that tracks individual users across its various properties – and less as a consumer internet destination

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

Read this article! Various free website platforms give you the opportunity to link up to social media log in methods. However Google keeps track of site visitors interests based on the site categories they visit. At some point I’m sure this information may become available to site owners to help them in their demographic analysis and understand who their site visitors are…

Latest advice for website beginners and professionals scooped by Juliana Payson, reach out to her on Google Plus if you have tips you’d like to share via Superb.net